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The Rift Report

The Rift Report – Saturday, 26th April


I had everything pre-booked & pre-paid from taxis to train tickets, Oyster card topped up, backpack sorted, clothes selected, maps ready and so on.  It’s the only way to be sure, as you can be, that all will go well.

I’m surprised though when pretty much everything goes to plan and it works!  Given how all my preparations went so well, I suppose I shouldn’t have been surprised how shambolic the Rift was.

I met Nicky standing at the top of the stairs as I came out of the Royal Oak tube;  she was waiting for Erykah, who was on her way from Euston.  She was somewhat delayed by the crap that was happening on the Underground that morning.   When I got to Kings Cross, there were notices EVERYWHERE about delays and closures, police on platforms at some stops etc.  Next to the Hammersmith sign, it simply said ‘expect severe delays’ and my heart dropped to my boots.  So I was glad I had booked a late train home and given myself heaps of time to get back to KC.  *as it turned out, I needn’t have bothered, but who knew?*


Lots of people standing in line at Porchester Hall and first in the queue, Tokyo Jean.  Spent a few minutes catching up with her and chatting to various of the ladies.  Then Sue arrived, looking wonderful, impossibly younger than ever and luscious!  How does she do it??  I must be her picture-in-the-attic!! Though she’s barely old enough to need one, even if she is an ‘old married lady’ with an energetic husband & two well-grown kids.


Caught up briefly with Cryssie, Ulla, SaraLynn, Sylvie, Angela, Inky Jane, Jean/GraySunrise [who sat in front of me, to my delight], Cara [who sat behind me], Alona [who asked the question that finally ‘got’ James!], Lise, Ro & Nancy [caught up more with them later in the day] and waved at Patti and some other ladies I know by sight only, as I worked my way down the line.  When it went round the corner, I didn’t go much further and was reminded registration time was looming, so went back up to the door.  

Couple of the Stewards [waves to Helen!] emerged with clipboards and started the long task of giving out the wristbands, with our ticket numbers & seating row written on them.  And nothing else…  No itinerary, no schedule, nada.   I looked at my wristband – Row D; I’d guessed just about right.   I wondered just how we were going to plan our day with no schedule but maybe it would be up on a big board inside?   No such frickin luck…  It was a disaster of interesting & domino proportions that got slowly worse as the day wore on.  Lisa said they were back on schedule around 1pm but you’d never have known it.


One excellent Steward came to guide the wheelies & the ‘sticks’ up in the side lift, but we had to wait for James to arrive first and then do his sound check before we could go in – he was late [given that he was taken ill later, I’m not surprised, but we didn’t know that then].   They weren’t about to let us upstairs, however, even though we promised to be as quiet as mice!!  *snorts*  as if!   When James did arrive, I was on the wrong side of the van and only got his back view as he didn’t linger and went in very quickly.


We eventually got to go in about 11am and in spite of being assured the rows were far enough apart not to need an aisle seat, this was not the case.  I did get an aisle seat but the wrong side again.  Oh well, getting you foot stuck under the front chair & coat was a small price to pay – even if the woman in the military jacket in my row was in & out of her seat like a cuckoo clock… Couple of times I didn’t move fast enough for her and she rudely shoved & scrambled over my legs;  she was not popular.


Himber had the merchandise table all set up [he certainly had enough time] and we paused long enough to buy our photos with James and what else we wanted, put our names down for the Meet & Greet/s [dunno why I bother, I NEVER win anything] – Sue was one number off getting to see Gareth!  Disappointing for her.   When I saw how long the queue to buy James’ photo ops etc became, I was very glad I’d done it straight away – especially as he started before the introductions and I was able to join the queue before it became massive.


Yes, you heard right, inside we had to queue just like everyone else – NO provision made for disabled patrons for the rest of the day;  we were simply ignored.  Unbelievably bad.  I saw Cara trying to queue for a picture and I went & asked Himber if I could bring her up to the front [yes, no problem – but why wasn’t a Steward doing that??]  Cara developed severe muscle spasms later in the day, trying to queue again and was in considerable distress.  Did they seriously expect the disable to go barging to the front of the queues and demand to be taken first???  Most of them feel bad about getting in first as it is and are not likely to want to be pushy.


That said, it was a memorable day for many reasons - not the least for the total shambles of multiple queues throughout the day, total chaos.  Opening James' autograph lines and then shutting them, off and on the whole damn day.  After all this time of organising events, I cannot believe JMLive cocked things up so badly.   When James started doing autographs, Lisa announced the first two rows to go and we waited to hear the next two rows – never came.  Half the hall just got up and joined on the end of the line – most of whom were the Europeans, who’s mother tongue is not English and have no concept of queuing in their own countries – they all rush to be first and, of course, others rushed to join them too.  When we realised what had happened and saw the ever lengthening line, we went & asked what was happening – to be told the line was now closed and we’d have to wait till later.  This happened – wait for it – THREE times.   There was no way I could queue on the end of these massive surges and again no provision made – it was all, ‘go queue now, if you haven’t had your James auto yet’ – thanks a frickin heap.  The wheelchair users were actually a lot better off then the walking disabled.   I didn’t get my autograph until about 6pm and thanks only to Sue, that I was able to join near the top of the very last line – there were four youngsters & a guy who weren’t moving for no bugger and who just glanced at me like a curious piece of meat… 


And don't get me started on the sound system - which was pretty awful with some screechy feedback, from time to time.  They had 2 sound engineers there but the side speakers didn't improve.  It was farcical, with microphones dying and one of James' actually fell to bits in his hand!!


It would have been a whole lot better if there had been a schedule available to the poor bloody audience, instead of telling us piecemeal what was happening - trying to juggle food or just a drink [only water and beer available for hours, wine later] - not very good.  I've read quite a lot of LJs & blogs saying they don't think they'll go back to another JMLive-run event.  Isn’t that horrifying?   If it hadn’t been for Sue’s swift strong legs, neither of us would have had any lunch – and I know quite a few in the crowd had expected from the blurb that there would be sandwiches or some such available in the bar, to find it was just crisps and simply went without…


Lisa made some opening announcements, very little information about who was going to do what and no timings at all, just what was coming next basically - a quick introductory line up of Eve, Kai, Gareth and the writers & Richard Stokes, the producer, to start the show, before Gareth started off with his Q&A.  James had already started his photo ops and didn’t join them. 

But let me rise above all this crap and tell you about James – that’s what you’re reading this for, right??  *snorts*  Of course you are.


I managed to get my photo in quickly with James - who looked fabulous, in blue jeans & a snug black tee :love:  Lean & fit, bouncy and super huggy but as the day wore on, it became apparent he wasn’t quite firing on all cylinders.  But when I finally got round the corner into the photo area, there were only two or three ahead of me and I got to watch Cally’s Mum have James sit on her lap in the wheelchair, hands planted firmly on his thighs – and I giggled for we’d been talking about it on the way in.  I have this massive cold at the moment and was determined not to get too close to James.  *cries*


James looked at me smiling and said ‘Hi baby’ and started to hold out his arms but I put my hand on his chest and said ‘Don’t come close, I have a cold’ and he thought for a second and said, ‘Okay, we’ll do ‘Heroes & Villains’ – which is his back to back, look-at-the-camera–with-attitude pose – that worked pretty well.  He took my hand after and I grinned saying, ‘we’ll make up for it at Collectormania’ and he laughed.


Gareth was doing his Q&A when I came out and went down to see the Astral Gipsy with Sue and we had our pictures drawn, quite cute.  Sue said he was kind to her, but I thought she looked just great.  Mine was ‘kind’ and ignored my wrinkles.  He did a coloured one for me and drew in my tats and I’ll put the pic in here if I can make it smaller.  Price was ok - £20 coloured A4.  Much cheaper for just B&W but I was curious to see what he’d do for me.

   i didn't think my face was that square!

I didn’t get to speak to James again until the last auto queue but I enjoyed the Q&As.  James really was starting to ramble more than usual as the day wore on and we learned he'd only flown in the day before [If Michael Rosenbaum had to cancel because of extra 'Smallville', I was worried about the knock-on for James too] and it sounds as though he had no rest whatever and was severely jet-lagged.


From what i gathered later from his ladies, he hadn't eaten for pretty much the whole day and was running on adrenaline and the smell of a oily rag...  Who knows what bug he got on the plane?  M said she watched him come off the stage after one of his Q&A's and she thought he was going to fall, as he staggered.  He was seen later by Lise, being helped out to a car and she said he was in some distress.   i hope it was one of those stomach bugs, quick acting but short lived and they had a doctor to him quickly.  Lots of fluid & sleep are what he needs.   He must stop pushing himself so hard - and REST, otherwise I believe, he is looking at some sort of meltdown.  If it were up to me, I would prescribe A LOT of rest, rest and more rest.  Did someone say they heard he was taking 3 weeks off after CM13??


This has coloured the whole event for me, as we waited so long to find out what was happening.  We’d been allowed out for an hour’s break about 6.30pm and simply sat and waited from when we got back around 7.45pm until nearly nine o’clock.  We were starting to look at each other and wonder what was happening by then and when Himber went up on stage, I was surprised not to see Lisa.

Himber was nervous? Uneasy at best as he said he was very sorry but James had been taken ill and wasn’t really up to doing his concert.   He offered everyone £20 as a refund if they didn’t want to stay but come and see him immediately, otherwise he would be back onstage very shortly.   He called Kai Owen up to entertain us.

Kai pretty well off his face at this stage, had agreed to come up for a while.  He told jokes and sang various songs acapella – causing much laughter in the process.  What topped the biscuit for me, was Himber skipping across the stage in time to one of his songs…!!!  Kai turned out to have a good voice and was well applauded.

When it all finished, we were still let out early.   Himber stood at the top of the main stairs and said goodbye to people and was saying thank you for staying etc to all and sundry and caught my eye as he was leaving the main area and said 'Thank you' to me too.  i was a good 12 - 15 feet away and nodded to him.

I had missed out earlier on Gareth’s autograph, [it had been a frustrating day for autographs and I didn’t bother hiding how annoyed that made me], the Steward couldn’t ignore me any longer [but boy, did she try all day] and went off to report - Lisa had then sent word back that if I would leave whatever it was that I wanted to be signed, they would try and get it done and send it to me.  Ok, that will do, thank you.  I handed it to the Steward and kept waiting for James.

As Gareth had turned up to help out Owen, one of the younger stewards saw me and said ‘Hang on’ and galloped off with my magazine to find him.  So I sat and waited for her to come back.  Lise had to go and we said 'later, babe, see you Wednesday' and she went [what a night she still had to come!].  I told Sue I would go and see what was happening with my trains.  She had only to go to Paddington and after we said goodbye too, she went to join up with some other friends until she had to go. 

Eventually the lassie came back with my magazine all smiles, she had found him and Gareth had signed.   Thank you very much and I took the lift down to street level and set off back to Royal Oak, with much to think about.  i will see most of the people i like again later this week but no-one was breaking their necks to get me to join them this night, that's for sure...  

*I put a marker in the magazine where I wanted it signing, but when I checked later at home, it wasn’t where I’d left it.  I searched the entire magazine before getting a sneaky feeling I knew what he’d done and yes, the silly prat had signed the marker!  He’d never even thought why the magazine was given to him, rather than just the damn marker??*   :sighs:


This report is all over the place and very much in bits for which I sincerely apologise – blame it on this cold/’flu whatever it is.  I have a head full of cotton wool, cheekbones filled with cement, barbed wire down my throat, a bubbling chest full of gunk and I don’t feel very well…  I’m finding it very hard to concentrate and I’m really only just going with the flow.


I only have a little left to tell but that will wait for tomorrow.

Night, all…


( 19 comments — Leave a comment )
Apr. 29th, 2008 12:46 am (UTC)
Accurately said babe . It was chaotic . I was annoyed to find that they hadn't been helping you through the queue's . I'm just sorry that I hadn't heard until late in the day and at the stage where you were almost at the front of the queue.

Lets hope the Borderline concert is better organized. I am looking forward to it , and will be getting into London at midday.I'm meeting Erykah and Nicky for lunch at McGuinneys ??? Very vague on the whole thing but after four bottles of wine .....

I'll see you in the queue, yes, yet another one ! Fingers crossed I won't be pinching your brolly again !
Sleep well and keep resting up. Lot's of fluids and rest will chase off that nasty bug babes x

Hugs xx
Lise x
Apr. 29th, 2008 10:13 am (UTC)
Hey Lise,

The pub...

(check out the reviews!!!)
Apr. 29th, 2008 12:23 pm (UTC)
i will be coming in early afternoon, should be there about 2-2.30pm. Hopefully we will go grab a bite to eat near Manette St, but my favourite, Chinatown is just down the road i see... but as Sue says lots of places selling food round there, not like Saturday. You were a bit stuck if you didn't want chicken & chips or pizza... So healthy!! i should have taken my own lunch...
Not sure what the weather's doing tomorrow but i'll bring a fold-up brolly in my bag. If the roadworks/pavement repairs or whatever it is are still in full swing, you might find the queuing experience an uncomfortable one but i have my fingers crossed for us all.
No word from JMLive so we presume James is/will be recovered enough to perform??
Poor love... i think of him every time i cough.
See you tomorrow DV
Apr. 29th, 2008 05:38 am (UTC)
I've read several reports about Saturday and it's a shame so many people were so disappointed with the lack of organisation.

I do like your photo though :)

Hope you feel better soon.
Apr. 29th, 2008 12:36 pm (UTC)
It is a pity but we refused to let it spoil our day, though it was difficult to keep smiling occasionally. Let's hope the Borderline & Union Chapel especially are better run. That was so bad last time. i was lucky and could go sit in a cafe until it was time to go in - great concert. i'm hoping lightening will strike twice for James and they are both great nights.

Glad you like the photo - i actually do! First time i have allowed a sideways photo of me, since i can't remember when... still lots of weight to go but this does show friends that i've lost some [the non-James ones!].

Thank you - i'm still battling the lurgy but my sense of taste is coming back today, completely gone for two days! i always hate that.
Apr. 29th, 2008 06:18 am (UTC)
thanks for the report. Seems to have been a bit chaotic (as usual). The part with Kai Owen and Steeeeeeve on stage sounded hillarious though.
But believe me, the whole queueing thing is not a typical English thing to do:) It was probably due to a severe case of "oh my god - James is here"

I do wish they could organize better. I do understand that it´s hard, but the JMLive crew have had a lot of experience by now

I´ll be in London in time for the UC concert myself and Im already wondering about the queue...

thanks for the report and take care!
Apr. 29th, 2008 12:44 pm (UTC)
if it was one or two isolated complaints, you could write it off as 'we can't please everybody' but disappointment on this scale, you really, really need to address. As you say, they have been doing these events for some time now but do not appear to learned much. Oddly enough, they managed better in the earlier days but this latest free-for-all just was a step too far. i really don't want any more people telling me, they aren't coming again, much as they love James...

See you on Friday maybe, take care
Apr. 29th, 2008 08:37 am (UTC)
Hi Jill, crappy thing that cold. You looked really BAD, I mean a sick goodlooking lady!

I'm off to Tower Bridge soon. No use going to Kew in the rain. Might do British museum too today.
Met Lene and Ginger at the Zoo yesterday. had a great day, but they threw me out too early. i could go there for another day. have to ask sister what she wants to do.

Poor James, I really hope he'll be well 'till Wednesday, I'm really worried about him.

And crappy crap about no concert on Saturday. I had my camera really nicely set, no lack of time for that as you know, waiting for 1,5 hours... but no James to snap pics off, ARGHHHHHH!! <Me a bit frustrated. I'm bloody sore, have been dragging around the camerastuff for 3 days now. Can't feel my right hand at all, but it still works. But, you know, it's worth it and i got Ibuprofen with me :O) Drugs good. Well, off to the museums or what ever, walked 16 km's yeaterday, might beat that today. Nothing wrong with my legs here. See you on Wednesday and that lot of rest and fluids is for you too, you know!
Apr. 29th, 2008 12:49 pm (UTC)
Thank you - i think!!
Yes, a great pity no concert at the Rift but fingers crossed, nothing from JMLive yet so hopefully James is/will be well enough tomorrow.
i'm delighted you had such a good day with Lene & Ginger - they're great gals, aren't they?? i love 'em both to bits...
Take care of that snapping hand and good luck to us all tomorrow!
Apr. 29th, 2008 05:04 pm (UTC)
Took care of the snapping hand today, 300 + more photos :o) Have to keep in shape!

Went to Tower Bridge today, got some nice pics from the walkway, where the elevator didn't work. That was kind of a theme today, climbing stairs everywhere. With my luck the lift at the hotel don't work when I get there.

Lene and Ginger got to the zoo later than me, but we kept running into each other now and then. The ladie took a trip to Paris today, I was thinking about it, but in this crappy weather... Nah!

I walked from Tower Bridge to London Eye and then to Trafalger Square. Managed to find 2 tickets to "We Will Rock You" for Thursday. Half price and all. Nice.

See you tomorrow, may it not rain on the queuers. I keep my fingers crossed!

Apr. 29th, 2008 10:28 am (UTC)
That is a gorgeous picture you have with James! *grin* And I love the drawing of you. I wanted one but I didn't find a chance to get one done. :(

I still can't believe how badly you ended up getting treated. I haven't seen a con fall apart so badly in ages. They really shot themselves in the foot on this one.

James did seem to be having problems this time around. I hope it was just the bug, but he does seem to be pushing himself far too hard lately; personally and professionally. I'd prescribe food myself, as well as rest. Some of the things he's been saying lately about not eating certain things (you saying he didn't eat at all at this!) and needing to work out so hard freak the life out of me!

See you in a couple of days when, oh goodness yes, we hope the organisation will be better!

Hope you feel better soon babe. *hugs*
Apr. 29th, 2008 12:52 pm (UTC)
Amen to that! See you tomorrow :smooches:
Apr. 30th, 2008 05:37 am (UTC)

Sorry about your bad experiences at the rift, they really need to organize these things better. :( But, um I wanted to ask you if I could post this on Whedonesque.com? It's totally cool if you don't want to, but can you messege me and tell me if it's ok or not. thanks! :P
Apr. 30th, 2008 08:00 am (UTC)
Sure, if you want to - this is a 'public' post after all. Were you there?
Apr. 30th, 2008 03:32 pm (UTC)
I wish! I haven't had the pleasure of meeting James yet, I saw him from afar at Paleyfest but I've never actually talked to him or had him sign anything. I would love to take a picture with him. Thanks for letting me I'm sure people will appreaciate the deets!
Apr. 30th, 2008 05:38 am (UTC)
Oh! I forgot! Awesome pic of you and James!
Apr. 30th, 2008 08:02 am (UTC)
*grins* Thank you! Even i like it, and that's saying something...
May. 6th, 2008 09:51 pm (UTC)
Couple of times I didn’t move fast enough for her and she rudely shoved & scrambled over my legs; she was not popular.

Sorry about that - I was wearing such big clumpy platforms it was sometimes hard to control my momentum, and I was anxious not to block people's view for too long.

May. 7th, 2008 11:55 am (UTC)
Well done for coming forward to apologise, Trepkos - just give a girl a little more time to get out of the way, huh?

i did love your jacket, by the way! *grins*
( 19 comments — Leave a comment )