Iíve not long come back from C4, and like many people, I am fairly annoyed at the way in which the whole Lord of the Rings signings were organised.
Donít get me wrong, I wasnít expecting to turn up, queue for five minutes and go home with a signed cast photo. I realise that these gentlemenís planned visit was cut short by two days due to unforeseen contractual obligations. As a fan I canít complain about the effort put in by the guests to be at the event at all. This is a major guest line-up from possibly the biggest cinematic event of the moment. I completely appreciate that it would be very busy. I completely expected not to be able to get all the guests signatures.
What I did not expect was to learn that not only were all the tickets taken when I got there, they had all gone well before opening time. Itís all very well saying that my partner and I should have come at the crack of dawn, but what must be said is that there are people out there, like myself, who were still working in the early hours of Sunday morning and who canít show up at six am because of the considerable distance I have to travel to get to MK.
A fair few people (including a Showmasters representative) have put forward the idea that due to the numbers of fan already queuing at the Centre, I wouldnít have had a ticket anyway. That may be true, but at least I would have had a fair crack at getting one. At that stage, if you miss out, itís bad luck, but thatís the way the cookie crumbles as they say, but I didnít get the option.
I keep reading that I should be grateful to Showmasters for bringing theses guests over here. Ok, I appreciate the effort that was made by the organisers to secure such prominent guests for us to see, I really do, but we shouldnít lose sight of the fact that it is the attendees, by paying for this show, that make the next show possible. Gratitude has to work both ways.
Many organisers present appeared reluctant to be approached at all and I was left to deal with a young girl who didnít seem to know much of anything, not even who the guests were. Combined with this was the fact the some unscrupulous dealers were selling Elijah Woodís auto for £80, and if that wasnít enough, some ďfreeĒ virtual raffle tickets were being sold black market style. You can get those from any stationary shop, how many people got conned I wonder?
Iím sure Iíll have another opportunity to meet them. Still I was extremely disappointed, but Iíll get over it a lot faster than the little boy I saw in Costa, he was all dressed up as Frodo, he even had the ring on a chain around his neck. Why someone couldnít have arranged for this child to at least see Elijah Wood for a minute is beyond me.
The one saving grace of today was meeting Rene Auberjonois. It was a pleasure spending a few minutes talking with this charming man. I came away with a signed photograph, a great memory and a sketch he drew in exchange for a donation to the charity Medecin sans Frontiere, a good cause if there ever was one.
Any suggestions? Well, Iím not sure whether or not the organisers had misjudged the number of people and the level of hysteria these guests would attract. In any case they ought to have informed everyone that they would open the queues two hours in front of the scheduled opening time. Be fair in the future.
With guests of such calibre, it might be advisable to print some ďCollectormaniaĒ tickets, or get a branded stamp to avoid fraud. One ticket per signature per person, that would reduce the amount of people bringing 20 items to be signed. Limit the photo shoots at the signing table. Lastly, at many book signing I have been to, the organisers have always had the foresight to arrange with the writer to sign a good few extra copies for the fans who couldnít make it to the table. Iíd rather have given Showmasters £15 for a signed picture than £80 to that despicable dealer. Ok, I wouldnít have actually met the guest, but it would have cheered me up.
Letís hope those who go tomorrow have a better time of it than I did today.
Edited by wyrdsister, 09 October 2003 - 12:48 AM.