Normally when you come back from attending a convention of some description you jokingly say to your friends, “Well, I survived the weekend!” Never has this been more true with last weekend’s Asylum convention at Birmingham’s Hilton Hotel. Not only did I survive the queues, the £4.50 coffees, the heat, the queues, the screaming fangirls, the queues and the fact that the hotel charged £15 a day for internet access in its rooms (mercy!)… I also survived the car crash I had on the way there.
I’ve never had a car crash before. I don’t drive. I hate motorways. I used to have a phobia about them, but I’m better now. (Well, I was…) But when my friend Biddy and I saw the car stop in front of us on the hard shoulder on the M42 – which was open for traffic, so the driver really shouldn’t have stopped, particularly because it appears he stopped to make a phone call, which is illegal – I thought, “Christ almighty, we’re gonna crash! After all these years it’s finally going to happen!” And then we stopped in time to avoid him.
“Phew,” I thought. “Escaped.” And then I realised the car behind us probably wasn’t going to stop in time, and the next thing I knew we’d been rear-ended, and Biddy was howling in pain, and frankly all I can say is: CAR ACCIDENTS ARE NOT FUN.
Biddy dislocated her shoulder and fractured her arm. I got a (hopefully very minor) whiplash. Nobody else was hurt, thank goodness, but Biddy’s car and the car behind us were write-offs, and the bastard idiot who caused the accident in the first place sustained nothing but a scratch on his bumper. I have no words for how much I hate that man right now.
Photos for you – here are the paramedics tending to Biddy:
And here’s the car that was behind us:
The paramedics were FANTASTIC, and oh my god, so funny. Once Biddy was on gas and air (and, later, morphine) she was funny too, so much so that apparently the ambulance crew told everybody about her so that when Biddy rather coincidentally bumped into one of the paramedics a few days later his other partner had heard all about her. The police were great, too, and also happened to be the stars of the BBC series Motorway Cops, though sadly there was no camera crew with them that day to record events. Which I’m sad about, because did I mention that Biddy was funny on drugs?
Anyway, the upshot of the crash was that Biddy and I spent eight hours in Heartlands Hospital as she was x-rayed and treated and given copious amounts of drugs by the very friendly staff. We finally left the hospital near midnight (after sharing strawberries with an 88-year-old lady and a very chatty alcoholic in the recovery ward) and reached the Hilton at long last by taxi. (Which reminds me: when two women get into the back of your taxicab and tell you how they’ve just been involved in a smash-up on the M42 and one of them is very poorly and wearing a sling, you’d really think you wouldn’t drive at superspeeds while illegally talking on your mobile… particularly when the two women have just informed you that said crash was caused by a man talking illegally on his phone. TWAT.)
Somehow, and lord knows how (I think the drugs helped), Biddy managed to make it through the weekend in Birmingham and we both ended up enjoying Asylum, although the queuing on the first day was ridiculous. While she went to bed, I got chatting to a great group of girls who ended up making the day go a lot quicker, and frankly anybody who wonders why a grown woman would ever want to attend a convention for a TV show should check out some of the friendships that are formed at these events.
Here we are queuing (hope they don’t mind me posting this pic!):
As for the convention itself: well, Jensen Ackles and Jared Padalecki were great fun and their talks were hilarious; the other guests were great value for money, too, particularly Charles Malik Whitfield (aka Agent Victor Henriksen) and Gabriel Tigerman (Andy). But anybody who’s been following Misha Collins’ Twitter account won’t be surprised to hear that he pretty much stole the entire weekend simply by being completely and utterly batsarse bonkers in both of his talks – particularly on the Sunday, when he had to cover for Jensen (busy signing endless autographs) and almost brought the house down by mocking everything from Barbara Bush to, uh, turnips.
I also got to interview a few Supernatural fans for the official magazine, which was great fun, particularly when it came to hunting down men (a rare breed, apparently) and anybody who loved Sam. Why are there so many Dean girls and hardly any Sam girls? Or did I just talk to the wrong people? Hmmph.
The police came to the Hilton to talk to Biddy on the Friday night (she was too out of it on drugs at the hospital to be a reliable witness the day before). While she discussed the crash with the male officer, I tried to explain to the female officer what was going on at the hotel and why there were so many fangirls loitering outside wearing Supernatural t-shirts and squealing about the fact they’d just met “J2”. Intrigued by the idea of several hot TV stars inside the hotel, the officer saw three girls walking by with posters in their bags featuring photographs of said hot guys.
“Can I see in your bags?” she asked, and the girls froze – probably thinking she was looking for drugs – before pulling out the pictures and gleefully pointing out Jensen and Jared.
“Forget them,” said the officer, pointing straight at Misha Collins. “Who’s HE?”
I really liked her. I think I should mention that.
Alas, we couldn’t think of a premise to get her into the hotel to interview the stars – after all, they didn’t witness any crimes – so she just made a vow to watch the show. Wow, the lengths I go to to drum up new viewers…
Here’s Biddy and the coppers (all the Day-Glo stickering on their car made it blurry):
I would post pics of the actors on stage but my camera sucked ass, and frankly all you have to do is go looking on LiveJournal and there are millions of the buggers. Instead, have a picture that’s close to Misha’s heart:
And that’s what I did at the weekend, in a nutshell.