John Barrowman

Yesterday afternoon on the tube I was glancing at someone's newspaper and noticed an ad for a CD signing with John Barrowman (star of Torchwood, Doctor Who, and of course Shark Attack 3: Megalodon) today at HMV on Oxford Street. I saw nothing about it on the Doctor Who sites and was surprised to learn about it given the lack of press. I thought about going and decided that I didn't really want to do so since it might be too crowded -- and I especially didn't want to go after seeing you had to be there before 9:00am to get a wristband in order to get in the autograph line for 12:30pm. I had no idea what I'd do for 3 hours or so between getting the wristband and queueing for the signing.

But, I nonetheless went. I decided later in the evening that although things like this happen every now and then, they're not an every day occurrence and I'd like to at least experience one of these autograph sessions. I was wiped after yesterday's walking so I'd taken a nap from about 6:30-8:30 yesterday evening and decided after getting up that I'd give the autograph session a try. I got up not long after 6:00am in order to have time to get ready and get to Oxford Street early enough to queue up. I was on the train before 7:00am and at HMV about 7:20, with time in there to stop at McDonald's and get crappy coffee to wake me up.

I stood in front of the store for a bit only to be told by a security guy after a little while that the queue was around the side of the building. I was the first person standing out front when I got there and was happy about that, and dismayed when I learned I wasn't in the right spot since that likely meant there would be others in front of me. There was a limit of 250 wristbands to be given out and I had no idea how busy it would be, hence getting there nearly 2 hours in advance. Once I turned the corner I was happy to see there were only about a dozen people ahead of me, meaning I was in good shape to get a wristband.

I queued up, they let us in just past 9:00, I got the wristband, and it was 9:10 and I had no idea what to do with myself for 3 hours. The Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archeology wasn't too far away, at the University College of London, a bit northwest of Goodge Street tube station (about a 20 minute walk) so while it didn't open until 1:00 I thought I might as well take a walk over there to find out where precisely it was, and it was a good thing I did that since it's tucked away in a not too easy to find place, and once I got to the campus it still took me 15 minutes of walking to find it, and I only found it thanks to a map I found.

I left the area, now knowing where to go, and still had over 2 hours to kill. I began just walking around the Tottenham Court Road area and wound up doing some energy survey at a church (that killed 10-15 minutes) and talking with some canvasser for a charity helping deaf/blind people (another 5 minutes killed). I wandered around the Virgin store (it was called Virgin when I was there a number of weeks ago and bought the latest Underworld CD there, but was now called Zavvi; an interview I saw the other day with Richard Branson featured him discussing how CD stores are going down the tubes, so I don't know if Virgin sold the chain of CD stores or just changed the branding) for a bit, I dilly dallied here and there, including a stop at the BT Tower (formerly called the Post Office Tower) just to see how impressive it was up close (it's kind of impressive up close). Around 11:00 I decided since I'd not eaten yet I'd hit the Pizza Hut near HMV for their cheap lunch buffet, so I went there and that killed about 45 minutes while I ate slowly, and then it was time to go back to HMV.

I queued up a second time outside the store, got in, waited in line for nearly an hour, and then finally got to the front of the line to meet Barrowman. He was at the store promoting his new CD of pop cover songs (I downloaded the CD before its official street date, but am now legit after buying a copy at the store to have signed)... he always came across as a nice chap in interviews and of course in person he was very courteous and nice. It was very nice to meet him, even if it was quite briefly, and I look forward to the next time I head to an autograph session with someone Doctor Who-related (which is Lalla Ward on December 1 out in Barking at Tenth Planet; unlike today when I went on my own and ran into none of the Doctor Who people I met at the Fitzroy, I'm specifically meeting some of those folks on December 1 for the next signing).

Pictures are being posted now, and it's time for me to have a bit of a nap I think.

Edit: I forgot to mention initially that after HMV I went back to the Petrie Museum, but didn't stay for long as it wasn't overly interesting. Archeology is neat, but not so neat that I enjoy looking at broken jar after broken jar. Some of the areas where they had limestone carvings or cartouches or etchings were enjoyable, but overall I didn't enjoy the visit. I wasn't there more than 15 minutes before I decided to head back. Oh well, at least it was free and finding my way there killed some time this morning.



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