Man oh man, what a last 72 hours.
So yes, I did cover the midnight book launch of the final installment of the Harry Potter series for the Associated Press London bureau. It is so sad that I dont think I will ever write a sentence that awesome again for the rest of my life.
I got to Piccadilly Circus a little after nine. The trains were delayed because there'd been some pretty 'massive' flooding (texans will roll thier eyes) after the rain.
I was worried at first I wouldn't be able to find the bookstore. I was wrong...There were already thousands of people lined up. It was like some bizzare convention, only everyone was standing in line Fans were hurridly finishing the 6th book (again), adding final touches to costumes, or making signs on cardboard that said things like "The Giant Squid is a Horcrux."
It took a good 15 minutes to weave my way to the back of the line, which was blocks and blocks away past the witches hats and Hogwarts flags. People were dressed as Castles, as wizarding paintings, and as firebolts. Others were dressed as thier favorite characters, be that Lucius Malfoy or a Thestral.
Then came the crazy part...
There were over 5000 people in like for the book, and a good 200 had joined the crowd outside, just to watch. After pushing my way throguh the crowd (not easy, and I did knock over a few camera men to get to the front...totally on accident), I joined in the last ever countdown and cheering as the stroke of 12:01 came after so many years.
That's when I realized, people buying the book were being released out the BACK of the store, not the front. My job at this launch was to get quotes from people who'd just bought the book, so, cursing under my breath, I started ramming my way back through the crowd with my shoulder (which is swollen and the color of a plum.) Once I got clear of the mass gathering outside, I sprinted to the back pushing past fans and bystanders alike, till I got to the alleyway.
I was greeted by a bookstore employee wearing a shirt that said 'Muggle' yelling "No one through, I'm sorry but NO ONE is allowed through." They'd blocked off the street to protect new owners of the 7th book from people who wanted to yell the ending at them...or from the evil Rita Skeeter members of the press.
Thank god I took ballet when I was little. I turned my back on the Muggle_like I was walking in the other direction_then did a quick pas de bourrée past him and leapt over the police tape seperating me from my quotes.
Once I got there, I started asking people, now holding the 7th book, how it felt to hold the final installment. (Now remember, these people had been at the front of the line, and so had probably been interviewed a million times)
They rolled their eyes at me, saying they wouldnt talk to anymore reporters. They said they were sick of being asked questions by stupid journalists who hadnt even read the books!
"Are you kidding," I said back. And in diatribes of nerdiness evident in previous blog entries, I proved to them that I was a fan and, therefore, worthy of their quote.
And I got 'em. I got enough quotes in 15 minutes to get to go home hours and hours early...which meant more time to read the book. So I called in the quotes, hopped on the tube, and had the book opened by 1 am.
What a night!
And yes, I finished the book. I started reading at 1 and finished around 7pm the next day, which includes sleeping, eating, showering and a quick jaunt to the grocery store.
And I loved it. So so worth it. Anyone wanna discuss?