I and my intrepid assistant went to the Destination Star Trek London convention yesterday morning. Having geeked out at the Comicon in London earlier this year, I was looking forward to some tongue-in-cheek sci-fi action, some decent cosplay photo opps and the chance to interact with fellow geeks.
Boy was I wrong…
We both picked up on the mood at the Excel centre from the moment we walked in. Whereas Comicon was friendly, laid back and easy going, this Star Trek fest was intense, unfriendly and sometimes just plain rude.
We both noted just how seriously pissed off all the cosplay chaps and chapesses looked, with the honourable exceptions of those I took pics with early in the day.
We found it difficult to reconcile the effort put in to creating a complex cosplay outfit with the sheer tedium and sometimes anger exuded by many of the “enthusiasts” we encountered.
Interesting note: we were both interesting to see that there were just as many women dressed up as men. Many of the ladies chose to come as a selection of “Orion Salve Girls“, or as we chose to call them, “Space Prostitutes”.
There was little in the way of “light entertainment”. There were, however, queues from here to Uranus (cheap joke). You had to queue for everything. You even had to queue to buy a ticket to get in a queue to get an autograph from one of the many Star Trek personalities who were there.
I managed to catch sight of a couple of them, without having to part with my hard-earned cash. We saw a very pissed-off looking Scott Bakula signing autographs (I’d be pissed off too, given how his fans were behaving) and a very chilled out Rene Auberjonois just strolling through the middle of the convention, unmolested by the fans.
I can only surmise this was due to the fact that on Deep Space Nine, he’s slathered in make-up and virtually unrecognisable. He looked like he was making the most of his anonymity. Good for him.
I was struck by the pretty passive-aggressive notes attached to the start point of queues for autographs. “No hand shaking”, “No flash photography”, “No questions”. Part of me wondered why the hell these celebrities would sign-up for attending something like this if they didn’t want to mix with the fans.
Then I took a look at the fans and felt more than a little sympathy for the Trek actors…
I’d divide attendees into two camps: most of the younger group tended to be light-hearted and when in costume, looked to be having some fun. But pretty much anyone over the age of 40 was taking it all too seriously and giving off vibes that they were at work, not play. Most common phrase of the day? “I think you’ll find…”
The shops were selling out of all the (horrendously) over-priced tat at a lightning pace, indicating that serious Trek fans have serious cash. Or that they had saved up for it all year and were blowing their savings on that must-have replica phaser. Again, unlike Comicon, I lost count of the number of times I was pushed aside by an over-eager “enthusiast” trying to get his/her sweaty palms on a mug/ashtray/mask.
Just plain rude. Intense. Not much fun.
After just a couple of hours, we agreed to cut our losses and head off. Neither of us could justify the time and money required to get in front of one of these actors, and I really wasn’t sure what I would say to them if I did meet them.
As I’m trying to empty my home of all non-essential tat, I wasn’t going to buy a load of Star Trek themed tat. Especially at those prices. So I left empty-handed and a little sad.
I won’t be breaking any speed records heading back to one of these events. It was all a little sad.
My message to yesterday’s attendees? You need to lighten up. You are basically living out “Big Bang Theory” for real.