Heroes & Villains Fan Fest Insta

Heroes & Villains Fan Fest – 27/05/2017

I hadn’t heard of Heroes & Villains before, and it was quite by accident that I saw an advertisement for it. I was on Facebook and an ad came up saying that Robin Lord Taylor was attending London’s Heroes & Villains! For those who don’t know, he plays Oswald ‘Penguin’ Cobblepot in the TV show Gotham. It’s one of my favourite shows, and he’s one of my favourite people in it. I immediately booked a general admission ticket to get in. I decided I simply had to meet him! Imagine how thrilled I was when four other cast members were announced! Originally, it was: David Mazouz, Sean Pertwee, Drew Powell and Cory Michael Smith. Unfortunately, Cory had to cancel because he’s shooting a new movie! He was replaced by the lovely Jessica Lucas.

I booked a room at the Premier Kensington, a hotel a stone’s throw from Earl’s Court Tube station (read my tips for navigating the Tube here). It was exactly what I needed – not far from the Heroes & Villains venue, small but practical and clean. The staff were really friendly and helpful, too. I only needed it to sleep and shower, so it was a perfect, reasonably-priced base camp.

Then it was simply a case of waiting for six months for May 2017 to come!

heroes & villains banner

On the day, I left the hotel at about 07:30, and walked to the Olympia; it really wasn’t far, about a 15-minute walk. On the way though, I seriously felt faint and sick. I don’t know if it was nerves or tiredness (maybe both?) but it was so unpleasant and a bit worrying.

Will Call (which is where you change your tickets for a wristband/lanyard) was relatively painless, as I got there pretty much bang on time. I got my wristband that said ‘HERO’ on it, and met a nice kid and her mum – we hung out together while waiting to be let into the con. I’m so grateful for them; it would have been really boring if I had to wait on my own.

will call

There was an older guy who appeared on the balcony above us to announce that us peasants (general admission) were to be allowed in half an hour early! Everyone cheered really loudly and he was loving the fame. He had a power trip by making us do a Mexican wave before we were let in.

I legged it straight to Robin’s table and was right near the front of the queue. Robin took ages to show up but seeing him in real life was amazing. He’s so tiny and gorgeous. He was waving and blowing kisses as he got himself situated at the table. Meeting him was in doubt for a horrible while because they were letting so many VIPs through and NO general admission people. I really resent that having more money = guaranteed to meet/chat to the guests. It’s like if you can’t afford it you’re not ‘as good a fan’. It really bugged me because it made the queues horrible at the con. More power to you if you can afford a VIP ticket, but I still feel like it’s not fair on other people who have also paid.

Luckily the guy in front of me (if by some miracle you’re reading this Adam, THANK YOU SO MUCH!) told me to pretend we were there as a group so we could both go at the same time. It’s probably thanks to him that I got to meet Robin at all. His line was crazy long all day – if I hadn’t gone straight to him I doubt it would’ve happened.

So, yeah. I GOT TO MEET ROBIN. I dropped £55 on an autograph/selfie combo but it was so worth it! Instead of a wall of writing about it, I’m gonna bullet point what happened:

  • He shook my hand and asked for my name, then signed my season 2 DVD sleeve. I didn’t really think that one through – there wasn’t much space to write on, so his autograph is really cramped! I said “Yeah good luck writing on that.”
  • He kept calling me ‘darling’ and ‘love’. I usually hate pet names. He got away with it.
  • I gave him this small pride flag pin that I bought for him and he got really excited. “Thank you! Aww, that’s amazing!” He then pinned it onto his shirt.
  • He came around the table to hug me/take selfies and said, “I love your hair!” which threw me off a bit (I’m still not over it, by the way). I showed him my Oswald necklace (“Oh WOW!”) and gave him the biggest hug. He apologised for being ‘so sweaty, it’s SO warm in here!’. He was sort of damp.
  • We took a cute selfie then I said “Be ugly!” and he did an ugly photo with me! Top lad! I then said, “Be nice again.” and got a cheeky third photo. He had his arm tight around me the whole time and was just so lovely.

robin lord taylor 1robin lord taylor 2

  • I said thanks and he said, “Thank you, I love you!” Then I had to go (totally didn’t want to!).

I didn’t say anything that I wanted to tell him – how wonderful and brave and positive he is, and how he makes me feel hopeful despite my depression. I just kind of clammed up (which isn’t like me) and I’m gutted that I didn’t say more/have more time with him. He’s so sweet and so incredibly beautiful as a person.

Straight after I was done with Robin I had to go and pick up my photo op with him (although nothing would top the Hideous Selfie). I got chatting to two girls behind me, Holly and Ali, who were dressed as the Riddler’s henchgirls, Query and Echo. They’d decided on the costumes when Cory was announced and were gutted that he’d cancelled. They laughed when I called him a ‘stupid giraffe man’ (with all the love in the world, of course). We had a great chat about Gotham, our ‘ships’, and how there are always Harley Quinns and Deadpools at cons. They said to wait for them after my photo op and basically adopted me for the rest of the day ♥

As soon as I walked into the op, Robin was like “Hello again!” He held his hand out for me to shake. I was like ‘lol no’ and hugged him again. His pin was gone so I asked after it – he told me it kept getting knocked off so he put it away safely at the table. Then we took our picture and he said, “Bye darling!” Holly and Ali were soon done and we went to pick up our photos together. I look so ugly in mine, I was really upset. Robin, of course, looks adorable. So that was a bit disappointing. I really ought to have known, I always look terrible when other people take my photo.

After we’d collected our photos, Holly and Ali invited me to Costa with them. We hadn’t eaten so we were all feeling a bit rough. While we had cold drinks in the sun, we tweeted Cory about how much he was missing. We got back to Olympia for the Gotham panel. We didn’t manage to get seats so a bunch of us sat on the floor. At one point, Drew Powell pointed his phone at us shouting, “THIS IS FOR THE CHEAP SEATS!” so we’d all cheer on his video.

pre gotham panel
gotham panel
The panel was fun. It was so strange to see them in the flesh. My legs were aching by the end but I’m glad I got to see it. Some highlights:

  • Drew: David has pyjamas with pictures of Christian Bale on. Not as Batman, just photos of Christian Bale.
    David: … I told you that in private, Drew.
  • Jessica: I have the ‘Butch look’ that Tabitha always gives him. I also give Drew the ‘Butch look’.
    Robin: Is it the Butch look or the BITCH look?
  • Robin saying his inspiration was his mum (and finding out his mum was there!).
  • Drew: My first job was a commercial when I was ten. I used the money to by a Pacman watch, which was FREAKIN’ AWESOME.
  • All of them being so astonished that they have so many UK fans, and how much they seemed to enjoy themselves!

After the panel I went straight to Sean’s table. The queue was looooong. I spent my time chatting to two hilarious girls from Dover and a girl with an awesome guy dressed as male Poison Ivy. It took over an hour to get to Sean but his manager thanked me for my patience – he was sweet. I told Sean that I had orders from my mum to give him a big hug and he came around the table and gave me one. I think he thought I was only there because of my mum, which I feel stupid about. I totally forgot to tell him how I also love him. He was such a gent, even though he was pressed for time. He’s so handsome and tanned in real life, with the brightest blue eyes. I took some photos and he told me to give mum his best. So sweet, and he smelled nice!

sean pertwee

Holly, Ali and I wandered around the stalls, browsing for a bit, and went to Pizza Express for dinner. We had a laugh while we ate, especially when I referred to Jack the Ripper as ‘Mr The Ripper’. After dinner we went to their hotel room and watched Doctor Who, then talked about Gotham for ages. I had such a great day!

holly and ali

Overall, Heroes & Villains was a lot of fun and I’m so glad I went. My main objective (to meet Robin) was met, so I was happy. I like that the con is more focused on getting people the chance to meet their favourites, rather than having tonnes of stalls and things like, say, MCM does. The stalls they did have were cute and interesting, and there were other things (like some kind of live-action horror thing) that I didn’t have time to see because of all the queueing. If I were to go again, I think I’ll actually take the plunge and buy a “VIP” ticket, so I can avoid having to stand around for hours. By the end of the day, my bad knee was in agony (and actually collapsed the next day, something that hadn’t happened for a year) so I think it’d be better for both my health and patience to have a shorter wait time for guests. And I’d like to experience more of the con next time, too!

Have you been to a convention or a festival this year? Tell me about it!

Kayleigh x

Heroes & Villains Fan Fest Insta

Tube Etiquette: 10 Tips For Using The London Underground

I’ve been to London a lot. Someday, I hope to live there (if i ever get the money). The London Underground, colloquially known as the Tube, is an amazing way to get around the city, and I love it dearly – even if it is busy and dirty.

I came up with the idea for this post before I visited London this last weekend. Thinking fondly about the Tube, it struck me that a lot of people don’t know what they’re doing. I hope to help people make their lives, and the lives of everyone around them, a bit easier. You can very easily give yourself a hard time by not knowing how to behave on the Tube.

These are the top 10 things that I see people get wrong a lot. If you don’t want to earn yourself a disapproving tut or head-shake, bear these tips in mind. They work whether this is your first, thousandth, or nth time on the Tube. Obviously, these are based on my personal experience – I’d love to hear your tips if you have any different ones!

1. Stand on the right of escalators.

I cannot stress to you how important this one is. I’ve seen British people actually say something to people who break this rule. That is how seriously it’s taken. You always, always stand on the right of the underground escalators. This keeps the left side clear for people who are in a rush, or who just want to leg it up there instead of standing still (like my bff Lana and I once did, a mistake I don’t think we’ll ever repeat – in our defence, we were trying to get to a Paul Simonon book signing). Also make sure any luggage you’re carrying is out of the way. This is the one that I’ve seen people get the most annoyed about.

2. Let people off of the Tube before you barge on there.

I get it. It’s London. You pretty much have to walk with your elbows sticking out if you want to get anywhere. Barging is a part of life when the city is teeming and you’re in a hurry. But you’re the one who looks like a tosser if you come barrelling into the tube carriage before anyone can get off at their stop.

3. For goodness’ sake hold onto something!

Far too often I see inexperienced people take a spill because they think they can stand up on the Tube without holding onto railings. You will inevitably crash into somebody who does this every day, and they will tut at you (please be aware that tutting is the utmost punishment in Britain). It’s not fair to potentially injure (and severely annoy) other people because you think your balance is better than it is.

4. If you don’t know where you’re going, get out of the way.

There are maps and route plans everywhere in Tube stations. There is even a handy app, but be advised that you don’t get signal in the underground and wifi is patchy at best. So make sure to find out where you’re heading before you descend. If you’re a bit lost or unsure, step out of the flow of foot-traffic because there’s nothing more annoying than being in a hurry and crashing into somebody who comes to a dead stop in front of you. The maps and signs are always on a wall, so stand near to the wall – it’s a double whammy then because you avoid being trampled AND you can peruse the map for as long as it takes for you to right yourself.

london underground sign

5. Have hand sanitiser on your person at all times.

The Tube is old and basically deeper than the bowels of Hell, so there is a lot of soot and nonsense down there (quite aside from grubby human germs – you know some people don’t wash their hands after they’ve been to the loo). This one is less an etiquette thing and more an ‘avoiding a resurgence of the bubonic plague’ thing. If you’ve been riding the Tube all day, you’ll know it because your hands will feel grimy and you’ll need to blow your nose (I call it ‘Tube bogeys’ and it’s as unpleasant as it sounds). So hand sanitiser = good.

6. Don’t stare at people.

It’s hard when you’re sitting opposite somebody on a packed Tube, but this one’s simple. Do you like to be stared at? I didn’t think so. It’s more than likely that person opposite you doesn’t like it either. They know you can’t see anything out of the window over their head, but they probably appreciate you for staring at it like it’s of great interest to you.

7. Don’t block the doors.

You’re running to catch that Tube that’s about to depart. You make a daring leap into the packed carriage and bask in your triumph. Until you realise that half of your body or your bag is outside of the carriage, and the doors won’t shut. Honestly, don’t do it. The Tube comes often enough for you to catch the next one. Blocking the doors in a way that they won’t shut just causes everyone to be delayed. I guarantee no one is impressed with you trying to fit yourself in like a Tetris block at the last second and holding up the whole train.

Tube Train

8. Be helpful.

Heavily pregnant woman? Old man struggling to stay upright? Family with little kids? Give up your seat, don’t be a dick. You will notice that a lot of people will just ignore others around them because they earned that seat, damn it! They didn’t battle through the tides of people and descend into the stuffy heat of the Underground, only to give up their seat. But honestly, do you want to be that person? If you’re able-bodied, it won’t kill you to stand up for what is probably only a few minutes on the Tube. It might kill you to know you were responsible for someone’s kid getting body-slammed when the Tube jerkily pulls out of Baker Street station.

9. Don’t put your bags on the seat next to you.

This one sounds so obvious and ridiculous but I was there, Gandalf. I’ve seen people on a packed Tube with all of their shopping bags piled on a perfectly usable seat. I promise that everybody in that carriage hated that person. Just don’t do it, it’s antisocial and really ignorant. Put your bags between your feet or on your lap.

10. Be prepared for rudeness.

You are now armed with the top tips to tackle the Tube (that was so much alliteration that my head is hurting), but matey on the Victoria Line might not be. He’s determined to get to Oxford Circus you see, and he simply must get there before you or anyone else. You WILL be buffeted about like a pinball, and people are known to make bitter comments about ‘slow people on the fuckin TUBE’. The point is not to take this personally. Even seasoned Tube travellers can end up getting rude because of how often they have to deal with clueless people, or the mass exodus of rush hour.

I hope these tips can come in handy for people who are about to navigate the London Underground. And I hope you avoid tuts and head-shakes from other people. The Tube really is a wonderful invention and a great way to get around. Just be considerate, safe, and smart.

Kayleigh x


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