Star Wars Celebration Europe

Last month I was lucky enough to spend a whole weekend nerding out at Star Wars Celebration Europe. 

YAAAAAS JIN!



Fresh on the heels of the last Celebration in the U.S (which I watched on YouTube and lived vicariously though), this was announced last spring and I bought a ticket immediately. Thankfully a couple of my friends were going, so I knew I'd find people to hang out with while I was there.

If you're not a convention goer, these things can feel very intimidating. These things are held in HUGE buildings with thousands of people in attendance. You need snacks in your bag and lots of water. You have to be prepared to do a lot of queuing and, as it's summer, get overheated. If you can put up with that (or you are blind to most of it with fandom excitement) you'll survive. I love them. I get very excited to be in them and I've never known an atmosphere like it. You know how it's a *thing* in the healthy living blogger universe to 'find your tribe'? This is mine. My tribe is nerds and I bloody love them. 

Back to SWCE ... 

I didn't know what to expect from this weekend. I knew it would be busy, I just didn't know how busy. I didn't know how big queues would be for things, or if I had a cat in hell chance of achieving my goal - said goal for the weekend was to meet Mark Hamill and get an autograph. 

Yeah, it wasn't as easy as it sounds. I queued late Friday and got this ticket number: 




On Saturday I got ticket 540 and stayed until 6pm ... and still no win. SIGH. I really didn't want to have to spend my Sunday queuing (or stressing that I was going to miss my opportunity) but, nerds and their needs must. Back to that in a bit. 

Whilst doing much queuing, I wasn't short of other things to occupy me. There was a fantastic exhibit of some of the costumes from the upcoming Rogue One film: 






A Celebration Shop (which had an hour queue, do you see why I have such good patience?) where I bought an amazing Boba Fett dress (and wore it on the Sunday):




There was tons of massive Star Wars set pieces knocking about to pose with: 






I cosplayed on Saturday too. I recycled my costume from Secret Cinema last year, which is kind of a Starfighter pilot, but a bit more casual. 




My cosplays are always a bit rough and ready (or interpretive, call it what you wish). I like to do it this way, as I find it fun. At the end of the day, I'm dressing up and running around all day, as long as I'm comfy and happy, then whatever. 

So let's go back to getting this autograph and the final day of the Celebration. 

After a hot bath and a rest at my hotel in Canary Wharf (any excuse to go through the station, now we know it's been used in Rogue One): 

OH GOD I NEEDED THAT


YAAAAS DEATH STAR!

I got to Excel super early in order to get a decent place in the queue and hopefully get a good ticket number for Mark. As I was going in to the queue, I saw there were bands left for the Carrie Fisher panel that day, so I picked one up. 




So if all else failed that day,I'd get to see Carrie talk, which would be awesome.

Back the the queue. Doors opened. Here was the ticket I got for Mark at 10.01am with the caveat 'it's doubtful he'll get over 200 today as he's doing panels and photos'

::INTERNAL SCREAMING::


But I was in the doors, so I went to see Carrie. 


YAAAAAAS QUEEN!


It's never a dull conversation with Carrie as you never know where it's going to end up. Warwick Davis was the host and the highlight was the pair of them re-enacting their scene from Return of the Jedi. All went well, until Warwick poked Carrie with a faux spear and Gary (her dog) became very territorial and barked the shit of the guy! Brilliant. 




After a good hour or so in that panel, I went to check on the Mark numbers (60, ARGH!) and met my friend Rob for a coffee. 

I decided to kill time wandering around all the stalls, the artwork was fantastic and I collected a couple of artists cards so I can go online and buy some of their work at a later date. I fell in love with a rucksack but flat refused to pay convention prices for it (given I know I can get it £15 cheaper in Forbidden Planet) but that didn't stop me glaring with jealousy at anyone who owned it. 


I need that bag. Desperately. 

I watched the stream of the Closing Ceremony in the main hall (by the big AT-AT) and as soon as Mark Hamill was off the stage, I ran back over to the booth.

"Anyone with numbers UP TO 220 ..."

AAAAAAAAARRRRGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH.

I waited another 30 minutes and ... finally ... I got in. 


YAAAASSSS!

I shook hands with Luke Skywalker and told him he was awesome. :D

And finally, it was home time. 3 days, hours of queues, tons of laughter with my friend and 28 miles walked. TWENTY EIGHT. Cons are bloody great cardio. 

I had a victory tour of Canary Wharf by boat on the way home, then ate pizza and passed out. OOOF. 





And that was it!

It was exhausting, expensive, but brilliant! And now these two get to hang out together all the time in my house: 




The whole weekend was broadcast on a livestream on the YouTube (apparently some of my tweets were on there, so I had people from all over the world tweeting me!) and you can still see all the amazing panels on the YouTube page

Just maybe avoid the Rogue One panel if you don't like spoilers ...


***

This post was also featured on STACK, your one stop pop culture shop. 
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