Saturday was the Invasion 2008 Doctor Who convention, a day of geekery and drunkenness, and the first Who convention I'd attended since 1988 - yes, 1988. The event started FAR too early for my taste, especially since I had been to the concert the night before and didn't get back until about 12:30am (the stupid queue for the coat check took forever!) and registration began at 7:30am. It also didn't help my ears were ringing after the concert which hampered my ability to fall asleep.

Anyway, I begrudgingly woke up when I needed to do so, got ready and headed for the tube not long after 7:00am and got to the venue well before 8:00. I stood in line to get my registration package and met up with a friend who got there a little after me before we found seats for the introductory session.

The day was essentially comprised of discussion panels (recounting stories and audience-provided questions) and the autograph session. The first panel featured some kid guest stars from Who; the second featured people from the 7th Doctor era; the third featured the 8th Doctor, Paul McGann; the fourth featured people who played various monsters; the fifth was a solo effort from Tom Baker about his time as the 4th Doctor (among other things). The panels were all enjoyable, but of course loads of people were there to see Tom and take in what he had to say. He was quite engaging and certainly didn't disappoint, other than when he had issues hearing the questions being asked of him and he pretty much answered a completely different question. To be fair, he's not young, and he remarked there was a problem with the acoustics, but nevertheless whatever he said in reply was enjoyable and generally humourous.

The autograph session on the other hand was simply atrocious. There was about a 45-minute break between the panels and the autograph session and when Baker's panel finished there was a mad rush to the exit. I chose to wait until it was easier to get out but found out afterward the mad rush was there as people were trying to queue for the autograph portion. By the time I left the auditorium and went to queue there were a few hundred people ahead of me. I couldn't count how many but it was an obvious majority of the attendees. The autograph portion also started late which didn't help. It was also known/noted that Baker had to leave earlier than other guests, meaning the possibility existed I and those in the queue with me might not get his autograph. Certainly by the time we got to the door, well over 2 hours after entering the queue, the powers that be had closed the queue for Baker and thus nobody else was going to get his signature. That was quite disappointing, but not only did that mean I was unable to get his signature, the delays in starting the autograph session meant there was no way I'd be able to get all the autographs I'd wanted (especially when I saw Jean Marsh leaving the building well before I got into the auditorium). So, I prioritized somewhat and wound up getting Paul McGann, Paul Kasey, Nicholas Briggs, Sophie Aldred and Anneke Wills.

That's about where the day ended, convention-wise. Afterward a few dozen folks went over to Barking to a pub and consumed far too many potables. It was a fantastic night though, being able to hang out with a bunch of the Who fans I already knew and meeting a bunch of others, the highlight being spending a fair chunk of time with Anneke Wills in a social situation, hearing some of her stories and just being able to talk with her like a normal person rather than having to do so in the more awkward methods available at convention signings and such. She was an absolte sweetheart and a very down to earth person. The chap who published her autobiography is one of the Who fans I've gotten to know since arriving here and it was certainly thanks to that affiliation that I was able to meet Anneke, though she's certainly sociable and approachable enough that she wouldn't have minded if I just went up to her at the pub and started a conversation without having first been introduced to her by Tim.

Today I'm quite sluggish between the fatigue and drink, and even though I slept in a bit I'm still all cobwebby in the head and haven't yet gotten to some work that I had slotted in for today... though thankfully I don't have to get that sorted until Tuesday so I still have time. Soon it's podcast time then I think it's going to be an evening of relaxation with a movie or something.



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