Soooo it was strange this time in many ways. For a start I had son no.2 with me as well as my beloved, which meant there was some focus on the actual occasion and experience as well as on TJ and Bones. The organisation was so much better. We arrived in time for a thorough look , rather than rushing in when most things were closing up. It was pouring with rain as opposed to the blazing sun of the London ComicCon. We got to the door without waiting 6 hours - ok about an hour's wait, but that was bearable. We got to a Q & A -impossible last time. Fewer people, but still thousands, and a chance to take in the amazing cosplay outfits properly - though how some of those people were actually able to wander around in that weather in those clothes I'll never know. We indulged our Doctor Who fandom by having photos taken with a Dalek and a rather effective Tardis.
The strangest thing was walking up to TJ's stand not especially wanting an autograph or a photo or whatever, just feeling the joy of seeing a good friend after a long time. And so it proved. I loved the way he took time out to speak personally to everyone in the queue and brought out those lovely little goodie bags for us all (apparently his mum helped with those). And of course he took that time for us as well and was obviously delighted to meet up again. He asked about work and how the teaching was going, and what age kids I teach ("Elementary to senior" said son no.2, in a language TJ could understand, while I was still working out how to tell him year 4 to year 13)..and wanted to know how I got into the job in the first place and why I was interested in languages. He is such a generous person - with his time, smiles, hugs. And curious and caring about everyone. Though I can't imagine how tiring it must be to sit in that place all day signing, doing Q & As and going to photo ops.
The Q & A, though in a lecture room so hot it was like an oven, partly because it was brimming with fans, large numbers of whom had to stand, was huge fun. The relaxed atmosphere of three really close friends chatting together was palpable. Eric was a revelation, this guy is clearly a performer, and riffed off the others brilliantly - even sang a little. Tamara was as giggly as we have come to know from TJ's on-set stories, and TJ once more displayed his sharing nature - sharing memories and jokes with his friends, sharing himself with his fans.
It's true that the experience is hugely expensive, particularly if you're keen to get autographs and pictures (as hubby and son said, maybe that's more a thing for the collectors of the social-media-savvy, self-sharing generation), but the feeling is a continuous high and part of it is being among so many people of the same mind and interests - as in a concert or a single-focus convention. Next time we really must meet up with other members here who are visiting. We didn't get to see the Sherlock Q & A, which son no2 would have particularly liked, but that was the only slight disappointment. He is certainly keen to get to another one. As for me - once more confirmed in my belief that TJ is one of the nicest and most talented people I have ever met. Without a doubt.
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"We make our lives out of chaos and hope. And love." - Angela Montenegro