Destination Star Trek 3

First off let me apologize for getting this review up a little late, but as i picked up an eye infection and for the past week I have been doing Gremlin impressions i.e. “Bright light, bright light”. I figure i have a valid excuse, so to the subject at hand.

After a brief trip across the channel to Germany for 2013, Destination Star Trek returned to London and again the venue of choice was the Excel near Victoria Docks. This time they had arranged even more Star Trek stars and most of the cast of “TNG” descended onto London, with the exception of Jonathan Frakes who alas had to pull out of the event. Much to the commiseration of various fans who wanted to see the famous Riker maneuver first hand, how robbed we where of the that moment. In addition to the TNG cast of course there was a host of other stars there for our pleasure. From “TOS” we had William Shanter and the lovely Nichelle Nichols, With a wonderful video link conference with Leonard Nimoy. The latter went down very well with fans, as we all know Mr Nimoy is quite Ill at the moment and so for him to not only agree to the conference but to also take the time and effort to do so was very much appreciated by all.


But Destination Star Trek also covered the other franchises, so from Voyager we had,Jeri Ryan, Tim Russ,Ethan Phillips and Robert Picardo ( who was great fun and i had a nice chat with him at his signing table). DS9 was represented by  Colm Meaney but Alexander Siddig alas had to cancel such is the nature of conventions. Enterprise had  Anthony Montgomery while Bruce Greenwood and Karl Urban made appearances representing the new movies. There was also Casey Biggs, Suzie Plakson, Vaughn Armstrong, Hana Hatae, Steve Rankin, Daniel Stewart, Nicholas Meyer, Larry Nemecek, Richard Arnold and a host of others there from all the different incarnations of the franchise. The Line up was very impressive to say the least. But there is more to a con than the stars,although obviously they are the  main draw.


On the sidelines of the con you have the vendors, refreshment stalls and exhibits. This year they did away with the Federation eating area and opted to just have the “Klingon Zone”. This consisted of various drinks,a selection of sandwiches, some pies/pasties and a small selection of cakes. The prices for these items where seriously hiked up a small bottle of Pepsi was £2 and a small bottle of beer (trust me it was small) was about £5.


Outside of the venue which you could easily leave as long as you got your hand stamped with the return pass, there was a variety of places to eat. To those not used to London or even convention prices these seemed, and in some cases where, very expensive. We opted to eat a chicken meal at one of these and to be honest i was disgusted. For £20 we had a meal that was dry, lacking in taste and frankly not something i would recommend to anyone.But do bear in mind these are places that reside in the venue and so are in no way associated with the convention themselves. If you do take in the con or any con at Excel i would recommend walking slighty off and you can find “The Crown” pub which is far cheaper for both beer,drinks and food.


So to the Vendors and the exhibits. The first thing you are greeted with as you enter the con is a tunnel on the sides of which are pictures of the Enterprise illuminated by purple lights. Many people where having photos took in just this part and they had not even got into the con yet!, thats how impressive it looked. You enter the con to be greeted by the vendor stalls, these consisted of T Shirt Vendors,Models,books,bagdes,cups and so on. there was some serious comparison to be made between the vendors. some had gone to great lengths to maximise profits by over inflating prices to the nth degree,(the Ferengi would be proud). While others had took the path of selling T shirts and so on with out packing or even a carrier bag to put them in. An example would be a Enterprise shaped bottle opener the price variance between stalls was as much as £10. So it payed to shop around from stall to stall. In fact at one stall which was particuarly busy they where selling the Federation ring at £30 while at another stall it was £20. A gentleman raised this with one of the stall staff to be told, ” well buy it at the other stall then”. Charming i’m sure.


THe Exhibits included Costumes and props from the show,although they made a faux par with Kirks Uniform as it had the  rank of commander not Captain or Admiral. The was also Star Trek online,Sid meier’s civilization and Star Trek Timelines ( covering the gaming genre. The Exhibition of props and uniforms was popular as was the Klingon zone being as it was the only place inside the con where you could sit down. Plus if the above mentioned games get only a small percentage of people signing up as there was at the respective stands then they are going to quite happy as well.


This leaves us with a few other things we will start with the talks. As always these are entertaining and the stars go to great lengths to answer as many questions as they can while sprinkling in a few anecdotes. there was a wide variety of talks, far to many to go into here, but i would like to single out two. Colm Meaney was brilliant and Patrick Stewart and his son Daniel was exceptional. Daniel seemed to take great fun in putting his dad on the spot with questions such as “How many episodes could you name” 5 if your curious, although he did list some good ones. The only complaint that i heard of and in fact experienced was the lack of chairs in the talks. In more than one talk people queued up for the talk only to get into it and find it was standing room only. i heard a few people complain about this saying that if they are going to sell “X” amount of tickets for the talk then they should provide “X” amount of seats. It wasn’t that there was not enough space for the seats, it was simply the fact that they where not provided. This certainly needs addressing, as to have to queue for 20-30 minutes then stand for about an hour is not fair or acceptable for something that you have payed for. One other highlight was Leonard Nimoy via video link. This was very very popular, we all know he is ill so for him to take the time and effort to do so was much appreciated and hats off to Destination for making it happen.


The hall where the main con was had a far better layout his time. the three stages took up different sites around the hall with the vendors and exhibitions in between. The autograph queues where along a far wall so as not to block up any of the con save for a few exceptions which i will come to in a moment. This again allowed a much better flow of movement around the con. The Galaxy class bridge set, Borg chamber and stages where very good. The photo area was much better run after the fiasco of last time, but there was a fly in the ointment. With the autographs the stars worked on time slots. in case of some this wasn’t a problem but when it came to the big stars it became one. I was prevented from photographing the actual queues by security (i was not trying to photograph the stars and in fact i was facing away from them) but i was approached by two security and told no photos. I replied,”of the Queue?” and was told “yes.” this i thought very strange. But i guess they don’t want it getting out how big the queues where. Some of the people in the queue had been waiting half and hour and as they knew the stars worked on a time slot they was naturally concerned about getting to meet there idol. This in turn lead to the security being a bit over zealous with the fans, in some cases moving them on very quickly and also being a bit over the top in to preventing some fans from taking a quick selfie with a star. I would like to add at this point that i got a Vulcan sign from Robert Picardo who clearly did not share this view on pictures.


So still some lessons to be learned there, but overall some major improvements on last time.

As regard the press we had a lovely room overlooking the main stage the staff where helpful and friendly and we had no problems moving around the various areas. I would like raise one point which was brought to my attention. The actual staff knew little or nothing about Star Trek, it may be an idea for cons to hire some people who know about the subject matter and disperse them amongst the other staff. This will make a world of difference in relation to the information given to fans. For instance at the Colm Meany talk i heard one of the Staff answer,
when an enquiry was made about who was doing this talk, ” some guy called Colin or column Mean.”

Still a much better con than last time and i would like to thanks the Destination Star Trek Twitter account and Emma for sorting out my press pass. Yes it was sorted last minute as my emails seemed to have got lost in the ether, but none the less they was great and so thank you.
And for me this lady gave me the biggest laugh.




Well it’s been a few weeks since Star Trek London finished,so people have post con blues still, others a hankering to go to Vegas next year and some crossing fingers and toes and hoping Startrek London returns. But how many will go back?.
The biggest gripe was the much touted but non existent virtual queuing system, plus the fact that the merchandise prices where severely overpriced. If they can sort out them two little details it may make a massive difference. That said the very fact it left a sour note with some people may make them think twice.
The other overriding factor is the guests. This year we had five captains and some stellar stars to boot. Next year will they be able to repeat the same?
I for one would love to see Robert Picardo, Robert Duncan McNiell and Linda Park to name a few.
Other people will obviously have favourites or just people they want to see. I do know from a personal view point I won’t buy a Gold ticket again, the perks it garnered where insufficient and the goodie bag dire.
So thoughts turn to Vegas for some and what lies in store over there. You hear good and bad things from both sides. Some think creation has to much control , the con is to sterile and so on. Others think that it’s a wonderfully well run con and everything is very well organised, I guess only time will tell.
Those that went to London will have a nice comparison if they also go to Vegas .
For now I return to my world of podcasting knowing that I have made new friends,new contacts and who knows what the future will bring. I do know I have some good memories, shame it rained most of the weekend though, but hey it is Britain .

Day three

Day three
The queues are horrendous today, the virtual queue system seems to have been abandoned completely in relation to some photo sessions with people getting in who are number 47 or higher while those with low numbers look on with puzzled faces.
The merchandise prices are ridiculous there is a vendor who set up shop on Friday selling Star Trek mugs at £10 a go 4 for £30. Today the same vendor is selling them at £25 each!
The official Startrek London t shirt is £30 and comprises of simply a black t shirt with the Startrek London logo on it, some t shirt vendors are great. The official CBS one for instance is retailing some great high quality merchandise at a variety of prices. You can also buy books pictures and so on at a few different vendors, there are models available some great sculptures which will be auctioned. Then there is the museum which has a variety of items from the Porthos picture I tweeted to uniforms, weapons and so on.
The main stage has a sufficiently big screen to enable people from the very back to see the actors doing the talks, the autograph sections are well orchestrated there are cafes either end of the hall, one is certainly a wonderful incarnation of Klingon with a throne, artificial flames and so on.

When I get home I will certainly write an indepth blog and not this little nugget, but me being me I wanted to keep everyone up to date. I guess when Vesta tweeted this morning that I wouldn’t last more than two hours without working the fact I lasted 80 minutes was close. What can I say.

Day two part two

Day two
The day turned into something significantly better as it wore on, I got to meet a whole host of people from twitter and have met about 40-50 people who listen to the cast, I’ve made new friends spent 15 minutes shooting the breeze with Cirroc and JG, got bumpers and a personal message for Mike from commentary track stars and spent the evening listening to Avery Brooks, Chase,Anthony and so on entertain us. I still circulated the venue engaging with fans talking to people at the convention to get thoughts and feedback and found that very engaging. After all without the fans non of this would exist. The organisation has some holes though, for example some of the VIP ticket holders had no seat for the captains party. Not something that should happen to people who have paid three thousand pound. Also there have been some “hissy” fits thrown by people who cannot get there own way.
But to me it was all about the fans, I was particularly touched by how brilliant everyone has been, Jade waited by my stand just to see me. Tan came to fund me and Dan brought me a goodie bag to say thanks for everything I do, that had me smiling like a madman.
At the evening party I saw Jon,Tom and Vesta whose husband seemed to have been relegated to pack horse and I again got chance to just talk to Ira and Anthony while Avery was playing, how surreal was that!
So today we begin day three and today I’m a fan so with that in mind I’m off to queue up for Avery and his talk.

Star Trek London thus far on day two

Day two thus far.
After getting some sleep last night I felt a lot better for the day to come, it was with renewed optimism that I entered into the second day. Hopefully I thought today will be a better day. I mean what could go wrong today. I had resigned myself to the fact that the so called bloggers lounge would not be a place to work, so instead I elected to use the press lounge instead, arguably better from my perspective as it enabled me to also use power blocks. I also would not need to ask for a key, that is supposedly shared. The press side of things is something that has not been as good as I would hope, again you can’t get any help and so I’ve been going it alone again. Today I took a different route and interacted with the fans, talking to them about the convention meet up with people who up until now I have only known from twitter it’s been a revelation in that respect and I think that’s what cons are about.
You can meet the stars get the photo or autograph have a mingle, but the big thing is the fans, the big thing is greeting those who share a common interest or in some cases a common passion. It’s interacting with this people and getting the feel for what Star Trek means to them. This is what a con is a meeting of minds. A coming together of people with a shared passion and interests, a room full of thousands of people who like what you like. This is the best thing about the con . Some of the costumes are brilliant, some not so, but I does not matter to them. You see to them it’s fun, to them it means something and that is the true power if Startrek a meaning a sense of purpose. At this convention people from all round the world are meeting up and greeting together and finding somewhere they belong. The celebs are just the cherry on top.