As you probably know, on Saturday the 23rd of January the awe-inspiring O2 arena played host to an MJJC meet-up of epic proportions. From following the initial thread from the start, my jaw slowly dropped as more and more members signed up to be in attendance. There would be talking, drinking, partying and of course spending time in the Official Michael Jackson Exhibition.
I was brave enough to travel to London that day to meet the people I have been talking to through a screen for almost a year now so needless to say I was shaking in my shoes. Couple that with the fact that I had never travelled to London by myself before, I had quite a feat ahead of me.
A few weeks prior to the event, I was working out which trains and underground travel I had to take to arrive at the dome. Was there going to be engineering works done on the day? Could I afford the journey? What time would I have to leave? All these questions plus a few more floated around my head like bubbles, being popped one by one as the pieces slotted together. I became fairly confident of how to get there, so my prescence that day was fairly certain.
The big day arrived. Much chatter had gone on the previous night about how excited we all were, what we were taking, and what the overall plan of the day was. To be honest, none of that mattered at the time. I just wanted to be there, with everyone else.
I awoke at 7am. Early I know, considering I live about an hour and a half from the location. Better safe than sorry though right? You can bet I was mentally and physically drained for a short period due to the early awakening. I had enough time to pack a light bag, buy some snacks and drinks for the train ride and make sure I had the right money for the day. Certain that I was totally prepared, I set off. Finally, in an hour or so I would be with other MJJC'ers, ready to start the day.
With my Michael Jackson shirt on (of course), I headed to the station. I brought about £40 with me, adamant that around £10 of that would cover travel costs. After buying the first of what I planned to be two tickets (one train and one tube), I boarded the train. My mind was at rest for at least 40 minutes, while I blasted Michael Jackson through my iPod, preparing myself.
Finally arriving at West Ham train station, somewhere I had never been in my life, I followed the high signs to what I worked out to be the correct next move. West Ham is also home to the tube station, so not much walking was involved between the two mediums of travel. Again, as I say, buying a tube ticket, I was a short 2 stops away from North Greenwich station, which is opposite the dome. As you can guess I was fairly pleased I had made it this far.
After sending a few short texts upon arrival at the station, I set my legs in motion towards the big white structure. If you didn't know, this was first built in the year 2000 as the Millennium Dome, and after closing in 2001 was rebuilt as the music and entertainment hot-spot it is today. The outside architecture stilll remains however, so I recognised it exactly as I did a decade ago.
At 10am, I walked through the doors of the arena and was shocked. It was fantastic, totally magical. Lights, colour and ambient music infused my senses. I had to stay and admire the sheer beauty of what was before me. It really was something. One of my very first thoughts was "Man, I would really love to work here". After the initial overdose of excitement wore off, I made my way to The Slug and Lettuce, restaurant-turned-rendezvous point for the meetup.
I didn't think I would be the first one there, but due to travel problems Becca (the organiser) arrived a little before the starting time of 11am. For about 30 minutes I stood outside The Slug, occasionally walking around to explore this unknown location.
As 11am came closer, people started to show up. The first member I met in person was Reeta, who had travelled all the way from Finland to meet up with us. Conversing briefly, Becca then appeared wearing the "We Do It for L.O.V.E" t-shirt, which I designed for the day. I didn't think it would look as good as it did on those who wore it but I was pleasantly surprised at the results.
At around 11.20, we entered The Slug. We had a side of the restaurant reserved for us, all to ourselves. I took my seat and, as I said earlier, was extremely nervous. I'm glad I became more relaxed as the day progressed as I stayed silent near the beginning. The table filled with new arrivals quickly and I didn't have time to meet and greet with everyone who I had hoped to. Luckily, to calm my nerves, a fellow attendee was there who I talk to quite often on MJJC, Jackie11. Being shy, I enjoyed that because I felt I could talk to her easier than many of the others who were there at that time.
More coming soon!
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