Friday 19th October 2012 – The day that I had been waiting years for had finally arrived.
Len and myself travelled to North Greenwich via the Metropolitan Line, then Jubilee Line, arriving at just after 11 o’clock. We then took a short stroll around the O2 Arena as, on our last visit, we had not had a chance to take a proper look around. We then headed for the Emirates Air Line cable car, to continue our journey to the ExCeL Centre. On arriving we headed to the Airline Cafe Diner & Sports Bar, as I was feeling peckish. Len had already eaten but had a coffee while I had a latte and a sausage, bacon and egg baguette. The prices were very reasonable, providing you didn’t want an alcoholic drink as they were very expensive. A standard 275ml bottle of beer was £5.50. A bottle of Cobra was £12.95 and a bottle of House Champagne was £70.00! Hence the name Airline Cafe Diner & Sports Bar, because their prices are Sky High. When we had finished we then headed to the Fox Bar, for a quick drink, before heading into the ExCeL Centre. With our ‘three-day pass’ around our neck, all we had to do was collect our ‘Goodie Bag’ and wait for the doors to open. We then headed into a room the size of three football pitches, where we waited to be let into the the main exhibition area. At exactly 2 O’clock the doors opened and slowly the queues began to move. 15 minutes later and we were in.
As we entered the exhibition area, to our left was the Photo Shoot B Area and the Klingon Zone. Then you came to the Autograph & Photo Sales Areaand then Talk Stage B. The Bridge Photo Shoot Area was next followed by Stage C and Autograph Area A, where the five Captains were situated. Next to this was Photo Shoot Area A and Photo Shoot Area B. Next to this was the Federation Zone and finally the Main Stage. In the middle were Autograph Areas B & C, The Museum, the Stunt Arena, Press Office and various stalls selling merchandise. After a quick scout around I headed to Photo Shoot Area A to get my photograph taken with Mr William Shatner, while Len went for a wander and ended up at Stage C where he listened to Paul Olsen give a talk about his 8 month task of airbrushing the Enterprise for Star Trek The Motion Picture, and how he then developed a photo-composition process that produced computer-like graphics 20 years before computers were up to the job. Meanwhile, as I waited for my moment with Star Trek’s most famous Captain, we were all informed that you could not touch or shake hands with Mr Shatner. You could speak to him but you had to leave the area as soon as your photograph had been taken. The speed with which we were all rushed through was incredible. Between 15 and 20 photos a minute. Soon enough it was my turn. Mr Shatner was sat on a stall and barely met my gaze as I took my position. There was a flash and it was over. I offered my thanks, but received no reply as I left to collect my photograph. It had all happened so quickly that I wasn’t sure if it had really happened or not. The evidence in my hands said that it had, so I wandered off to find Len. I found him near Stage C and suggested a beer. Since my next photo opportunity was at Photo Shoot Area B, we headed to the Klingon Zone.
After a quick drink, I headed off to get my photograph taken with Mr Avery Brooks, while Len went for another wander. Unlike William Shatner, Mr Brooks greeted you with a firm handshake, asked your name and really made the experience a pleasure. After the photo had been taken, I said “Thank you, Mr Brooks.” to which he replied, “Avery. Avery.” What a great guy.
With my two planned photographs taken, I went to find Len so that we could both have a proper look around. As we walked, we were surrounded by many alien races and a myriad of different Starfleet uniforms. In the B & C Autograph Areas we got to see many of the stars from all the Star Trek TV Series and Movies; JG Hertzler, Daniel Stewart, Bobby Clark, Denise Crosby,Walter Koenig, Cirroc Lofton, David Warner, Robin Curtis, Marc Alaimo, Andrew Robinson, Chase Masterson and many others.
I tried to get some photos of them all, but it was difficult with all of the autograph hunters in the way. Still, there was always tomorrow. We rounded out the rest of the afternoon with a few more drinks in the Klingon Zone, before heading off for home.
We took the cable car back across the River Thames to North Greenwich, where we boarded a Jubilee Line train. The train was packed with commuters heading home, so we alighted at London Bridge. By now the rain was starting to come down hard so we headed for Bankside and The Anchor pub, as all the other pubs around Borough Market were rammed. After a pint we headed along Bankside to The Founders Arms, where we took shelter from the drizzle, before heading to Doggett’s Riverside Bar. Deciding that the trains would be less busy, now, we headed to Westminster and caught a train to Baker Street and then took a Metropolitan Line train home.