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I Love When It's All Too Much (LFCC 2012 Entry Part II)
And now the conclusion. Despite my best efforts, I'm writing this a week after the event occurred AGAIN. This means I've forgotten over half of it and will probably have to come back and stick extra bits in it whenever they float to the surface of my inner brain sewer, but never mind. Onward!
Dramatis personae: see previous entry.
Up at 05:45 (renewed groan). Left the house circa 7am and arrived at Farnborough in plenty of time to catch my first train to Wimbledon. Unfortunately the train didn't. After a long wait for further developments, the schedule was updated around 8am to cancel most of the scheduled stops, including Wimbledon, as it was now going to terminate at Woking. Augh. Called Dad (who I knew would be up) and he kindly supplied me with the two scheduled departures from Earl's Court to Kensington (Olympia) after the one I'd needed to take - they run every 20 minutes odd - so I knew what I was up against, and I decided to try catching a Waterloo fast train at Woking, then head for Earl's Court from there.
38 minutes after the scheduled arrival time, the train finally got in. Went to Woking, changed to the fast train (which was also delayed due to wet conditions/signalling problems, arghh) and lurched to the Underground as fast as my good knee could take me. Despite having to wait six minutes for the first Northern Line train to Embankment and then changing to the District Line, I got to Earl's Court a lot faster than I'd anticipated, and ended up on the platform with a good four minutes to spare.
Was waiting gleefully with a handful of other geeks when the tannoy desired to remind us that the service from Earl's Court to Kensington (Olympia) was not running due to signalling problems. Augh. It was now 9:40am; my first photoshoot with Kevin Sorbo had started at 9:30am but the window would stay open till 10:10am, but my second one with Nonso Anozie would only be open from 9:50 for 10 minutes. That meant that I now had just under twenty minutes to get to the LFCC for it (allowing a minute for the shoot itself!). Having no clue when the replacement bus would arrive, I chose to walk. Well, hobble. In the rain, so I had to wear my anorak, which didn't help keep me cool at all.
Having Quasimodoed my way to the entrance, I reached photo area A to discover that it was 10am, Nonso Anozie was long gone and Hayden Panettiere was arriving for her Sunday shoot. AUGH. Peg-legged it to area B on the opposite side of the arena only to discover that Kevin had left early because the queue had ended and he'd preferred to go back to signing. AUGHHH.
Not that I had much time to do anything about it, because my Mitch Pileggi shoot was due to start in area B at 10:10. And of course I was now red-faced, sweaty and most discombobulated. Went to the back of the queue without invoking the Power of the GP because I desperately needed to cool down. Fanned myself furiously until I felt a little bit better, then started re-powdering the fizzog (having a random conversation in German with a couple of attendees who'd joined the queue behind me. As you do). Poor Mitch - when it was my turn, he said a polite, "Hi, how are you?" and I practically flopped against him and replied, "Tired!" Oh, dear. As it happened, Mitch was feeling the heat too, so we both look a little red-faced in the shoot and my own countenance didn't stand out too much. Heh.
After that was done, I asked the crew in area B whether they might be able to do a pick-up shot with Kevin Sorbo for me (this is where they bring the actor back for a shot if something went wrong or a shoot was missed, but doesn't always happen). But I was in luck this time and was instructed to come back at 2:15pm; my other photoshoots would, times permitting, be done by then.
My photoshoot with Amrita Acharia was next and was in photo area D, where the photographer was, we believe, not experienced enough to handle changes in the light. The photo areas were all in covered sections, but the central part of the arena was an atrium, and the sun occasionally broke through the clouds to shine through the window, so I look both red-faced and washed-out in that one. Sigh.
Went to area A after that to see if they could do a pick-up for Nonso Anozie. I was still overheating and must have looked distressed, because Malcolm came out at one point, said Hi, took a closer look and inquired gently as to whether I was OK. I reassured him that I was (I did have a small bottle of water, so was swigging it at regular intervals). The nice pit boss ascertained that I was due a shoot with John Simm in this area next, so told me to go for that and then hang around afterwards, at which point she might have an answer for me. There was a little wait for John to arrive, so did manage another quick powder in the queue, and my face was looking much less shiny by the time I got in, thank goodness. The baggage crew in area A were great fun, dancing and doing Mickey Mouse Club impressions, which gave us some entertainment while we were waiting! And after the shoot, the pit boss duly got an update - there was one other person requesting a pick-up, so I was asked to present myself at 3:20pm ready for a photoshoot at 3:25. Sweet.
Amazingly, had a ten-minute break and was passing by the Iron Throne photoshoot (yes, they'd got the actual prop from Game Of Thrones or a dead ringer for it). It had just opened (it was now 11am) and unlike yesterday, the queue was quite small, so I thought, "What the hell," and nipped in there with the requisite fiver. Very happy I did so as that turned out to be one of my favourite shoots - they gave us a sword to hold and everything!
The next three shoots were in areas C and D and right next to each other, so not nearly so rushed. Ralph Ineson was first; I was only second in the queue so didn't realize until after I tried and failed that he wasn't putting his arms round people, so had an "Oops, sorry," moment as I readjusted. Unfortunately as I left the photo area, I glanced back and saw he was putting his arm round women who came after me, so took that a little personally. FAIL. Decided not to bother with Mr Ineson's autograph after that.
Eugene Simon and Robert Maschio's shoots were both occupying the same ten-minute slot. Was queueing for the former in area C, but the latter arrived first, so nipped into D and had my shot with Robert. He was doing high-fives for those who wanted them, but I went for a vanilla arm-in-arm shot. Unfortunately this one was washed out too, and I look red-faced again, even though I don't in any of the other shots around this time. Shame.
I think I did Iain Glen's shoot after that. It was quite amusing seeing all the same faces I'd already met in the queues for Ralph and Eugene. Iain looked very nice (perhaps my favourite shoot of the lot, even though the dark blue backgrounds don't look as good as the tie-dyed ones). Then came Adam Baldwin. He was shaking hands, so I stepped forward to do the same, but he didn't do a standard handshake but a fist-high one, which he held for the shoot.
I think there was a break of about twenty minutes here. I can't remember how many autos I nabbed during this time, but I'm pretty sure Thomas Dekker's was one of them. There weren't any Heroes shots as I believe he refuses to sign them, having had an unhappy experience on that show, and the Terminator: Sarah Connor Chronicles ones nearly all included Lena Headey. I do prefer solo shots if possible, so selected one that I suspected came from a show I didn't know, but what the hell. It wasn't as if I'd have anything interesting to say when I got there (I didn't), but he still smiled at me and said, "Nice to meet you," after signing my photo. He'd put To Amanda, Love and magic, Thomas Dekker, and I put two and two together and realized I'd given him a Secret Circle photo. Yep, definitely don't watch that. Sigh. Never mind...
Next shot was with Bernard Cribbins. Went to area C, but it turned out that Bernard was being moved to area A because he's not as spry as he used to be, so they decided to hold it in the area closest to the signing section. The crew handled us very well for this, lining us up into a crocodile and leading us to the new area, where we were swiftly organized into a nice serpentine queue. Bernard was seated for his shoot and was cracking jokes and making random comments all the way through. In mine, he'd just pointed to me and dramatically said, "She is here!" in case you're wondering when you see it. Hee.
More autos here, I think - despite the majority of my photos being today, my worst clashes were done and it was so much quieter than yesterday, so it was far easier to manoeuvre. I think I got John Simm's auto at this point; he was not only personalizing but even put With love on his auto, bless. One person was yammering on for a bit and the crew had to rather pointedly put the next person's auto in front of John to remind her that there was still a hefty queue behind her, but John kept smiling and managed not to look too fazed by the way the person kept coming up with one more vital thing she had to tell him!
Even had just enough time to go to the Sunday Game Of Thrones talk with Ralph Ineson, Eugene Simon, Iain Glen, Nonso Anozie, Stephen Cole, Ross Mullan and Amrita Acharia. Eugene talked very fast, just like me, which made me grin. When asked the question of who he'd like to see on the Iron Throne, he came up with quite an unusual one (might insert the name in spoiler tags later), and a couple of the other actors thought that was a great idea.
My next two photoshoots had now started. Went to Nicholas Lea's in area B first; the guy organizing the queue recognized me and asked if I was feeling better. Sweet. The dreaded multiple chins kicked in worst of all in this shot as I'd tipped my head right down to keep glare off my glasses, but I liked it otherwise. Straight afterwards was Freema Agyeman in area A; she was so tiny and adorable! She was happy to do poses too, including a jazz hands shot with the girl in front of me.
I think I nabbed another auto here, but it all gets a bit blurry now. Then it was Thomas Dekker's photoshoot; despite seeing me for all of thirty seconds in the signing area, he actually recognized me and said, "Nice to see you again." What a nice lad. He's taller than I'd expected (random thought).
Kevin Sorbo's pick-up had been rescheduled to 14:45 in area C, so more autos. I think I got Nicholas Lea's around this point; I told him that although I loved Krycek in X-Files, I had to get a shot of him as Eliot Ness in Supernatural S7 as that had been such a great ep. "Did you see that online?" asked Nicholas. I was completely thrown and after a pause, said in a very hesitant and small voice, "Yes?" He grinned knowingly...
Did get an auto of Mitch Pileggi as Skinner in in X-Files, although if I'd seen one of him as Grandpa Winchester channelling old Yellow Eyes, I'd have snapped that up in a trice. He did the standard, "How are you?" opener again, so I took the opportunity to apologize for being somewhat of a limp lettuce in the photoshoot, but he was fine about it.
Met Helen somewhere around here. She had a virtual queue ticket for Anthony Head that was still a fair way from being redeemed, although she'd managed to get a lovely huggy photoshoot with him earlier (yay!), so she hung out with me in between auto-hunting and my final pickups with Nonso and Kevin. I'm so glad in retrospect that I missed the original shoots, as by now my face was of course completely normal-looking and the shots turned out really well.
That done, it was time to grab all those outstanding autos. Got Freema's (she was so lovely and bubbly!) and most of the GoT ones (Eugene, Amrita, Nonso). Didn't get Stephen Cole's because he was never there when I was. Iain Glen had a very large queue, but I got there eventually. I'd picked a pic of him handing some books to Danaerys because I thought he looked really nice in it; he signed that, then suddenly went, "Hold on," grabbed a discarded photo and signed that too. He'd had to scribble out something on it first, which was presumably a botched auto, but hey, it was my second-favourite shot of Ser Jorah and free, so I wasn't complaining at all - I can always edit the scribble out in Paint when I scan the auto in.
Also nipped over to Ross Mullan to apologize as I didn't think I could afford his autograph (as I'd spent an unbelievable amount of money by now) but to say that I enjoyed his entrance in GoT S2. We ended up having a chat about prosthetics as he was hidden under them in Clash Of The Titans as well, and when I mentioned Doug Jones (one of my favourite usually-under-prosthetics actors), Ross mentioned that he'd nearly done some work as Abe Sapien but it turned out he wasn't skinny enough, hee. Really nice guy. As it happens, I later discovered some money that I'd secreted in a hidden pocket and then forgotten, so was able to get Ross's auto after all. Phewww. That felt better.
Was chatting to Ross's crew guy (whom I've seen at events before) when a new talk started and he said, "I think that's Michael Winslow." I checked my schedule as I'd been hoping to see him but missed his slot, and sure enough, it should have been over, but I went to investigate and was delighted to discover that the talk had been delayed and was just starting. Michael does the most amazing sound effects and the whole talk was very entertaining, but my favourite bit had to be where he dubbed over the Star Wars TIE fighter attack on the Millennium Falcon as it's escaping the Death Star - dialogue, sound effects, Chewbacca, the lot. So funny! Glad I caught that. Especially as Anthony Head apparently did an impromptu Q&A and a spot of singing that day. So sorry I didn't realize that was on!
That crew guy from photo area B made a point of stopping me in the signing area once I was back there to ask whether I'd got everything I needed and was having a good day (yes and YES!) What a nice man. I did thank him very much for looking after me earlier.
Last order of business was getting Anthony Head's auto for Helen; I stood and chatted with her in the queue once her VT came up and got a nice view of Mr Head while she was getting her auto. By now it was almost 6pm and all the other guests were now packing up and leaving (finally saw Stephen Cole had returned to his desk but was now going - d'oh), but Anthony's queue was still enormous. He must have been the most popular guest there on the Sunday, even over people like Freema and John, bless him. Some people were seeing him for the second and third time, too. Helen managed to get a brilliant personalization from him (Cuppa tea, cuppa tea, almost got...), which is of course part of what is said to Giles by Spike as an approximation of Giles's life flashing before his eyes at the start of S5. Anthony had looked a little blank at first, but after Helen thanked him for his work on Buffy and how it had given her much joy and some of her best friends, he suddenly said, "That was Spike [who said that], wasn't it?" Helen replied in the affirmative, and Tony said, "Little bugger." Heee! Helen showed me the auto afterwards and I swear you could have heard my squeal of vicarious joy throughout the entire signing area. Oops.
Went to pick up the last of our photos and, wouldn't you know, all of mine were back, even the late ones! A helpful man at the photo collection point made sure I'd got all of mine too, as he'd been aware that I had a few (ahem). And so our LFCC ended on a very happy note. I'm sure having Helen with me made the difference, as it's so nice to walk away sharing your experiences with a friend, rather than hanging around alone for hours waiting for photos to come back and feeling that party's-over sensation coming over you.
Took the bus (Helen was an excellent guide here) to Charing Cross and thence to Waterloo East. We said our farewells there; Helen then went on to Lewisham and I just nabbed a train to Farnborough with a couple of minutes to spare. Got home to some nice chilled Wine and a delicious roast lamb dinner, courtesy of H. And that was my weekend.
And here are my photos. Thanks for reading!
The Iron Throne