Being the anniversary of my 1st event Collectormania London (or whatever it’s now called....) holds special meaning for me. Would it live up to my memory of my first event or would I be looking back through rose tinted spectacles. Weellllllll, let’s find out.........
With the late announcement that Philip Glenister and some others had cancelled I was feeling slightly down about the event before I’d even got there, but I wouldn’t let it get me down.
Lucy and I arrived at the Putney Bridge Premier Inn at around 4pm on the Friday, once we were checked in there was only one thing to do.... Bar!
Once there we met up with ‘Team Til’ (for those of you who don’t know, Team Til consists of Laura, Jemma, Nat and Joanna and of course Mr Tim Ingham, aka Sao Til, think back to series one of Tonight the Night and all will become clear), a night of amusement then ensued with many bad jokes, but there was a big disappointment – The Premier Inn had got rid of their Pool Table, Disaster!!
So, onto the day of the event, the alarm went off at a truly ungodly hour (about 5.50am), we met for breakfast at 7am and, to be honest, the food wasn’t great. By 8am everyone was ready to leave, it was also time for the unveiling of Tim and Laura’s first outfits of the weekend, today they would be Gambit and Rogue – Epic, just epic!
A relatively short, cold and uneventful train journey later, we arrived at Olympia, due to the weather the entrance had been moved so queuing would be indoors (result!!). The doors opened at 9am and the event kicked off, time to work out where everything is, get our bearings and buy some autograph vouchers.
|Me with Mercedes McNab|
The next plan on the agenda was to check what times the various talks and photoshoots were so we could all make sure we were in the right place at the right time. With the day planned out the next order of business was a cup of tea.
The first guests we went to see were the cast of Ashes to Ashes, they were slightly surprised to learn they were doing a photoshoot and a talk; they were even more surprised when the time of their talk was moved from 5.30pm to 10.15am.......
For the Ashes talk we managed to get ourselves on the front row (well, the row behind the gold only chairs, which remained empty). The talk itself started slowly, for the first time ever I asked a question!! Someone had to be first, so it may as well have been me.
Overall the talk was good with all 6 of the Ashes guys being on good form with a few good stories, Micky B did a great job of running round as compare as well which was needed. It did also make me smile when a few Doctor Who comments were send it my direction.
Now it was time for walk round, there was a reason for this, track down Sonila Vjeshta (one of the Vampire Girls from S5 of Doctor Who). Sonila was lovely and I had a picture with her at the desk as she wasn’t doing a photoshoot.
Next on my list of people to meet was Mercedes McNab (Harmony from Buffy), she was really nice but it was obvious she wasn’t feeling at all well, she was happy to do pictures at the desk but without flash.
Following on from Mercedes I wandered over to where Carl Weathers was based (“it’s Apollo Creeeeed!”, this became a meme for the weekend!!), it was a very formal meeting, but definitely worth it!!
While on the subject of Carl Weathers, after another tea stop it was time for his photoshoot, Tim joined me in the queue, we both weren’t sure what the shoot would be like, be is a big named guest, would it be seated, formal or what... When we got to the front of the queue we were pleasantly surprised to find he was really good fun and doing all sorts of various poses, the most popular to being the handshake from Predator and a boxing stance (it’s Apollo Creeeeed!), both Tim and I went for the Predator handshake, although neither of us are really bulky enough to pull it off properly!!
There next photoshoot I had was with Mercedes so to pass the time until then we went to see Alice Krige (Borg Queen from Star Trek), we had to fight the urge to ask if the Borg run on Vista or Windows 7. Alice was chatty and good to talk to, a really nice guest.
|Rogue, The Doctor and Gambit|
Onto the Mercedes McNab photoshoot, I’d managed to get to almost the front of the queue which was good, I was also hoping for a hugging picture, which standing in the queue chatting the Robert ‘King of Photoshoots’ Sterry I had a phone call from Jemma, she was stuck outside as there was a rumoured fire in the Pizza Express in Olympia. A slight moment of confusion then arose as no alarm sounded but a quiet tannoy announcement asking everyone to leave; everyone completely ignored this, at which point the event staff started moving people towards the exits. When we got to the exit we were then turned round and told to go back in.
The whole episode did make me wonder what would happen if it had been a proper fire as opposed to a burnt pizza.....
To top it off when we got back to the Mercedes queue we’d gone from the front to the back! From seeing Mercedes earlier it was clear she wasn’t feeling well, after as few minutes we were told that she was unable to continue with the shoot and it may take place later. I was now feeling very glad I’d got a picture at the desk!
|Me with Mason Kayne (young Gene Hunt)|
So, with no photoshoot to do we decided now would be a good time for some lunch. On the way over to the cafeteria we bumped in Michael Barber (Ashes to Ashes), Nat and Joanna ended up chatting to him, he then did something I hadn’t expected, he took out his camera and asked me for a photo!!
With lunch out of the way it was then time to see if Mercedes had recovered enough to do her photoshoot, luckily she had but you could tell she wasn’t feeling great, but all credit to her she got through all the pictures and was chatty and did poses for people. She really impressed me as she was on good form despite feeling ill, a great guest who I’d like to see again (she was meant to be back on the Sunday but wasn’t well enough to attend).
After seeing Mercedes it was time to go and see the Ashes to Ashes cast. First up was Mason Kayne (young Gene Hunt), he was there is the costume from the show which I thought was really cool. While chatting to him, I had a flashback from earlier as he also asked me for a picture!! Mason was easy to chat to and really nice, almost forgot to get him to actually do an autograph for me (that’ll teach me for getting carried away chatting).
Having finished chatting to Mason and also getting Micky B’s autograph it was time to go and support Jay and Richard in the Cosplay Skit Competition. I’ve never watched a skit comp before so it was a new experience....
Jay did a short comedy intro and then sang the Ghostbusters theme (he was dressed as a ghostbuster so it made sense), Rich then went next and did a short piece as Capt. Jack which worked quite well and culminated with him running off with a member of the audiences video camera which I found highly amusing.
One of the other skits worth a mention was done by Charlie (dressed as Alex Drake), it was a Alex monologue which summed up the entire plot of Ashes which was really good.
Charlie was awarded second place and Jay was the winner, the cash prize he then donated to charity which I thought was a great gesture.
The day was now beginning to come to a close so we headed back to the Ashes guys and I finished getting all their autographs and pictures with each of them. The Ashes guys (Mason Kayne, Michael Barber, Steve Mason, Steve Munroe, Jack Walters and Rikki Gann) were all really friendly and good to chat to, absolutely brilliant guests.
With that, feeling quite tired we all headed back to the hotel for an evening sitting in the bar and reminiscing about the day we’d just had. A truly epic day!