I met up with Shar in Euston (thanks to lovely people helping me with the case and stairs), and we set off towards Heathrow. There was a surprise meeting up with Jooles and Sarah at the bus stop and we all went off to the hotel. Check in was relatively painless, except that they didn't have a twin room, so Rosie and I ended up in a king room with a put-me-up. The hotel was stupidly warm, and getting the room cool was the first thing. Then it was time for changing into evening finery and gathering everything together for the Opening Ceremony and Meet & Greet. I was too hot to wear my new fingerless gloves, so settled for my cuff instead.
The Opening Ceremony was organised chaos, the guests did the usual shadow puppets behind the screen, you could actually recognise James just from the shape of his head! Gareth and James played Gay Chicken, Eve and Naoko touched tongues, and Gareth and Naoko started snogging. Kai arrived fresh from set (the roar was HUGE), he announced Naoko who proceeded to speak in Japanese with Kai doing very fake sign language.
Kai then announced GDL (who looks fab) and James, who came out and was visibly taken aback by the roar from the attendees. He could barely be heard at first, and said 'I'm not from this country man, we don't do the things they've been doing to me backstage' all with a fake tears voice *giggles* someone in the crowd yelled 'YOU SEXY BASTARD' and James just stood there doing that loose hipped tongue pose *melts*.
James announced Eve, who forward rolled on stage, demanded everyone who was wearing PJs to stand up, and strip. Then yelled 'Tits 5 minutes in!'. Then turned round to see Kai and Naoko snogging!
The meet and greet took forever, but were prepared We had shots for the guests (moved when James sat down), ALL the snacks and Eve said we were the best table :-) Eve was squiffy when she got to us, ended up flirting with me and making unladylike noises whilst fondling Spark's slipper, she did the vodka shot.
Naoko was utterly lovely, giving sensible advice about cons (eat, sleep and rest as much as you can cos this one is exhausting). She sipped at WKD (cos the blue colour means its natural, right) and left with a shot of my rose lemonade.
We had James next (I think), who was sucking a lollipop from another table, he couldn't get over the noise (Eve and Gareth were having a contest over who could get people to yell the loudest), he was saying that the cast were so quick with their words, he needed stuff that was written down in order to be funny. He also said how in the US, he's considered edgy and 'the naughty one', but here he's the old sensible guy. And then it became a discussion about Barrowman's cock, with the lovely Shar saying 'You don't want unexpected willies, you need to see what's coming' Then getting totally mortified and going 'I'm very drunk', with James giggling.
GDL was still having the cheer off when he came to us. He was definitely tiddly, and did all the shots before demanding to know who had seen the play. Then we got distracted by someone stripping on Eve's table, which was definitley unexpected. Eve had called for skin, but only of the over-18 variety (before Piggyback Girl could actually take her bra off). As a side note, Piggyback Girl actually came over to talk to me. I have no idea why! I must look friendly.It took FOREVER for Kai to get to us, and he was smashed! We all had hugs and kisses, then he did the shots. We thought we broke him (apparently it was the vodka). But he recovered, and turned into Mr I Love You All. He said this was the con that that cast could really relax at (hence the drinking - Eve was plastered), and that this was his favourite con because of the fans. We then had more hugs and he got taken to bed by his handler.
I went to bed rather than party, I was exhausted having got up at 06:40 to see if Thanet South had declared. However I still woke up with someone else's hangover, which hardly seems fair! It may have been quite a few peoples, as several of my friends laid claim to it. Breakfast helped tho, and I was feeling a lot better by the time photo ops arrived.
The photo ops were chaotic. They ran late, and everywhere was so so hot. Fortunately the fretting meant that I had little brain left for nerves. James wasn't doing any hugs, or even any behind poses (I wonder what happened between Newcastle and Vegas to change things), he did pull me in close for my second photo tho, and then told me I looked fabulous. Then my pass vanished and I went into panic meltdown mode. So much so, I missed Mark standing in the doorway, and he actually had to say hi to me first :-) We had a lovely hug, and a brief chat before I managed to grab a human and find out what to do if my pass didn't turn up.
Fortunately it did, there had been a mixup at the table, and I was so relieved by my joint Gareth and James photo shoot, that I was fine with asking for a Charlie's Angels pose. Gareth did the shocker DESPITE me asking him not to cos of Mother. And I got a wee round of applause afterwards, so did a quick bow. I had another quick hug from Mark and headed off to the first panel.
The panels were fabulous. Kai was most insistant about Hollyoaks being worldwide, and kept teasing the soundman about the microphones. Naoko wants more Tosh stuff on the Shrine. Kai and Barrowman snogged at the start of Barrowman's panel. Barrowman told new stories, I'll never be able to watch the Resurrection Glove scene without thinking 'Boner Boy', and the Naked Hide and Seek story was beautifully acted - 'He's really touching it now!' *laughs*, oh and Barrowman was VERY complimentary about Gareth's.........size. Barrowman really impressed me. He has learnt from his twattish behaviour last year, and was really good. He actually made me tear up at 2 points over the weekend.
James, Eve and Gareth's panel was crashed by Kai (and James really didn't know what was going on). Gareth force choked the person who asked THAT question. Eve had to try and answer the 'What was it like being chained to James?' without using her usual stories as James was next to her. James didn't help by purring 'The rehersal was sooo much better', they both commented on how painful the handcuffs were tho. The last question was about their underwear, which Kai instantly scuppered by saying 'I'm commano', Eve's answer of 'I'm wearing a giant strap-on. This is the only place I can wear it. I've only got one leg' completely killed James :-) and his answer was lost in the giggles. Oh and James did his Texan Yak Farmer impression, which brought the house down.
Saturday is also auto day for Golds, so after the panel finished, it was a race to the queue! Some woman was trying to hand out Barrowman tour flyers, but we all had our auto stuff, and no one wanted more paper. Eve was utterly lovely, and very sweet about the wine (I hope it's ok), Kai was an absolute star, Naoko was just divine and I got to tell Gareth that if he wasn't careful, I'd bring Mumsie to a con, and he could explain to her! I had ALL the things for James to sign, he was really surprised to see the Spike and Dru graphic novel and told me that although he was disappointed with it originally, he was really proud of it now. I then asked him to write 'Oh Captain, my captain' on my John Hart pic, and he was fine with that. He then asked how to spell 'captain' - took one look at my face and went 'Kidding, I'm kidding!' I nearly forgot to give him his ballistics, but remembered at the last minute!
I also had a quick Mark moment whilst in the auto queue, he popped out to go to the Green Room, saw me and came over for a quick hug and to let me know how the level was going. I may have had a smug moment as some of the Evelets seemed surprised that a guest friend knew people other than them!
Annoyingly I decided to throw myself up a flight of stairs on Sat evening which meant that I had to change my outfit plans for Sat. I was all hurty and sore and wearing dancing shoes was not on the cards. I had fun at the party, there was dancing and unladylike noises, and perving and perving at the pretty Steampunk boy, and more dancing, and then bedtime :-)
Sunday was (thankfully) a quieter day. The photos were smoother, although my James ones are pants. We fluffed the second one, and he went 'Oh you wanted something different' and I said 'It's ok, we'll sort it next time!' My Eve and Kai op was The Best! I told Eve 'Do whatever you like, just don't make me look fat' so she grabbed my boobs, Kai went to go for them, and I suddenly thought 'Oh, I'd best do something with my face!' The result was FABULOUS! Plus I got to see the awesome Ian as Thundercunt in the queue, which was utterly beautiful! I zoomed out for a drink and a banana before the panels and heard an American voice going 'I'm stalking you' behind me in the queue - surprise, surprise, it was Mark, so I got more hugs :-)
The panels were quieter on Sunday. At least at first! James flirted with Naoko and dealt brilliantly with an exceptionally rude woman, the Kai and Gareth shadow puppets featured grabbing of James's arse (with James moving so they could - obviously no issues with shadows then), Kai and Gareth had a competition to down a pint the quickest, Hollyoaks does not feature any bridges, Gareth apologised for Newport, Gareth did a bit of 12 Angry Men (Kai had done some of Under Milk Wood on Sat), and they both stated how being dads had changed their views on immortality.
Eve and John's shadow puppets were fabulous, Eve taking John roughly from behind, John doing rude things with Eve's head, fisting Gareth, Eve with her legs in the air, and then they invaded the panel. Suddenly Naoko appeared with a salad and started to eat at the stage, with John demanding a chair for her 'Cos this looks REALLY bad'. And the tone decended through the floor, starting with Gareth's Thundercunt dance and John's comment of 'That pint's just hit you, hasn't it'. When asked about pranks, Barrowman said the worst one could NEVER be told, everyone looked a bit confused until he said the word 'car' at which point Gareth's head snapped round. Eve had it whispered to her and burst out laughing, then went 'You must NEVER tell that story'.
Eve was introduced to fan manips, with the BEST facial expressions ever, and Barrowman searching out ever more outlandish ones. The tech guys were brilliant here, and putting up all sorts of warnings :-) One thing that came out of all the panels was how good Barrowman is at dealing with the more 'demanding' parts of his fandom. There was a woman at the front who seemed to believe that Q&A means just her q's and the guests a's, and just kept shouting out. Then there was another woman who was basically asking him to start her writing career. GAH! Oh and the girl who wanted her sister's first kiss to be Barrowman, but Eve did it instead (for a rather long time)
Barrowman left before the closing ceremony, but everyone else was there, including Gareth's small people. Eve demanded a huge round of applause for the stripper on Friday, and Kai closed down Miss Shouty who was demanding a selfie with James by getting him on stage :-) I got a final couple of Mark hugs and realised I was reaching my people limit, so spent the evening with Rosie and Spark chilling out and laughing.
I had a wonderful time, and I can't wait for next year. I'm hoping for Burn! And it appears that we didn't scare James off! Result!