It’s always so weird coming back from Gallifrey. It’s only been a few days since I got home (or it was when I started writing this post *ahem*), but the convention seems like a whole other world. And re-entry into Real Life is tricky, and quite a hit emotionally. But it’s always worth it.
And this Gallifrey felt even more worth it than usual. It was the first time I’d been abroad since the pandemic began (in fact, the pandemic became A Thing about a week after the last Gallifrey in 2020), but the travel was much less stressful than I’d imagined. (With the requirement for vaccinations and a negative rest before flying, it felt like an airplane was actually one of the safest places to be.) And everyone was v good with their masks at Gallifrey, and there was free on-site testing.
It was quieter than usual, and there were some dear friends who couldn’t make it, but it was an amazing con. The staff and volunteers put on such a brilliant show every time, and from the attendee side it looked as smooth and professional as ever. It was marvellous to see friends interviewing on-stage, and to have so many guests from the latest era. And to see their warmth and enthusiasm for the show, and for Jodie Whittaker.
Jo Martin was everything you could possibly wish Jo Martin to be (and I was partic yayful when she revealed she was the one who insisted on the glasses for her Doctor; that was my moment of “ah, yes you *are* the Doctor”), and Sacha Dhawan’s such an delight, all fun and wit, and just casually looks utterly beautiful everywhere he goes.
But it was seeing friends that was the most uplifting and heart-warming thing. Friends that I haven’t seen IRL for two years, or that I only ever see IRL at Gallifrey or friends that I *do* get to see IRL but so rarely since the pandemic; and ones that I’ve never met IRL but got to know online during the past few years. There were a lot of feelings. A lot of love and joy and contentment. And gratitude that I know such amazing people. (A terrible error on their part, but they’re stuck with me now.)
And there were brand new people that I met for the very first time, and that was wonderful, even though I’m very bad at it. (I am constantly fighting shyness and awkwardness around new people, and I’ve definitely got *better* at dealing with those feelings over the years, but it’s still very much “Oh God, why do I say anything ever” afterwards. When I was introduced to Matthew Sweet, who I admire enormously, he told me he was listening to The Grey Man of the Mountain at the moment, so of course I ran away at the first opportunity. In my defence, this was at peak jetlag time, so my ability to be a sensible was at a low.)
There were no Verity! panels/games this year, but I did get to see Lynne Thomas interview Sophia Myles and then, in a truly epic feat of moderating, wrangle a writers’ panel of NINE participants into being both informative and entertaining. (Especially, I think, for younger or aspiring writers.) And I’m v onboard with Lisa McMullin’s ‘I’ll figure out the ending when I get there and it will be really good’ method of plotting.
Other highlights were Kim and Sage’s (aka HeadOverFeels) This or That interview (which is a relatively recent addition to the con, but has quickly become such an incredibly fun and popular part of it.) And Paul Cornell’s gameshows, which are the most glorious and ridiculous fun.
A terribly exciting Big Finish thing that I’d no idea about was the announcement of Gallifrey War Room, continuing on from Gallifrey Time War. And it was especially exciting as there was a truly flippin’ EPIC cinematic trailer to announce it. Beautifully written by Sophie Iles, and with magnificent visuals (I don’t know who did them! Apologies, I would credit if I did.) So glad I got to see it on a big screen. I also got to meet Lauren Cornelius briefly, who plays the Dodo in my next release from Big Finish, and she was pure enthusiasm and joy. And Heather Challands, the new Big Finish producer, who had never been interviewed on stage before – you would NEVER have known it from watching her; a total pro.
There was some excellent cosplay, less than in previous years, but still very much present. My favourite being this incredible even-better-than on-screen Draconian. (There’s more pics of the cosplaying posted on my Instagram.)
The trip was rounded off with what I shall call the traditional comic book shopping trip on Monday morning. Five of us headed out to The Comic Bug and bought comics. Cause I’m a comics person now. (My purchases were based entirely on actually comics people’s recommendations.)
And then there was the long wait for the flight back, and the jetlag, and the trains and bus home. It’s always bittersweet coming home after Gally. So much joy, so many excellent memories, and yet it always feels over so quickly. Still, this little guy was waiting for me when I got back: