It’s probably clear to everyone who follows my blog that I am a huge Trekkie. I have all sorts of merchandise from the shows and films. Some of my proudest possessions are Star Trek books and models. On my left arm is a Star Trek tattoo. This epic sci-fi series is second to none in my eyes, and I have my mother to thank for this – she is a first generation Trekkie who would one day get her son hooked on The Next Generation, and I haven’t looked back since.
Star Trek continues to be relevant in today’s world in profound ways. The idealism of Star Trek, whilst unquestionably lofty and difficult to achieve in the realities of our modern world, is nevertheless something to aspire to. Racial equality, gender equality, individual rights, religion, politics, euthanasia, drug abuse… These are all themes Star Trek has dealt with, along with the wider idea of bettering one’s self, and treating differences not as things to be feared, but as opportunities to learn and develop. Star Trek has taught me so much in this vein, and being surrounded by thousands of like-minded people over the weekend filled me with a huge sense of pride and togetherness. Fans of all different creeds came together to pay their respects to their heroes, and to Star Trek as a whole.
It’s amazing to see the depth of love for Star Trek. My wife and I donned uniforms – some fans made uniforms, or got made up, and patiently posed for pictures with other fans. Others had overcome challenging physical disabilities to be here – and no one was treated with anything other than respect and dignity. This made me feel very proud. Fans had flown in from all over the world to be a part of this – but here, nationality didn’t matter. We all belonged to Star Trek.
Philosophy aside, what was the weekend like? Let’s get the bad out of the way first. This can be summed up in one word – organisation. It’s a famous fact that Britons love to queue, but this would have tested even the Queen’s patience. We arrived at 1pm on Friday and didn’t get into the venue until gone 3pm. Needless to say, standing in a never-ending queue, which would split and merge with other queues, was a confusing and painful experience, and over the course of the weekend things didn’t really improve. Everything was running late – I know i know, this will happen at big events, but the extent of this problem meant a knock-on effect on everything else, including clashes with other plans. Sorry NEC, but for me at least, the ExCel Centre in London did a better job as hosts.
The actual talks were fascinating, emotional and eye-opening. There were poignant moments with the Deep Space Nine crew, in particular with Terry Farrell (aka Jadzia Dax), who gave her side of the story of her exit from the show, and Robert O’Reilly (Gowron) recalled some gruelling filming experiences. Marina Sirtis (if you ever read this, you are amazing!) spoke of difficult producers and Will Wheaton gave us a story of his regret at leaving Star Trek too soon, and how he came to terms with that. Everyone was friendly, especially George Takei, who shook my hand! It’s been an incredible weekend, and I won’t forget the memories forged here. Please check out a few of the photos from the weekend!
Myself with the marvellous George Takei!
The magnificent Marina Sirtis signs my photo with her!