Write on queue: Bill makes new pen pals

AS Bill Clinton strode through Easons bookshop, in Dublin, every shelf held a chapter of his life.

Adams’s autobiography, Milosevic’s biography, a history of the Northern Troubles, an analysis of the Middle East, Hillary’s memoirs.

It was just a pity he missed the style section where Trinnie and Susannah’s What Not To Wear might have advised against electric-green polo shirts.

With his sun-reddened cheeks, emerald shirt and eyes twinkling like flickering fairy lights, Bill looked just like an early Christmas tree, which was appropriate seeing as the 1,500 fans who queued for him looked like their presents had arrived prematurely.

Giddy and gleeful, they filed passed their hero for over two hours as he shook hands, slapped backs, smiled for pictures and scrawled his blue-ink signature with conveyor-belt efficiency.

A dressed-down, chilled-out, upbeat Bill wrong-footed his minders immediately on entering the store by breaking away to chat with staff, a friendship bracelet of coloured threads hanging from his wrist.

Despite talk of sharpshooters on roofs and secret service agents in manholes, security was low-key and the biggest worry was returning books to those who floated away after the encounter, forgetting to take their signed copy of My Life with them.

When publican Charlie Chawke brought a pint of Guinness from next door - a welcome from the owner of the Oval Bar to an occupant of the Oval Office - the secret service gave it only a cursory inspection before giving the nod that Mr President could safely savour.

About 100 fans sat out all night to be among the first to greet him. “My children are mortified,” said Mary Lavin, from Naas, who queued from 7.30pm.

But although tired and disowned by offspring, it was well worth it. “I’m going home to bed and I’m taking Bill with me,” said Nora Shine, from Dublin, as she tucked her precious tome under her arm.

What would Hillary say?

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