admin   June 12th, 2019   No Comments

It’s been over a year and a half since I last met Iain at the Grenfell Charity Football match so I was over joyed when he was announced at the London and Film Comic Con Spring last March. Although I have met Iain many times I still get nervous about meeting him such is the way he makes me feel!

I decided I wanted him to sign my ‘Crucible’ theatre play poster and was prepared with my camera and a couple of questions I wanted to ask him. Having got to the train station early disaster struck when I learned my train had been cancelled. This sent me into a tail spin and my anxiety kicked in. I had a panic attack on the platform and sat on the bench crying. I wished I had someone there to just pull me out of it I really had to give myself a good talking to and see what the alternatives were. The next train was not that much later but had two changes before getting the London Olympia whereas my original train went straight there which was so much better for my anxiety.I think a bit about going into London and then getting the tube/over ground train to the venue but took a chance with the 2 changes.

Iain’s photo shoot started at 9.40am which meant I wold have got there after it had started. I tried to calm myself thinking that even if I missed it I would be able to see him at the autograph table. With the summer con a lot of the guests will more than one photo shoot session but sadly Iain only had the one.

As Iain is much taller than me I decided to bring my platform boots (5 and a half inches) for the photo shoot. I would usually put them on when I get there but they a bit of a nuisance and time consuming to get on so I had decided to put them on before setting out. As they are so high they make me very clumsy and are difficult to walk in let alone run in but I found myself running from one platform to another to catch the first and second changes of train to the venue. I was terrified I was going to trip over and injure myself.

Unfortunately as I got to the second train it pulled away and I couldn’t get on it and again I started to panic beginning to think this wouldn’t be my day. I saw a train ticket attendant and asked him if there was a local taxi cab. He was able to give me a card with the phone number on it so I was very lucky that a taxi was able to pick me up from the station and take me straight to the Olympia so by the time I arrived at the venue it was 15 minutes to the photo shoot started. I had to join the Diamond pass queue and then the General Entry pass queue and then the security bag queue!!!!

And then I was racing around trying to find the right photo shoot area. I finally found Iain and as I had a diamond pass was able to go to the front of the queue to enter the photo shoot booth. It was 20 minutes into the photoshoot and I was looking a total mess. Exhausted my feet were killing me in those big platform boots. I saw Iain having photos taken and I tried to compose myself a bit with a few moments to spare and get my breath back as I moved along the queue. Suddenly Iain was standing in front me and he recognised me straight away (I always write to him and tell him I will be coming to see him).

Iain said ‘Hi, oh Hi!!!, how are you? I was wondering where you where? Are you okay? At this point he was smiling at me because it was obvious I had been running and still must have looked a bit puffed out. We posed for the photo and I wrapped my arms around him. In the past I have been so in the moment with Iain I always forget what it feels like to be in his arms but this time I remembered to properly think I AM IN HIS ARMS and PROPERLY FEEL IT you know? He was lovely and warm and smelt fantastic.

The whole photo shoot experience at these comic cons is always very quick and brief. There is very little time or in most cases no time to talk to the actor, it’s a quick hello and then you pose for the photo and then you are moved on so the next person can get there turn. I managed to say to Iain that I would see him later at the autograph table and he squeezed my hand as I left.

In a total daze I collected my bag and jacket and my photo was printed within a few minutes. The photo was okay not my favourite of the two of us. My hair looks a mess but we are both smiling so it could be worse. I can’t stand photos of myself which is why I rarely take selfies. My blog -www.visionsofu.uk layout header photos are about as brave as I have got) The 2 photos of me with Iain at the London con in 2015 are rare indeed in which we both looked really good and I was so pleased with them.

I came out of the photo shoot area and sat down. I had arranged to meet Clare at the venue and gave her call. Turns out she had her photo taken a little while before me and was really close to where I was sitting. This was the first time had met and had indeed only known each other a week or so but seemed to hit it off very well. We chatted about my bad luck getting there and our experiences meeting Iain. Still buzzing we walked over to where Iain’s autograph table was. He was still taking photos so we sat down and chatted for a while. We decided to join the autograph queue and seemed to make each other nervous about seeing Iain again. The queue was massive as it was in 2015.

 

This was Clare’s first proper meeting with Iain so I planned to tell him that she was our newest member of Ser Jorah’s Army. As we got closer to him we both had our cameras out desperate to get some pics. Suddenly it was Clare’s turn she had brought a Mormont banner with her for Iain to sign which he did he was very sweet and they talked for a short while. I told Iain Clare was a SJA member and he smiled and said ‘oohh really WOW’. Lol

Clare then moved on and I stood in front of Iain and he smiled and said ‘hello you’ and I laughed and said helloooo. He said ‘Were you okay back then’ (meaning at the photo shoot) and I said er noooo my train cancelled and then I had a panic attack and then I thought I was going to miss the shoot. I was in such a panic. I was crying on the platform!! Iain smiled oh nooo but you made it!’ I said yes just in the nick of time. I said to him that all of SJA was terrified for Jorah’s fate in the final GOT series and he said ‘ooh don’t worry. It will all work out in the end’ He signed my poster and asked me where I had got it from and I told him I had seen the play and got it on the website afterwards as they were not selling posters at the theatre.

He told me it was lovely to see me again and I asked if I could take a photo of him and of course he agreed. We said our goodbyes and the left the queue. I then re-joined Clare and we both got rather excited and needed to calm down a bit. I would have usually stayed longer but needed to get back home for a family event so after a chat Clare and I parted company and of course typically my train was on time on the way home but it was despite the nightmare journey a fabulous day and seeing Iain again was amazing. He never disappoints.


admin   August 2nd, 2018   No Comments

The London and film comic con is one of the few events that I truly look forward to in the year. Although it is always hot, packed and stressful at times, the joy I get from meeting my idols far outreaches any anxiety and stress.

I mentioned in a previous post that one of my lifelong heroes Jurassic Park actor (amongst many other TV/Film credits) Sam Neill was announced and then cancelled a few days later much to my and many others devastation. At every opportunity I had let SM know how badly I wanted him back for another year. Two years later it actually happened. He was announced a week before the comic con itself in fact. The diamond pass for him seemed to be a lot cheaper this time round but still a fair old price. Sam is too important to risk the VT system and not get to meet him so I purchased a diamond pass which give those guarantees.

 

As always with me my anxiety kicks in a week or so before the event so the nerves were building in the days leading up to the con. To make matters worse my usual easy train route which is a direct train to the London Olympia didn’t happen because of a 2 day strike so it meant me travelling into London and a journey on the tube and bus giving me even more stress before I had even got there.

I eventually arrived at just after 8.10am. I had my entry ticket scanned, collected my Sam Neill Diamond pass and got into the queue. The last couple of years the queue lines for entering the main hall have been very good making it easy and quick to get in when the doors open at 9am. In recent years you would have been queueing around the outside the Olympia in various weathers.

 

I managed to enter the main hall within about 10 minutes of opening and went to find the Photo area for Sam’s photoshoot which was originally at 9.30am to discover that it had been rescheduled for 1pm because Sam would not be arriving for a couple of hours. Although this left me more anxious as I had geared myself up to meet him and then had to wait for several hours until it’s rescheduled time this meant I was able to go straight to Photo area G for my photo shoot with Iwan Rheon (Ramsey Bolton in Game of Thrones). A photo clash was averted. Iwan was lovely, very slim, polite and good looking, shook my hand said ‘nice to meet you’. The photo shoots are very quick business. Guests usually have a lot of fans to see and an allocated time slot for the shoot, so it’s a quick hello, photographer takes photo and then move onto the next person. I would have loved to have had an autograph too but I couldn’t stretch to the diamond pass this year so I decided to ty and catch him another time.

Sam actually didn’t arrive until after 10.30am but I did eventually soon after his arrival manage to get myself in the diamond pass queue. I had a few things in my head ready to tell him and Jurassic Park poster for him to sign. I actually had the most amazing moment with Sam. I remembered to say everything I had planned to say to him about how long I had been a fan and how much I loved his work. I thanked him for coming and said I never thought he would do such an event, how I had waited nearly 25 to meet him so it really made my year. He said Thank you so much your very kind. He asked if the poster was for me and when I said yes he wrote on it ‘Sarah, thank you so much! Sam Neill’. I was so lucky that a mate of mine was also in the queue several rows behind me took a photo of Sam chatting to me which is unbelievably precious to me. He looks as engaging and lovely as he was.

 

I also had 4 members of the Blackadder cast on my list of those I really wanted meet and sign my Blackadder series 1-5 DVD (Tony Robinson, Tim McInnerny, Miranda Richardson and Helen Atkinson Wood). Miranda and Tony both had diamond passes however I wasn’t able to purchase them so I managed to get a VT ticket for them but both were high numbers so I wasn’t sure I would get the opportunity to meet them. Luckily Miranda’s queue seemed to go quickly so I got to see her early afternoon. It was a very brief interaction. She smiled but she didn’t try to engage with me atall. I was a little gutted as I had wanted to ask her a couple of Blackadder related questions but it didn’t feel right. She looked like she didn’t really want to be there. L My main disappointment of the day! This was my first comic con guest that didn’t meet my expectations.

Tom McInnerny and Helen Atkinson Wood on the other hand were a totally different experience. Both very friendly and engaging. Happy to have selfies etc. I had already met Tim at the London con in 2015 and had his auto but I managed to grab him for a few moments before lunch to say hello. It was my first time meeting Helen so I didn’t know what to expect. She was really nice and chatty. Talked abit about her Blackadder scenes and her filming experiences.

The photo shoot with the Blackadder cast was a quick affair. I put myself in between them all. Tim said ‘hello’ in a funny voice and everyone except Miranda laughed including me. As you can see from the photo I was really really laughing. Lol I didn’t like the photo atall but when you have a second to pose and then your moved along so quickly you don’t have time to really think.

I spent a little time mooching around the stalls on the grounds floor before finding my mate J. The floors were filling up with people and it was getting really hot although I am informed that it was hotter the day before we were lucky that the rain had started on Friday afternoon so it clearly had cooled down the venue abit.

Sam’s photo shoot was busy and packed with different queues of fans with different passes/batch numbers. As a diamond pass holder I was in the front line. Getting steadily more nervous and trying to talk myself into plucking up the courage to ask Sam for a hug for our photo together I got closer and closer till it was my turn. Sadly I bottled it. I was so worried of rejection (as has happened before) I decided to just put my arm around him. I deeply regret that now. Sam was lovely as always and seemed to recognise me from the auto he said ‘Hi again’ we stood together, the photographer said 3.2.1 the photo is taken Sam said ‘thank you’ as did I and then your shuffled along so the next person can have their photo. The photo came out okay but I sorely wished I had asked him for a hug. NEXT TIME!!!

 

Tony Robinson was the last on my list to meet but he didn’t arrive until much later in the day and went straight to do a photo shoot. I didn’t have diamond pass so got a Virtual ticket. Unfortunately my number was high 304 and by 3pm they were still on the 0-100 VT’s. I had a banging headache by then and was really wanting to go home so sadly I didn’t manage to Tony’s auto on my DVD.

I found my mate J again and just before I was due to leave an announcement came over the loud speaker that Dr Who actor David Tennant was to attend the following day. There was a massive cheer around the venue. The website crashed (not surprise there) as fans were desperately trying to buy diamond passes and photo shoots including J who luckily managed to get one.

By then I was exhausted. I had been up since 5am that morning so left J heading for the sale desk and made my way home. I never really enjoy these experiences properly until I am home and can relax and look back at the day/s. The whole process is so stressful for me but I will always push myself to go and I never regret it!

 

 


admin   September 4th, 2017   No Comments

 So my day started with me getting up at 5:45am for work. I had not slept at all and was so tired. My anxiety level was pretty high mostly at the possibility of meeting Iain again who I have not met since the 2015 London and Film Comic Con.

The event was the #Game4Grenfell charity football match at the QPR football ground at Loftus Road. There were a mixture of celebrities and former football players in the two teams. I left work at 10:30am and got the train to Shepherd’s Bush station. I admit I was not at all prepared for the number of fans that were there 3 hours and longer before the match but when I got to the football stadium the barriers were already out and I was about 6 rows from the front. Being so small I couldn’t see a thing and I started thinking that maybe today just wasn’t going to be my day. My friend Helen who was there to see Jamie Dornan arrived and we chatted about where best to stand. More barriers were put out and we managed to get to the front of them but they were so far down the road we didn’t think anyone would stop that far down and see us.

I stood around for a while not really knowing what to do for the best and Helen noticed a lady standing in front of us with a ‘Jorah’ funko pop box so I went and chatted to her. Turns this rather lovely lady was Marnie @m_t_graphics who is one of wonderful members of Ser Jorah’s Army and had contributed to the fan book we gave to Iain in 2015. Small world eh?

I was just thinking I’m not going to get anywhere near Iain from my current position when I thought I had spotted him on the other side of the road. I literally left my friend for dust and just yelled ‘OMG it’s Iain’!! I shot across the road with my camera in hand and when I got closer I realised IT WAS IAIN!

He was already being approached by fans for photos and signatures so I waited patiently until he was in front of me and then everything happened so quickly –  he looked at me and I said ‘Hi Iain it’s Sarah’ and he said ‘oh Sarah hi how are you? I got your letter that you were coming’ I said ‘I’m fine it’s so good to see you it’s been a couple of years hasn’t it? He then bent down to give me a hug which was amazing and then I asked him if it was okay for a photo and I literally threw my camera at poor unsuspecting lady and asked her if she would mind taking a photo of us together which she did. He was so lovely as he bent down for me and just grabbed him close to me. I didn’t realise I had my hand of his torso!! Lol

I asked him about when he would be filming the next Jack Taylor series and he said not till 2019!!!!! So we a long wait for it I’m afraid. I got the feeling that GOT Series 8 will take up a lot of the next year for him. I told him we were just glad he had survived this series of Game of Thrones but other fans were asking him for signatures and photos so I’m not sure he heard me say it. I stood back and let others in speak to him whilst taking the opportunity to take some photos of him.

Lots of fans were surrounding by this time him and a security guy came over to help him over the road to the stadium entrance. Iain said to him’ I think I’m going to need some help here’ and thought that was my moment with him was over with but as the security guy went to guide him away from the fans he was still almost facing me and he grabbed my hand and squeezed it and said’ It was so lovely to see you again Sarah, I will see you soon’ and I said goodbye…. I was slightly shakey at this point and ran back across the road to the barrier at the entrance where my friend was waiting and said I met him!!!!!!!!!!! And I got a photo with him and told her what everything that had happened.

About a few moments later Iain was going into the venue and walked along the barrier signing. He was so sweet and patient with everyone. I was too far back and too small for him to see me but I did manage to get a few photos. Helen got loads of photos of him for me which she kindly said she would send to me. He stood back and posed for fans so they could take a photo of him. WOW what a guy!! He then went in and I took a deep breath – all this and the match hadn’t even started yet!

We then waited for actor Jamie Dornan. By this time there seemed to be two places to enter the stadium and we weren’t sure where he would come in. A guy came over to us and we heard him talking to a guy who was standing next to us and he said that Jamie was just down the road walking up here so we both ran to try and catch him. He was flagged by security and loads of fans trying to photos and autos. It was quite difficult for us to get close to him and although Helen was not able to get a selfie or autograph she did manage to take some great photos.

After Jamie had gone in we decided to go to Westfield’s shopping centre and get something to drink and calm ourselves down. It was such a warm day and my bag was so heavy. When we came back we decided to go in and take our seats. We were in the first front tier so great view of the pitch and players.

We had to wait for about an hour before the players came on the pitch for a warm up. Because the event was for the survivors and relatives of the Grenfell Tower disaster there was a lot of stuff to support them which was very sweet. They walked around the outside of the pitch to applause from the crowd. There was a minute silence before kick-off and some of the survivors and firefighter’s that fought the fire that night joined the players on the pitch and were part of both teams. They got the biggest applause of the day.

So Iain and Jamie both come out onto the pitch and Helen and I start going made with taking photos. It was like someone had possessed us!! Lol I got about 300 photos of the whole day and a number of video clips of Iain playing football and warming up.

Now I knew Iain is a keen sportsman I have already had the honour of seeing him play Cricket in 2014 for Words and Wickets (you can read my meeting with him and see photos here) but I was so amazed at how fit he really is for a man of 56 years old. He totally AMAZING in a football kit – just took my breath away! He chatted a lot to singer Olly Murs and other players.

Iain was in Team Ferdinand in Team Shearer

When the match started runner legend Sir Mo Farrah scored the first goal for Team Ferdinand. Iain himself didn’t come on till 5 minutes before the end of the first half and then for another 15 minutes in the second half. He did get stuck in and didn’t shy away from the ball. Apart from the ‘almost own goal’ (the ball bounced off the goal post) he really did brilliantly well considering he was the oldest man in both teams – I was so proud of him.

At half time there were musical performances from Rita Ora and Cheryl Tweedy.

 
By lucky chance we happened to sit next to 2 ladies who were also Iain fans. One was celebrating her 30th birthday. Everytime Iain went past us they yelled ‘GO JORAH GO JORAH GO JORAH’!! Not sure if he heard or not though.

The only couple of things that were disappointing was that.

The only couple of things that were disappointing on the day. At the end of the match the score was 2-2 so there was to be a penalty shoot out – now it was at this time when half the crowd had a bit of mad moment  which started when a boy ran onto the pitch who was then joined by another both wanting to get close to the players. Within a few minutes everyone was out of their seats and running on the pitch surrounding the players. There were lots of announcements for fans to get back in their seats and most of the players had to be taken back inside for their own safety. It was pretty annoying and I can’t understand the parents for letting their kids do this but there were just as many adults on the pitch too. Not only was it time wasting but really dangerous and disrespectful to the players and the rest of the crowd. It took a good 10-15minutes for fans to return to their seats before the players were brought back out and the penalty shoot-out could start.

Unfortunately this happened again at the end of the match and I think the players would have done a lap around the pitch after the match to thank fans for turning up and the support. A perfect opportunity for those who had not seen the players close up to take photos etc. Some players stayed on the pitch but others went in and that was that. It seems a couple of fans got photos with Iain on the pitch at the end but we decided not to invade the pitch and left via the exit.

After about an hour waiting for them to leave we decided to go home. It took me a couple of hours to get back when usually an half an hour journey due to train delays and I was completely shattered when I  got home but so happy and so relieved it worked out so well. Still on cloud nine 2 days later!

To view the rest of the video clips of the Iain playing football click here and here

Thank you to @Jamiehumberts on twitter for everything. xx

 


admin   July 30th, 2017   No Comments

The LFCC is definitely the highlight of the year for me, it’s always something I look forward to and always a wide range of guests to meet. As I suffer with Emetophobia and anxiety this can make life quite difficult for me so when I get inside the venue I always need to familiarize myself with the layout of the place, know exactly where the toilets are and the exits are and settle myself down a bit. These types of events are always packed with people so knowing where you need to be for autograph signings and photo shoots is a must as it saves so much time and stress.

Friday

Friday nearly didn’t happen at all due to personal issues but I finally managed to get myself to the London Olympia. I had arranged to meet with a friend Jon on arrival but because I was late I didn’t get to see him straight away.  I arrived about 15 minutes before David Morrissey had his first photo shoot of the day so I headed there first. I was in such a rush that I didn’t realise how nervous I was until I was standing in the line waiting for my photo. The queue was very long but orderly, this is not always the case and it took about 20 minutes of waiting until it was my turn.

It had only been a few months since I had last met David at Walker Stalker con in London and he had been so wonderfully supportive about the fan site I had built for him and had followed the accompanying twitter page that day so I sent him a message to say I would be there today and our group would be there tomorrow so to look out for me us. He said he couldn’t wait to see ‘the gang’ again and would give us as much time as he could. Seeing David again was amazing, you couldn’t miss him approaching, such a fantastic figure of a man – he had also a grown a wonderful beard which seemed to excite lots of the ladies including myself.

   
When it came to my turn he looked at me and smiled and I said Hi Dave, it’s me Sarah who runs the website and he said ‘oh Sarah hi so lovely to see you, thank you so much for all the work you do on the website, it’s fantastic! We had the photo taken and he then said ‘Is Liz here today’ (one of our group) and I said ‘no she is here tomorrow’ I then told Dave I would see him later today in the autograph table. As with Walker Stalker Con earlier in the year I was so nervous and worried about meeting him that my hands were shaking and sweaty but I needn’t have been as Dave is always so lovely. The photo came out really well. I was wearing my 5 inch boots as David being 6’3’’ towers above me at 5’0’’ tall! Lol Even with my boots I was still much shorter but I felt like I was very much in the photo.

I then went to find Jon who looked amazing in his cosplay outfit of Matt Smith’s Dr Who. We spent some time looking at the merchandise stalls and had some lunch and then a little later I saw Dave at the autograph table and he again was so lovely. I had a gorgeous A2 size poster The Governor from The Walking Dead which I asked him to sign which he did with many kisses I may add and thanked me again for the work I do on the website.  I told him I would see him tomorrow with all the rest of the group.

I was so exhausted at this point all the standing around, excitement and nerves had got to me so I said my goodbyes to Jon and headed home.

Saturday

I arrived at the Olympia just before lunch time and went to the area where Dave’s signing able was. The whole area was filled with people in queues waiting to see guests. With so many people it is often hard to find anyone even with a meeting place organised but eventually Jon found me and the rest of the group joined us.

We all had our photo shoot with Dave so headed to the area to queue.  This time the queue system was pretty awful. Queues for other guests ended up in ours and visa versa. There were many fans looking confused as to where the queue started and ended. We spent what seemed like a long time standing around waiting for our turn however this did give us a chance to natter and mess about. J

We were all nervous by the time we reached the photo shoot cubicle. As you enter a staff member scan your photo shoot ticket and you put all your bags down on the table and queue with the full view of Dave having the photo taken. The photo shoots are always as very quick affair as a lot of guests have a lot of photos to be taken in a short space of time so it’s a quick hello, pose, photo is taken and then you move on. When it came to me Dave said ‘Hello Sarah’ and pulled me towards him and said ‘let’s have a cuddle’! Those brief few moments were pretty wonderful as he held my hand very tightly.

One thing I do dislike about these photo shoots is having the other people queuing watching you when you have your photo taken especially when you are so nervous anyway. It really puts me off and I have to try and block anyone else out. It was lovely to see everyone in our group get there moment with him. All our photos came out really well and were all really buzzing by the time we left the photo shoot area.

We had arranged to meet Dave before lunch back at his signing desk to have a group photo but when we got to his desk he seemed to have cunningly sneaked out already so I after a couple of DM’s back and forth we arranged to try again and catch him after lunch at his signing table. Luckily this time we managed to catch him. Our group were led to the front of his signing desk and we waited there for him to arrive back from lunch. There was a lady who had been assisting him with the autograph signing that day who seemed to know him quite well very kindly offered to take the photo of us with Dave. Eventually he arrived and greeted us all with a smile, said hello to all of us for a few moments. We then organised ourselves into a group around Dave who sat his signing table for the photo. We had couple of taken and we thanked Dave for his time. The photos were fantastic!!

I had to head home soon after so I said goodbye to everyone and left! I was completely exhausted by the time I got home but happy.

See the rest of the photos here


admin   June 7th, 2017   No Comments

 

Matthew Macfadyen star of Spooks, Pride and Prejudice and more recently Ripper Street has been one of favourite actors for many years. He had an amazing and very natural acting talent not to mention being a total heartthrob so has long been on my list of actors that I wanted to design a fan site on. So here it is. As always a letter has been posted to the actor telling him about the website. Click on the link below to view the fansite.

Matthewmacfadyenfan.uk

Welcome message

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Site Name: Visionsofu.uk
Web Mistress: Sarah | email