Cool Gothic and the new Vampire @ BFI Nov 2013

It was a somber Monday morning, when a link did appear on my twitter timeline describing an event which could not be missed. A panel talking the gothic genre with Toby Whithouse, Damien Molony and Antony Head, among others. I may have had no money and lectures to attend the following Monday when the event was to take place but that wasn’t gonna stop me! It was pretty impressive the way in which so many of us organised ourselves and got it together so quickly.

Exactly a week later, I made my way to London town. After checking in at a questionable hotel (Sorry becca) we made our way to waterloo and headed in the direction of BFI Southbank. Since most of us hadn’t had time to eat we decided to grab a quick bite in the restaurant while everyone came together. FYI, cheesy chips at the restaurant there is a handful of chips covered in some sort of cheesy sauce concoction….

Slowly but surely the bloggers/molonians arrived from across the land (literally) some bringing stories of spotting Damo and Lord Toby in the corridor on their way to meet us! We were still awaiting Brookesey and Trev when it was time to go in so in true “Never leave a man behind” style, we made our way inside.

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We entered the theatre and took our seats. I was sitting on the front row of the right hand side with Becca. The doors next to us were quite clearly the doors through which the panel would walk in and when someone would walk in you could see them all waiting to enter. They were all announced and it was a bit fluffed by the presenter to start when the mic cut off a bit. They showed some clips of all the shows the panel were from and it was amazing to see being human on the big screen.

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The panel was great, they started by talking about what had gotten them into the genre and Lord Toby gave a hilarious answer about his parents putting on scary films to get him out the way for reasons that weren’t clear to him then…there was a question to Damien asking what he thought about the new vampire image of being a sexy chiselled male to which he made some funny noises, and then said “You know what I mean?” Lots of laughs from the audience followed. He talked about how sex is a huge part of being a vampire in being human and spoke about Mitchell and the connection he had with blood and sex.

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He was asked what had gotten him interested in the genre and he said he had loved it as a kid and dressed up as Dracula for Halloween with the cape and everything.

Damien was also asked if he would like to be a vampire if he had the chance. His answer was yes, but he wouldn’t want to live forever so perhaps if you could put a limit on it of about 250 years or something. Since I have the worst short term memory in the world that is all I can remember of the questions….There are videos available from BFI which show highlights from the panel available online.

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Once the panel had ended we all filtered out into the corridor and lurked about for a bit wondering what to do. I’d never been to the BFI before and wasn’t sure if waiting around to see if we could talk to the panel members was a bit taboo but the lovely Rhidian on twitter had suggested that we would have to opportunity to say hello. We noticed that there was security outside the green room and so it became clear that the panel had gone in there. We waited outside on the seating areas and noticed a woman lurking very close to the doors. As soon as the security guard walked away for a moment she sneaked in to the green room. Some bloggers recognised her as a girl who had caused drama at a previous event and so we were quite worried. She was soon getting kicked out and Damien followed close behind, clearly leaving as quickly as he could. He saw us, smiled and came over. Kat asked for a picture then Laura was chatting to him. I sat back and observed as others spoke to him and he looked happy to be chatting to everyone. I thought I would take the opportunity to ask for a group picture and he looked happy to let us. Brookesey and I backed off so others could get in the middle but he walked over to us and put his arms around us. Trev held up a small camera and I asked whose camera is that?! “Yeh Trev have you been downgraded?” lol. Then Trev pulled out him huge back camera and along with damo we all started saying things like ohh there ya go, there it is!

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After the picture Kat and Laura asked about the homage book and spoke about that. Kat showed him some images on her phone from the book we explained why we had done selfies of us hiding ourselves behind paper. We had taken up enough of his time and Damien told us he had to leave. He said a lovely goodbye gave us a wave and went to walk off. It was at this moment that I noticed the girl who had entered the green room had been stood watching us with Damien the whole time. When he went to leave the girl tried to walk with him, so he detoured to the bathroom. As he walked in the woman literally sprinted after him and the security guard grabbed her and pushed her away telling her to leave. I shouted after her “Don’t ruin it for everyone else love” and she mumbled something as she tottered off. Soon after Damien came out, I asked if he was ok and he said yes before making a hasty exit with the security guard.

So after we collected ourselves after the events of that crazy bitch (pardon my language) we asked if Toby would be coming out and they said yes if we waited a bit. He came out and we told him we were some of the being human bloggers. He asked us all to introduce ourselves. He knew who I was which made fangirl quite profusely! I also may have done a little bow to our Lord….which was a bit weird, but necessary!!  Laura talked to him about the forum and the trips to Wales. I was surprised to hear that he hadn’t even seen some of the locations around Wales. He talked about what would have happened if being human had continued and some of the themes they had been talking about for series 6 such as all the main characters swapping curses etc. He said that most of them had been thrown out as they didn’t know how they would have worked. Lord Toby seemed genuinely happy to be talking about being human and he chatted to us for a good 30-40 minutes. He was amazing and everything i expected and more!

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We requested a group picture and positioned ourselves in front of a poster promoting cool gothic season at the BFI. The organiser asked if we would stand around it but we could all fit. I thought i would sit on the floor to fit us in but you couldn’t see the sign again so i lay down. Yes, i lay down on the floor in front of Lord Toby. Only half way through the picture did i realise how ridiculous this was! Luckily, Toby thought it was hilarious! He said his goodbyes and left us to it.

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All in all this was my favourite field trip ive been on so far. Meeting Lord Toby was such as honour and something i will never forget! Damien was absolutely lovely as usual. The bloggers and i chatted in the bar about the days events before slowly we all separated and made our way to our hotels/trains/cars. Becca, Lisa and I were so hardcore that we got some junk food (Maccy D’s) and headed back to our hotel where we watched Damien make his debut in Ripper Street. An amazing time and another incredible memory made xx

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