I have a practice of going on holiday someplace and then wanting to repeat the trip, using everything I learned the first time, to get it right. I went to LFCC for the first time in 2017. I went for only one day, underestimated the queue to get in, missed my first photoshoot (replaced it with an autograph), managed another photoshoot and a talk, and ... that was about it. But I learned a lot from the experience, so planned another trip to London for LFCC 2018. Bought the weekend pass. In for a penny, in for a pound.
A lot of pounds.
I am pretty sure Showmasters did not intentionally plan the guest announcements and cancellations in such a way that I would end up spending way more money on this con than I'd ever imagined. I'll save you the blow-by-blow story, and just say that what started out as "Do I get a photo with Peter Capaldi while I'm wearing my Clara cosplay OR get Val Kilmer to autograph a copy of a horrible review I wrote of a show he did?" ended up as, "Screw it, I'm getting photos with my four favorite Doctors." And this plan (obviously) did not solidify until some time on Saturday, when I was wandering the trading floor, heard the David Tennant announcement, found a post lean up against, and casually whipped out my mobile to book that photoshoot. Then I wandered the floor a bit more, ALMOST buying a Captain America bracelet, and ultimately going to the David Duchovny talk. Which I had to leave early, because I had a theatre ticket. (I don't get to London that often. I've got to pack my days FULL.)
It was really all about Sunday for me. Sunday afternoon. Which was FINE, because me getting there early was not likely. I'm at the mercy of public transit, and with the bike race going on, busses were not an option. Which meant it was the Underground, and that annoying train from Earl's Court to Olympia which only runs every 20 minutes.
(Am I the only one who calls the Platform where you wait for the train to LFCC "Platform 9 3/4?" Yes? OK, then.) But everyone on the platform is going to LFCC. Either that, or there are a lot of cosplayers planning to randomly walk the streets of Kensington. (As an American, I am aware of, and try to be respectful of, the general British reservedness when it comes to talking to strangers, but I find it very hard to not at least SMILE at people in clever cosplays or amusing T-shirts.)
I have a schedule. I'm trying to do about seven things in the course of the afternoon, with one change into and one change out of my cosplay. It should work. It should all work, but I'm nervous -- especially since I'd missed a photo shoot last year, and I really don't want that happening again.
I get in. I get my bearings. I wander the floor again. I buy a book from Jodi Taylor because I've read her books and she's there signing them (and I want to support that). I find the Captain America bracelet I didn't buy the day before and buy it.
I start in the queue for the David Tennant TARDIS shoot, but it looks like I can run over and get my photo with Peter Davison before Tennant has finished all those DP people in front of me. I do this. I am surprised at how genuinely pleased I am to meet Davison (even for all of 10 seconds). He was my first Doctor, and I'm not entirely sure you know what that means -- because Doctor Who was not a big deal in America back when he was the Doctor. (A "cult favorite." Not at all mainstream.) But this was my introduction to the (very unAmerican) idea of a hero who was clever rather than tough, and who carried a tool rather than a weapon. Davison opened the door to all of that to me (and that world really was bigger on the inside). Finding myself snapping a pic with him at LFCC some 30 years later was the culmatination of a journey I hadn't even know I'd started, and I thought it was just SUPER COOL.
And I took my glasses off, but didn't push my hair back, and ended up with a legitimately awful picture. Later that day, I got his autograph, and I immediately turned into a stuttering fangirl, who couldn't say anything at all about how much he meant to me. But he signed the photo and I adore that he put a little roman numeral "V" in there.
After the Davison photo, I ran back over to the Tennant. Kept my specs on that time, and I felt much better about that picture. Had no actual interaction with him, but was very happy he was posing with everyone with a big old grin. (When he was in character, I referred to that grin as TenJoy!)
One of the first things I had bought a ticket for at LFCC was "Dark Room." I was pleasantly surprised (shocked, even) that none of my photo shoots conflicted with it, and I was actually able to meet up with a friend and attend it. It was silly good fun, as well as a welcome opportunity to sit down.
Afterward, I wanted to put on my Clara cosplay. I went to the Cosplay changing rooms and discovered it was very hard to tell whether they were occupied. Knocked on doors and accidentally opened the door on someone changing. (Ack!) Eventually got in the changing room and put on my raven. During which time, a man accidentally opened the door on me. (Double ack!)
Ran upstairs for the Peter Capaldi photoshoot. Was fairly certain I knew which area was where at this point, and I was mistaken, and couldn't see the letters on the walls, and ended up in the wrong queue. Twice. And when I was in the second line, I tried to tighten up my cosplay and ended up breaking a string. Many expletives were spoken. Ran back downstairs and begged assistance from the folks who were there to assist, where a very nice lady offered to sew me into it. I was beyond grateful -- sewing myself into this was not something I could do myself -- and she ended up making it much better than it had been even before I snapped the string. Ran back upstairs, found the right photo area, and queued up. Had a nice chat with the man in line in front of me, which was notable because a spare battery in his pocket decided to choose that moment to sort of ... explode, and I was relieved that he took care of the situation without injury. Got my pic with Capaldi.
This was really my first time cosplaying in a public situation (other than a Halloween party), and I know this isn't what you'd call a competitive level costume. But I was extremely proud of it. Capaldi didn't say anything about it until AFTER the photo, when I was walking away and he could see the little raven feet and tail feathers sticking out my back, and complimented me on the inventiveness of it. I'm fifty years old and I grinned like I was ten.
My last photo shoot was the Matt Smith TARDIS shoot, and it was running late. Late enough that I could run to the ladies and de-raven myself. (This was also when I slipped out and redeemed my Peter Davison VQ ticket.) I got back to the queue and realized I was ACTUALLY going to accomplish all four Doctor photoshoots as planned. (I also realized I hadn't had any, y'know, food. I didn't care.) When I got inside the photo area, I saw Smith was having folks pose doing the "V" sign. This is not a thing in America, so I started thinking really quickly what sort of alternative pose I wanted. I asked if he'd throw this one instead. He obliged.
It's only when I'm walking away that it dawns on me that he might have no idea the meaning of what I'd asked him to hold up. I volunteer that this is "I Love You" in American Sign Language. (He did not know that. He thanked me. I figure that the next time he comes across a Deaf American fan, he will whip this one out. You're welcome, Matt Smith's Deaf American fans.)
I ran to the Sam Neill talk. Was a bit late for it, but really enjoyed the part that I saw. Started regretting that I hadn't bought a photoshoot with him, too, and realized I might be getting addicted to LFCC.