Travelling to the UK to see Amanda again, this time for AT7 Re-Celebration another event at the Renaissance hotel organised and run by GABIT. The weekend was pretty good and I had an amazing time hanging with everyone, our little group of four was amazing and we had a ball together. I’ve got to say a massive thanks to my travel buddy Jen for once again making the trip with me, plus our American pals Ashley and Sophie the weekend would not have been the same without them. It was a weekend filled with awesome mates, lots of laughs, back massages, near stripping, grope denial and sexual harassment plus Amanda Tapping of course.
For this years event Jen and I actually got invites to the cocktail party so instead of chilling in the bar or lobby we got to actually be at the cocktail party dressing up all fancy like and having a good time, some of the ladies at our table were feeling a little bit nervous about meeting Amanda so Jen and I were just chatting to them trying to help ease some nervousness, Den then came and gate crashed our table as we had spare seats and he hung around until Amanda came to join as she did her rounds of the room. I greeted Amanda with a “Whazzup?” to which she responded with a “Whazzup Bitches!!” which is what I had said in my head but was trying to be polite, but Amanda knows me well. Amanda spoke about being nervous before these events which helped to ease the nervousness of some of the others, Jen and I started talking to her about an upcoming event in Australia (Perth & Adelaide) the following month where we would see her again. Before Amanda moved on to the next table we got a group photo taken, I find the photo rather entertaining as my arm is over someone’s shoulder and it just looks like I’m pointing at her boob, we all kept chatting and getting to know each other and it was a good night, Jen and I also shared some of our convention stories. After the cocktail party we were all just chilling in the lobby, hanging out we ate pizza and drank alcohol… then later in our rooms we taught the American’s about an Aussie show called Full Frontal and watched some YouTube clips.
Like the last AT event in England the days are filled with mostly panels, and I spent the majority of my time taking photographs. I had brought a new camera before the trip so was excited to get some good convention photos with it. During her first panel of the weekend here are things I remember… Amanda mentioned the Goosebumps episode she was in, which resulted in the funniest laugh from Sophie a laugh that stopped the room and Amanda, then afterwards Sophie was extremely pleased when she got to ask her a question, firstly explaining that she was the loud laugher from before she then asked "What was it like working on the X-Files and having Gillian Anderson touch your face?” Amanda gave a great response. Amanda read one of her favourite passages from Julia’s book ‘You is for Unique’ and then after that it was time for photos.
Before the photos we were all just hanging out in our groups in the lobby, I had wanted to come up with a funny photo idea with Amanda and Ken suggested a random over the top laughter photo, thinking that would be good I went for it but the photo just looks like Amanda and I are good mates having a laugh together… which I adore! Jen had her photo first though and she walks up to Amanda and goes “RAWR!” to which Amanda Rawrs back then notices Jen’s showing her her phone case which says “RAWR means I love you in dinosaur” Amanda thought it was great and then Jen got a piggyback photo with Amanda because why not. We had tried to think of funny photo ideas for the girls and Sophie was gonna ask for a grope photo, she was after me and so as I left I told Amanda that she was popping Sophie’s con cherry and she wanted a grope photo, Amanda decided against the groping but she did have a laugh and then followed up by calling me naughty, I’m not complaining or denying!! Ashley was the last to get her photo in our group and almost got stripped by Amanda as she tried to get a look at Ash’s tattoo on her collarbone. So in the time it took the four of us to get our photos we had a back massage, lots of laughter, grope denial plus near stripping... just your average photo session with Amanda!
Jen and I had our Amanda Tapping photobooks by Dennys Ilic and Kenneth Meere with us to get autographed so during a break we brought them down to get signed by them both and I love what Den wrote on mine “Here’s trouble! with a smile. Love you much” He also signed my iPhone cover but by the next morning the signature had rubbed off. Then there was the auction and again like the previous AT event Amanda did an entertaining job showing off the auction items, I know the auction is raising money for the charities but it’s hard to even get involved in the auction because the items go for ridiculous amounts of money. Den got up with Amanda to auction off some of the items he had brought across, specifically these amazing and special metallic prints of Amanda photos he had taken.
Panels over for the day it was time to get some food into us before getting ready for the abnormal ball, the previous AT event I had dressed as a bogan so this event Jen and I went next level and were both dressed as AFL players, hers Essendon and mine Hawthorn, there was a delay in the ball set-up so the two of us went outside and kicked the footy around, the American gals joined us and we showed them how to do it right. As always when an Aussie football is being kicked around we almost kicked it up onto the roof of the hotel, lucky we didn’t because that would’ve been the end of our football. The actual ball was not as memorable as the previous one, or maybe it was because of what happened that night that was more memorable although not necessarily in a good way… Most of the evening was spent dealing with a very drunk friend, another suffering panic attacks, vomit, and me running around trying to find my stolen iPad, we were all so thankful to the many friends who offered their assistance during this time though.
Even though none of us really got much sleep we were all still awake and downstairs for breakfast, although Sophie ended up back upstairs for the first panel she was not feeling too good at all. During a break in the day Jen and I headed down with a group of others to practice a special dance number to be done at the end of Amanda’s last panel, having never practiced the dance before we stayed at the back and got labelled “The Spazzy Aussies” but apparently we approved over time because eventually we got a "Even the spazzy Aussies weren't too bad that time" comment. Next up was getting our autographs from Amanda – I got to comment that this is the weirdest line-up system it was the same as the photos but it’s just weird you sit in a chair and have to get up and sit in the next chair as it moves along so it was constantly up and down and was not friendly on the person in our group with the hangover. When entering the room for autographs everyone gets asked their name and it gets written on a post-it, lady asks me mine and I just respond "She knows it!" then Jen has hers stuck to her forehead, and goes up to Amanda and tells her "Its so I remember my name when I look in the mirror, its Nej!!" I had Amanda signed my photo with her and my Den photo book to which she signed "Smiley!! You Goof! I adore you" and it makes me feel so special, going to treasure it forever.
Following us was Ashley and Sophie, Sophie was hugging a large bottle of water as they walk up to Amanda so Amanda asked how their night went to which Ash responds with "So-so" and Amanda's like "Well at least you have the memories" to which Sophie responds "I don't remember anything" and Ashley follows up with "We're the other half of Jen and Smiley's group" Amanda immediately responds with "Say no more" Yup, she knows us well! And then to my favourite and funniest memory of the weekend, I’m putting my photo away after getting the auto and I feel a tap on my butt and turn around to see Amanda hurrying off, so I yell out "Oi! That’s Sexual Harassment!!" then Jen yells out "Do it again!" and even though we couldn’t see her face you could tell by the shake of her shoulders she was laughing - only Amanda Tapping could get away with it.
The last panel of the weekend and Jen had to continue the tradition and got to ask Amanda another cow related question this time it was "If a herd of cows gets caught in the rain does the milk become diluted?" Amanda's response was No and then she told Jen that she now held the title of weirdest question she'd ever been asked. I did not ask any questions this year, though I did have one to ask but maybe after Jen’s she didn’t trust our questions. As the day wound down and came to an end it was our time to join the shenanigans as we got up with the others to perform our dance number to Thriller, Jen and I hid ourselves at the back of the group which happened to be right in front of Amanda so every time we turned around to look at her we pulled faces, Amanda’s reaction to the dance was brilliant as she started to laugh and dance along. At the end we all turned around to face her and all started screaming, she nearly fell off her seat, then Jen and I both got high fives from Amanda. During the closing ceremony of the weekend we found out the amount of money raised for the charity which was £35000.
After the show and after dinner was had Jen and I headed to the other girl’s room as they started to pack their cases. I remember sitting on the floor in the hallway outside the door with Ashley and we were singing Hakuna Matata when Amanda and her security posse walk around the corner and we all crack up as we just see Amanda’s head pop up from behind the security posse. Although not technically apart of the event itself the Monday after and the goodbyes are such a massive part of it all. Ash and Sophie were flying home whilst Jen and I were planning to road trip to Scotland, so we headed off to pick up the hire car with plans to collect the girls from the hotel and take them to the airport, unfortunately the car wasn’t ready and so we missed being able to say goodbye to the girls. We were so upset that we didn’t get to say our goodbyes but knew we couldn’t help it so after picking up the car we collected our things from the hotel and left on our way, fortunately our travel path took us past the airport so we decided to wing it and drive in and see if we could find them to say goodbye. This moment we have labelled our ‘Love Actually’ moment, because we stop at the airport I park and Jen runs inside, and manages to catch the girls she runs out to get me and then in the middle of the airport the four of us are hugging and crying. We only manages to catch them because they had ended up at the wrong terminal, but we were all so thankful that we got to say a proper goodbye even if it meant tears at the airport.
Complete Guest List: AMANDA TAPPING