Star Trek London was held at the Excel Center in London last week and was attended by approximately 18,000 people over 3 days. This was the first Star Trek convention that I had attended since 1998 and was quite different in terms of scale and activities. To be honest, the conventions that I attended in 1995 and 1998 screened the latest episodes and so I spent most of my time watching those.
But that was then and this is now. Now there is no new Star Trek and instead of a small convention that raised money for charity, we had a large event organised by Showmasters. The event boasted the first UK appearance of all 5 captains – although I only had a Sunday pass and so I missed them appearing on stage together.
On arriving at the Excel Center, I was surprised to see no banners or even directions to the Star Trek Convention! When I rocked up, I was also surprised that there was no timetable and in this respect, it was as disorganized as the convention of yesteryear (except that it was costing me a lot more money).
On entering, there was an optimistically described ‘museum’ that consisted of some quite interesting props. Sadly, there were not that many of them – and the descriptions were scant. The warehouse style rooms in which the con took place were very dark and spartan. I don’t know why there were no posters, banners or suchlike. I’d have put a poster showing the Star Trek Universe, The History of Star Trek or maybe even the timetable!
There were very few merchants and those selling had way over inflated prices – especially Filmwelt and Forbidden planet. There were some other bits and pieces around, such as a Borg Drone life-size figure and a transporter room set. Best of all was a ‘free stage’ where anyone could drop in on talks (by some of the less famous names). Listening to Ronald Moore and Ira Steven Behr (writers) was great and they were heckled by Michael Dorn (Worf) and Jeffery Coombs (Weyoun, Brunt) and that was quite funny.
The highlight for me was a talk by William Shatner (which cost extra), he was by turns funny, serious and introspective. He really held the audience spellbound and the 45 minutes were over all too quickly. Legend.
I had hoped to go to some of the free talks that were held, but they were served up on a ticketed first come, first served basis. This was gutting because they’d all gone by the Sunday morning and I couldn’t attend any of these. This was Showmasters greatest mistake! the venue for these talks was tiny and given the size of the Excel center (its huge!) you would have thought they could have had a bigger hall.
Overall though, I had a good time – if I’d forked over a bit more cash for an autograph or photo with one of the stars then it would have been even better. The other Trekkies were great and many came in outstanding uniforms. Check out my pictures on FlickR: