Monday, 13 April 2015

My First Con: Part 4

Hello my lovelies, once more we continue with my journey into fandom, cons and cosplay.

So at DragonCon I have cosplayed as Squall, seen Mass Effect Voice Actors, Jayne Hats, been to a quiz show and been to a Gig.

It is now Sunday, the penultimate day of Con. From my observations, you find to types of Con goers; the first are those who go every panel that they can squeeze in, with this people I think its not so much they prefer a specific fandom or show, they just relish in the experience of the con, with all it’s colours, sights and sounds. Then there are the con goers which prefer to see the panels they think will entertain them the most and thus they do not get to see every panel that’s going.

I fit into that second category. So again after a long late but fun Saturday night Kaitlin and I had a small lie in on that gorgeous Sunday morning, had breakfast in the room and got ready in the usual fashion. This time it was time for Gambit and Domino to hit the Atlanta streets. Yes. Gambit, long trenchcoat, shirt, black jeans, wig in Atlanta heat in August……it is official, I am a Masochist.
Moving swiftly on from that lovely image we headed out to one of the largest panels going. The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings. So we left with ample time to beat the huge queue, (or so we thought) we made sure we arrived at the hotel a whole hour before the panel was due to start, we found where the panel was being held and we followed the queue.

We followed the queue out of the Marriott, around the corner and down the street we hung a right around the back of the Marriott and past that too. The most depressing thing about
the whole experience was that at intervals there would be signs indicating that we were in fact following the right queue (that’s good), but also gave estimated wait times (that’s bad). By the time we had got to the end of the queue, the estimated wait time was two and a half hours….

The panel started in an hour. Our roommates had left about 3 hours previous to us and were still about 100 people back in the queue. At this point we were debating scrapping the panel and doing something else, but we thought ‘Goddamnit this is Middle Earth we are talking about! We need to see this’ so we pulled up our respective pants and got ready to Queue, I felt ready, the Britishness in me keeping me strong, I was worried about Kaitlin however.

In the blistering sweatpot, the queue slowly moved and then really picked up pace, bullet train we were not, however we had moved on from glacial speed. We keep trudging along, getting faster and faster until eventually in 45 minutes we reached the air conditioned goodness of the Marriott. 

We can see the doors to the panel, they are not 50 feet from us and then suddenly we stop, for no apparent reason. Now I am normally a calm and collected individual however at this point I felt my inner calm waters detect a small ripple.

So 50ft from Middle-earthy goodness, we are stuck, waiting and now not only are we stuck we can see other people just walking up to the security barriers and being let in, yes some of them have media passes and some of them are stuff, however some people are just saying to the security ‘Our friends are in there, mind if we join them’ and they are being let in. This is extremely frustrating as we had tried this tactic and we refused due to con policy.
So feeling a tad burned but still relatively jovial on the now mildly turbulent lake of my inner calm, a tsunami suddenly appears and upends my vessel of happiness.

Navi, yes Navi the fairy from the Legend of Zelda. Some people love her, some people hate her, me I wanted to end her at that point. Let me explain, a young woman was cosplaying as the annoying sprite and was wandering around with a sign screeching the trade mark ‘Hey Listen!’ and yes schreeching, not saying, or shouting but literally screeching it in people’s faces. She must have been hitting a good 50 decibels and at a tone that just set my teeth on edge. Now if she say did this once, or twice in the 15 minute period we were waiting for, I would have been ok, but when you here this same screech every 10 seconds or so, you really want to take a Bo Staff to someone’s teeth.

However DragonCon must have sensed my thoughts and we were swiftly moved into the panel. We were expecting to be way at the rear due to how long we had to wait, but we were probabaly only about 10 rows back, and there was a good 100 or so rows empty behind us, these filled in with quick succession.

The room is full and you can feel the excitement in the air, then slowly, a single figure takes a seat in the middle of the stage, this gentleman is one Jed Brophy, this man has been in many Peter Jackson films but you will know him as Nori the Dwarf. Mr Brophy was in the role of MC for the panel and introduced the rest of the guests. Mr Adam Brown (Ori the Dwarf), Mr Craig Parker (Haldir the Elf) and Mr Billy Boyd (Pippin the Hobbit).

The room went mental.

Now as per usual the panellists, laughed, joked and answered questions regarding both the Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings films. However there was one small jewel in crown of this panel.

Now unbeknownst to some of you, Billy Boyd as well as being an Actor is an accomplished musician. Now Billy actually has composed some music for Lord of the Rings. The story goes that they (being the crew of Lord of the Rings) were in the process of arranging some choiral music for a scene, however the choir was in New Zealand, the music Director and Studio were in London and everything else needed was scattered to the four winds, and thus they were panicking about the deadline. So one of the camera guys says to Billy, ‘Hey why don’t you make some?’ So that night in his Hotel Billy composed about 5 pieces of music and one of them turned out to be used in the film, that piece was the Steward of Gondor, which Howard shore then took on and refined.

So the panel concludes we leave feeling excited and great so we go wandering around gawking at the costumes and nabbing pictures, grabbing food etc. It's nearing mid-afternoon, I’ve got an Archery Panel and Kaitlin is off to see Shawn Ashmore. So I attend this short but informative panel and we meet up again for our final panel of the day. FULL STEEL MEDIEVAL COMBAT.

Con’s are awesome. 

Grown Men and Women getting dressed in full steel armour, wielding bucklers and flails, shields and swords and going hell for leather at each other.
The Testosterone and Adrenaline were so strong it that room I think everyone left with a beard.

Joking aside though HEMA (Historical European Martial Arts) is a very big thing in the states and is becoming big within the United Kingdom also. The bouts are based on tradition European fights of Honour and are based on points, there are two independent judges and in this reiteration of it the group called up audience members to act as point scorers, a task I was more than willing to participate in.

The referee was armed with a large stick with a flag attached to it, he would hang this in front of the contestants and when lifted for 60 seconds they would fight, now steel on steel is not only noisy but also creates an unusual smell as you get sparks flying and small droplets of oil igniting. A fight finishes with a somewhat burnt smell to it. All in all a rather enjoyable panel

And another cracking day.

Next time the final day!

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