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London Film & Comic Con, Part 2

Next part of Report

Okay, done, off to Earls Court.  I knew where I was going and it was very close.  I had to walk about 10mins round to #2 from either way as it turned out but not a problem really.  Lines of people starting to form in earnest as it was almost 11am but explained I needed to go pick up the wheelchair and was let straight through.  Earls Court have a First Aid section and you can have one free for the day, or days in my case, as long as you leave them something as a deposit, drivers licence or passport or somesuch [which they put in the till for safety].  No probs, left my licence.  It’s £1 per bag to leave your luggage.

Immediately on your right as you went into EC2 was a collection of tables set up as Guest Area B and to my delight, both of the men who I was wanting to see that day were sitting right there.  First was Chris Sarandon, known lately for Jack the Skellington but to the world from ‘Fright Night’ and the ‘Princess Bride’ – what a fabulously sexy vampire he made!  I joined his queue being the shorter than the one

next to him but only just, being Mark Ryan, beloved of ‘Robin of Sherwood’ as Nasir, the sexy one with the equally sexy knives.  He might have lost some serious hair since then, but none of his mojo, baby!  He’s known now for Transformers and his new projects.

Chris was friendly, fairly chatty and very nice.  We had a stand-up picture together [when his minder worked out how to use my camera!] and he was very gracious in spite of that.  Mark Ryan’s queue had doubled in that time and I decided to come back later in the day and let some of the crowd thin out. 

There were two ‘theatre’ areas set aside for free talks with rows of dealers in the middle of the area and at the rear of the aircraft-hanger-sized room was Guest Area A, spanning the width of the room.

The two photo-shoot areas A & B were on opposite sides of the room – I guess it kept the crowds down but it made for some frantic running about for a lot of people when the schedules changed.  Area A had more room for big queues as they could snake them around in the corner but Area B had no such room as was meant to take guests with smaller numbers – but they goofed completely with Jewel Staite’s HUGE queue on Sunday.  More on that later.

There was quite a large area designated Cosplay Zone/Game Zone to the left side of the area, next to the Main Stage for the scheduled free talks, and all this proved very popular with the fans.

Saturday for me was a pretty quiet day as I only had one photo-op scheduled with Bruce Boxleitner, regrettably at 4pm which I was pretty sure I wouldn’t get back the same day, before I arrived there!  And how right I was.  Erykah & Nicky joined me and had photos with Keeley Hawes at around 2pm and they didn’t get them back until 5.30pm!!  Lucky for me, I was there Sunday too, especially as it didn’t come back until about 2pm! Sunday hours, they opened 12noon.  Showmasters didn’t even try for a car or taxi and opted for the faster cycle couriers, which was just as well.  The printers were horribly slow and it must have cost SM a fortune in postage to send the photos out.

I met up with the girls and we had a drink while planning the day and I ate my lunch that I took with me.  Prices for food were scandalous - £3.49 for a hotdog and £1.80 for a bottle of Coke at one place.  I did get a double Tender Chicken wrap for £5 odd on Sunday from another place but it did have a nice lot of chicken that was tender.  Medium water bottle same £1.80, way too much but they have you by the shorties… nothing in the area close enough to walk to but at least you can get something inside the arena.  Bar prices were okay I guess and they did have some fairly decent cider.

Nicky wanted to see Eve Myles but she was only doing Sunday, so she left the photo she wanted signed with me.  I had no trouble, judged the queue and told Eve who it was from – the Tiara Girl! – and not only did she know who I meant, she also recognised me and said how nice to see you again!  She was really lovely and said it was her last public appearance this year, as the baby is due around the time of the Hub3 and joked that she wouldn’t be able to fit under a table by then anyway!  She said she was sorry she wouldn’t be going and sent her love to Nicky.

She looks radiant and was her happy sweet self, making everyone smile who came to her table.   Glad you got it ok, Nicky!

I only had one photo-op on Saturday like I said, as I had intended to go just on Sunday and had bought them for that day.  Of course then a lot got extended to Saturday but too late by then!  There were quite a few who did only come for the one day, like Tom Baker – who was quite outrageous in the Dr Who free talk… 

He appeared to have a lot of hearing problems [deliberate or not?] and either talked about which was his favourite episode, which depended on how much money he got for it, or how far to go if he had ‘an encounter’ with Johnny Depp – ‘Cuddles or penetration?’   Various mothers left with their children at this point!  He didn’t get more graphic fortunately, or I think there’d have been more leaving, including me as I really found it all pretty boring and the sound was dreadful.  Tom Baker got the majority of questions, to be expected I guess, which meant that Alexandra Moen? Nick Courtney and Phillip Madoc said very little but they seemed quite happy…  Tom realised most couldn’t see him unless he stood up, which he did but the rest remained sitting.  *shrugs*

Time eventually came round for my Boxleitner photo-op and I scooted across to get in line.  I was told to head the line and I sat in my chair until they were ready [SO glad I got it!].  I was duly ushered in and Malcolm did his usual couple of quick shots to make sure he had the focus on the star.

Bruce stood with his arms folded and even when I joined him, he stayed that way, so I folded mine and said, ‘we’re giving it some attitude, are we?’   Malcolm took the shot and I said thank you to BB, who then shook my hand and I left, thanking Malcolm on my way out.

When I eventually got the photo back the next day, I took it in to BB to sign and he looked at it and said, ‘That worked pretty well, didn’t it?’ and I laughed and said, ‘just as well’ but I do like the shot.  BB said he was enjoying his trip but as it was quiet now, please excuse him as he had to take a ‘potty break’ and hoofed it swiftly.  That made me laugh and I chatted to his minder as I put my picture away.

I hung out with the girls until their photos came back and then I started to think about dinner.  Unfortunately they couldn’t join me, so we said farewell and I took the chair back [pick it up again tomorrow].

Erykah had very kindly looked up ‘eateries’ nearby for me and I memorised the street numbers.  Problem was, by the time I actually managed to see any, it was obvious I was out by a couple of hundred in the opposite direction!  I kept going as I could see shops etc going back towards Warwick Road and just after that there was a pub and across the road was Langan’s Coq d’Or.  Langan’s is actually a group of five bistros & restaurants [ see http://www.langansrestaurants.co.uk/] in different parts of central London.  Something stirred in my brain about that – doesn’t or didn’t Michael Caine have a share in it?  I went across to read the menu anyway and check out the prices.  Not bad for London, so as it is open pretty much all day and I was hungry, I went in. 

You can get a set 2 or 3 course dinner – £21 for 2 course and it is good food and plenty of it.  I had a bitter lemon and a glass of merlot with my dinner, both expensive.  For eats, I had Caesar Salad with pickled anchovies [not the little brown salty ones but the real fish, if you know what I mean] – delicious, even if the anchovies did come out of a jar – and I was torn for choice but I eventually settled on their Beef Burger with bacon, melted cheese & fries, would you believe??  They make their own of course and it is all fresh, so really nice.  The fries were delish but way too many, I only ate about a ¼ of them?  Though I didn’t eat the burger bun, that filled me up nicely and I was tempted but decided against a dessert; just coffee, please.  The waiter [there were three with the wine waiter, who took it in turns to serve me] said it was filter coffee?  That would have been okay but it was stewed and lukewarm, inspite of the hot milk that came with it and I pushed it away.  The other waiter saw me and came over, took it away and persuaded me to have a latte, he would make me immediately.  Now that was worth drinking!  I wasn’t charged for it either, more brownie points.

2nd Waiter saw my book and asked if it was a text book?  I was reading ‘The Narrow Road to the Deep North and other Travel Sketches’ by Basho.  It’s about Haiku poetry and his journeys that inspired him and is a classic of Japanese literature.  For those of you who don’t know Basho, or indeed middle Japan when these poems were written, starting in 1684, it was not a safe place to go travelling.  He had made several trips shorter trips around where he lived but the Narrow Road was one of four major journeys he made in later life.  His first major works, the Records of a Weather-exposed Skeleton and Records of a Travel-worn Satchel are included here – aren’t they marvellous titles?  They were written over a period of 10 years and Basho died at the age of 50 in 1694.

But back to our waiter!  I explained that I like Haiku poetry and it turned out he was an early pre-Western-era Arabic lit scholar – interesting the people you meet, no?

I finished my excellent coffee and my chapter, paid my bill and waddled back to my B&B. 

I hauled myself up the stairs and shoe-horned myself into the room booked for me.  I doctored my blisters, sorted my clothes out for the coming day, repacked my bags and wrote up a little in my journal until my eyes got heavy and I slept.

Not very well and I woke frequently – uncomfortable bed, noise from Warwick Road [even with the window only open a crack] and a little too warm.

Sunday 19th July

Warmer still when I rolled out of bed the next morning about 7am – oddly enough I was cooler in the bathroom, even after my shower; must have been the cool tiles.  I was glad I’d got ready the night before as I was sweating freely by the time I staggered downstairs at 8am.  Left my bags at Reception – no way was I going back up-stairs again – and descended down a steep stair to the dinning room in the basement. 

Breakfast was only from 8am-9am, even on a Sunday and three long tables were set out ready with glasses of orange juice [ugh], bowls of cornflakes [double ugh] and condiments.  Didn’t want pre-breathed-over cornflakes but all you could get otherwise was toast; at least it was fresh and hot.  I had two cups of what I guess was meant to be coffee [served by the cup and you had to ask for seconds] and 1½ slices of toast, fake-butter [ugh again] and marmalade.  Hmmm, not real impressed there either, though the staff were pleasant enough.  I sat closest to the open door out onto a small courtyard and enjoyed the cool air, while I ate my breakfast-on-a-shoestring.

Collected my bags and tottered up to EC2 again.  As it wasn’t quite 9am – I had the Early Bird entry ticket, I had to wait until the doors officially opened, though there were stewards on the doors.  A very nice Security lady radio’d asking for the wheelchair to be brought out, so I could join the queue – to absolutely no result – so as soon as 9am came around, we went in the nearest door for me to collect it.  She insisted on coming with me to the cloakroom to make sure I was okay, nice lady, thank you again.

Part 3 soon