I remember talking to Denise (smileawhile), with whom I'd been to a *helluva* lot of gigs, about it walking down Sauchiehall Street. I don't know why we were there or where we were going, but I do remember saying "Chris is going to be doing a gig at this convention. Do you… wanna go?" She said yes. I bounced. Literally jumped up and down in the middle of one of the busiest streets in Glasgow…
Denise then booked the tickets over the phone, leading to the first of many misspellings of my name (I can't quite remember if I was 'Sean Ruffel' or 'Sharon Rustle' that time, and the photo album I keep all my name badges in is all the way on the other side of the room…) and she and I were on our way to the first of *many* conventions.
Point is this: I went to the gig. The fact that I had to go to a convention to get to that gig was actually an annoyance at the time… And yeah, how many cons have I been to since? Even I've lost count - and that's not even counting the fact that I'm now staff at Rogue Events.
And yes, I was at White Room where the 'Acoustic Live In London' CD was recorded (I can hear myself yelling out GARAGE!! at the appropriate time and whooping loudly when Chris asked if we wanted to hear Steve singing one of his songs on the CD. *headdesk*)
So basically what I'm trying to say is that Chris and his music was the reason I started going to conventions. And I've never regretted it.
Anyways, those of you who've been around for a while know I've been through some *really* shitty times and social situations have sometimes become almost tortuous for me, so as the date for Vampire Ball got closer I got more and more panicky about it. I couldn't afford it, but I'd bought the ticket (gold ticket no less…) months before and the amazing and *incredibly* generous thedothatgirl put me up in her hotel room (and she doesn't snore that much… hee!) fed me, and generally looked after me (she also helped pay for my transport down and back - I don't deserve friends as good as AC).
Even so, there were moments right up until I got on the train on the Thursday evening when I actually felt like throwing up at the thought of going…
Epic journey then - 50 minute train ride at just that point in the night when people have been in the pubs and are heading into town to go clubbing; ten minute walk (with tow-along mini-suitcase) to the bus station (I swear I used to do that in less than 5 minutes when I was at Uni!); ten hour overnight journey on an overheated bus with some woman jabbering on her phone in Azerbaijani or something next to me and only one headphone on my mp3 player working (needless to say I didn't sleep); three hour wait in a freezing cold Victoria train station until off-peak time (which was even colder because I was sleep-deprived!); hour long underground journey (including one change of lines, so much fun with no sleep…); forty minute walk through Heathrow searching for the bus stops at T2 which aren't there any more, finally finding one at T3 and then helping some other bloke to find his bus (what the hell?!); ten minute bus ride to the hotel; couple of hours wait in the lounge for AC to arrive. The upshot is this: I AM NEVER GETTING THE MEGABUS AGAIN!!!! *ahem* (Also? Next time I do this I am sleeping through the day before the con as well as the day after!)
So Andrea arrives, we get to the room, I make myself 'suitable for human consumption' (ie showered and changed clothes - get your minds outta the gutter folks!) and we catch up - it's been way too long and we aren't going to let that happen again! Then we jump down to registration and I feel like some kinda minor celebrity from all the recognition I'm getting. Seriously Rogue peeps, I'm just a wee Scottish lassie with a loud voice and a control freak tendency when it comes to health and safety… ("Mind yer backs please!" "Can I get you to sqeeze in against the wall and keep the fire exits clear please!" hee… at least I say please…) But in all honestly it was lovely to have so many of you all come up and thank me for the work, and to those of you who asked where I was, I couldn't be there in October because I simply couldn't afford the trip - we don't get paid as staff, not even in terms of accommodation any more. You don't know how sorry I am to have missed you all but there was just no way I could be there.)
Anyways… Vampire Ball.
Registration. Drooling over the 10x8s that were on display for people to buy for their autographs. Me having a not-completely-mocked petted lip realising that I had Allan Hyde on my ID pass whilst AC had Chris on hers… Hotel room, the ever-popular 'find the first spelling/grammar error in the schedule' game. Then food. We did really well I think - only two visits to Mickey D's over the weekend, that's not too shabby at all! (And I had a deli sandwich, it's not I know but it feels healthier than a burger!) Met badfalcon, charlies_dragon et al in there and caught up a little about the Kane gig that had been on the Wednesday (which I wasn't at :() and then headed back for the opening ceremony.
Since AC has a much better memory for these things than I do, I'll again refer you to her post about it (plus, check out her site - she has more photos on there and they're pretty effing awesome!).
Back in March last year, I'd decided that it would be a good idea to get a Gold Ticket, one of the perks of which was to get access to the meet and greet. Walked into the room, spotted some familiar faces at the nearest table (which had some free seats) and after a whole "Do I know you?" "Of course you know me!" bout of comments I re-connected with Lisa and Theresa whom I last encountered in April at one of Steve's gigs during which I grabbed T's hand, stroked her wrist and cooed over the tattoo she has there (It's the anti-demonic possession tatt from SPN). I'd never met her before. Now? We're pretty good friends… Hee!
We left a couple of seats at the table for the guests (and, having been one in the past, I was thinking the PA could maybe sit down too. None of them did though. But the thought was there!) but T who is a *huge* CK fan decided she couldn't cope with him sitting next to her, so we ended up shuffling a little leaving me next to the empty chairs.
We had an absolute laugh at our table - if you were in the M&G? We were the loud, fun table near the door. Everyone at the table was kinda connected in some way apart from one girl who initially was joking and joining in right along with us but eventually her lack of connection with the rest of us became really apparent to the extent that even the guests commented on it… But anyways, the guest - the thing you want to know about!
I CAN'T REMEMBER THE ORDER!!!!
Dammit. Georges wasn't the first, but he's the first I really remember because he went round our table asking our names and equating them with something he'd remember. I was first and became "Shona of the Dead". EVERYONE ELSE HAD A CUTE NAME! Seriously, everyone else was either someone he'd dated, someone he fancied, or his mother's name. I'm remembered for a comic horror film. Ah well, there's worse things I guess! Turns out he's a Doctor Who fan and Sarah Jane was his favourite companion. Who knew?
Dayne and Jon. Ah Dayne… seriously, how much had he had to drink?!! First his comments about "Drunk!Keith" (who had already been to our table, I suck in not remembering much about that, but you'll understand why later) - Keith Szarabajca was standing at the door talking to his PA and he was kinda slouched a little and just looked like your typical Jakey. (Scots terminology for which there isn't really a proper translation - middle-aged bloke who gets drunk and hangs around watching the world whilst resenting it a little). Then Jon telling us all about Dayne with his 'cape' and running around the parking lot of the hotel… Needless to say, fun was definitely had! Oh. And I finally showed Dayne my tatt.
I got it done after the White Room convention as a 30th birthday present to myself and have been trying to build up the guts to show him it for at least two conventions since then… He was kinda flabbergasted, although that could have been because he was finding it not-so-easy to focus on it, but told me I had to show Chris because he would love it. He then helped smooth down my overshirt when I pulled it back on (I was wearing a vest top with a crochet overshirt, so I was kinda half-stripping to show him the tatt on my shoulder.) and kept rubbing my back. He's such a sweetie!
Clare Kramer, around this point the rest of the table were getting irritated a little by the non-member member of our group who kept asking irritating questions (the kind that get asked on mic at the Q&As rather than the more face-to-face ones that get asked in the M&Gs )and I was kinda prompted by the girls into asking other distracty questions. Which was kinda cruel now I come to think about it, but in terms of the guests I think they appreciated it - they were getting asked things they hadn't been asked twenty zillion times before. Like me, the non-girly girl asking Clare where she got her dress because it was just so pretty! (It was, but really? I couldn't care less about labels or anything like that so…
She was adorable (it was an old dress she just pulled out of the closet - it was *really* pretty though) and seemed really glad to be back doing conventions.
Juliet Landau - who I think may have been before Clare now I come to think about it - is right on the verge of being painfully thin, but so freaking stylish it's scary. Her man though? Totally not what you'd expect! He's the kinda scruffy bloke I go out with for crying out loud! (Although he's too blonde for my tastes.) Anyways, really sweet, talked a bit about her Take Flight documentary which is why I think she was at our table before Clare - I personally was annoyed at our non-member member of the crew asking some inane question so I engaged Juliet in conversation about TF. Which I haven't yet seen (*hangs head and starts to feel really guilty*). She had her shades on the whole time - she was wearing them most of the weekend actually - but she was still lovely.
At this point T had been getting more and more tense because the boys (Chris and Steve were visiting the tables together) were getting closer to our table and she was actually squeaking a little. Which of course induced hilarity in the rest of us. Chris then moved onto another table (not ours) and Steve made to leave (going to either the loo or the bar, we didn't stop to ask) and we called out "C'mon!" to him, to which he replied with a grin and saying "We're saving the best till last." We couldn't really say much else could we? *g*
So we got Wee Boy next. WHO IS ADORABLE!!! I've seen maybe four episodes of True Blood from the start of season 1 and the TB vids that have been in the recent rounds of the AVAs, so I didn't really have any clue who this Godric character was. (AC's sending me the disks though, never fear!). But man Allan Hyde looks YOUNG! I would card him in a shop for buying cigarettes never mind alcohol! (Hence why he is, and will forever shall be, known as Wee Boy (and you have to put that little lilt into 'Boy' that almost makes it buoy)) Adorable. Funny, cute, half my age… at least… And commented on the non-member of our table saying that she obviously didn't fit in with us and if he had a bike with him he'd loan it to her so she could leave. Which, kinda ouch, but really, she wasn't even *trying*! I remember talking to him, I remember teasing him, I remember being part of the cause of him saying he thought we were the "scary fun table" (was that what he called us AC? Something like that anyway!) but honestly? I can't remember what was said.
After a little bit, when a lot of the guests had actually left already and we were starting to think we weren't going to get to meet the boys, Steve *finally* came and sat at our table (two seats away from me, leaving me to mildly panic over the fact that when he got back from the loo Chris would be SITTING NEXT TO ME!!!!) He commented about how cold it was at our table (we were at the door and right under an AirCon vent, it was freaking freezing!) and I said "Don't worry, we'll keep you warm." Scooted over onto the empty seat and wrapped my arms around him.
Now I've met Steve quite a few times, I've even been at the other end of a phone call which from his end sounded like phone sex but from my end was mostly me creased up laughing, but I've never been *quite* that bold. I swear I was sober. I'd had maybe two drinks by then? Sober. Honest. He laughed, hugged me back, I realised what I was doing and scooted back to my seat. We all chatted for a while; then Chris arrives just at the point where memory-man Steve spots my necklace. (He's seen it before quite a few times, commented on it before a few times, but seriously that man has a memory like a sieve - the stories I could tell from PAing for him and Jason at A2!) and says "that's one of my picks isn't it?!"
I nod, say "yeah, you've seen it before." He gets all excited and points it out to Chris saying "look! She's got one of my picks on her necklace, they're the only ones I'll use!". Chris looks at it (and damn it's disconcerting to have him sitting so close and staring right at you…) and I hold it up and explain that the yellow pick is Steve's but the blue one is one of mine "'cause I play too" I remember mumbling.
Chris kinda leans back in his seat and I realise he's got his hand in his pocket. He takes out his *own* pick and gives it to me saying "Here you go, it's the only one I've got."
I think I said something like "Are you sure you don't need it for the gig tomorrow night?"
He smiles at me (and dayum…) and says "no, you have it."
Took me a couple of minutes to actually form a coherent thought after that, never mind conversation but I think I joined in the group chat. He was telling us the story he later told on Sunday about how he was sitting with Tim Minnear one day, asked what Tim was doing, and then said to him "Fucking kill me!". He went on to explain how he was so tired of Lindsey being beaten up by girls. And then he told us something he didn't share on the Sunday about how when he was asked back in s5 it was on the condition no more girls were going to beat up on him. "So of course first day back filming, there I am with Spike with his hand round my neck truing to strangle me." If I'd been less gobsmacked at the pick I swear I would have said something about him calling Spike a girl… He also mentioned that because he wasn't a regular he could refuse those scripts he didn't like, so although they tried to kill him five (? I think that's what he said?) times he managed to avoid it. Hee!
Then I asked AC (from behind my hand) if I should show him my tatt, she agreed I should. I pulled my shirt over my head. God knows what they were thinking with me stripping off in front of them both, but I was decently covered (I swear!) and in a quiet moment (which pretty much, after I took off my shirt was inevitable) I said "I showed this to Dayne earlier and he said I should show it you." I turned (He was on my right hand side, the tatt's on my right shoulder blade) and goddamn if he didn't brush my hair away to see it.
Impressed actually doesn't begin to cover his reaction - and I'm not just saying that from my overblown squee memory. "How did you…? That's it exact! Steve! Look, that's the tattoo I had in Angel!" (I turn more so Steve can see. Chris touches my shoulder again, still staring at the tatt.) "How did you get that. It's it exact."
I blush a little (because dude, did I want to tell him I'd traced the design from a screencap of his bare chest? Did I hell!) and said something about getting it from screencaps. He says "Dayne's seen this?" I nod, he stands up and calls over to the table Dayne's at. I spring to my feet as well (seriously, I was on automatic at that point and would have done *anything*) He's shouting to Dayne who’s being hilarious with another group but finally notices us, Chris calls "Have you seen this?!" Dayne calls back something like "so you found her?" (I think, I was standing next to Chris with a room full of people watching me, I was a little discombobulated to say the least and not really aware of what other people were saying!)
And that, dear reader, is actually about as far as my memory extends to the Friday night. There was more chat, there was the party afterwards, which we went to and my god Georges Jeanty is an enthusiastic dancer! But that is my memory of Friday at Vampire Ball.
And seriously, can you blame me for not remembering more details of other parts of the evening? *grins*
To come (in less time it took to compile this I promise!): Teddy Bear Balls; Blow Five, Draw Seven; You Sexual Donkey!