My weekend experience
I’m a rare blogger, it’s something I don’t often feel the need to do, but I occasionally like to have a look back at something, so as I’m a bad sleeper when away from my own bed I thought that I’d get something down while these things are fresh in my mind.
First let’s put a picture in here. Yes I hate myself in this photo!
I don’t like photos of myself and avoid them whenever I can. I certainly don’t post pictures of myself all over the place so if you do happen to have come here it is probably from a place where I hope you will respect my wishes for a certain amount of privacy and I will ask you to respect that and not put this out on general view. But if you had the chance to have a photograph with this lovely lady wouldn't you be grinning like a Chesire cat that just got a big plate of milk? She just about got time to say 'Hello how are you' before they took the photo which is another reason why I didn't get the chance to smile properly......just a little bit starstruck at that moment in time. I do think she started off with an 'Aww', as if she had just seen her old auntie come to pose with her for a photo! I also felt a bit sorry for her as I'm sure she wanted to actually talk to people rather than have them ushered in then almost pulled out the other side, but with the number of people wanting their moment with her I can of course quite understand why.
If you’ve never had the opportunity to see her or speak to her, this lady is just as beautiful and gracious both in looks and attitude as she appears in the media.
So, if you've come here then you're after tidbits of gossip and to hear what this one or that one said or did. Some things I will put out there, as I think they are things the actors wouldn't mind, others I won't as they were said off the cuff and I will just generalise rather than stating who the particular actor was that said it.
I tweeted that Caitriona called Graham a Princess, so I can't take that back, too many people have seen it even if I deleted it. They were talking about riding the horses in Series 1 and some of the incidents which, TBH sounded quite scary, so I will leave it to your imagination exactly why she said this, but as you can imagine it brought the house down. There was also Steven Cree arm wrestling this really big American guy, who was called.......wait for it........Jamie. It was set up on Friday at the meet and greet, but I think Jamie thought it was a joke and he looked a bit surprised that he was actually asked up onto the stage to perform. Let's just say the outcome was pretty similar to last year - Steven Cree needs still more hours in the gym before he picks an arm wrestle with these big muscle men. Also if you follow Steven on Twitter, he is just the same on a stage, a real blast of a guy who was born to entertain. I'm sure he could perfectly easily do a stand up comedy show, I don't know if he has but he's a lot of fun if you don't mind the odd f**k word thrown in with an occasional s**t as well.
What really struck me during the talks/QandA sessions is that these actors, some of whom we've seen on screen and stage over many years, some of whom are just setting out on their careers, are all just the same as us. They have insecurities and get nervous, they have crises of confidence, they worry how they are going to pay the gas bill. One actor was so nervous they were pacing up and down before going on stage, saying they couldn't do this by themselves, one was fiddling with their hair all the time they were on stage, one said they feel like a blob when they are standing next to Sam Heughan because of the way he looks so good and is so easy to light with his good bone structure (I originally typed god bone structure there - Freudian slip????.....;-))and this person is certainly not a blob.
I was moved by some remarks especially made by the men about how they wished for a better world, one even said he would like to go back in time to a matriarchal society as he was quite sure that if more women were powerful leaders we would have a far more peaceful world. I have to say that made me tear up, so even this cynical old body can still be moved by such words. Also when asked what would make them turn down a role they said under no circumstances if rape of any sort or hurting children was involved. In fact they said how much they hate the amount of graphic violence that is portrayed on our screens today. They said that sometimes the implied violence of earlier times was just as powerful and suggested we watch a famous scene in a film, in which people think they have seen a very violent act, but in fact it is never actually shown but people are sure it is, but it's because of the powerful acting.
There were a some actors that I made sure I was there to watch the QandA and was quite happy to go without lunch to see them and am so grateful that I did. There were also a couple that I thought I wasn't that bothered to catch, but once they started talking I thoroughly enjoyed them and have found a new respect for them.
I'm deeply disappointed that I didn't manage to see a couple of the actors at all, but I couldn't be in 2 places at once and was queing for photos or autographs so had to miss both of them.
I was at times surprised, at others humbled, but mostly I just sucked it all in and will spend time going over it and playing bits back to myself. If there’s one thing that I brought away with me from the weekend it’s how no matter who people are or where they come from, when you get a crowd together who are passionate about something, then that is a joyful thing and it’s one of the things that makes me very happy. I don’t care if others don’t understand that, but it’s mine and I love it.
I will mention a couple of things that frustrated me. Firstly having a gold ticket was IMHO not worthwhile for very much. I'm looking at the up side, it got me Caitriona's auto included & I met & had a lot of fun with the ladies I sat with at the Meet & Greet on Friday night, but each of the actors we were there to see only got 5 minutes to sit at each table, then because there were so many tables we had to sit & wait ages for the next person to appear & it was very late by the time we left; some tables were still waiting to see one guest so goodness only knows how late it was when they left. I did get a Gary hug, but he hugged me so tight he nearly broke my specs, and bless him he offered me his reading specs to replace them! Luckily mine are made to be abused so no damage done. He did give me another hug when I went for his auto, this time without squashing my face :-) The Gold ticket didn't give any priviledges in the queues, we ended up queuing with regular ticket holders anyway & they were quite surprised, but I put that down to bad organisation when the hotel suddenly told the organisers that the ballroom had been double booked by another organisation on Saturday & Starfury had to put up with using other rooms all over the hotel so we ended up wandering back & forth to find out where we should be. I also wonder if the hotel's bad Wifi prevented Starfury from being able to Tweet regularly what was happening. There have been various posts around about people videoing and taking audio during the Q&A's which they don't allow & to me it's bad enough to flout the rules but to post them publicly is really pushing it & needs to be controlled much better. The audio in the hall was really bad so how people did manage it is beyond me, but then I haven't listened or watched any of them so don't know how good or bad they were and apparently Starfury are aware so perhaps these people will be black listed and not allowed back.
Will I go back next year? Well now my husband has realised that he and the dog can survive a whole weekend without me, yes I might, but it very much depends on the date as we have a big anniversary next year and that must come first - I really don't think the family would be happy if I wasn't there for my own party even if I bought them tickets and took them with me!!!
Of course someone had to ask the question about series 5 and beyond and apparently there are those that are up for doing more, but it of course depends on the powers that be.......sorry if you were expecting a really juicy bit of gossip!!!!