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Hallowhedon October 2009 - Part 2

Part Two begins...

I saw Sue, who didn’t bid on the first Encounter and said 'see you after', and Rosie and I hurried over to the Hotel.

We were in a room at the top of the stairs off Reception, leading to restaurant where we had breakfast, and a steward was there to take the money. We all duly paid [except for the raffle girls] and went to sit down at the table [two pushed together]. I knew six of the others; all female at this session.

Coffee was provided, tea? and some fizzy water but no still. I asked if I could have ordinary water, as I was gagging by then and the steward said he would bring some [he didn’t]. So I took a glass to the table with me.

I was just about to go ask again but James, Himber & the rest arrived and after dumping all his gear with them, he came over to the table and joined us. He greeted us and walking round the table, knelt down between the first two ladies on my left, which I really liked as I could look at him easily close to. Gods, I had forgotten just how compelling he is when you are close enough to see the colour of his eyes. He has such a presence, quite took my breath away.

We asked if we could take a few photos and he was totally cool with it. I tried a couple but the light did not sit well on my camera. I took just one with flash to get one with some focus, so I had a reminder of the event, then I put my camera away. Rosie didn’t need her flash and took a few. Flash is too intrusive.

I was totally parched by this time and looked towards the guy on the door again, trying to get his attention and James noticed, asking ‘you okay?’ Yeah, just wanted a drink of water. As Rosie said “Jill was still waiting to get some still water to drink as they hadn’t supplied any, and James immediately said “here – have some of mine” and despite Jill protesting she was fine, he took her glass and insisted that she have some and poured her some water straight from his bottle. So sweet. Jill said it went straight into the vein and she was buzzing with it!!”

Naughty of her to tell my story but I wasn’t really upset, just surprised. She just couldn’t resist it. Needless to say I drank every drop and the steward was shamed into getting me a small bottle of water for myself. Pity it took James to do that.

When the subject turned to ‘Moonshot’, Rosie said that she & I had been to the BFI screening, when Richard Dale, the director came to talk about it and answer questions. So I told James I had asked RD how he picked the actors to play the astronauts – I wanted him to talk about James! He talked about the characters of the astronauts but said he’d picked James because he felt he was most like Buzz’s feisty personality, in that James wouldn’t hesitate to tell him if something was crap, pretty much as Buzz would!

i heard later that there was a short bit on YouTube of one of the coffee mornings in America, where someone had told James that a ‘jmfan’ had asked the director of ‘Moonshot’ the question. [ I’ve put the clip on here too 5/11/09] That fan was me of course and she didn’t get the quote right, saying it was because Dale thought James was as like Buzz as it was possible to be and was just as likely to blow-up!. Rosie piped up and said she? thought it was because James was ‘eccentric’ and thought he’d said ‘electric’.

Not sure how we got around to music, someone asking if holding a guitar was painful, I think. Anyway, I waited for a break in the traffic and said I’d brought him a CD that I thought he might enjoy – The Longest Day, an up-and-coming young rock band who write their own stuff and who I thought were pretty good. They have their own Facebook and MySpace pages and are worth a listen if you like some pretty solid rock. James looked at the 3-tune CD, a taster for the CD they hope to get out soon, and said, ‘Right on’ the way he does!

*I told Ross the bass guitar player later and he was quite pleased, I think*.

Some of the fans there have been to quite a few of these Encounters [or Coffee mornings as they call them in US for obvious reasons] but these of course were late afternoon. But it was the first one I had managed to get on and if you give James a small prompt, he chats away happily and I was able to just sit and listen for much of the time.

Everyone was getting up to go, picking up bags and things, and we drew James’ attention to our two raffle winners, both James-virgins and much in awe of him and he was very nice to them.

I took a moment of distraction to ask if I could give him a present. He immediately said, ‘Of course you can’ and I gave him a small gift in tissue paper and when he took it, I said ‘look at it later but i want you put this on your key ring and when you feel down or crappy in the morning, I want you to look at it and believe it’. He put it in his pocket and squeezing my hand, said ‘thank you’ with a sweet intensity that almost made me blush. It was a small metal heart with ‘you are loved’ engraved on it. I think he needs to be reminded on a regular basis that people do care about him.

I’ve been following James for nearly 8 years now – and he still doesn’t know my name!! Maybe I need to dye my hair too, even if I can’t go to the American cons anymore.. :D No, not really! Seriously there are many of us in the same boat and none of us expects that, there’s just too many of us.

We let James out first and then hoofed it back over to the Centre to check on the second encounter – and Yes! We’d both got in that too, slightly more this time at £101. Sue had decided to bid and also got in, and I was well pleased. So we went back over and we were in another other room at the top of the same stairs. Paid our fee and took our seats. I sat at one end of the table with Sue on my left, then Rosie. Next to her a young couple, then a couple of fans I knew but no idea on the rest.

When James joined us this time, he’d brought a couple of pillows to kneel on and just came to the end of the table and knelt down next to me, I shuffled left a bit to let him in. He brought a glass of milk and a plate of carrot sticks and what looked like humous which he used as a dip – why did I think this was his dinner? Although he had one scheduled later with one lucky winner [for £900!! Told you it’d be an eye bleed!].

A lot of the same sort of questions, some Buffy from the newbies, music, I steered him onto Caprica and when the conversation lagged, which wasn’t often as many of them asked questions, one of us would pop up and set him off again. I spent a lot of that time looking at the side & back of James’ head, as the lady teacher? on his right had several questions for him. That’s why I’d rather sit further away, so I can see him – I mean, it’s not like I can sit and hold his hand, is it?

I could have listened to him all night but 30 minutes passed all too quickly and he was leaving first, with a hand on Stuart’s shoulder.

I asked Sue later why she hadn’t asked anything or made any comments and she said she thought we had it covered. I said, ‘Silly girl, you could have just jumped in there; what did you want to ask him?’ She didn’t actually have a question to ask him… but said maybe if she’d had more time to think about it, she might have come up with something. Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t feel she resented our asking questions exactly but I think it is fairly symptomatic of many fans, who would like to ask but are either are tongue-tied in the Presence or simply can’t come up with one at the time. James did look round at us when he talked but you do need to ask or contribute in some way if you want him to look at you directly, if you know what i mean.

We didn’t have anything more that was scheduled, so we followed more slowly. We joined a group in the Centre and were discussing dinner and wound up in the Hotel restaurant, checking out the discount buffet they were putting on for the convenioneers. Sue & I weren’t very impressed but went for the ordinary menu. Happily Lisa & Dawn joined us and although we had problems with Dawn’s half cooked potato, the staff rose to the occasion and made amends, and we had a nice time.

We all retired to get ready for the Halloween Ball and Sue had a beautiful jacket, with a cheeky zip and I put on my Salem witch outfit, with the collar & apron. I bought the apron but made the collar myself, as it was impossible to buy. I was going to try and make my hair stand up but I’d forgotten some hair spray, so contented myself with lots of make-up instead. We had a text from Lise, who’d bagged a table and we strolled over when we were done. This time at least the organisers had made an effort with the tables, even if we were still shrouded in stygian gloom! We had pumpkins and orange & black balloons and in among the tablecloth folds, we found bits of skeletons – shin bones, a little foot, skulls and we set about trying to make a whole one but I don’t thing we managed. We might have done better if we’d had more light… Various friends came and sat, talked, took breaks, went to dance [not much of that though, the music was terrible again – where do they find the DJs?], visited on other tables and tried to take some photos. In my case I had to just aim in the general direction, as I couldn’t see anything in my viewfinder. I took some more when I went out to the bar.

I saw Jimmy Leary and Mark Lutz visiting in the bar and I was told Mercedes came for an extremely short time. Nick Brendon rose to the occasion and popped in and out. Jimmy had photos taken with some people and I knew Sue had had an Encounter with him, so I asked for one of him and her – no problem! Mark made himself scarce, whenever a camera appeared but there really weren’t that many.

I’d bought Mark a pint earlier as we were given a discount by the Hotel and the bar staff were giving him a ‘humorous’ run-around. He stood to chat for a couple of moments and Cally & her Mum were not far from us, so I asked him if he’d go and say hello. He said, ‘you bought me a beer, it’s the least I can do’ and ambled over. *grins* He didn’t come back, mind you, and continued on to wherever he’d been going to.

At the end of the Bar room, where the karaoke had been, they had a new wrinkle on the bull-ride in keeping with Halloween theme – a pumpkin!! It was a lot harder to ride than the demented sheep at Hub3, being circular and only having a tiny handle to hold on to.

But I saw a lot of guys and some very game girls giving it a go, not just the lads & Nick Brendon. The smaller girls had to use the bouncy base like a trampoline to get on, which was a hoot but I took my hat off to them for giving it a go.

I met up with many people I’d not seen for a while and we took lots of photos – thanks, girls! – and some drinks. I was amazed how many girls came and said hello, from other Cons but knew very few of them.

I did see Nietze – if you went to Halloween with James & David Boreanaz, you could not have forgotten her; she was the one who turned the tables on David, when she was invited up on stage to be him and he went down to the microphone and pretended to be her. She was telling me how she wound up going to Uni to do forensic science, got her degree and qualified to work for the Police! Am I proud of her? You betcha!!

I kept loosing the smokers, as you do! and went out occasionally to touch base if I hadn’t seen them for a while. Sue had her own catching up to do, of course. These do’s are kinda like lots of circles overlapping and reforming all the time.

Eventually, I’d had enough and didn’t need to be late. So I found Sue and let her know I was going back to the room and toddled off. I did have my photos first thing the next morning after all.

By the time I’d got out of my gear and removed make-up, got my clothes etc organised for Sunday and was sitting on the bed jotting down some notes, I was surprised to hear Sue come in. But she’d had the same idea, not too late rising in the morning. We chatted for a while and I drifted off…

Part Three follows