This year I decided to make my first visit to the London Film and Comic Con at Olympia. I’ve been following a lot of people on Twitter for the past couple of years who always seem to have a fantastic time and I thought I would give it a go. I decided to wear my Harry Potter and the Cursed Child t-shirt!
I bought a ticket that allowed early access to the YALC (Young Adult Literature Convention), which I’m told was a much shorter queue than the standard entry. I got off the tube and was directed in the opposite direction than everyone else and headed to the YALC entrance on Hammersmith Road and got in the queue around 8:30am. The queue was fun and everyone was talking to each other. I was by a lovely group of ladies who were all there by them selves like me and it was nice to then bump into them at odd points the rest of the day. The doors opened at 9am and I was through the doors and in the convention by 9:30am.
The YALC was held up on the top floor and although it said you would not be able to get into the LFCC part until 10am, there didn’t seem to be any restrictions in place once you were inside. I got the elevator up (as I didn’t know where the stair were) with the girls I queued with and we went straight upstairs.
My first impression was that is was spaced out and much quieter than expected. I picked up a programme and decided to go sit in on the first panel of the day at YALC. It was all about rebellion in YA and it made me decide to buy a book I wasn’t planning on, but because the author spoke so enthusiastically and was super fun I decided to give it a go (I later ended up queuing to get it signed and it made me extra happy).
I then decided to head down to the LFCC on the bottom floors. This was much busier, but still not as full as I expected. I had a good wander around looking at stalls, figuring out what areas were for signing and photographs and really just getting a feel for what it was all about. I went with no plans, I just wanted to see everything I could and get a feel for if I would want to go back next year to do it properly.
There were lots of fun stalls selling all sorts of film and comic related things. I ended up buying a Hobbit Hole doors necklace (I’ve been looking at one online for ages, but never bought it). I really wanted Rivendell Cider and the Prancing Pony t-shirts below, but as I had just recently bought two Harry Potter t-shirts I decided to take a photo and add to the list of future purchases. I otherwise kept it quite light in purchases and only bought 3 books and some sushi.
My t-shirt was a great conversation starter as I wandered around as people wanted to know what I thought of the play. I was so relieved as I was nervous about wearing it for some reason, but it turned out great, the only downside was the Harry Potter Party was on the Sunday and I was only there on the Saturday! The main theme of the convention was the release of Suicide Squad and the place was decorated with banners and they had the original costumes on display (which for some reason I totally forgot to take photos of when I wandered round it). There were lots of people dressed as Harley Quinn in a variety of forms. All the cosplay I saw was amazing and so much fun. The effort everyone puts in amazes me and it made me appreciate it so much more getting to see so many different people in person. I don’t know if I’ll ever go cosplay, but it certainly inspired me to think differently about what could be possible.
The downstairs area became busier as the day went on and also warmed up with more people and warmer weather outside. After I had had my fill I went back upstairs and it still felt very peaceful in YALC. It was busier, but there was still lots of space to find a space to sit and chill out for a bit. I then saw Alwyn Hamilton still had a queue for booking signing and as I bought her book after the panel in the morning I decided to go for an autograph.
Alwyn was super nice and even after three hours of signings was talking to every single person about their day. She loved my t-shirt and asked if I was staying for the party as she was going to the Hufflepuff team captain and I was super sad I couldn’t make it. I started reading the book in the queue and was honest when she asked what I thought of the book as I said I was inspired to try it out after hearing the panel and she was super nice and hoped I enjoyed it. There is a sequel in the works as well so I’ll let you know how I get on.
Overall I had a pretty fantastic day. I enjoyed taking the day out to indulge in my geekness and join a community doing the same. I was nervous to go, but once I was there I felt like I fitted in no problem. I definitely want to go back and next time for more than one day (maybe even all three) and fully immerse myself into it. I would want to go to more panels and maybe a workshop in YALC and get some autographs and/or photos with my favourite stars in LFCC. I would love to meet people from Buffy and Angel or LOTR. I would want to feel more part of the weekend rather than just a flying visit. So I’ve jotted down some things for me to remember for next time!
Things I learnt for a future visit:
- Take drinks and a flask of coffee – made it much more enjoyable to just stop when you wanted without having to search out drink stops
- Comfy clothes and shoes – it wasn’t that hot the day I went, but it got warmed inside
- Take lots of cash (within budgets of course)
- Be prepared to queue a lot – make new friends in the queues!
- Look at the programme for everything first and plan what I want to do and see
- Stay over local to the venue (note for any convention!)
- Take more photos! With people!
I’m looking forward to next year already 🙂