I went to The Winding Story of the Firth of Forth at the Book Festival this afternoon. It was quite warm in the Peppers Theatre tent, which almost full.
A couple sat next to me, and the man kept fidgeting before the start of the presentation. Because the seats were connected together, each time he moved my seat bounced. This went on for about five minutes, and I was going to say something to him, but thought that I’d fidget once first, to show him what it was like. Well, at the very same moment he also fidgeted, and his partner was just about bounced out of her seat.
Once the talk started, he stopped fidgeting, but instead started to sniff constantly. It was as if he had a nervous sniff. He also reacted in an exaggerated way when either of the speakers said anything that was slightly funny – whilst most of the audience had a titter, he had a guffaw. Then, several times, he grunted agreement with something that the speakers said. He constantly whispered comments to his partner.
At the end, just as the host was thanking the speakers, he put his hands up in front of his face and held them there a foot apart for ten seconds in anticipation of applauding the show, before clapping loudly.
In other words, even though he was simply in the audience, he managed to completely over act.
All of this distracted me from what the speakers were saying, though I did find out that in the early 18th century, the Firth of Forth produced 30 million oysters a year, most of which were sold in Edinburgh. Here’s a review of the book they were discussing.