It seemed like a good idea at the time - instead of getting a local author to sign copies of his memoirs of being a pilot during World War Two, ask him to come and do a talk. However it now transpires that he is a right-wing, Christian fundamentalist who will probably use the evening as a platform for his views. Looking back on my meeting with him, he did say something along the lines of 'My friends didn't sacrifice their lives for all this filth and depravity.'
I should have taken the hint.
If he sticks to talking about firing rockets at Nazis then all well and good. What I don't want is a roomful of people who have turned up to listen to a war hero recount his exploits, only to be told that they live in the last days of Sodom.
(NB - Since writing the above, I have met Steve Stevens several times and he is never less than charming, so I should take hearsay with a pinch of salt)
Several years ago I booked an author who wrote books about self-defence and was notorious as the sort of man who could (and would) break someone's neck with his little finger. The shop filled up with shaven-headed, neckless men in their twenties and thirties who all seemed quite excited by the prospect of comparing notes about the best way to beat someone senseless.
The author arrived and after greeting the audience with a convivial 'Alright lads?' began his talk with the following sentence:
'I know that a lot of you have come here because you want to hear me talk about fighting, but I've become a Buddhist and turned my back on violence. Self-defence is not about fighting, but avoiding confrontation...'
You could cut the atmosphere with a knife. The crowd were turning ugly and it was only when the author started listing some of the 'terrible' things he did before he converted to Buddhism that the mood improved. The talk finished with something along the lines of 'I don't fight any more, but I could still 'ave you if I wanted to.'