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One fan's memories of Gallifrey 2004 (long)

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Miz Em

Joined: 17 Feb 2006
Posts: 30

PostPosted: Sun Mar 26, 2006 9:38 am    Post subject: One fan's memories of Gallifrey 2004 (long) Reply with quote

I was obsessed with recording as much of the convention as I could, no doubt about it. I had to stop and remind myself every so often to also enjoy the moment. As much as I saw and recorded through the viewfinder of the digital camera or the audio through the jukebox, what I experienced at the con was ten times, no, a thousand times more exciting!

I can’t explain it, but the palpable presence that Paul had, I just don’t have the skill to put in words. I tried to capture it for those who could not be there, but the video clips, the pictures, the audio, none of that really captures the essence of the man. They’re a great reminder for me though. When I watch the little clips, I remember. And although I felt I would not forget anything about the weekend, I’ve found, in listening to the audio, in watching the clips, that I have forgotten bits of it. So, in a way, I’m really glad that I WAS obsessed about recording it.

I remember strolling in the hotel lobby the first day, trying to look nonchalant, even though I was nervous. Why in the world was I nervous anyway? God only knows. But I was. I registered, that took about 2 seconds, and I turn around and there was someone in a hockey jersey waving at me and yelling “Hi Emily!” Yes, it was Denise, in her Flyers jersey. She had recognized me from the photo I had posted at the McGann Library. I met several people then, besides Denise there was Estelle, Tom, and Alryssa amongst them. I met Judi and Steph later, they had gone to their room to make a report to the PMEB. I’m embarrassed to say that I didn’t immediately place Tom’s costume. “What’s with the sheet?” I whispered to Estelle, and she kind of smiled at me. “Oh, you know, in the TV movie..” That’s when it hit me, it was the shroud. Tom had another beautiful costume, the Edwardian frock coat ensemble, that he’d made himself!! What a talented man! Lucky Alryssa! But, Tom, it’s supposed to be heather green. Wink

It’s really awesome to be in a group of people who understand your obsession. J You don’t feel in the least bit self-conscious. It’s also gratifying to know that some people have it worse than you. LOL! Like Denise, and Karin! Hugs!

Anyway, it was almost three o’clock and Gaby and Karin were stuck in traffic and not due for another 45 minutes. I was debating whether to go to India Fisher’s panel and Estelle was saying she would go with me. I guess we were trying to talk Denise into going because the next thing I knew she was poking at me, but speechless. I turned around and OH-MY-GOD! There he was! The man himself! The McGann! He was towing his luggage along behind him, casually dressed in a blue shirt that was pulled out loose over his jeans. I guess they were jeans, I don’t really remember. And that cocky McGann walk. Oh my!

Anyhow, they were at the registration desk for a while. We later found out it was because the hotel had lost Paul’s reservation. Yep. Guest of honor and they lost his reservation. What a way to run a business. When it looked like they were going to be there a while, I took a few pictures. Trina told me later it amused her that there were palm fronds in the picture like I was real paparazzi hiding in the trees. I laughed, because it’s true! There ARE palm fronds, and I did feel like paparazzi. I only took a few shots there though, because it did feel like I was invading his privacy, even though it was in a public place. So there we were, hanging around the lobby, wanting to talk to him and afraid to. And Judi, my hero, steps up and touches Paul on the arm to get his attention. You’ve all seen accounts of this, so I won’t go into detail here. Suffices to say that Denise got her hug, I got the picture, its up at the McGann Library. Happiness for Denise, and envy as well, because I would’ve liked to have had a hug as well. But hey, she’s waited eight years, I’ve been a fan for maybe 3 months. I can deal. But I did step up and give him Teri’s card. I told him she couldn’t be there because she was afraid to fly. He took a look in the card, and I swear it, spent an extra second looking at her picture. She’s a beautiful woman, and I could see him appreciate that. Yes! Score one for Teri! And it gave me something to say to him. Score one for Emily! LOL!

There are also accounts elsewhere of how we found out he was in the room across the hall from the room that Steph, Judi, Denise, and someone else shared. We were in the room and talking and giggling like schoolgirls over it. It was loads of fun just doing that. Oh my goodness! I still have butterflies in my stomach thinking about it.

After a while, I got concerned about Karin and Gaby and called them on the cell phone. They had just registered, so Estelle and I went down to meet them. Oh, it was good to finally meet them. Hugs all around, some recounting of the Paul encounter.

We went to Opening Ceremonies thinking that Paul would show up for it. We were all disappointed when he wasn’t there. I guess he was getting some sleep, I don’t know. I did get a good clip of India Fisher though. I love her Charley Pollard, and she’s as sweet as she could be. Then we all went to dinner at a Thai restaurant and caught up with each other.

I told everyone, well, someone anyway, that I wasn’t going to be there early. But I was still on Central time and woke up early anyway. When I got there at 9:30am the conference room was deserted. So I decided to save seats for as many people as I could remember. Put little sheets of paper down on the seat with names on it. The wonder of it was that people really did respect the fact that these seats were saved. I had my seat all day, front and center, perfect for taking pics of Paul. I loved it. I’ve since gone to the Chicago TARDIS website, and these front row seats are going to cost $250 for the weekend. So I consider myself blessed that I had that opportunity in LA, because while I love Paul, I don’t love him that much. Smile I might pay $75 for a reserved seat in rows 2-5 but not $250. Anyhow, I must apologize to Tom and Alryssa. I just never did remember them while I was saving seats. I am so very sorry!

Paul’s session was at 1pm, so that meant I sat through 3 sessions that I wouldn’t otherwise have been at, and I’m glad I did. I completely enjoyed them. Janet Fielding was a hoot. A woman after my own heart. I bet she can be, um, tough, to deal with! Paul Darrow was hilarious, I had never seen Blake 7, but now I wish I had! And the session with Paul Cornell and Gary Russell about Benny Summerfield was interesting. When I run out of Paul McGann material, I’ll look into that. Doesn’t look like that will happen anytime soon though!

Then finally, it was time for Paul’s session. He came in through the door and someone tried to tell him to come up on stage from behind the black curtain but he refused and just sat on the stage. He was popping Hershey’s kisses like there was no tomorrow. Wish they’d been * my * kisses! There was a lot of cheering and hollering in welcome, and I think that he loved it all. You can read my transcript of the session at the McGann Library. Take it from someone who was trying to take pictures of him, the man never stops fidgeting. Never. And he had this tendency to put his hand down the back of his pants. Caused several heart tremors on my part, even though, from my angle, you couldn’t see much. According to Denise and Steph, though, you could see skin. Thud!

Then, all too soon, it was time to hustle out of the room to stand in line for autographs. We had left right after the pictures at the TARDIS but the line was already around the building! Gaby and Karin were in front of me in the autograph line. Gaby got her autograph and moved on, and Karin got hers and made to move on. I just knew I had to do something because they weren’t going to tell him that they were the ones waiting for him outside the National theatre! So I said, “Paul, this is Karin Cameron, who went to see you in Electra.” And he looked up and held her hand, and Karin quickly said, “This is Gaby who was there too.” And he held her hand too! I don’t recall what he said, but he did say something about tea and the schedule. So I pulled out my handy schedule and we three worked out the best time for “tea”, which turned out to be cocktails instead. Karin was kind enough to gesture around and say that she was with a group and he said, “Yes, invite everybody.” Hurrah! Mission accomplished!

We had to take a break and catch our breath from our brush with greatness. I know we got together again as a group, and this was when I tried to get reservations. I got huffy with the girl because they weren’t taking reservations, but I got over it, because it was time to see Paul again! This was when I discovered that people really did honor those slips of paper I had left in the chair, because mine was still there waiting for me.

I honestly don’t remember details about the Dr. Who reunion panel, although I’m sure it’ll come back to me tonight when I do the transcript for it. This one was one and a half hours, and I do remember that it was loads of fun with Sylvester McCoy, Yee Jee Tso and Philip Seagal also in it.

Then it was time for “tea”! I hustled out so that I could get the table for 15. Then a bunch of people came in that I didn’t know and added themselves to our group. So I had to ask them to set 5 more places. It turned out to be GarFeiMao, a new member of PMEB, and her friends. I don’t recall if she’d asked for a picture with him first, or if I did. In any case, I got my pictures with him, thanks so much to Trina. The camera was being persnickety and wouldn’t work right, but that’s okay, because that meant I had his arm around my shoulder for a little while longer. I don’t remember how it felt to have his hand on my shoulder. I don’t think I even realized it until I looked at the picture. And I forgot to smell him! But I remember thinking that he felt good, because I had my arm around him. * Huge sigh * Oh to be able to do that again!!

Then he went to the head of the table which had filled up, leaving me at the foot of the table. Hmph! Wink

I talked to Kate Orman, Jonathan Blum and Dave (I don’t know your last name!) for a little while. Then Dave and I thought it was time that Paul came down to visit our end of the table so I went to Judi and asked that he not forget the folks at the other end. Judi, my hero, brought it up, and soon Paul came down to our end of the table. There was a bit of commotion as both Jonathan and I tried to give Paul our chairs. Steph had Paul sit down next to Kate. You should have seen Kate’s eyes! They were huge! That was fun. Then I sat down and asked him about Electra and whether or not they were extending (they’re not, Eve Best was too tired) and whether or not they’re going to Broadway (he didn’t know). David and Jonathan talked to him about something for what seemed like a long time.

I asked him about his death scene and whether he was feeling better from the bruises he got from it. He started to point out where his bruises were, and picked up his left leg and pointed to his inner thigh. I know my eyes got round and I was ready to pass out from that!! Thud! I didn’t hear a thing after that. Dave and Jonathan talked some more while I got some air back in my lungs, and Paul’s handler (oh to have been her!) came to try to hustle him away to dinner.

I asked him my last question about whether or not it was okay to send fan mail. He looked me in the eyes, those twin blue lasers pinned me to my chair. I’m not sure how I managed to get the question out, he must have read my lips a little because I know my voice got soft and nervous. Anyhow, you all know what he said, he reads everything, he’s not assiduous about replying to mail, email is better for him, he’s more likely to reply to that. I did remember telling him that we would forward email to him via his agent. Then Karin and Gaby came over with stuff for him to autograph. Karin had a program for Teri, and I told him again that Teri was the one who was afraid to fly, and he said, “Yes, I remember, you gave me a card from her.” So he remembers Teri and he remembers me. Wink

Anyhow, it was all over with too soon. It would’ve been nice to have had more time. But perhaps he was meeting with a producer for dinner? That would be wonderful!

So, the next day, I dragged myself out of bed so I could save seats again. And got the same seats for just about everyone this time. Except Tom and Alryssa (hangs head in shame). The first thing Paul says when he comes in the auditorium, “You’re still here! And in the same places! Did you sleep here last night?” Everyone laughed, Denise said something, but I should have spoken up and said that I’d saved the places. Oh well. You know what they say about seizing the moment. Should’ve but didn’t.

He was very relaxed in this session, he leaned his chair back on the back two legs. That’s really all I remember about this session. At least until I do the transcript for it, in the next few nights or so.

Then it was time for the autograph session again. This time I didn’t hang around for the pictures at the end of the session, the line was still most of the way around the building by the time Karin, Gaby and I got there. This time his photos were in and we could buy as many as we wanted and get them autographed.

Gaby had her “Withnail and I” DVD cover autographed, and he was all happy and excited about it. He looked at the pictures and showed them to Susannah Harker. I wish I had known that Susannah Harker had done Jane in Pride and Prejudice. I loved Jane but didn’t recognize Susannah. I would’ve stopped to talk to her if I’d known. That would teach me to read the program more thoroughly. Then he signed some stuff for Karin, and she gave him her gifts. He held her hand again (I think) and blew her a kiss goodbye. He turned and gave me a sly wink, and I laughed and shook my head at him.

I got personalized autographs for two people at Horatians and one from PMEB. Susannah said something about how sweet and about me being a messenger, and Paul said, “Yes, I’d noticed.” Eeep! He’d noticed! All I could do to remain upright. But he didn’t remember my name though, I caught him sneaking a look at my badge. We talked a little about one of the names, and when I called him on sneaking a look at my badge, he said, “I’m sorry, I don’t even know who I am anymore.” I told him it was all right, I really didn’t expect him to remember.

We hung around for a while until all the PMEBers got together. Then Paul came out for pictures with the Dalek. Then he had to leave for the airport. And it was all over. It felt like all the air had been let out of me. All I had now were pictures, video and audio clips. It’s been hard coming down from that high, and I’m glad I had the pictures, video and audio to fall back on. The greatest thing about this craze over Paul McGann is that I’ve made some really good friends, on Horatians and on PMEB. If it weren’t for you, I would not have been quite so obsessed with recording stuff, and if it weren’t for that, I wouldn’t have the reminders of how good a time it was.

Let’s keep our fingers crossed for Chicago TARDIS 2004!

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