T'eyla Minh (teylaminh) wrote,
T'eyla Minh
teylaminh

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Write-up Number One - The Con

I will LJ-cut it because it's very long... Enjoy!



Friday 21st June 2002

0600: Got up and had a shower. Stupidly scraped hair back with a hairband which hurt my head and ended up having a bad hair weekend because it had a kink in it. Grr.

0745: Left house. Mother gave me a lift to Digbeth Coach Station on her way to work. Or, in fact, before going to work as it's nowhere near where she works…

0815: Arrived at Digbeth and waited for Shilpa. Bear in mind the coach wasn't actually arriving until 9.00am…

0830: Shilpa and friends (Heidi and Sarah) arrived at Digbeth. We hovered and waited for the coach. It's quite amusing to note that the tannoy system kept occasionally reporting the football score…

0900: Mounted coach. The weekend was just beginning…

1200ish: Arrived in Blackpool at Lonsdale Coach station and sought out a taxi. This turned out to be a good plan since the hotel was literally miles from the town… and, true to the website's details, did look like a giant sandcastle…

1215: Arrived at the hotel. There was a huge, frighteningly long queue of people waiting to get into the hotel, which we assumed was NOT for reception… Shilpa had forgotten her ticket. This was thing-not-going-to-plan number one (henceforth referred to as TNGTP), but luckily, they would let her in with proof of ID. So, we checked in. Sarah and Heidi's room was ready because they'd already paid for their stay. Ours wasn't ready until 3.00pm so we dumped our luggage behind the desk (along with a load of other people's) and went to register.

Luckily, Shilpa's ticket was number 100, so, even though mine was 520, we managed to register early. The con… had begun…

Some time between 1215 and 1500: We wandered down the line of register desks (situated, it transpired, outside the dining room) and attempted to establish how big the place was. It was big. Very, very big. We got handed goody bags containing several things - a "Star Trek:Voyager" book, a Buffy book, a fantasy novel of some description, some "Doctor Who" audio tapes, and various comics and stuff. Also, an SFX convention magazine with pictures of the guests, and a programme. This was enough to have us squealing like little kids at a party…

We queued for the photoshoot tickets. These cost £12.00 each. Decisions had to be made as to who we wanted pictures with. James Marsters was, of course, a given. I decided on Alexander Siddig (Bashir in DS9, because he's frelling gorgeous) and Paul Goddard (Stark in "Farscape", as a matter of principle…)

As it transpired, we were in the queue for a good hour, and it only seemed like about 10 minutes, which was scary. Unfortunately, we couldn't buy four James tickets at once so we had to re-queue with Heidi and Sarah (who had investigated their room and gotten changed while we were hypering downstairs) to get them.

We got all the photoshoots for the Saturday, leaving the Friday evening free to investigate what was happening. We hovered in Heidi and Sarah's room until ours was ready and hypered even more. On reflection, I think that hotel had something in the air…

1500: Shilpa and I finally get to our room and unpack, then go downstairs to look around. The hotel turns out to be absolutely huge…

1500 - 1800: We wandered somewhat aimlessly until 6.00pm, which was when the VIP party was supposed to start. This was for the first 150 ticket holders only. I was 520. They were 98, 99 and 100, but we'd already decided to try and sweet talk our way into getting me in. This was TNGTP#2, since they wouldn't let me in. I went and hovered upstairs til 7.00pm so I could get seats for the opening ceremony.

1915: Heidi, Sarah, and a very, very drunk Shilpa emerged from the party very briefly to see some of the opening ceremony. (And the less said about the Brian the Barman incident, the better…) Shilpa had decided, for a reason she no longer remembers, that she didn't like James Marsters, and had by the next day almost decided to give her photoshoot to the three of us to get a group shot. Luckily, she changed her mind…

2100: They all vanish again. I think (one of them can correct me) that Heidi and Sarah went off to their very early James Marsters signing because of their low ticket numbers, and Shilpa just vanished. I sat and watched the specially written DS9 play…

The Play

This was written by Alexander Siddig and Andrew J Robinson, and from what I could hear (sitting near the back meant I could hear more of the people behind than the actual performance) it was very good. It was based on Bashir and Garak being in a vinculum ("a people-are-being-very-loud-at-the-back-of-the-room vinculum", apparently *grin*) or a dream, or some strange place that Garak couldn't fathom out, and each of them played different characters from their histories - Bashir ended up as Garak's father and his commanding officer, and Garak was Bashir's father, and many others.

As I said, I didn't hear much of it. But I do remember a few truly wonderful moments of it. One of them was when Bashir was being six years old, prior to his genetic enhancement, and talking to his father (Garak). It went something along the lines of "I drew a picture. That's the sun, and that's… another sun, and that's you, and that's mummy, and there's me, but I'm not crying. I'm happy. Really," which was just too adorable for words. And when he cried, I just wanted to run up and hug him. When they're in character, you don't realise how talented they both are…

Then they had him the same age, post-enhancement, reciting Pi to ten decimal places. The third one of which, he 'recited' (from the script) wrong ;)

Then they had Garak as his first commanding officer in training, making him do pushups (hee! In leather trousers. Probably just as well I was so far back…) to prove his worth. "One… two… three… four… nine… twelve…"

And THEN - they wrote their own slash piece!! Well, almost… Upon realising that they could understand each other without the use of the Universal Translator (i.e., Julian was talking in Cardassian/Garak was talking in 'Earth language') Garak made him say things in certain ways. And what else would it be, but…

"Doctor, say, 'I love you'."

"What?"

"Say, 'I love you'."

"All right. But I'm not going any further than that… I love you."

"Good… now say it as if you don't mean it. Imagine you're on a first date with a woman and she's just said it, and is expecting it back." [No answer.] "Now, come on, Doctor, I'm sure you're very experienced in that field…"

[And I collapsed in helpless giggles, because it was all too silly for words.]

And then a few more times in different ways… which led him to the conclusion that he could understand the vocal inflections. It made sense in context, but it's funny anyway… (Oh yes. And Julian also called him by his first name, Elim, which he never does…)

So that was the play. It was incredibly long. I'm hoping they put some of it, if not all of it, on the video of the event, if only so I can hear the rest of it…

2200: The disco - which went on until 2.00am, at which time we went to bed, and, typically, ended up having a deep philosophical conversation until 4.00am (which, if I remember correctly, ended somewhat anti-climactically by me commenting on grannies in wheelchairs escorting someone up the aisle…)

Before this, while hovering in Heidi's room waiting for Shilpa to re-emerge from wherever she disappeared to, the first random quote of the weekend appeared. Found on a sign stuck to the tiled wall of the bathroom:

Quote of the Weekend (QOTW) #1: "IF YOU REQUIRE A RUBBER BATHMAT, PLEASE CONTACT RECEPTION"

Why is that so amazingly hilarious? And why is it physically impossible to say "I require a rubber bathmat" without cracking up? And why did we then decide that we were going to do just what the sign said? By which time, the quote had evolved (or should that be 'mutated'?) into:

"I am contacting you because you are reception. I require a rubber bathmat, because I have swallowed a weasel."

(I have no idea where the 'weasel' thing came from now…) I think it was Shilpa who ended up being the one who was going to do it. She never did get around to it, mainly because I kept sniggering in the background…


If you're still alive, keep reading. It only gets better. However, you'll probably all want to kill me...


Saturday 22nd June 2002

0700: After three hours of sleep, we woke up. The con officially started at 9.00am, you see… So, we had breakfast, and the second day began. This is when it really started to feel like a con. Scheduled for the day were - photoshoots with James Marsters (all of us), Paul Goddard (me), Alexander Siddig (me) and Shiri Appleby (Shilpa), going to as many signings as we could cram in, as well as looking around the dealer hall and attending some of the guests' talks, which were also happening on the Sunday.

0930: Paul Goddard did his talk. Shilpa and I attended this and managed to get seats in the third row (the first two being reserved for the stewards) He talked a little about "Farscape" and answered questions. We still can't remember what Shilpa asked him… At this stage, he seemed a little out of his depth and a little nervous, but at least now it felt like a con…

Pronunciation Guide #1: Gigi Edgley's first name, who plays Chiana, is pronounced with a French 'G', that is "Zhi Zhi", not "Dji Dji".

Pronunciation Guide #2: Lani Tupu (Crais/Pilot), similarly, is pronounced "LAH-nee", not "Lanny"

1030: Alexander Siddig (or 'Sid', who now has a beard and looks scruffy AND gorgeous at the same time) and Andrew J Robinson did their talk, which was really more like a comedy double act… Shilpa ended up having a conversation about acting careers and theatre with Sid :) which was nice… They're obviously very used to the con scene and they've done this many times before, and the pair of them are evidently good friends in real life, because they were hilarious!! They bounce off each other constantly and the whole thing was entertainment in itself.

One little girl asked what the most embarrassing moment was on the show…

SID: Well, there was this one time with a cucumber- no, wait, how old are you?

ANDY: I don't think we can tell that one; there are impressionable young ears in here…

The cucumber story will be revealed later. The story they did tell was just as hilarious… Apparently, in the Season 1 episode "If Wishes Were Horses", where, I think, a dwarf/leprechaun/wishgiving alien thing grants wishes/dreams to members of the crew, Bashir and Dax (Jadzia) had to kiss. Kissing scenes, especially that early on in the show, are notoriously difficult and embarrassing the first time; Terry Farrel did not make this task any easier… She apparently had a rather frightening tendency to sniff his neck (of which he did a very funny impression) which kept putting him off. When they eventually managed to get it right, they were on the bed* and then, naturally, fell off… Just imagining it is funny enough… now I have to watch it again and look for bruises…

*Trivia: those Starfleet beds are apparently not comfortable in the slightest…*

Pronunciation Guide #3: Kira Nerys was played by Nana Visitor. For all of us who wondered how the hell her name is pronounced, according to her husband in passing (and I only caught it by accident), the stress is on the second syllable, and it's something like 'Nuh-NAR. So there you go… It's not "Nanna" or "Nayna" after all…

And, finally, remember that quote I put before about ridges? Well, that was in reference to somebody asking Andy what it felt like being a sex symbol. They eventually concluded it could only be because people wondered just how far down those ridges go… when Sid wouldn't let it drop, Andy countered with "I'll give you ridges," which was then brushed off with "No you won't…" in a very touch-me-and-die manner. Whee! Slash! I wonder if they realise… nah, they must do, otherwise they wouldn't play it up so much…

So, QOTW #2: "I'll give you ridges…" "No you won't…" (Actually, that has to be the quote of the year…)

1200? Or thereabouts: My Paul Goddard photoshoot. I'm going to scan that one in for a reason I'll explain later, even though I look like a complete geek in it… I was nervous as frell, seeing as my celebrity quota is approximately one per year, if that, and this year it would have been Faith Brown, and also seeing as my celebrity hug quota is even less than that, and that would also have been Faith Brown… Well, I was far from coherent… And, again, he seemed a little nervous himself; he was smiling sweetly at everyone and shaking their hands, but not really saying much… so I was a little worried about the signing later on since I wanted it personalised with a quote…

1300: Shilpa and I wandered into the restaurant and break for lunch to eat real food… (having dined on Wheat Crunchies and Aero the night before) I noticed that frighteningly enough, on the painted wall depicting a 1930s jazz band, the trumpeter looked exactly like Richard O'Brien. I didn't take a photo, as I realised this was too fangirl even for me. But you'll just have to take my word for it…

1330: We emerged from the restaurant to find a sign saying that James Marsters was doing his first photoshoots for ticket holders 1-100 - that was us, having managed to get numbers 68-71 for the photoshoot that day - so we legged it from one end of the hotel to the other, with frantic stewards telling us to calm down because he hadn't technically started yet. We found Sarah and Heidi already in the queue and snuck in near the front (they seemed to get everywhere early, I don't know how they did it…) By this time, we were already hyper from the Sid/Andy talk, and determined to find out 'the-cucumber-story' before we left on Sunday because we just had to know, and getting more hyper by the minute because the realisation had just dawned that we were going to touch. James. Marsters.

So. We got up there. Trust me on this, kids - he is about 10 times more gorgeous in the flesh, and, to half-quote Naomi, the cheekbones are as astonishing in real life, if not more so. His hair has grown out to reveal very nice brown roots, he was wearing a top that we now all want because it was nice (white, with black sleeves… oh, you'll see it in the photo :D) For the photos, he was doing the 'big bad' pose for the guys, and flirting like hell with all the girls… Now, forgive me if I completely dissolve…

I held myself together remarkably well, considering… We made Shilpa go first, saying "If you do two arms, we'll do two arms". And she did. Then it was me…

TNGTP #3: I took my glasses off (vain, I know) so I'd look better in the picture. I had them in my right hand. Idiot, idiot, idiot. Which hand does he hold out to shake? The right!! So James Marsters ended up with a handful of my glasses, therefore, I can't gush at you about how nice his hands are… *bangs head into desk*

Anyway… I wasn't going to do two arms. As it turned out, I had very little choice in the matter since he put both arms around me… so I could hardly not return the gesture now, could I? Hehehe… So. There I was being hugged by James Marsters and grinning idiotically, and trying not to melt at the fact that his head was on top of mine…

*Trivia: He isn't as tall as you think.* Sarah Michelle Gellar is only 5'2", and would make me look tall. So.. Compare their heights, and now work out how short James actually is, by comparison to what you might think. I was wearing 3" wedge trainers, thus making me 5'6" or thereabouts, and he's only a head taller than me. So, in other words, I was more or less the perfect height… Excuse me a moment…

*momentarily dies*

Anyway. This is not the photo you will see. They took the photo and I went to collect my ticket to get it later. Then, (and this is true, kids; I have 3 witnesses), he grabbed my hand and pulled me back because I'd blinked and thankfully the photographer didn't mind taking it again… and this is the one you will see - where I am smiling incredibly idiotically, but genuinely, because I got hugged twiceby James Marsters, and he pulled me back by the hand…

QOTW #3: "She's not a bitch, she's a BeX!" (Heidi, in reply to someone behind us in the queue saying "She got two; bitch.")

So, as I walked off, I promptly went up to Shilpa and did the hand-waving-screaming-giggling thing at her (you know what I mean). According to Sarah, he laughed at me. I don't care. I can add it to my Claims-to-James-Fame list.

Then I did it again to Sarah when she'd had hers, and caused the entire queue to laugh at us…

After this, we realised the others, minus Emma Caulfield (Anya) were doing signings. For this, you needed your ticket, so I had to run downstairs and get mine (they'd taken them at registration for this purpose) and run back up again. They signed one personal item for free (although we'd bent this rule by Sunday; more on that later.) and since I was hideously unprepared, I got my programme signed, as it had their photos in it. I imagine this was partially the point… They ticked you off on a list, and gave you a post-it with your name on so you could get things personalised properly more quickly, and the guests went in the following order (they were also stamped on your ticket so you couldn't sneak in for a second signing. Again, more on that later…):

Andrew J Robinson (Garak) - who asked me if "Bex" was a nickname, and seemed like a nice guy.

Alexander Siddig/Sid (Bashir) - who I was going to ask about the cucumber story. I was still recovering from James Marsters, and was at this point also confronted with an incredibly handsome and well-spoken man (you know my weaknesses, people - if they're well-spoken, in a tux, or gay, i'm a complete goner...) less than two feet from me, so all I could manage was "I liked the play; it was really good", which is pathetic… But he thanked me. Apart from the gibbering comment, I was remarkably composed.

Paul Goddard (Stark) - who had by this time lightened up considerably, probably because he had his friend there with him stamping the tickets. I'd recovered enough to ask him to write "My side, your side" on the programme. This kept me hyper for a good three hours. I'm such a dork sometimes…

Joe Pantoliano - he was in "The Matrix", apparently, as well as "The Sopranos", and nobody liked him. I got his autograph for completeness' sake…

Victoria Pratt - from "Mutant X" - I didn't get her, because by this point I was about ready to collapse from the heat and the mass of bodies, but I heard she was very nice and very funny.

Shiri Appleby - Liz in "Roswell High" - she was getting annoyed by this point because Victoria was taking so long, so they did, in fact, move her up a table… and it was her first con, so she was also a little nervous.

Emma Caulfield and James Marsters I also didn't get, seeing as my ticket was so high (although not by comparison to some people - there were 3000 people there at least and I was number 520 and still didn't get to their signings) but after seeing the size of the queue I'm quite glad… ah well. One day...

1600: Emma Caulfield's talk - the cameramen were all wearing bunny ears. When asked to sing the bunny song, she told the entire audience to eff off. She also answered Heidi's unasked question of what it was like to pull Spike (where we think we spotted the accused hovering on a balcony above the hall cheering but nobody's quite sure.)
So… Then we hovered some more and I booked for next year (ticket 50!!) and ordered the video, until…

1800: This was when James Marsters was meant to be doing his talk, but he was 'fashionably late' because of the extended photoshoots, so they held a charity auction before him - if I had money, I would have bought the lot… they had some fantastic original "Farscape" concept artwork signed by Anthony Simcoe (D'Argo) and with a letter of authentication, amongst other things. And they sold James Marsters guitar, signed, and with a photo taken of the buyer with him and the guitar… for £8,600… Now that's dedication…

1900: James Marsters' talk, which had far too many things for me to remember right now, but there was much cheering and much screaming. And he sang "Rest In Peace" from the Buffy musical, a capella :) which was nice.

2000 (or rather, 2100, as everything was now running at least 50 minutes late): The SFX Awards Ceremony. BTVS won practically everything except:

Best Special Effects - "Farscape" - with a pleasant taped acceptance speech from none other than our very own wonderful Ms. Black, which should have instantly led me to realise that…

Sexiest Female - Claudia Black ("Farscape" again) - which, having calmed down from the James photoshoot, had me all hyper again for another hour. She did a very funny speech for that one, too, including impromptu miming. I love that woman, seriously. I recall that Shilpa and I yelled rather ungraciously at Heidi and Sarah for calling her 'ugly' - but they showed a bad Aeryn clip so I can't blame them for saying it… really, they needed something from "The Choice", or at least one where she isn't yelling at John… but anyway. She won! Maybe there's hope she'll attend the next one…

I'm amazed she won - she was up against Sarah Michelle Gellar, Allyson Hannigan, and Charisma Carpenter. But if you go by character rather than looks, Aeryn is definitely the sexiest, which I suppose is what counts… (plus, FS deserved to win something else. Ben didn't stand a chance up against James Marsters [who won Sexiest Male] and David Boreanaz, really…)

Best SF/fantasy writer - Terry Pratchett, for the 5th year in a row…

Best SF/fantasy novel - "Small Gods" (Neil Gaiman) - as Lloyd will be pleased to discover ;) This included a taped acceptance speech by "someone disguised as Neil Gaiman" - Terry Pratchett again in sunglasses…
But in the main, Buffy and Lord of the Rings grossed nearly all the awards - which meant that James Marsters was continually called onto the stage to collect them.

After this, some immensely dedicated fan stole his half-eaten hors-d'oeuve and his glass of water… we, on the other hand, were more interested in the uneaten ones, as we were starving…

The disco started at 11.00pm, so Shilpa and I got changed (many thanks to her for lending me the skirt :D) and went for a walk to the chippy only to discover it was shut (what kind of frelling chippy is closed at 10.30?? Especially in Blackpool!) so we had to buy sandwiches instead. Heidi and Sarah went downstairs while Shilpa and I ate our sandwiches in their room.

2245: Heidi called me on my mobile with the words "Get down to the Main Hall! Now!" with no further explanation, so we legged it down the corridor only to find them queuing to get into the Main Hall… apparently, someone had asked James if he would dance at the disco and he'd said yes. So, naturally, we all believed it. Suckers…

2300: The DJ informed us that "James Marsters has left the building" and played us "Rest In Peace" as consolation. Still, we managed to pick up our photos at the time so it wasn't a complete loss. I really wish I'd had a camcorder for when they played the Buffy theme and everyone's heads snapped to the dance floor…

0000: We went to bed. By this point, I had been up for 17 hours, on 3 hours of sleep, and I was very, very tired. With one more day to go, I was wondering if I was going to get any sleep after the excitement of the day, and if it could possibly get any better…



And finally... Sunday will have to go in another entry, because LJ is informing me that there aren't enough characters to do it. So... um... yes. Useful. See next entry...
Tags: fandom: buffy, fandom: farscape, fangirl missions, quotes, squee, write-ups
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