Earls Court - 17 & 18th July 2010
So... got up bright and early this Saturday to go to what is, I’m sad to say, becoming my most interesting social event of the year (I don’t get out too much), the London Film and Comic Con. This is a good one for me... I even arrange my holidays around it. Why? Because of all the London based fairs (and I’m looking at you Camden and Westminster) this is the biggest, brightest and most buzzing geek event in the social calendar. And I’m not even a geek (and no, you can’t disprove that).
Got off the train at Earls Court and did the long walk around the exhibition centre to the other side (after trying to find the right exit again after the atrocious use of signage on this particular station... it catches me out every year! I learn slow.) and found that my friend was already in the queue and that, much to my surprise, even though I got there only three quarters of an hour before the doors opened this year as opposed to getting there really early, that it wasn’t really that crowded as yet. Was expecting to be greeted by the sight of several storm troopers and giant furry Japanimals warming up the crowd but there weren’t that many costumes in amongst the people in the queue this year.
I did see, while waiting, “look-and-dressalikes” of: one Matt Smith, two David Tennants, one Patrick Troughton (at least I recognised him when others didn’t) and a giant sized Mickey Mouse in Jedi costume... kept getting his light sabre out. I like to think of him as Darth Maus!
I did also see a young lady dressed as a St. Trinians school girl... at least I thought she was at first. Given that she was hanging around a “facsimile” Tom Baker I was forced to change my guess to the Lalla Ward incarnation of Romana... I think. Possibly. Sure she wore that outfit in one episode.
Not so many representatives of starfleet this year as in previous years... although there was one woman dressed as an old red shirted yeoman from the Kirk days who I really just wanted to hug to my bosom! Would possibly have got arrested though. She was sexy!
So there I was in the queue talking to my friend about... well what does one talk about these days in queues... aspect ratios, length of prints, availability of prints which inevitably leads into the "my print's longer than yours" pissing contest... when the guy in front of me in the queue turned out to be a Star Wars stormtrooper... and no, I’m not blind before you start writing Zatoichi comments at the bottom of this page, this guy was an undercover stormtrooper... out of uniform. I'd been talking about going to see Inception at some point... because everybody keeps tweeting at me that I should... and the guy in front of me started raving... well okay then... discreetly laying his opinion of it on the line and making me want to see it even more (if you do look in on this blog and read this Mr. Stormtrooper... I promise I’ll get out and see it soonest!). That’s when I found out that when stormtroopers are out of costume, they go and hang out with their stormtrooper mates who are going around in white fibreglass uniforms and doing all that stuff with the marching and stalking and killing.
Now I was going to do a whole paragraph of conjecture here, while I tried to work out just what it is that stormtroopers get up to at their “meets”. I was going to ask the guy but some military looking guys pulled him out of the queue and got him in without paying before I had a chance to ask. I will probably practice the typing equivalent of biting my tongue here too since, frankly, I might get a little unforgiving about groups inspired by Star Wars characters going around and interrogating people, drinking heavily and going on “book burning” binges.
I will say one thing though... when I saw the guy inside he had an adoring lady on each arm... so he must have been doing something right here! I wanna be a stormtrooper too! Do they do those uniforms in black with white piping? And how many times would I have to endure the "These aren't the droids you're looking for" line if I joined up?
So anyway... got into the Film Fair finally and I have to say that both the layout and the amount of interesting stalls was quite a bit less than other years. At least that’s my perception. As I entered I was greeted by the sight of the Batmobile from the last two Batman movies but as I moved around to the right most of the stalls seemed to be dedicated to Manga and Anime. It turned out all the more interesting (to me) knick knack stalls were to the left... which is annoying because I’m pretty fixed when I go to these things and tend to work my way up and down the aisles in a strict, right to left, up and down linear fashion. So it was an hour before I got to see anything really interesting... but there was a lot of stuff worth seeing still. Much better than the Camden and Westminster gigs.
Was very tempted to buy a replica of Deckard’s gun from Blade Runner, for example, but they wanted £80 for it. And they wanted £300 for a rather good model of Robbie The Robot. All in all though there weren’t as many fantasy weaponry stalls or pin badge stalls or press book stalls or Japanese miniature model stalls as previous years... which is a shame because I usually pick up one or two models to add to the decor in my office. Very disappointing.
There was a guy selling cool mugs though so that was alright. And somebody was selling steam punk jewellery which would have looked rather fetching on one of my blog/twitter followers (hey there fleysomewench!).
I didn’t see any of the big stars because there were the usual hordes of people queuing up to pay them money (gosh, there was no queue for Elvira when I got her to sign a photo for me there a few years back) but I did see Brian Murphy (if anyone remembers Geoge and Mildred) so now I know that he’s still alive... so that’s okay.
Although it wasn’t as good as the previous 5 or so years, it’s definitely something I’d recommend everyone go to at least once... just to see the diverse collection of customers that you get at these things... I was queuing up in the toilets by a big bear of a man dressed as Fred Flintstone... you don’t get many weekend experiences like that.