I apologise as this has taken me a little longer to get round to writing than I planned but as my past two ‘Wround Ups’ have gone down well for the Summer addition, I thought I may as well carry on for Spring. I was only at LCC Spring for one day so I thought this would be shorter than my previous reports (or whatever you want to call this) but I’ve somehow managed to write around 3,500 words, so good luck! I’ve had a few days to soak up the experience, but also give me time to forget some details too, so please bear with me (no, not that bear)! Plus there are always parts I choose to leave out. If you were there for them, you probably know why!
My con day started the same as nearly all my con days do. If you’ve seen my profile on the forum or have read my previous write ups, then you may know I live just south east of London and a lot of the time will not bother with a hotel. This does however; mean that I have to be up at stupid-o’clock in the morning to get to Olympia nice and early for a good place in the queue. On Saturday I was up at 5:20am. I was not happy. I am not a morning person. Most times in my life when I see 5am it’s because I’ve stayed up from the night before, but such is the life of a con goer and collector that we put ourselves through these things for what we enjoy. I had packed most of what I needed the night before and after the usual morning routine I was at the train station to catch an earlier train than I had planned. Not really sure how that happened!
I don’t remember much of the journey up to town. I assume it was uneventful, but I mainly just shut my eyes at that time in the morning and wish I were back in bed. I’m usually quite good at holding things together though and have only actually fallen asleep on public transport on very rare occasions. I decided to go to Hammersmith (as my usual route to Olympia on the overground was closed for the weekend) so I could pick up some well-needed breakfast to prepare myself for the day. With that done I arrived at Olympia at around 7:30 to take my place in the queue.
Walking passed the Gold Pass queue I got to say hi to @Shoalyn monk , then I met up with @Raylenth(who seems to be wherever I go at these things!) and @MarioVl and also got to meet @Kurdamoni along with a couple of others who I don’t believe are members of this forum. We weren’t talking for long when the doors to the queue hall opened and we went inside. I’m pleased to say the process was very smooth and similar to what we had seen in the summer with a bag check as you entered the Grand Hall and then tickets scanned as you entered the queue. Multiple bag check stations and ticket scanners meant the queue moved in fairly quickly. One issue I had here was as a day pass holder I had my wrist stamped, but as I was wearing a long sleeve top, that stamp smudged almost instantly. I was lucky that this didn’t cause me any issues down the line, but might be something Showmasters may want to look into, as there is potential for it to be faked.
The next hour in the queue flew by with geeky chats and excitement about the con. Everyone had their favourites that they were there for but also were just looking forward to soaking up the atmosphere of the con, as for most of us it was the first one of the year. Once it was time for doors to open, we expected the large shutters that separated the Grand and National Halls to rise to let us in. We were a bit surprised when the queue was led by security back outside of the hall, around the building, and in via the main entrance of the National Hall. This solved an argument Raylenth and I had been having as to which way round the floor plan was, and why the entrance was marked if it wasn’t being used. I lost!
A quick showing of the smudge on my wrist to security and I was in. The one VQ ticket I needed was collected swiftly, yet safely (Robert Englund, number 10) and as the rest of my guests were not initially on them, I started a look round some of the stalls before the guests started signing. My plan for the day before I went was simple, I was going to get 3 autographs and one photo. I should have known that it wouldn’t end up that way! As I walked round the stalls I found a cool IT (1990) print and decided to buy it and get the cast who were there to sign it. That added an extra 5 autos to my list!
Poster in hand, I headed up to where the IT kids were all sitting to find them all at their tables. My plan was to spread out meeting them as I knew I would have to wait a while, possibly even to the end of the day, to get Robert’s auto whilst he got through all his diamond passes. He is also known to be a slow signer but I’ll get to that later. First up was Ben Heller who was truly lovely to meet. We spoke about his favourite moments on set (a question he claimed to have never been asked before) and told me how much of a pleasure it was to work with Tim Curry as he was so helpful when it came to the performance and was a very chilled and nice guy. I moved straight over to speak to Brandon Crane who was joking around with the crew, and was also very nice to speak to, although he was quieter than Ben.
I was notified by Raylenth that a couple of the main guests I was after had appeared at their desks downstairs, so I left the balcony to finish getting the IT kids later. Getting downstairs, I found that both Ted Raimi and Eddie Marsan were at their desks and decided to head for Eddie first as I knew he would be popular with his back catalogue of work and he was only there for one day, whereas Ted was there for two so hopefully people would spread out a bit. With only a few people in front of me it didn’t take too long to meet Eddie. The guy just before me did hand him 5 pictures to be signed along with full sentence quotes which took a while, but this was within the rules and I have been stuck behind worse. I added Eddie to my World’s End poster, which rarely gets to see the light of day (more guests please SM, especially Simon Pegg!):
(His auto is hard to see on this pic but it is in the bottom left over the ‘E’. I promise you can see it better in real life!)
I also asked him to sign my Deadpool poster which seemed to make Eddie very happy as although he had not been signing for long, it was the first Deadpool item he had signed.
I was pleased to see that a lot of guests were doing table selfies at the show and there were a few guests I met that I now regret not getting them for (the IT kids) but I was very pleased to see Eddie doing this and even jumping round the table for everyone that asked. A really nice guy, and if you get the chance to meet him in the future, I say go for it.
After Eddie I headed for Ted Raimi’s queue and was shocked to see it had trebled in size! Like a lot of people it seemed I had underestimated how busy he would be. I could see why the queue was long as Ted was deep into conversations with everyone he met and was also jumping up for selfies (again a regret of mine for not getting one). As Raylenth had finished getting her autos (in a record 30 mins or so!) she came and joined me in the queue, where we noticed we were stood next to @The Friendly Dalek. It was great having a chat with him in the queue but soon it was obvious that we were unlikely to get through before Ted had to leave for his photoshoot. We spoke to the crew about it maybe being a good idea to put him on VQ tickets, to be told that they had started them already. I would have thought that it might have been a good idea to hand them out to the people in the queue who were already waiting before anyone else, but that wasn’t what happened and I was lucky to get ticket number 22.
I headed back upstairs and had a look at Robert’s queue to see how he was getting on, and as expected it was diamonds only for him. I went over to see the queues for the IT kids but decided there wasn’t enough time to grab any of the other 3 before my shoot with Ted, so I headed over to Photo Area A. The photos were laid out in the tried and tested way that Showmasters do and as I arrived I was able to already join the queue for Ted that was waiting for his arrival. After a few minutes, people started heading into the area from the queue and Ted made an appearance outside, only to disappear back into the crowd, not the photo area! I can only assume he was in need of a break or something, but I didn’t see him return. The line did start moving between 5 or 10 mins later and it was great to see Ted having fun with the photos. He’d do any pose someone asked of him and for many people was even making his own suggestions. I used to try for some interesting poses, but after being disappointed (mainly in myself) by some of them I try to stick to straight photos these days. Ted was asking everyone their names as they approached and was defiantly enjoying himself.
After Ted’s photo Raylenth and I had a brief flyby from @Chris1970 as he ran walked in an orderly fashion for a photo and then I was back round to the IT kids and added Emily Perkins to my poster. She seemed very sweet but was very shy and I only really got a “hello” and “Thank You” out of her. I’m not sure if she was just overwhelmed or was generally a shy person, but it was not a bad experience meeting her, just a bit quick. I then moved over to Marlon Taylor, who could not have been more talkative! We mainly spoke about the more recent IT movie, and how both of us liked parts but found there to be too much CGI. He pointed out to me something I hadn’t really thought of, that kids these days love CGI. He said that some people have told him that the old practical effects can look cheesy and would have been better if it was made today. It’s a different point of view that I hadn’t considered, but I’m still old school when it comes to this stuff and will always choose practical over digital effects. The best results these days usually come form a mixture of the two, but I digress. I did try for Adam Faraizl, but he disappeared just before I made it to his table.
I decided to head back down to Ted Raimi’s auto area as I knew it wouldn’t be long before he was back from his shoot. Once again I was surprised to see the length of his queue was just as long as it had been when I had previously left, and once again I was standing behind The Friendly Dalek! Along with a few other members of the queue, we had another great geeky chat about movies (Ghostbusters was a big subject and I’m always happy to talk about that!) which made the time go faster, but this was undoubtedly the longest I had to wait in a queue all day. I think it was probably just under an hour from when I joined the queue for the second time to when I go the auto. But Ted made it worth it. As before he was really engaging everyone who came up to him. We had a brief chat about his time on the Evil Dead franchise and liked the poster I had made. Definitely one of my top guest meets for the day.
It was now lunch time but I headed quickly to Adam Faraizl’s table and managed to bag his auto as the last one on my IT poster, but he too was a bit quiet and I was ready to eat so it was just a short and polite experience. I had now managed to collect all 5 IT kids autos on my poster and it is actually one of my favourite posters I own. Would be great to add some more to it (Hint hint SM!)
For lunch I sat down on the floor and chilled in the main stage area. A cosplay talk was going on in the background, which kept it interesting, and when that was over they announced a quiz would start in 15 mins. I messaged Shoalyn Monk as he had spoken about being interested in it before the con. We sucked. Ok, maybe not that bad, but we only seemed to get the really obvious stuff and our almost complete lack of knowledge of anime and Pokemon are what let us down (Is Donald Trump a Pokemon? We thought so!). What didn’t help was losing time for each question when a picture was involved as we couldn’t see the screen from where we sat and had to stand up and run over when needed! Shoalyn had to leave before the end and our other team member and I finished up as best as we could and handed it in. I know we didn’t win, without even knowing the result, but in the off chance if anyone who is reading this heard the result, we were called ‘On The Sidelines’ (so named for where we sat). Let me know if I need to collect a prize!
Another check on Robert’s queue found that, unsurprisingly, he was still on diamonds only. To fill the time I ended up doing another walk round the stalls, but also met a couple of smaller Star Wars guests and grabbed a couple of extra autos. Oliver Ford Davies was very sweet. He was taking his time with everyone and it was interesting to hear him talk about his book and his upcoming appearance at the National Theatre with the lady in front of me. An excellent meet if you get the chance.
I also met Leroy Golding who was a first time signer. He had a bit of a queue when I met him and seemed overwhelmed and humbled that so many people wanted to meet him. He was making sure that he put all the correct information on the pics that everyone wanted and seemed very happy to be there. Lovely guy.
More wondering round the stalls followed, but I didn’t buy anything, as I was already WAY over my budget for the day! I sat back down in the stage area for a while and listened to some of Karyn Parsons talk. As one of the people who asked her a question stated, she really does look the same as she did back in her Fresh Prince days! Starting to feel the tiredness from the day, I headed back to Robert’s auto area to see if I could get an idea if it would be a couple of hours or so before VQs would be allowed in, to find that they already had! This is where it got a bit weird. I’ve been to a lot of SM shows now and am well aware how the VQ system is supposed to work. For Robert the crew were doing something different and although it helped me a bit, I didn’t like it. Instead of the usual ‘join the back of the queue when your number is called’ that you expect, the crew were trying to put all VQ tickets in number order. This was ok for me because I got to skip ahead of some people, but then they forgot where all the numbers were and people with higher tickets than me were placed in front of me. I wasn’t angry but did plan to speak to a red shirt about it, only to find them helping with this system! I hope someone from SM reads this, because I ask that this system is not used again as it was silly and annoying to anyone who constantly had people being added in front of them. Joining the back when your number is called makes sense and is fair.
But anyway, I had a lovely chat with a guy who had to leave at any second to get his bus (hope you made it dude!) and at one point noticed Ben Heller from IT waiting to see if the crew could take him to the front of Robert’s line to get his Freddy chopsticks signed! (I’m not complaining here, I know he needs to get something like that signed quickly so he can jump back to his own auto desk). As he stood there, I spoke to him for a bit about the idea of a Pennywise/Freddy crossover. If anyone out there has the power to make this happen, the idea is yours, please run with it!
Robert was his usual great self at the auto desk but I didn’t really see him talking much. I got the feeling his voice was giving him issues and he wanted to rest it. This is my second time meeting him and both times he hasn’t disappointed. Even without talking he has a great presence and made it a fun experience. I got him to sign my Legends of Horror poster that I designed and started last year.
As I took one last stroll around the venue I decided to take make a quick stop in the prop shoot area to create this masterpiece that I call ‘How Does This Thing Work?!’
With that I left the con at around 4:30. Much earlier than I had thought I would be able to! I headed down to the Latymers pub and was there by myself for a short while before being joined by a load of friends once they had finished up at the con, and met some new people too. The evening consisted of much geek chat, con stories and alcohol as you’d expect but I’ll skip most the details of that. I left at around 11 and stumbled back to the tube and somehow made it home!
I really enjoyed myself at LCC Spring. Comparing it to other events I’ve been to in the past 6 years, it was easily one of the most stress and problem free cons I’ve attended. The crowd levels were just right. At no real point did I feel it was too crowded for me. Everything seemed to run pretty much on time, and all the guests were exceptional. I would have loved to meet more of them if I could have stretched my budget even further than I did. I felt the same way after going to the Spring con in 2016. I hope this will become a yearly event as it being on a smaller scale to the summer show made a refreshing change. (Obviously, I still love LFCC though! Bring it on SM!)
If you’ve made it this far, you should probably re-evaluate your life! But Thank You! It’s always nice to hear that people do bother to get to the end and in some cases even enjoy reading it! I’ve said before that I like doing this for myself to have a record of my con experiences and if you guys enjoy hearing about them too, then they become even more special! Thanks again.
Sam (Wrong Name)