Jill, Steward, Richard, Dawn, Guylty and I (Part 3/4)

Continued from here: Day one of RDC5 was in the books and it had been thoroughly enjoyable!

Dear Readers,

Welcome to day two of Kate goes Hannibal.

After a night of fitful sleep on my part must’ve been the jet lag as Guylty slept perfectly fine höhö I awoke even before the sound of my trusty phone alarm jingling could interrupt my non-existent dreams. Our morning ablutions done, Guylty and I tackled the breakfast buffet at the hotel and planned our day. Our first order of business would be the photo shoot with the man himself.

I haven’t talked about that decision yet. Originally, when I decided to go, this was not on the menu at all. I thought it would feel weird and besides, it would cost extra money and anyway, I wasn’t gonna do it. At all. No way, no how. Not happening. Until I talked to my darling Louise that is and she said “If you can pay for it and still eat while you’re there, you have to do it. You may never get another chance.” Hmph. I guess when she put it like that…

So I too had shelled out the requisite 45 GBP the day before and bought that photo voucher. There was a photo shoot for him on Saturday and on Sunday and the lady who sold me the voucher asked me which day I wanted. I replied that I really didn’t have a preference and since she had the booking page for Saturday open, Saturday I got. This will become a salient plot point later, so keep in mind that a technicality decided my fate!

The whole thing was scheduled for 10.30 h, so we took our time for breakfast, after which we once again grabbed our flower crowns and bags plus the things we wanted autographed (just in case*) and made our way to the convention hotel.

[*The way everything works at this con is by your badge number. At events such as photo shoots and autographs that require one-on-one interaction with the guests, it is imperative to funnel people through in an orderly and reasonably speedy fashion. Therefore, they call around 50 people at a time to these locations (they had conference rooms booked all over the hotel) to avoid too big a crowd and to make sure things flow smoothly. The range of badge numbers currently being serviced is announced via the Twitter feed of the con organizers and since you have no way of knowing how fast things will move, you have to be prepared with everything you needed basically at all times.]

When we arrived at the hotel in good time, we saw that as usual, the queue for the photo shoots was already going. We joined and in short order were asked to come up to the front, as RA’s line moved considerably faster than the one for Mads. We would soon find out why that was the case.

Apart from the simple fact that Mads was king of the hill at this con and had many more people requesting photos with him, the general MO was also decidedly more time consuming with him. He had to enact all kinds of things that might require an explanation, coordination and in some cases props. That all takes a while.

Quite the opposite with RA. Here, we stood in line and about ten people out from it being our turn we were informed by the ‘people wrangler’ handling the funneling of people into the photo area “No hugging and he doesn’t want to wear any flower crowns.” Boy, was I glad I had scrapped my initial idea.

I had originally discussed maybe holding a sign for the photo with Louise. This is an inside joke between the two of us and would certainly have fit a question of the Fandom A to Z, namely Letter U: Have you added anything stupid/cracky/hilarious to your fandom? I like to compliment actors on their quadruped companions. You know, their herbivorous ungulate mammal costars? In short, I like to tell a man I like his horse. RA is no exception and one day, when I’m very bored or very drunk or possibly both, I might tell you the story. Anyway, I had prepared this:

After the rules had been laid out, I would NEVER have dared to bring it. (It was with me the whole time though, because it’s the envelope that corralled all the important stuff: autograph card, program, photos to be signed etc.).

Anyway, after the no hugs, no crowns, no fun(ny business) pronouncement, my “your obedient servant mode” kicked in immediately. I’m a problem solver. That’s my job. I make people’s problems go away. So I never thought about myself for a second after that. I was gonna fix his problem. All this happened subconsciously, of course, but my inner monologue must have been something like this: “Okay, he’s clearly uncomfortable with this, so we make it quick and easy. Get in, get out, no muss, no fuss. I’ll make sure it’s alright for him. No problem.”

When it was my turn, I walked over without so much as a look at him, positioned myself suitably for the photographer, smiled like a woman possessed, thanked him—again without really looking at him—and got out of the shot. (Someone asked me later that day about his eyes and I couldn’t answer. I never looked him in the face.) The whole thing can’t have taken more than seven seconds. That’s not an exaggeration. To the best of my knowledge, that’s the actual time of this lack of interaction. It was more akin to photobombing him than having a deliberate picture taken with someone. You wanna see the result? Of course you do. Well here it is, minus my scary grin.

Exhibit A: Look at how I unconscioulsy mirrored his stance. This was all about him and not about me. I wasn’t thinking at all, I just went through the thing on autopilot, but I was all focused on him. Aren’t I nice?


Exhibit B: We can see the reason I am as tall as I am—it’s all in the legs. They’re basically as long as RA’s but if you look at the full view, he is about 3 inches taller than me. It’s why I have a hard time finding pants that are long enough.
Exhibit C: I would also like to point out that I subsonsciously adhered to the rules and regulations of a dance at any decent Catholic School: a slim volume of the New Testament would’ve fit between us at all times.

I never saw any marks on the floor, but I must have hit those subconsciously as well because I wasn’t admonished by the man himself. Drat! I only read about them in armidreamer’s impressions on her blog.

On the day, someone asked me on Twitter how ‘meeting him’ for the photo was and I said it really wasn’t a meeting at all. I got some pity for that remark, but I didn’t feel cheated or disappointed in that moment. This was RA and I was fine with how things had gone. I did, however, (together with Guylty) jump into the fray and defend fannibals who were not okay with the interaction. I’ve detailed this before, so I will just quote myself on that front.

This is my comment on some fannibal reactions, not my own. As I said, in that moment I was completely fine with how everything had gone, but I could understand if someone was disappointed, especially in comparison to the shenanigans the other guys got up to.

That concluded the first order of business for day two and so we got into the next queue for the Q&A scheduled for noon. This was what I had looked forward to most and it didn’t disappoint. I’m not gonna go through the whole thing in detail here as a) Guylty did a fantastic job of it on her blog and b) I assume you’ve all seen that bootleg video of it by now. So I will only describe my impressions here. Once again, we were grateful for our stewarding passes as the seating situation was much the same as on the day before. This time, we sat stage right, again directly behind the Gold Tickets and pretty close to the middle aisle. Since I am tall, I had a pretty good view of the stage for the most part. As Guylty described, the con organizer warmed RA up with some previously approved? questions and only opened up the floor to questions from the audience after about half an hour. I had debated with myself if I would ask a question. I knew I wanted to, but I wasn’t at all sure if I would be able to go through with it once the moment arrived. The curtailed question time somewhat helped my decision. When they announced that it was now our turn, I threw myself into the aisle to queue (again!) for the microphone immediately. I wasn’t sure how many people would want to ask questions and with only thirty mintues left, being too far back might actually mean you wouldn’t get your turn. Again, being seated near the front brought me into a better position, so the stewarding thing was already looking pretty good. There were a bunch of people in front of me (I’d have to check the video to know how many exactly—maybe 10?), which meant I was inching my way closer to the mic slowly. I was alternating between trying not to miss anything that was being asked and answered and attempting to get my rapidly hammering pulse under control. At one point my mouth was so dry I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to get out a single word.

Finally, it was my turn and I am glad for that video because it proved to me what Guylty had already told me on the day: My voice sounded okay and not at all as wobbly as I felt.

Me: Hi. Your characters’ survival rate isn’t the greatest and it’s responsible for no shortage of gray hair in the Armitage Army, [chuckling in the audience] so does it make a difference to you as an actor to leave behind a character because he dies or is it easier for you to leave them when they ride off into the sunset or whatever the scenario may be?

RA: I don’t know what it is with me but when I get cast in something, people either want me to inflict violence on someone or just kill me. I don’t know. I take it personally.  

Me: We take it personally too. [more laughter]

RA: It’s not gonna happen in the Stranger, though.

I remembered the first part of his answer and my interjection but I honestly had to watch the video to remember what he said in the end. I knew he said something, but I couldn’t recall. I guess I was just a tad nervous aka freakin’ hyperventilating and heart palpitating on the inside. I asked Guylty afterwards but she wasn’t sure either. The guy sure can scramble your brain.

After the Q&A was done, we picked up our photos (see above) and hung out in the lobby for a little while. Then the Mute Twins had to split up for the first time. #sadface I had to report to my stewarding gig in the autograph room and Guylty’s next point on the agenda was handing out photos from the morning’s photo session. So we said goodbye for the time being and I headed off to the same room we’d had the photo shoot in the morning.

I reported in and all I can say is that this was such a fun time, it didn’t feel like work at all! Helen, Dean and the rest of the team from Starfury were absolutely lovely. Assignments were handed out and I was tasked with checking people off the list, making sure they hadn’t gone through the line before (to keep things streamlined, every attendant was only allowed to get in line once for each actor) and that their number had been called (cf. my remark on badge numbers etc. above). I was handed a pink, shiny clipboard with a rosegold clip and a golden sharpie (yahtzee) and set out to do crowd control. I had a total and utter blast. I was running around, checking people off the list, yelling out the current badge numbers and having the time of my life. Dean in particular was a totally fantastic goofball, quipping back and forth all the time. They were tweeting out the badge numbers via a Twitter application that was not entirely cooperative, so he was never sure if the tweets actually went out. The running gag between us became whether or not my back pocket where I kept my cell phone had vibrated. Each time he tweeted he came over to check and I’d wink at him and say “all good, my butt just vibrated.” I know, I’m classy and charming. At one point, when people weren’t moving up quickly enough, he called out “come on, step up, I don’t bite, unless specifically requested” and I retorted “hey, that’s my line”. The man has an awesome sense of humor and I had A LOT of fun that day. The other fannibals working with me were lovely as well. The only thing was that I never saw RA even though I was working his and Mads Mikkelsen’s auto session. It didn’t really matter though, I wouldn’t have had time for ogling anyway. I worked for 3 hours straight and finally stumbled out sometime around 17.30 or so. I was tired and hungry, but elated about the experience.

I found Guylty whom I had only seen for a minute while she got her autographs and we decided to treat ourselves to a dinner at the fine restaurant with the golden arches. After that, we went back to the venue and took in the costume competition. It was amazing. I’m an ex carnival nut, so cosplay and costumes are right up my alley. I didn’t partake here because a) I was an interloper and not a real fannibal and b) carry-on luggage only doesn’t leave a lot of room for a lot of extras. It doesn’t mean I couldn’t enjoy the show though.

#PajamaParty

After the competition was over, we decided to forego the party again boring people alert and hung out in our hotel room gabbing half the night instead. What can I say? The prospect of going to bed with Guylty was more enticing than dancing with the fannibals. 😉

One more day to go. Stay tuned…

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52 thoughts on “Jill, Steward, Richard, Dawn, Guylty and I (Part 3/4)

    1. Thanks. It’s a slow process but it is fun to write it all down and especially to compare it to other accounts. I can’t wait to read your Sunday impressions.

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        1. I like that image—that we’re all collaborating on a large tapestry of shared memories of events and emotions.
          Does this man have any idea what wonderful gifts he’s giving us?

          Liked by 1 person

    1. I think the hem of his shirt comes a little lower than mine, so the waistline is hard to judge. Either way—as it has come up in the past—I put his inseam at a 34-36. That’s why I got the photo. For science. #ohshutupkate #thatsmystory

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Thank you for sharing Kate, I’m really enjoying reading everyone’s accounts. I was over at Armidreamer’s earlier today. Each of you has your own take on the shared experience and the “large tapestry of shared memories of events and emotions“ will be something I know I will go back to time and again – the posts are being bookmarked!
    I've finally watched the Q&A video, having been unable to access it while on holiday and absolutely loved it. I'm wondering if you remember actually "seeing" Richard as you were asking your question or were you in bit of a daze? I ask because the expressions on his face are a joy to watch – how lucky to have video of your little interaction with our lovely man. Your response that "we take it personally too" was priceless 😆😆

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I have no recollection of seeing him. I know I stared at him hard while he was talking, but I couldn’t tell you what he looked like. Apparently, multitasking in his presence isn’t an option for me and I was listening so hard, the rest kind of fell away. It wasn’t so much a daze as a feeling of touching a live wire the entire time—thrilling, unnerving, inescapable.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Re. the “we take it personally too”
      Sometimes I’m glad my mouth just takes over in these situations (other times not so much). In this case it is really funny and makes me sound much cooler than I was. But it wasn’t a conscious thing at the time. That’s pure gut-reaction Kate. #nofilter

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  2. Thinking about it Kate, I think you hit the nail on the head about why the photo opportunity was such a rapid blur. We must have wanted to get away as soon as we possibly could to avoid prolonging his discomfort.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I talked about it with Guylty and I think it’s a shared experience. We immediately snapped into woman accommodation mode. I know I did. I wanted to make it okay for him—never mind that I’d basically hired him for a job. Handsomely paid, too. Even if we just figure 20 GBP and allocate the rest to the con organizer for the photographer etc. and pretend we had 60 seconds instead of 7, it still comes out to a whole lot of GBP/hour if my maths is sound.
      The chance of sound maths from Kate is roughly 50:50

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes that’s very true about woman accommodation mode, although I later ignored these protective instincts and ‘forced him’ to hug me for my own gratification. Such was his power of attraction! I think your maths is sound (although I’m not the best person to judge).

        Liked by 2 people

          1. Sorry Kate didn’t mean to keep rubbing your nose in it, re hug. Will shut up now. Still you’ll always have Jill’s Gymkhana, and that was unique to you two. Lol, inner hall monitor, no wonder you were so chuffed with your pink clipboard!

            Liked by 2 people

            1. No, never apologize!! You deserve that experience fully and it’s a pleasure to live it vicariously through you.
              When we first discussed blogging about it, Guylty and I went over that: Will blogging seem like a selfish “I went and you didn’t neener-neener” thing. I vowed right there in that London hotel room not to let that feeling (that I absolutely instinctively felt) to dictate what I would share about the experience. Your joy does not take away from mine. It enhances it. I’m glad for everything I see and read by others. It makes the shared tapestry that much brighter and more beautiful !!

              Liked by 2 people

            2. Well said Kate. I was worried about gloating too but this makes me feel much better .(Who knows there may well be other opportunities for an RA close encounter for you too in the future!)

              Liked by 1 person

            3. We really should enjoy all of it. I loved reading your posts and I second Guylty’s comment on another post. You should totally blog regularly. It’s a joy to read you!

              Liked by 1 person

            4. P. S. I was seriously tempted to lift that clipboard, but a person who can’t jaywalk certainly isn’t cut out for grand theft clipboard!!

              Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks. 😁 This is a one-off, I’m afraid. Although I have some ideas in the back of my mind. Come Guylty‘s charity auction, I hope to contribute a donation. 🤞🏻🤞🏻

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Mads = “King of the Hill” LOL oh yes! And I’ll say it here (again) – a very worthy king! I know we consider RA the consummate professional – but Mads blew it out of the water. His professionalism extended to giving *every* fan a special moment – and especially as a non-fan, I really appreciated that. I was very happy that I queued for an extraordinarily long time to get his signature. It was so worth it!
    But back to RA and the process of getting the photo taken with him – you are spot on! That’s exactly what it was. It was a conveyor belt, it was mere seconds, and we were in absolute convenience mode there. “Let’s make sure that he is not inconvenienced by our preposterous desire for a photograph with him.” I really do not like APM at all, and this was a particularly weird APM, I have to say, because essentially we were protecting him from ourselves!!! Can it get any weirder?
    I can only say, though – I was so glad I shared this experience with you, Kate. And that that actually extended to going back to a shared hotel room. Just because the whole experience of a con where you see your OOA in close proximity, really requires analysis. Hours of! And therapy. Hours of! I am not sure I would’ve been able to process it all on my own…

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    1. OMG, yes. Protecting him from ourselves is exactly right and not a little bizarre. I mean, I know I’m mostly harmless. 😂
      Mads was fantastic. As were the other actors I interacted with. Consummate professionals and charming people one and all. In that regard, this con set a very high standard for any future events of this nature.

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      1. True. I am really glad that this was our first ever con. It definitely hasn’t put me off. It was a small, intimate event, with extremely nice attendants. And the participating stars turned out to be wonderful – maybe because we had no expectation whatsoever. But hey, joking and casually talking with Scott and Aaron, shaking hands with Mads – I don’t think I would’ve been able to do so with RA, so they really saved the day.

        Liked by 1 person

    2. that’s bad though isn’t it? being made to feel you are inconveniencing him by paying him money to have a photo with him. I’m assuming that may be why he changed tack for the Sunday. I think he went into the experience thinking probably purely about himself and how he was feeling, rather than the audience -which judging by his previous behaviour is unusual (possibly the size of the event put him on guard?) All speculation on my part…

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      1. I can only speak for myself here, but how I reacted to the simple statement “no hugs and he doesn’t want to wear any flower crowns” made by someone else, isn’t his fault. There are always two sides to each message—sender and recipient. I’m sorry if this sounds APMish. I’m just trying to say that not everyone reacted in a self-censoring way. A lot of people still did funny poses and such with him. The fact that I did self-censor has a lot to do with my personality. Like when I discussed the possibility of a photo with people beforehand and I instinctively balked at the idea of doing any sort of re-enactment of a scene or something similar. I just wasn’t comfortable with that and I had already decided against my silly 🐎 sign because it made me feel self-conscious before I knew anything about his expectations.

        Liked by 1 person

          1. Couldn’t agree more. Also in the sense that he was not the top star guest of the con. That was Mads. Which relieved RA off the responsibility of making this con an unforgettable experience for the fans.

            Liked by 2 people

          2. Flower heads notwithstanding. I think they are fabulous and we should incorporate them into the Armitage fandom at large. He’ll just have to learn to deal. 😉

            Liked by 1 person

    1. Aww, thanks for reading Herba! It was a lot of fun—both experiencing it and writing about it. At times I had my doubts about the blogging, but then I reminded myself how much I enjoy reading other people’s accounts and so I got it done. We need to poke Guylty,—she owes us a Sunday, I believe. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

      1. The blogging about these events can be a bit tricky but I am really glad you did it because as you said: most of the peole enjoy reading about it if they weren’t able to attend.
        Plus at some point it will be a nice reminder for yourself, or at least I feel like that about my own convention posts

        Liked by 1 person

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