Saturday, 27 February 2016

Protest March (in February)

london film comic convention kensington olympiaThe day started normally with a taxi to the station, as always. But this time, Jof came with us.
This trip to the seedier side of London (Kensington) was conceived because of the London Film and Comic Convention (spring episode) taking place at Kensington Olympia Exhibition Centre. When Jof found out we were going, she insisted on making it a family event.
cat red dwarf photoshootI have now been to a few of these 'Comicons' and I like them for the many stalls of Lego, the action figurines, the Cosplay girls in their revealing outfits and the stars of stage and screen who will sign photos for a price.
We found a 6-seat bay in the train but very soon indeed it filled up and we were encroached upon by rugby fans, Chinese tourists and anti-Trident nuclear missile protesters with their lovingly hand-crafted placards.
london film comicon kensington olympia We ate our snacks and jettisoned the rest into the bin at Waterloo Station, a tried and tested method to delay the need for a lunch stop and to save carrying excess weight around.
It is not an easy journey to Olympia, we had to change twice and go on an overground train and most of it was very packed and quite whiffy. Our feet were already tired by the time we got there but at least the venue is right by the station.
We met Catwoman and I liked the authentic beard on the young Obi-Wan Kenobi Cosplayer.
Immediately I located the Lego mini-figures and the Pokémon card stall and we found a Ripley Alien and a bonus Terminator.
Jof kindly spent £20 on Pokémon for me (with a 5-pack tin and some out of the individually priced folders, I liked the warning sign above the stall 'Children left unattended will be sold to the circus') and then I met Danny John-Jules (Cat from Red Dwarf and Incomprehensibly Cockney Barfly in Lock, Stock and 2 Smoking Barrels) and he was a very groovy guy and we had a laugh.
london tourism downing street seat of governmentWe could have bought a life-size Bender Robot for £400 and more T-shirts than you could shake a silk screen at, a Dalek made of balloons trundled around and the Voldemort guy was good.
My other signed-photo target was Charles Dance because he had played Benedict the British Assassin in Last Action Hero. However, he had cancelled so I missed out there, what do we pay these people for? The guy who played the Predator was there and I wanted his autograph (£15) but you can't recognise him from the films due to the full-face makeup. Nick Frost and Chunky Rebel X-Wing Pilot were much more recognizable.
household cavalry headquarters londonLater, Bud noticed that I was no longer holding my £20 bag of Pokémon cards and I ran back and Danny John-Jules laughed at me as he handed it back. But then we'd finished really and Jof wanted to sit down and have lunch so we took a further 3 different trains back to Westminster where she rejected MacDonalds as it had nowhere to sit and we found an Italian restaurant called Locale behind County Hall.
I wasn't really hungry so only had some spaghetti, not cooked the way I like it (dull).
When we tried to contact Bune to arrange a meeting we failed by reason of missed calls, muted and possibly non-functioning phones and unanswered texts.
london tourism buckingham palaceThe original schedule of the day included a 2.7 mile walk to see the sights (something I would have yummed up any other day)and Bud made me do it even though I was getting antsy. We crossed Westminster Bridge, turned into Parliament Street to see the Cenotaph, some dark corner called Downing Street, rubbish old Horseguards Parade (where we just missed the Household Cavalry on horseback but certainly saw the manure mountain) and St James' Park.
We saw people protesting against Honduras, agitating against Mugabe and the familiar anti-Tridents.
I did a protest march of my own, scuffing my feet across Horseguards, declaring everything to be boring, tragically pointless and uninteresting.
We passed the Home Office, Foreign Office, Scotland Office (the Sporran Office), the MOD HQ and Jof fed the Mini-Cheddars to some passing squirrels which pleased some Japanese tourists but depressed me as I was foot-dragging my way through a nihilistic phase and why should I even exist on this pointless Earth.
the mall london MOD headquarters
After a while we left the ducks, geese, pigeons, seagulls and apparently, pelicans behind and saw the Queen's house which hid behind really large fences with gold statues everywhere but I was in a foul mood and objected to everything which wasn't me on the train home opening my Pokémon cards.
Thus, I have a lot of pictures of national landmarks with me playing the role of angry red penguin, with my hoodie up over my peaked cap. At Buckingham Palace some nice Germans asked us to take their picture as they snogged in front of the gates but I disapproved, the fountains were as empty as I felt inside.
Even Jof got a bit sad at my angry antics and we had a sit-down protest at Admiralty Arch and he even made us do the 200 yards to boring old Trafalgar Square with its poxy Nelson's Column and hairy trident placard wavers and even though Monopoly board names were all around us, I couldn't care less.
river thames from jubilee footbridge
Down Northumberland Avenue, we found the Charing Cross railway bridge with attached Jubilee footbridge to help us re-cross the Thames and Jof agreed that we were so tired we deferred the London Eye for a later date.
I notice the wooden climbing playpark in front of the eye Ferris wheel has been refurbished, so there's something to look forward to next time.
lego minifigures from london film comicon kensington olympia Back in Waterloo we selected the right train (usually we panic and get the one that goes via Basingstoke) and bagged ourselves a 6-seat berth where we took off our shoes and rested our throbbing feet on the seats.
I spent 20 minutes with my Pokémon (that's a pound per minute - great value!) and read 2 pages of the JK Rowling book about monsters that Jof had bought me to keep me quiet before declaring it boring.
But being on those comfortable chairs gradually brought us back to life, forgetting the gentle stroll that irked me so. We sped on through the night and the time did too, much better when you've got winnings to sort through. We got a cab home from the station and found our favourite sofa. Later, there were chips. I sort-of got to bed in the 11s, both wide-awake and dead-tired at the same time. Did I mention that Danny John-Jules was a really cool dude?

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