Must not look at flist until I have updated … must … not … look!! I looked - saw that beizy has about three thousand new ELF pics of Lij that need to be downloaded but managed to tear myself away, making a mental note to return asap. I cannot believe it will be two weeks tomorrow since we returned from ELF. Since then, every day I’ve opened my pc, intending to update my LJ, but have got completely sidetracked by all the video clips, pics, reports – what a busy little bee The One Lij has been, I feel exhausted trying to keep up with all his doings!! And greedy thing that I am, I have been snatching and downloading things from everyone and in my haste not to miss anything half the time I’ve been forgetting to thank people. So to everyone who has posted pics etc from Edinburgh, London, Toronto, Elf – a great big THANK YOU!! I love you all:) I am especially indebted to those who provided links to Lij’s many tv appearances and video clips from ELF which have provided me with some lovely memories – I would probably have forgotten most of what he said by now if it wasn’t for these and all the reports that have been posted. The awful thing is – I have hardly anything worth giving back in return. As usual the few pics I took were
Roger and I had decided to take a few days holiday in Orlando prior to ELF – this was our third trip abroad this year and as we had never travelled further than Europe before this year has proved to be one of the most exciting and adventurous of our lives. Orc in January in Pasadena, New Zealand in March and now Florida. And no – we haven’t won the lottery – we’ll probably still be paying for all this in 10 years time!! And its been worth every penny.
As we walked out of Orlando airport latish in the afternoon of Mon. 22 Aug, we could not believe how hot and humid it was. I have never experienced a sauna, but this was exactly how I imagine it would feel. We took a taxi to the Wyndham Orlando resort where we were staying and where ELF was to be held. We were very pleasantly surprised by how beautiful the resort was – it was like a little tropical oasis – the rooms are in separate blocks in the grounds, set away from the main hotel. We were in Block 15.
As the main reason people holiday in Orlando is the various theme parks, such as Disney & Universal Studios, we had intended to visit at least one of these. But we had not reckoned with the heat, which was beautiful as long as you could just sit and relax in the shade, but we found even the short walk from our room to the hotel was quite exhausting and we didn’t really relish the idea of walking round all day at one of these places. We didn’t hire a car, so we’d have had to rely on public transport – also later in the week there was the threat of storms – so we decided to abandon the idea of going anywhere and just enjoy a very lazy, restful few days lounging in the sun. I’ve always wanted to experience a tropical climate and environment and this certainly fit the bill. We were fascinated by all the little lizards that were running around everywhere – some so tiny you could hardly see them, some much bigger. And loads of dragonflies!!
Friday soon rolled around and we went to register & collect our tickets at the hotel. They had laid on free coffee & biscuits (cookies) in the very pleasant lounge which was a nice touch. The first panel we attended was all about Ringers, the upcoming dvd which I’m really looking forward to. You can actually pre-order this at Amazon now. This was followed by Matt Appleton, who works for Weta, giving a very interesting talk, including pics, of his time working on LOTR. Because my ears are finely tuned for any Elijah/Frodo references, one of the things I recall from this was him telling us that they had a brithday party for his little daughter and Elijah did a very sweet little dance with her. He worked with Elijah & Sean when they were doing their Orc armour scenes – he said they were great to work with, and mentioned that Elijah kept his Orc outfit on all day which made it easier for him (Matt) – less work! We then had a look round the dealers’ tables and bought a couple of items, even though I’d previously decided I wasn’t going to buy anything this time!! That night we went to the Emerald Rose concert which was great – and Roger even managed to catch one of the flashing rings they throw out to the audience!!
The highlight of Saturday was the Q&A sessions – first JRD, then Sean. John was brilliant as usual, he’s such an entertaining man. The biggest laugh was just as he was finishing. While he was still talking I was sure I recognised Sean’s voice coming from behind the screen – and suddenly John yelled “Astin – SHUT UP!!!” It was hilarious. Sean appeared, John said his goodbyes, Sean sat in the chair provided and promptly disappeared from my view!! This was my first gripe. I do not consider our seats were good enough for the amount of money we paid – we had Wizard Circle tickets, the most expensive, and yet we were only in Row G. Creation had allocated the centre section of seats to WC ticket-holders – those with cheaper tickets sat in the side sections. This meant that some people with cheaper tickets were sitting in the front row and although they were to the side I consider that to be better than to be so far back you can’t see anything!! The stage was low, Sean’s chair was low, the seats were all on the same level, I am quite short, so I could only see him when he stood up. This did not bode well for tomorrowL The first thing that struck me about Sean (when I could actually see him) was that he looked about 10 years younger than he did at ORC. In direct contrast to Orc, where he was unshaven, wore glasses & had something weird on his head, he was now clean-shaven, hatless, – his hair looked very nice – and was wearing a pale blue & white top that really suited him. I won’t recount all that he said – I know this has been transcribed on many other LJ’s – but one thing that stands out was him talking about Mardi Gras. He said he came to be Bacchus because Elijah had to appoint a successor and he’d chosen him. He was wondering who he should appoint for next year and was asking for suggestions. He said he and Elijah would probably go again next year – there was a way they would be able to take part – though I didn’t quite catch how. This, of course, was all before Katrina had wreaked such havoc in New Orleans. I can’t imagine there will be any Mardi Gras next year.
Sunday was The Big Day, of course. Started queuing for the photo op more than an hour before the due time and we weren’t too far back. Had a quick glimpse of Elijah arriving – just a flash of black hair, sunglasses, gappy smile and something yellow (which turned out to be a Beach Boys t-shirt). As I was ushered into the room the effect of seeing him properly was the same as always – the realisation that all the pics, as beautiful as they are, just don’t do him justice. And even though he looks so young in pics, I think he looks even younger in real life. He’s so petite – and his skin is amazing – and its been said so many times but he does seem to glow!! I have to say the photo op wasn’t the beautiful expeience it was at Orc. I had a shock when I walked in as I was expecting it to be the same as Orc, two chairs side by side. Instead they’d put him in quite a high chair with arms and you had to stand next to him. Its obvious why, of course – Creation being the money-grabbers they are had decided it saved time if people didn’t have to sit down and stand up. At least I managed to hang on to the gift I had for him – I heard that others were told to hand them over to the organisers!! I’d intended to say to Lij that I wanted to buy him a small thankyou gift from NZ because if it wasn’t for him & LOTR we would never have gone – I did manage to say that, in a fashion, but it seemed to come out very stilted. He was very appreciative, of course but although I’d only taken a few seconds I sensed the photographer was getting agitated and I really had no time to compose myself before he took the pic, which he did really quickly – I don’t think I was even smiling and it just felt very awkward standing there. I’m quite certain this one will not be fit for public viewing!!
I had felt quite nervous for Elijah doing the Q&A on his own for the first time – but he did fine. He seemed happy and relaxed and appeared to be enjoying himself. I’m sure everyone has read about him phoning Dom and Billy – apparently he’d tried to phone Dom at Toronto the previous day but had only got the recorded message. We were all amazed when Dom actually answered and – in typical Dom fashion – yelled “watcha doin gayboy?” When he realised he had been heard by a theatre full of people he and Lij quickly explained that “gayboy” was a friendly greeting in Hobbitish!! Then we all got to sing Happy Birthday to Billy. Again, there are loads of transcripts around of what Lij talked about so I won’t reiterate it here – but it was thoroughly enjoyable and thankfully they’d given him a higher seat than Sean so I could see him better. Then it was the signing – needless to say it isn’t getting the autograph that thrills me, I already have half a dozen things signed by him – its just that chance for another, albeit brief, interaction. I asked him to sign one of my pics from Orc and a pic for a friend that she had taken on location of EII with him – he studied this for a while and said “I remember that!” I said “It’s lovely to meet you again Elijah” and held out my hand – he didn’t shake hands in the normal way, he sort of caught hold of my hand with his left hand and said “And you too”. Of course, I don’t kid myself that he remembered me – he was just being polite. Surprisingly, they were allowing people to stand to the side and watch afterwards so I took full advantage of this!! I stood for a long time, drinking in every detail and wondering how long it would be before I’d have another chance to see him. I wanted to stay until he left – but we hadn’t eaten and Roger was getting hungry so I had to prise myself away. What are the words to that song? “How strange the change from major to minor”. That is how I felt. And as always, I regretted that I hadn’t had the confidence to say far more than I did. But I know I am very lucky to have met this lovely young man yet again. My feelings towards Creation are very mixed – it’s a love-hate relationship!! I know that if it wasn’t for them and for other con organisers like Showmasters, I would most probably have never met Elijah, so I am eternally grateful to them for giving me the chance. But I just hate the way they treat their customers like cattle. They are always quick to remind us that they’re running a business, so they have to make a profit, but surely customer satisfaction has to be considered too. We pay a hell of a lot of money for the tickets, for autographs, for having pics taken – I don’t think its right to rush people through in the way that they do. I know you can’t expect to indulge in a lengthy conversation with the actors, but I’m sure that for most people, like me, the highlights are not getting an autograph or having your pic taken, it’s the chance to have a one to one interaction with the actors and the organisers seem hell-bent on preventing this.
I was surprised to find out when I got back home that Elijah spent two nights on the site – sleeping right underneath elfellon111 in Block 8!!! And some time after I’d read about this we started to view our video footage and what should come into view right at the start? Block 8!!! Thought that was a real co-incidence.
In other news – saw Green Street on Sat and thoroughly enjoyed it. I didn’t really expect to enjoy it very much – its certainly not the type of film I’d normally want to see – and although I can never really be objective about Lij’s films - the fact that he’s in them is enough for me - I really got drawn into this. I thought the ending was very moving. And – I wonder how many thousand times I’ve said this – he is so beautiful. The minute he appeared on screen my heart did a dozen somersaults!!
Gogol Bordello will be touring the UK in November & they’re appearing in Birmingham. I wonder if … nah … and yet … hmmm ….
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