I’ve been attending Ottawa ComicCon since its inception in 2012, and an exhibitor/volunteer with The Doctor Who Society of Canada since 2013. Every year, ComicCon outdoes itself, whether it’s the calibre of guests they bring in, or the quality of the cosplays, or just the overall energy. I really don’t mind spending 99% of Mother’s Day Weekend at the EY Centre, because it’s just that much fun and I also get to hang out with my Con family and friends.
Ottawa ComicCon 2015 was particularly memorable for a few things, and most of them stem from this:
I MET BILLIE PIPER!!!!!
I was glad when I heard that Billie Piper was coming to Ottawa for the entire weekend. I was “a little bit sad,” to borrow a phrase from the Junior Time Lord, when it was announced that she would only be in Ottawa for two days. And then I was unimpressed to hear that Wizard World Philadelphia absconded with her for both Saturday and Sunday, which meant that her Ottawa fans would have to be satisfied with Friday afternoon and early evening.
Was it worth it? Oh, hell yes.
So. A story. In the week and a bit leading up to her Friday-only appearance, I acquired a taste for working with Perler beads. If you have been living in a pocket universe for the last 30 or so years* and have never heard of this craft activity, basically it’s beads arranged artfully on a pegboard, which are then fused together with an iron, so your creation doesn’t break apart when finished. I started out slowly, which saw me finish – eventually – two coasters, one of the 11th Doctor and the other an Adipose. Bolstered by this accomplishment, I went on to attempt a Baymax using a sticker from Hot Topic as my template. It looked beautiful on the pegboard. My kids even told me that it “looked a lot like Baymax.” But it didn’t make it through the ironing process. Clearly, these hands of mine were never meant to wield such a powerful household tool.
Undeterred, and already lacking the judgment that comes from having a healthy brain fortified by a proper night’s rest, I typed the words “Rose Tyler Perler beads” into the Google search bar. I thought about making a simple rose. But who needs sleep? Not I!
Several groggy days later, with the capable and “patient, mostly” hand of the mister guiding the iron; I had this:
Finishing her up was challenging, and such a relief. She needs some touching-up because some of the beads decided to go all wibbly wobbly during the ironing process, but I’m very proud of our Little Rose. Even more so that her human twin found a fairly even spot on which to autograph her.
More entertaining still was Billie’s Q & A. Here are some of the answers that I can remember:
– She will not be making a return to the music scene. Back in the day, she was Britain’s version of Britney Spears, without the very public meltdowns. Being an actress suits her best.
– When Christopher Eccleston left Doctor Who after the first season of the re-boot, she contemplated leaving as well. But she decided to stay on after meeting David Tennant.
– Matt Smith was a better kisser than David. (Ooh-la-la!)
– Her favourite pastimes involve “walking and drinking.” She enjoys both in equal measure during family time with her husband, the actor Laurence Fox (Gosford Park, Foyle’s War, Inspector Lewis), and their two little boys; in the English countryside.
– She would love to come back to Doctor Who, someday, as a companion. She says she is a traditionalist and feels that The Doctor should always be male.
– She filmed her final episode as Rose Tyler, “Doomsday,” whilst pregnant with her first child. “Doomsday” and “Father’s Day” are the two episodes from her series run that have had the greatest impact on her, for a variety of reasons.
– If she could go back in time, she’d like to return to Swindon, her childhood home town, with her parents and siblings.
And then there was me. I’d like to put it out there that this was my first time ever in a line-up to ask a celebrity a question. I was both wired, and wireless, at the same time. I didn’t want to come across as a complete derp, and while it wasn’t a terribly long wait in the queue, enough people were ahead of me who asked the questions that I wanted to ask. So what everyone involved ended up with, was this:
Me: “If you’d like to go back to Swindon, I have a TARDIS key?”
BP: (Slight side-eye and a nod.)
Me: “So, um, when I was in the line-up for your autograph, I noticed that you have your married name tattooed on your ring finger.”
BP: (Side-eye expands.)
Me: “Your husband is Laurence Fox, from Inspector Lewis; and, um, you and I have something in common.”
BP: (Side-eye is joined by a head tilt.)
Me: <Insert jumbled half-formed attempt at humour involving the mention of butter melting on parsnips.> “Do you and your husband have any plans to work together in the future, or do you choose to keep your professional lives separate?” (This sounds much more articulate than the actual question, trust me.)
As it turns out, she met Laurence Fox while both were starring in a play in London, the 2007 revival of Treats by Christopher Hampton. Their roles demanded that they be “absolutely horrible to each other, night after night,” yet they married – “very impulsively,” she adds – six months later. Fox has lately re-established himself as a musician, a career shift that his wife, the former pop singer wholeheartedly supports.
Ah well. In the end it was great fun, and my sources tell me that the fantastic Mrs. Fox greatly enjoyed her visit to Ottawa and would love to come back for a future con. Please do, m’dear, and please bring that handsome Doctor of yours while you’re about it.