Gearing up for Collectormania MK

So, the week is upon us, and I am preparing myself for my biggest (and by that I mean “most expensive”) convention of the year. That is, until the Official Doctor Who Convention in November, but that’s an entirely different story.

I couldn’t possibly start talking about Collectormania 19 without first raving about the guests scheduled to appear. Even without the specific guests I’ll be meeting, the range of talent, both within the acting and sporting worlds, is extraordinary. Doctor Who is of course well represented this year, with Billie Piper (Rose), Jenna Louise Coleman (Clara), Bernard Cribbins (Wilf), Bonnie Langford (Mel), Carole Ann Ford (Susan), John Leeson (K9) and Jacqueline King (Sylvia Noble) for starters. With the cancellation of Sylvester McCoy this left me without a Doctor to meet this time around, but as my budget is stretched as it is, I’m not overly concerned.

I made the mistake last year of starting a new Doctor Who piece. I had previously been happy enough collecting 8x10s of each actor I’d met, and I’m slowly building up a decent collection; however I decided to obtain for myself a poster of said show, a lovely metallic piece with a TARDIS on it. This is an awfully good canvas for signatures from the entire history of Doctor Who, but it also doubles the cost of meeting every guest I want to have sign it. Given that Jenna Louise Coleman is going to set me back £35 per autograph, and Billie Piper £30, I have made the tough decision not to concern myself with that particular piece on this occasion. I will be getting Bernard Cribbins to sign it however, as, well, he’s a legend isn’t he.

I have a photoshoot booked with Jenna on Saturday and Billie on Sunday, which sadly means that I’m going to have to somehow look presentable two mornings in a row. I’ve not yet managed this in thirty years of trying, so I have a terrible feeling that at least one of these photographs is going to feature a stunning woman stood next to Stig of the Dump’s idiot half-brother. Ah well, there’s always the wonder of Photoshop to help me later, as long as I can procure myself one of the world’s experts on said software.

Aside from the Doctor Who folk, there’s an amazing selection of guests scheduled to attend on all three days, and a number of these could be considered headliners, depending on your cultural bent. Gillian Anderson (she of X-Files fame of course) will be in attendance, for the second time in a matter of a year – having previously been averse to signing X-Files related memorabilia, or so I’m told. Charles Dance will be there, following his appearances in Game of Thrones, a show I have somehow managed to never watch, despite it’s incredible popularity at recent conventions. The amazing Malcolm McDowell will also be at the event, and whether you’re a fan of Clockwork Orange, Heroes, Star Trek, Caligula, Halloween…..the list goes on and on. In all honesty, last year I probably wouldn’t have met Malcolm, despite his obvious star quality, however his performance in Clockwork Orange alone, together with the fact I have only recently watched Heroes for the first time, has left me umming and ahhing about it. I didn’t meet John Hurt at another event some time ago, and his recent involvement with Doctor Who means that I’m now very much regretting that decision.

Star Wars is well represented as always this year – the regular attendee Kenny Baker (R2D2) will be there, as will Denis Lawson, Oliver Ford Davies and Glyn Baker. Of the four, I had originally budgeted to meet Denis Lawson, as I believe he’s relatively rare at events such as these, although again, monetary constraints are putting paid to that now. I’m going to see how it goes on the day.

For me though, this convention is the first one I’ve been to with a specific intention of socialising with fellow con-goers. I’ve ‘met’ a lot of people through Twitter since I started to attend these events, yet I’ve never physically met any of them. It’s an odd situation, meeting people off Twitter. These are all great people who you speak to every day without ever actually being in their presence. Although once I’ve had a couple of pints I’ll talk to anyone relatively comfortably, I can be terribly awkward around new people. This is part of the fun though. Life is about taking yourself out of your comfort zone in order to do something you want to do. Two years ago I wouldn’t have been able to chat to famous actors over an autograph, whereas now I find it a pretty natural thing to do. I’ve been offered company for the Saturday already which is great, so that should make what would be a lonely convention much more entertaining.

I think Saturday is going to be a relaxing day generally – my photoshoot with Jenna is at 11am, so that’ll be out of the way nice and early, and once I’ve managed to obtain her signature on an 8×10 (which I STILL haven’t chosen yet) I won’t have a great amount to do. Which is superb, as I do like to wander around aimlessly for a few hours, knowing I don’t have to race for the free bus back to the station, as I’m staying in a Travelodge that night.

The Sunday might be slightly more stressful, as I’ll be meeting Billie Piper. As will around three million other people. The nightmare here is that I will need to be at the venue early in order to pick up my virtual queue ticket for her, and I’ll need an early one as I won’t have time to hang about past 3pm – my train home is just after 4pm. I’ve never had a problem so far though, and in my case necessity is the mother of getting my lazy arse out of bed, despite any hangover I may have picked up during Saturday evening.

I’ll leave it there, so I can do a more detailed blog post-convention next week. While I’m suffering post-con blues…..



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