Name: Simon Spencer
Rank: Lieutenant Junior Grade
Position: Chief Security Officer
Mission: Attend London Film and Comic Con
Mission Location: Olympia, London
Several months prior to the start of my away mission, I made arrangements to attend the London Film and Comic Con. The event was held over three days starting on the 29th of July 2016 and the event was held at the Olympia in West Kensington, London. This was not my first time attending this yearly event but it was the first time I had been to it while being held at the Olympia venue.
On leaving the Stargazer, I directed my shuttle towards Earth and to the town of Chesterfield, once in Chesterfield, I parked the shuttle in the train station car park and used optical camouflage to disguise it as a non-descript looking Toyota Aygo, I then took an early morning train from Chesterfield down to London.
When the train arrived, there were a series of miscommunications and bad organisation on the part of the train company, East Midlands Trains, they had announced at the station that first class coaches were at the front of the train but in fact the train was actually made up of two trains and first class was located at the front of one and back of the other and as I went to the front as the announcers stated would be the location of first class, I found myself in the wrong end with insufficient time to switch and no way to walk through due to it being two trains combined. When the train arrived into Derby Station, I managed to switch to the correct carriage after a mad dash along the platform, where upon arriving in the correct carriage, I was informed my a member of the train’s staff that my seat reservation, along with everyone else’s, had been cancelled and that I could have just remained in the carriage I originally boarded.
The train took a bit under three hours to reach the final stop in London St. Pancras and after disembarking, I began to make my way across the city to the venue. My knowledge of early 21st century London is fairly limited but I did know that I would have to make use of public transport to reach my destination in West Kensington. Before leaving the ship, I had the quartermaster replicate me an Oyster card loaded with a small amount of currency to use on the London Underground, this saved me a lot of hassle with trying to buy individual tickets for the journey.
I determined that I would need to get onto the Victoria line and alight at Victoria Station, before getting onto the District Line to West Kensington, from where I walked to the event. On the way to the venue, I came across a small supermarket where I acquired some supplies (food and drink) before continuing on.
At the venue, I was subjected to a bag search, I was a little concerned that they might discover my phaser but evidently security personnel were not too thorough.
Once inside, I proceeded to the upper level of the Olympia to get a good overview of my surroundings and work out where everything was, afterwards, I proceeded to the area where fans could meet the various guests and I tried to decided just who I would like to meet. I decided early on that I would meet Adam Copeland, better known as the wrestler Edge, at the time he was away doing either a talk or photo shoot so I took a virtual-queue ticket and continued on, noting the approximate time that he would return.
The first guest that I chose to meet was Famke Janssen, she was known for her work on such TV shows and films as Deep Rising, James Bond Golden Eye and X-Men but early in her career, she played the role of ‘Kamala’ in the TV show, Star Trek: The Next Generation. As I collect Star Trek actor autographs, it made sense to meet her. My main reservation about meeting her was that her autograph price was quite expensive (£45) for someone that only appeared in one episode of Star Trek (obviously her autograph price is based on the fact that she is a well known actress but to me she is just a Star Trek guest star so really I would value her autograph at around half of what I actually paid). Anyway, I met her and I was left a little disappointed. The queue to meet her was not especially long so it didn’t take too long to get her autograph but when it was my turn to go up, she was talking to one of her assistants, she did not stop her conversation, she did not even look up or acknowledge I was there, save for signing the photo I presented and sliding it back to me on the table. I think next time I watch one of her films, I’m going to watch a pirated copy and skip over all her lines, hehe.
With one guest met, I decided to go back downstairs for a while and take a look round some of the stalls and exhibits. In my wanderings I came across many items that I wanted to purchase but the price tags and strong will power kept me from doing so. I told myself over and over ‘I can get these things cheaper elsewhere’.
While walking around, I was stopped by a lady who was down at the convention helping out with the USS Iceni’s efforts there, I’m not sure what her name was, if she in fact told me, I don’t remember, a result of me being tired from getting up pre-6am and having to travel down to London.
Of the exhibits at the convention, I did enjoy seeing the old Batmobile from the Michael Keaton films and the costumes from the Suicide Squad films.
When the time hit two in the afternoon, I returned to the autograph area as this was the time it was stated, that Adam Copeland would return. He was actually about twenty minutes late but it didn’t matter that much as my plans were reasonably flexible. Once Adam Copeland had returned the queue was managed effectively and it did not take long to actually meet him. I wouldn’t say I’m the biggest wrestling fan but I do enjoy watching it and Edge has been one of my favourite wrestler since his introduction back in the ‘Attitude’ era. Unlike Famke Janssen, he did greet his fans, shook their hands, allowed them to take selfies with him and generally seemed interested in the people who came to meet him. I can say the same about Gail Kim, the former WWE Diva and current TNA Knockout who I also met, she seemed nice and I did get a selfie with her.
Aside from the guests and various exhibits and merchandise stalls, one of the best parts about any comic con is the costumes worn by the various fans attending the event. Unlike at Star Trek conventions where many people are wearing similar costumes, at LFCC and other similar film and comic conventions, costumes are incredibly varied, some I recognised straight away and some I will probably never know what they were dressed as but even if I did not know who or what the person was impersonating, I did have a lot of respect for the effort that a lot of people put into their costumes, from the outfit itself to the makeup and prosthetics, many of which were almost to film quality. Additionally as a guy, I did appreciate the number of girls dressed in tight fitting and quite revealing superhero costumes.
For me, the London Film and Comic Con is not a big thing, although I did book my tickets in advance, I did not put a whole lot of thought or planning into the trip. Destination Star Trek Europe will be my main convention for this year so that was why for LFCC, I did not do any of the talks or meet more guests than I did and limited how much I spent. The same will apply for Sheffield Film and Comic Con, I’ll likely go but will not be there for the whole event and will not do much other than have a look around and meet the odd guest.
Overall, even though I did not immerse myself in the comic con experience as some do, I did enjoy my day out and meeting two of the three guests and I look forward to my next convention experience which will most likely be SFCC but if not, it will be DSTE.