So last night I hadn’t even figured out where I was going to buy Harry Potter, since most of the bookshops around here are independent, arty, secondhand, academic, glbt, etc etc. I figured I might head up to Borders in Islington. With that in mind I decided to take a slight detour to catch some Potter film locations on the way: First up was Grimmauld Place: (what do you think? I might have to watch the movie again to check as I can’t find any pictures online)
(there’s a whole row of these houses around a rather grim looking square, just like in the books, except the square doesn’t feature in the movies)
Then St Pancras:
Then I headed into Kings Cross to grab a photo of Platform 9 3/4 before getting on the Tube to Angel, only silly me, there’s a WH Smith at the station and a queue starting to form. So I became number 33 in the queue.
It was about 9:30 so I still had some time to go, but I’d packed Watching the English (an appropriate book to read in a queue, I felt) and my knitting. There were some incredibly obnoxious Australians behind me talking at the top of their voices saying stuff like as soon as they got the book they were going to read the last page out loud (London seems to be full of obnoxious Australians, but I’m sure it’s not, they’re just so loud. I’m sure there are also lots of quiet, polite Australians too, but they just blend in with the natives. That’s what I try to tell myself anyway). I was starting to think this was going to be a very long 2 2/1 hours…
The press were out and about, with one reporter going around asking if anyone was English. I think maybe she was going for the English queuing angle. I’d actually just read on the BBC website before leaving home that they were having a hard time finding anyone English in the Waterstones queue as well (people started queuing there on Thursday morning!).
A gorgeous French guy (like, really REALLY gorgeous) dressed as Harry Potter came up to me, apologised for his English, and asked if I knew what the programme was. Unfortunately I couldn’t help him and he left! Stupid Sarah, that would have been the ideal time to start talking in French to the guy!!
However right at that point a magician appeared in front of me and started showing card tricks to me and number 32. He stayed with us for ages and showed us all kinds of tricks. Number 32 turned out to be 25 year-old Kenyan girl called Allison, and thanks to the magician we got talking. And then the evening flew by! So I’ve made a new friend in the bargain. Thanks to the number system, we were also able to excuse ourselves from the queue for a few minutes to go here:
And at 10 the entertainment the French guy had been looking for started: lookalikes, the magician (who had started early), and face painting. The lookalikes in particular were pretty good:
At 12:00:50, Professor Sprout led the countdown, and at 12:01 we were finally allowed through “Platform 9 3/4” (a hanging thingy they’d put up with a slit in the middle to walk through), grasp our copies of the book fresh from the boxes, and proceed to the checkouts with haste! And then block our ears as one of the obnoxious Australians made good on the promise to reveal the ending.
Actually it’s really funny, but since I bought the book I’ve had more strangers in London talk to me than I have in the whole two months I’ve been here. On my way home a group of Gypsy (Roma?) women asked if they could look at it. Then in the patisserie this morning a couple asked if it was good. Then in the park a guy out with his family marvelled at how far through I was. There really is something very magical about Harry Potter. I’ve made a new friend and all of these Londoners are actually talking to me!
Loved it, by the way.