The Hobbit: BOTFA premiere, part 1: Travels, fights, drunks and wristbands

Posted by on Dec 6, 2014 in News | No Comments

After I had slept for 13 hours and did some domestic work, it was time to pack again. For I would embark on an adventure. A first for me.
Never in my life I had attended a movie premiere, nor did I feel it was something I’d like. But I worked towards this for about a year. I didn’t build Smaug for conventions, even though I went to conventions with him, I truly built it for the moment that was to come. The Hobbit: The battle of the five armies premiere.

I had given up the hope it would happen as I heard most premiere stuff would happen in the US. All of a sudden an announcement was made. London, 1st of December. I didn’t hesitate and within 10 minutes I had a hotel and bus booked. But then the hardest part. How do I transport Smaug?! I measured the costume and went looking for a crate or suitcase. I found one with a hard casing to my liking and bought it. At home I tried it out and it fit. I was happy, because I knew I’d be able to bring him.

Fast forward to Saturday the 29th of November. People had been camping since Wednesday, when I left after my college adventure. In Antwerp I was joined by a friend and we discussed our possibilities. We decided to visit Leicester Square before going to the hotels to check out the situation. WB had given out information about how to get the wristbands, and we wanted one, no matter what. But first I was in for a little bit of a nerdgasm when we arrived at Calais. Instead of going to the ferry port, which we used at night, we went on to the eurotunnel. This meant a BUS in a TRAIN! I’m a sucker for trains, so this made me feel really giddy.

We were one hour ahead of schedule when we arrived in London. At Leicester Square we inquired about the options. I went to the hotel, and put my suitcase with Smaug underneath the bed. I took most of the things I didn’t need out of the backpack and put them in the bed. I instantly felt a bit annoyed when I sat down, as there was a group of young girls playing drinking games and trying to get everyone to join. But they already had drunk quite some. I decided that I’d rather stay out at Leicester Square all night, having a number, than being here, unable to sleep, scared and annoyed without a reward in the morning. So I set off without any preparation, as I didn’t know what to expect. It would be my first night camping out. All I knew is that it would get cold during the night. I arrived and got number 205, met some people and spent most of the time in the camp with hot tea and chocolate. However, after a few hours we were moved in order of numbers so they could identify us more easily and find out when people went away.

During the night, I have ran around to keep warm, stepped into puke and nearly slipped. Thank god for balance. I protected people who actually managed to sleep a bit, scared away some creeps and even prevented a fight from happening. I’m not much of a sleeper outside anyway, unless I’m in a sleeping bag and tent. But as I was unprepared, I had none of those. I did look like a riotstarter so people where apprehensive of me anyway. Wearing black cargo trousers, a jacket full of metalband patches, a scarf that covered my mouth and nose,  fingerless gloves and a hood, made me look as if I was going to fight. Some drunks told me that the fight was a few streets further. I knew, considering the police and ambulance arriving. Leicester Square at Saturday night is not much difference from the mayhem I’m used to in my own city. Loads of drunks, parties that last until the early hours. At 4am everything seemed to close down, but it took until 5am before the square was running empty. In the meantime, after all that tea and hot chocolate, I needed a toilet BADLY. I went towards Trafalgar Square for toilets, but the Mc Donald’s nearby was closed. The public toilets were closed anyway so I didn’t need to try those. I wandered around near Picadilly Circus, but nothing there. I went back to Leicester Square but everything would open at 6am, while I’d been needing a toilet since 3:30am! Once more I went towards Picadilly Circus, knowing there must be a Mc Donalds. By now the construction workers were already gathering to start work on the Sunday morning. Finally I found a toilet and went back to the square. We were moved somewhere else, and thus the order got screwed up entirely. We were checked on number anyway, to see how many people left us during the night. I went from no. 205 to 190. We then got away from Leicester square and had a drink at Starbucks.

Returning a few hours later, we found friends and waited until the wristbands would be given out. Originally they’d start at 12, but as there were more than 500 people already queuing up and waiting, I think they decided to do it a little earlier. By 9am, I had my wristband and dashed off to the hotel to have a hot shower, to warm myself up. Thankfully the tube partly did that as well. When I got back in the city after my shower, I figured I’d meet up with some people. I more or less devoured the rest of their lunch as they couldn’t finish it. We then went to find a golden pen for me so Cumberbatch could sign my dragon tongue if necessary. Then we went to ‘The Stag’. A pub close to an apartment I once found for 300 pounds per month. I unfortunately couldn’t respond as I didn’t have anything in London just yet. We went to sit outside and have a cider. At least, I did. I introduced my friends to a little Dutch festive treat: kruidnoten. They’re only available in the last quarter of the year and insanely popular. They absolutely loved them. I then told them you’re actually supposed to throw them together with other sweets when you’re dressed as a black pete. We ended up throwing them at each other without disturbing the other guests. I figured the staff would like a treat to serve their guests so I gave them the rest of the package. I don’t know whether or not they liked them, but I’ve never met anyone who didn’t like them. Then we went to the Odeon cinema at Covent Garden and saw ‘The Imitation Game’.

Uhm… Well. Considering I had been awake a few days earlier for 61 hours, and now had stayed awake for 48, I had a lot of trouble staying awake. Not to mention that when Cumberbatch is narrating parts of the movie, or actually acting, I feel like I’m lulled in to sleep. So the first half of the movie were just flashes before my eyes. I mostly heard what was being said, and then I shook myself up, trying to stay awake. Half-way through I actually managed to stay awake. I did however, seem to be the only one who excited the theatre without having cried. It’s not a bad movie, and I can see how people really like it. But for me it’s just not my thing. But I did feel a certain impression about how ‘being different’ doesn’t mean you can’t do anything. That wishing you’re ‘normal’ won’t necessarily be a better thing to be. But I already accepted that part of me years ago.

We said goodbye and I went to the hotel to get some deeply necessary sleep. We had to be at Leicester square at 11 am, and so we would. I will tell more in part two, the premiere itself!

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