Travelling to the UK for a second time, to see Amanda Tapping again at another GABIT event AT7 Re-Celebration. This event, like the last GABIT event was held at the Renaissance hotel. 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.
This year Jen and I got invited to the cocktail party, so no hanging around the bar or in the lobby. So we got to get our selves a little more dressed up and have a good time. We were sat at a table with some other ladies who we had never met before. Some of who were very nervous about meeting Amanda. Jen and I were chatting to them and trying to help ease the nerves. Then Den came and gate crashed our table, since we had a couple spare chairs. I think his presence at our table also helped to ease the nerves, he left just before Amanda arrived.
When it was our tables term with Amanda I greeted her with a “Whazzup?!” to which she responded “Whazzup Bitches!!”. Which is what I normally would have said, but I was being polite, Amanda knows me too well. Amanda spoke to us about how she still gets nervous before these events too. Jen and I spoke to her about the upcoming events in Australia and how we would see her again there. Before Amanda moved on to the next table we had to get a group photo taken. I find the photo entertaining as my arm is over someone’s shoulder pointing at her boob.
After Amanda had moved on, the rest of us kept chatting and getting to know each other. It was actually a really good night. Jen and I also shared some of our stories from previous events we’ve attended with the ladies. After the cocktail party was over we were all hanging out in the lobby, we ate pizza and drank alcohol.
Saturday Morning Panel
Similar to the last event in England the days are filled with mostly panels. This meant that I spent the majority of the day taking photos with my new camera. I was excited to get more practice taking event photos and Amanda is very photographable. Here are the most memorable moments from her first panel of the weekend:
Amanda mentioned working on the Goosebumps episode, Sophie let out the funniest laugh. A laugh that stopped the room and Amanda. Sophie was excited when she got to ask Amanda a question, her question was. “What was it like working on the X-Files and having Gillian Anderson touch your face?”. Amanda gave a great response. Following the questions portion, Amanda then read one of her favourite passages from Julia’s book ‘You is for Unique”.
During the break between the panel ending and the photo session beginning, we were all hanging in the lobby chatting. I wanted to come up with a photo idea to get with Amanda, the best I could think of was a laughing photo. Out of our group Jen was the first to get her photo taken. She walked up to Amanda and goes. “RAWR!” to which Amanda roared back, then noticed that Jen was holing her phone case up that says. “RAWR means I love you in dinosaur”. Amanda thought it was brilliant, then Jen gave her a piggyback for her photo. I followed Jen and got my laughing photo, it was not quite what I was expecting. I still adore it, It kind of just make it look like Amanda and I are just good mates having a laugh together.
Sophie followed me for her photo, I told Amanda that she was popping Sophie’s con cherry. Amanda called me Naughty. Sophie wanted to get a photo of Amanda groping her, Amanda didn’t feel comfortable with that but she did have a laugh about it. Ashley was the last to get her photo and almost got stripped by Amanda. She was showing Amanda her Sanctuary tattoo on her collarbone and Amanda almost took her top off trying to look at it. A photo session with out group included: Back massages, lots of laugher, grope denial and near stripping, just your average photo session with Amanda.
Den and Ken
Jen and I had both brought out Amanda Tapping photobooks by Dennys Ilic and Kenneth Meere with us. Den and Ken were set up signing autographs in a little room off to the side most of the weekend. So Jen and I brought our books down to get autographed during one of the breaks. Den signed mine “Here’s trouble! with a smile. Love you much” he also signed my phone cover. But it had rubbed off by the next morning.
On the Saturday there was the auction, like the previous AT event Amanda did an entertaining job showing off items. I know and appreciate that the auction is raising money for the characters, but it’s hard to get involved. The auction items end up going for a ridiculous amount of money. There were many different items in the auction including costumes, autographed items, prints, blankets, scripts, and many more. Den even got up on the stage with Amanda to auction off some of the items he had brought. Specifically these amazing metallic prints of Amanda.
With the panels and auction over for day one, it was time to prepare 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. She as an Essendon player and myself as Hawthorn, we both had footies with us. When we were waiting for the ball to start we took the American girls outside and we kicked the footies around. Of course, as always when a footie is being kicked around, we almost lost it onto the hotel roof.
The actual Abnormal Ball was not as memorable as the last one, or maybe it was because of what happened. This night was memorable for the wrong reasons as most of the evening was spent dealing with a very drunk friend. There were panic attacks, vomiting, and then me running around because someone stole my iPad out of our room. We were thankful to have so many friends offer their help
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. Jen and I had been asked to be a part of a flash mob dance to take place at the end of the last panel of the weekend. We all needed to practice though, so during the first break we headed down to practice and stayed at the back. We got labelled “The Spazzy Aussies’ but apparently approved over time, especially when there was the “Even the spazzy Aussies weren’t too bad that time” comment.
Next up was the autograph session with Amanda. I have to comment that this event has the weirdest queue system, it was the same as the photos but it’s just weird and doesn’t make sense. You have to enter into the room where there is a long row of chairs and you are constantly up and down on the chairs as you move along. It definitely wasn’t the friendliest system for the hung over member of our group.
As we entered the room we got asked our names to be written on a post-it note. When she asked for mine I just responded “She knows it” then Jen gets her’s and sticks it to her forehead. She goes up to Amanda and tells her “It’s so I remember my name when I look in the mirror, it’s Nej!” Amanda just laughed, she gets our humour. When it was my turn I had Amanda sign my Den photobook, she signed it “Smiley!! You Goof! I adore you”. It makes me so happy and makes me feel very special, I’ll treasure it forever.
Following us was Ashley and Sophie, Sophie was hugging a large bottle of water as they walk up to Amanda. 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”. Yeah, she knows as too well.
Favourite Amanda Moment
Then came my favourite memory of the weekend, I’m standing in the lobby putting my photo away after getting the autographs. Next thing I feel a tap on my butt and I turn around to see Amanda hurrying off. So I yell out “Oi! That’s sexual harassment” to which Jen adds “Do it again!”. Even though Amanda had her back towards us and we couldn’t see her face, her shoulders were shaking in laughter. Only Amanda Tapping could get away with it.
Flash Mob on Amanda
During the last panel of the weekend, we had to continue with tradition so Jen asked 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 didn’t get to ask any question this year, I did have one to ask, but I think after Jen’s she didn’t trust our questions anymore.
As the end neared it was time to join the shenanigans of the flash mob. So we got up with a bunch of others and performed our dance number to Thriller. Jen and I hid ourselves at the back of the group, which meant that we were right in front of Amanda. So every time we had to turn around and face her we were pulling faces. Amanda’s reaction to the dance was brilliant and she started to laugh and then danced with us. At the end we all turned around to face her and started screaming, she nearly fell off her seat. Jen and I both got a high five from Amanda.
During the closing ceremony of the weekend we found out the amount of money raised for the charity which was £35000.
Once the show was finished, we all went and got something for dinner. Then Jen and I headed to the other girl’s room as they started to pack their cases ready to leave in the morning. I remember at ne point, Ashley and I were sitting on the floor in the hallway outside the room. We were singing Hakuna Matata when Amanda and her security posse rounded the corner. We just see Amanda popping her head up from behind the security people.
Our Love Actually Moment
Although not technically apart of the event itself, the day after and all the goodbyes that come with it can be hard. Ash and Sophie were flying home whilst Jen and I were planning to road trip to Scotland. 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 we had to wait, which meant we weren’t able to say goodbye to the girls. We were really upset that we missed this chance.
After we got the car, we headed to the hotel to collect our luggage and then we headed off on our road trip. We had to drive right past the turn off for the airport so we decided to just wing it and see if we could find them to say goodbye. We have labelled this moment as our ‘Love Actually” moment, I parked up and Jen runs inside. It was only by chance that she found them, because they had gone to the wrong terminal. Jen comes running out to get me and I run in and then the four of us just stand there hugging each other and crying. I’m thankfully that we got to say a proper goodbye, even if it mean tears at the airport.