I’ve needed several days to calm down before I even attempted to write about my experience as a virgin at the London Film and Comic Con 2018, in London. I’ve been like a little girl at Disney World with an insatiable desire to continuously alert my social media followers of who I met this weekend! It’s now Wednesday night and I feel more in control of my impulses.
I have friends that often go to these kinds of events, but me – I’m an innocent. In the past I’ve hurled box-sets, posters and comics at my friends to take and get signed on my behalf, but not this time. I needed to meet Peter Capaldi and I could hardly send my blonde friend to stand in my place for this one. Although I am a Dr Who fan, my love for Capaldi is not Whovian related. I’m much more inspired by Malcolm Tucker.
I got up at 6.30am – this is a time that is illegal in my house. I do not know of this 6.30am. #1 example of my dedication to Capaldi. I traveled the unknown Underground of London and arrived at Olympia short of 8.30am – a much more respectable time to rise from the ashes. It’s still too early to socialise as far as I’m concerned, but here I was sitting between a Canadian woman and a French woman, making small talk, and coincidentally all there specifically for Capaldi.
Olympia is frickin’ huge, and was filling up with nerds and more nerds, and of all ages and genders. Some dressed up as characters, some clearly characters themselves, and others wearing everyday attire. I felt a little out of my depth. I loath crowds and suffer from social anxiety, so this is #2 example of my dedication towards Capaldi. All these people excited and buzzing, and there’s me, internally hosting a battle between excitement and nerves.
At 9am we were allowed to enter the building and like a plethora of cattle we entered the great hall. I vaguely browsed the stands whilst locating the little girls’ room – something any parent will understand, with or without the child. I headed up the stars to the gallery and then through to the photo hall – quite accidentally. I decided to stay there and wait for the man himself since I had a low batch number (3) and was terrified of missing my slot. Christopher Eccleston walked past me, though I only caught the back of his head, and I made small talk with a few people who were waiting for Capaldi’s shoot. In the mass of people I met a lovely young couple, D & A. D was batch 6 and was new to these kinds of events too, and had been drawn there for the same reason as I. I will tell you now, D & A added greatly to my experience, and would recommend going with someone to share in your excitement. We shot the shit until about 10.30am when I started to become a little bit antsy. I had the Meat Loaf talk which was scheduled for 11am. The Diamond passes were going through, and Batch One had been called. I alerted a member of the Showmaster team to my clash and she moved me to the end of Batch One. What a super star. Oh shit! I’m about to meet the man himself, I thought. Brush hair, panic!
And there he was. Hair slicked back with a demeanor exactly how I expected. I had at this point joined the hyperventilation train, not literally, but me and another woman were internally screaming like teenagers. In front of me was an older woman who had been trying to perfect her long grey hair. She passed her crutches to a member of staff before launching herself at Capaldi. She wouldn’t let him go! I mean seriously, head buried in his chest and clung on to him with both arms. He tried to be kind, but it got seriously awkward for all of us. I have to admit this grounded me somewhat. Finally she was pried away and it was my turn … and FLASH! Fangirl Face. All the weight I had lost which had been motivated by this one moment you wouldn’t have known due to how the photo was cropped, and the hours of practicing my smile – out the frickin’ window. I had fangirl-face. A little surprised by this unique look that was unfamiliar, I still skipped away happily to my Meat Loaf talk.
Meat Loaf is hilarious. Did you know he can talk to the dead? Well he says he can, and therefore I have no reason not to believe the man. This was the best £10 I’ve ever spent! He had us laughing, crying and was entertaining every minute of his talk, and those minutes he ran over too. After the incredible talk by Meat (and yes, that is the name he goes by, just ask him), I left the room, only to have to queue for Peter Capaldi’s talk (which was in the same room!). It turned into a snake (the old mobile-phone type). We Brits are good at queuing. As I was walking down the winding queue I met up with D & A again. D had an amazing picture with Capaldi – Whovian style – and no fangirl face. The amazing couple let me join them in the line, and we entered the talk area. It was incredible to watch and hear him talking for 40 minutes. It was very Q&A based, whereas Meat spoke at us for some time first, which was much more engaging, perhaps because many of the questions were Dr Who related for Capaldi and yet there is so much more to the man. I really give him his due because I think, deep down, he’s glad to be moving on now, and perhaps this may be the last time he does a convention. Bring back Malcolm Tucker I say!
By the end of the talk I was done! I was getting tired (not as young as I used to be). The crowds were manic. I was in search of a Cosplay Alien and Predator for my seven year old but, honestly, I didn’t see many serious Cosplay members, though I did see some awesome costumes. I did see the demon from Evil Dead who I had met several months previous when my son and I met Bruce Campbell. His companion remembered me, and asked where my son was! Most of the actors had gone to lunch so I couldn’t even sneak any shots from a-far which was a little disappointing as I wasn’t sure I could stay around much longer – I was wilting. I had really wanted to meet Lance Henriksen who was away doing a photoshoot, but he came back from his shoot early to sign some more autographs, and I managed to get a priceless autograph on a shot of him as Bishop, in half, that only my friend Ray could tell you the significance of. We had an amazing few minutes, him holding my hand with both hands. I cannot express how much this meant to me.
As I began to stroll out of the main autograph area, back towards the gallery, I had a peek at Paul Kaye’s desk. People had started queuing so I assumed he must have been returning from lunch pretty soon. I joined the queue behind some Game of Thrones fans. I have to confess that I’ve not quite joined the fan-train for the series. I’ve adored Paul Kaye since Two Thousand Acres of Sky and loved him in Blackball. Mongrels … The most peculiar thing happened at this point in the day. I had kept my composure externally, throughout the day, but when I saw Paul I fangirled (a term I hadn’t heard until this weekend). We shared a few words, a wonderful moment which I actually want to keep to myself, whilst he signed a head-shot for me, and he posed for a photo with me. I was, at this point, emotionally and physically exhausted, shaking even.
I would like to take my son and husband just so they can experience it. I did learn that I suffer from fangirl face – evident in both my pictures with Peter Capaldi and Paul Kaye, but I also learned that I didn’t need to binge buy autographs or photographs to leave on a high. I had one photo (two if you include the impromptu one with Paul) and two autographs, and I came away feeling like I was walking on air.