Monday, May 28, 2012

Adventures in Fangirling

The great thing about Europe is that travelling from one country to another is not the arduous, logistical nightmare it is back home. So it was entirely possible for Kat, a friend from Spiders Group (for those not in the know, that’s my writing group back home that I shamefully under-attend), to come over from Germany for the weekend. I forget how it all came about – we were talking on twitter one minute and planning the next. And I admit there was potential for it to be weird cause we didn’t really know each other that well (due to my aforementioned under-attendance) but turns out that was just my social awkwardness manifesting – it was totally not an issue. To use the descriptive prowess of Arthur Shappey, the weekend was, in one word, brilliant!

Things didn’t start ideally with her flight being delayed, but we were not to be put off and met up Friday evening all the same for dinner and a wander around town. We walked a lot. No, really. I cannot stress this enough. With the weather playing along, delivering blissful sunshine all weekend, it was really nice to soak up the vibe in the centre of town – everyone is just so happy and life spills onto sidewalks, it’s really just a whole different buzz around here when things heat up. Kat exercised some magnificent self-restraint in not purchasing bags, tea pots and other awesome things. She is to be commended, really. The day ended with us being foot-weary and sleepy, but I thought it was a really good effort on our parts.

Alas, I was working on Saturday and while I was slaving away (read: staring into space), Kat was off enjoying Camden markets (I warned her about the corsets, let it not be said I didn’t) and we eventually met up at Euston Square. Why, you might ask? Well, when the opportunity presents itself to indulge in your beloved fandoms, it is the duty of every self-respecting fangirl to make the most of it. As we’re both avid Sherlock fans, we were honour bound to put our fangirl game faces on and see all the things! So naturally we went to Speedy’s Café.

You don’t need to be a consulting detective to see where this weekend was heading. Our wanderings around town took us to Baker Street, New Scotland Yard, St Barts, The British Academy (aka the Diogenes Club) and Eaton Square (aka Irene Adler’s house and, as Kat astutely observed, the location for the house in Upstairs, Downstairs.)

Pavement of angst, anyone?
Of course we also fitted in other things such as visiting awesome bookshops like Daunt on Marylebone High Street, stumbling onto street markets, cooing over amazing things in obscure little shops and rummaging around vintage shops (where we may or may not both have exclaimed “It’s a John sweater!” at the same time. We are cool like that.) Obviously, I also had to take her to Forbidden Planet – what sort of fangirl would I be if I didn’t? There was also much indulging in Starbucks frappuccinos and some pretty hilarious people watching.

During our shenanigans, we realised that along with sharing a passion for Sherlock, Who, Black Books and all things British, we also both really, really like cars. Cue two hours wandering around Chelsea and Kensington sports car spotting, also known by the game title of ‘How many Aston Martins can you find on one street?’ This wasn’t really the aim, but it turns out there are an obscene amount of Astons around so it sort of just happened.

Did I mention the weather was glorious? Because it was.
We decided to take it easy on Sunday and had a late start at St Pauls, before wandering across the Millennium Bridge and along the south bank. Here then we came to the crowning glory of this weekend of fandom as the BAFTA Television Awards were on and they were still handing out wristbands for people to watch the red carpet. Like we’d miss such an opportunity!

We actually found a really lovely beer garden to chill in for a bit before it was time to stake our claim in the fenced off area next to the “red” carpet. This was the most painful part but thanks to my handy umbrella, word games we’re equally terrible at and Starbuck’s frappuccino happy hour, we managed to survive with minimal discomfort. There were some moments of barely suppressed rage when other people got pushy and annoying, but such is the way of the line-up. In retrospect, I choose not to waste my energy on that because we actually did really well for ourselves…

If I can only have one caption, let it be said that Andrew Scott is just too adorable for words.
Yup. Surely you can imagine how absolutely epic this was. Kat was blessed by Mark Gatiss, her writing idol. The only way the day could have gone better is if Benedict actually came to our little section – but the poor guy was obviously melting and so desperate to run away, you can’t fault him for doing just that. And now, hilariously, we can be found in the back corner of a lot of BAFTA footage, craning our necks and bouncing around, since we were right across from the cameras.

After cooling down with the help of pear cider, we giddily skipped off across Waterloo Bridge in a happy blur of adrenaline and eventually collapsed in St James’ Park, just as the last echoes of daylight faded from the sky. We didn’t want to call it a night but it was 10pm on a Sunday, there wasn’t much else to do. It was really quite sad to farewell Kat and wish her well on her merry way back to Heidelberg. Sigh.

So! Overall verdict: the weekend was quite the successful adventure and definitely one to remember.

PS: Let the record show that Joe Gilgun is frowning in that pic cause he is confused by the copy of The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes Kat has given him to sign - "What am I signing?"

Music: Qikitarjuaq - Cabin Pressure

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