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Why I won't be Seeing Karen and the Babes Down Under (A Rant)
Missy and 12
Karen and the Babes were announced last year as coming to capitals in Australia including Sydney. My friends and I were ecstatic and we all planned to make a day of it. I claimed I would sell my right arm to go. It turns out, I lied. Of course, we shouldn't have trusted The Hub. It seems to have quite a bad reputation within fandom for not really giving a fuck about fandom and just milking collectors for as much money as they can get away with. Now I'm not saying that The Hub's Whoniverse is the first con to rort fans, but it is the first one to annoy me quite this much.

First, have the prices:


Please see specific ticket outlets Terms & Conditions when purchasing.

This theatre-style event includes the following choices of ticket-types:

Gold Package - $950
Entry to the full day of events.
Seating in the front, Gold-reserved, rows.
An autograph from Matt Smith.
An autograph from Karen Gillan.
An autograph from Arthur Darvill.
A photograph with Matt Smith*.
A photograph with Karen Gillan*.
A photograph with Arthur Darvill*.
A group photograph with all three guests*.
First opportunity to purchase any additional photo opportunities* with Matt, Karen and Arthur on the day.
First opportunity to purchase any additional autograph opportunities (limited to two per guest) on the day.
Access to the merchandise room.

Silver Package - $650
Entry to the full day of events.
Seating behind the Gold Package tickets in the Silver-reserved rows.
An autograph from Matt Smith.
An autograph from Karen Gillan.
An autograph from Arthur Darvill.
A photograph with Matt Smith*.
A photograph with Karen Gillan*.
A photograph with Arthur Darvill*.
Opportunity to purchase any additional photo opportunities* with Matt, Karen and Arthur on the day.
Opportunity to purchase any additional autograph opportunities (limited to two per guest) on the day.
Access to the merchandise room.

A, B and C Reserve tickets - $150, $125 and $100 respectively
Reserved seats for the on-stage panels for all three guests.
Access to the merchandise room.

Additional Photograph & Autograph Opportunities
These will be available in limited supply to purchase on the day for Gold and Silver Package attendees:

Autograph from Matt Smith - $80
Autograph from Karen Gillan - $50
Autograph from Arthur Darvill - $50
Photograph with Matt Smith* - $100
Photograph with Karen Gillan* - $60
Photograph with Arthur Darvill* - $60
* Please note that ONLY the ticket holder (either Gold Package or Silver Package) is to be in the professional photograph with the guests. No exceptions will be made.

Also note:

Only Gold Package or Silver Package ticket holders will be able to have autographs signed at the event.
Per instructions of guests' management, autographs are unable to be personalised.

Please note:
Purchase of tickets to an event indicates acceptance of the event Terms & Conditions.
Ticket prices at the door (if available) may be higher. Pre-booking is highly recommended to secure your ticket at the lowest prices.
Guests are Confirmed – “Professional Commitments Not Withstanding”.
Change of advertised guests due to work commitments or other circumstances does not qualify for ticket refunds. Please note that every effort will be made to replace the guests.
Tickets prices are valid at the time of posting and can change without notice.
The HUB Productions and DCA Enterprises reserve the right to refuse tickets to any attendees.

Have you gotten your breath back yet? Good... really? So quickly? Didn't think so. Because what the actual fuckity fuck. Where to start?

Well- there's the fact that Hub keeps trying to justify its price stance in the face of upset fans by claiming, 'this is not a con,' this is a, 'theatre style event.' Bullshit my dear Hub. Having three actors doing panels with merch and autos/signings is a convention, the same as supanova is a con and smash is a con and armageddon is a con. I can claim a penguin is a dog all I like, but that doesn't make a penguin a dog. Stop it. Oh wait. It is a convention according to the Etiquette section. Australians, please don't tell me you are dumb enough to give these guys money

There's the fact that there is absolutely no consideration here for people who want photos/autos with one actor. None Personally, I'd like to get Karen and Matt but Arthur not so much and if I had to choose, just Matt thanks. All I wanted to tell him was that I believed in him from before he was ever announced as The Doctor. From when I first saw him in 2007's Ruby in the Smoke, I said, gee that guy is doctor material. Guess I'll be fan mailing now. And just in case I get people coming here to tell me I should save up or shut up;

a) I have the money easily. And no I will choose not to spend it because it is a rip off. An unnecessary rip off.
b) I introduce you to Philip Pullman and yes, I post this quote a lot, but it never gets old: "It was a shocking thing to say and I knew it was a shocking thing to say. But no one has the right to live without being shocked. No one has the right to spend their life without being offended. Nobody has to read this book. Nobody has to pick it up. Nobody has to open it. And if you open it and read it, you don't have to like it. And if you read it and you dislike it, you don't have to remain silent about it. You can write to me, you can complain about it, you can write to the publisher, you can write to the papers, you can write your own book. You can do all those things, but there your rights stop. No one has the right to stop me writing this book. No one has the right to stop it being published, or bought, or sold or read. That's all I have to say on that subject."
If you don't like this post, good for you. Go blog your own post. Write to The Hub congratulating them on their event. Buy those gold tickets. It's your choice. Just like it's my choice to articulate my feelings about this being a rip off. For any fan. Not just me

There is NO consideration of the fact that Doctor Who, even more so under Matt Smith is a family orientated show. Kids under 2 get in free. Everyone else pays full price. You want your seven year old to meet Matt. Pay 650 twice because everyone has to go by themselves for the photos. You want your eight year old and your nine year old to come along with you. That's 450 thanks. For a panel only thanks.

Apparently this is because the trio's management restricted signing/photo amounts. Well, fine. So do lots of actors at other cons, in Australia and out of it. But to say you can only go one person per photo is ridiculous. I've never been to a con (or not!con in this case) where you can't get more than one person in the photo assuming you've paid. It literally makes no difference to timing or to the actors. Seriously. It. Doesn't. But let's say it does. Say each actor is restricted to 200 people per actor per day. So be it. Everyone pays the base rate and then it's a free for all. Or at least those left over autos/photos (taking away the gold/silver tix) are a free for all.
Yeah people will miss out. It's called life. It's also called fair.

These photo/auto prices exclude young people, university poverty expresser's (people who normally are all for these events I'd like to point out), families, and people on benefits/pensions. Before you make that ablest comment of, 'oh but you can save.' Fuck off. Seriously. My brother gets $800 a fortnight disability pension. He spends that $800 on medication, groceries, transport (he can't drive), and his phone/internet bill. A silver package is three quarters of that pension. Yeah, he could go. If he starved himself for a fortnight and went off his ritalin. And yes, life isn't always fair. But people accept that. What people like me get pissed off about is people clearly making an event for the wealthy because they can, not because there is any real need to do so.

And autographs aren't personalized? Again, fine. Happens all of the time. But for the prices you're charging? People would be better off writing fan mail or catching a plane to London and waiting outside a stage door. For those prices you'd expect a special add on event. Nothing. Nada. What a joke.

And as if all of that isn't bad enough, there's this glorious disclaimer at the end.

Guests are Confirmed – “Professional Commitments Not Withstanding”.
Change of advertised guests due to work commitments or other circumstances does not qualify for ticket refunds. Please note that every effort will be made to replace the guests.
Tickets prices are valid at the time of posting and can change without notice.

That places all of the responsibility on the consumer, not the event organizers. And people really think The Hub are running this event for the fans? And I'm the Dalai Lama.

This is not fandom. It makes me really sad that there are people that think that this is fandom. It makes me really sad to think that Karen and the Babes agreed to this. I am sure it's just another job to them and fair enough, but it still makes me sad because not all actors are so oblivious. I don't want fandom to be a monetized experience for the privileged. That's NOT my fandom.

Fandom is 2010, paying for flights and accomodation in Melbourne and the price of a $14 student ticket to get into the Tim Burton ACMI exhibition. It featured over 400 artworks and costumes and set pieces. $14. Oh and Tim was there. Signing shit for free because he was just grateful that Australians seemed to like his work so much. There was a barrier separating the many fans from him. A little girl sat on her father's shoulders stretching her arms out to Tim trying to get her Nightmare dvd signed. Tim couldn't reach her over the barrier. He respectfully asked people to move to the side and he climbed over the barrier and walked over to the little girl sitting on her Dad's shoulders. He signed that DVD and said something to that little girl. It was one of the most beautiful things I've ever seen. He didn't go inside ACMI until every single fan waiting had something signed. Every last one.

And then the next day ACMI issued tokens. No token, no signing. And strictly no photos love management. Signings free still. Tim took a photo with my family. He also didn't give a damn about tokens. He signed hundreds of fans things that morning. Token or no token. Tim freaking Burton. That cult famous director guy. For the price of $14 and getting to Melbourne because he loves fans that much.

Well, Ok, he's a director. But what about Supanova last year? Carrie freaking Fisher was at Supanova. CARRIE. PRINCESS FREAKING LEIA. Fandom wasn't Carrie being there, charging a mere $90 for a photo, telling us with refreshing frankness and comedic flair about life after Star Wars. Fandom is the fact that her panel was free with your supanova ticket. Fandom was the little girl, maybe four or five, who hadn't quite grasped the difference between the character and the actress, asking Carrie when she wore her princess bikini. Carrie replied with all of the time, quite unfazed. "Hoovering in my bikini, washing up in the bikini. I love it." Fandom was the random Star Wars cos players escorting Carrie between events. Fandom was Carrie dancing up the panel aisle with them to the Imperial March.

I don't even like the idea of paying for a photo/auto with a celeb at an event like Supanova and I've never ever bought them before but come on. Carrie is huge. And it was cheaper to go to a panel and get a photo/auto with her then it is to merely go to the panel for Whoniverse.

Fandom is the Doctor Who Symphonic Spectacular. A celebration of monsters and music and a truly family event. For the same price as listening to Karen and the Babes on a panel, if not less, I had Alex Kingston presenting, monsters all around me, and Murry Gold on stage getting the orchestra to play some of the most beautiful themes I have ever heard for three hours. Fandom is Alex in the city ABC shop signing for HOURS on end because she was in Australia and she could. No cost involved there. All free provided you got there early and didn't miss out. I missed out but that's life. No hard feelings Alex. I just love you for doing it at all :)

Fandom is my friend's sister buying her tickets to dinner with the guy who played Pippin in LOTR- her most favorite actor in the world for $300. She got dinner, photos and autos I might add. But it wasn't just that. Fandom was the fun of dressing up and finding fellow Pippin fans.

Fandom is dressing up and taking photos of each other. Fandom is sharing the love. Fandom is baking Who themed treats and recommending Big Finish CD's and arguing about episodes. Fandom is Matt and Arthur turning up unexpectedly to a fan organised After Party. Or Karen and Matt visiting schools. Fandom is Matt's final message to his fans. It's about sharing love. I don't believe it's about putting a price on that love.

That's why ultimately I dislike manufactured con photo/auto memories to start with and I've never ever purchased one from any event. But The Hub goes further. With all due respect to those attending Whoniverse, including of course, Karen and the Babes, this is truly taking the piss. And unless I can see an actual legitimate cost break down and explanation for why tiers have been done this way, I won't be changing my mind. And that breaks my heart a little. Because I CAN afford to meet Karen and the Babes. I CAN afford to meet Matt and tell him what his Doctor meant to me.

But there is such thing as value for money. And no, this isn't it...

This entry was originally posted at http://dweomeroflight.dreamwidth.org/93912.html. Please comment there using OpenID.

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That's just awful. It reminds me of the prices and conditions Creation Con charges in the States at their cons, which have a lock on Star Trek etc. I work for three fan run cons here, and it's so different.

Arthur has done several of those cons. He's affordable and quite friendly. I don't know what Matt's conditions or costs are, but I do know Karen's price is insane. More than anyone else including John Barrowman (we're talking like $50,000 US for the weekend plus airflight, accommodations and food). Needless to say she won't be coming to any fan run cons here. Usually guests are like $10k or less.

Your icon reflects my rage! Though I haven't been to fan run cons for popular culture, I have been to fan run cons for speculative fiction and they offer you so much more! Last year I went to a four day con for about 350 which included multiple panels, a disco, a steampunk high tea and a five course Regency Ball. I know authors are a bit different in that it is expected that authors sign their books if you've grabbed one but it's interesting that actors feel they need to be paid for doing their job :/

Thanks for telling me about Arthur. I was feeling really quite upset and it helps to know it's not him. Um wow Karen. No offence, but you're not even BIG outside of Who fandom. Just saying.

But even if Matt and Karen are that expensive, in my view, it's the event organisers job to find ways to make the event affordable. Maybe that means inviting more lower profile who guests. Maybe that means having a bronze tier for individual actor photos. Maybe that means having proper exclusive events for gold and silver packages. And if the guests management declined to do a special event and you seriously HAVE to charge that much, don't bother. Seriously. Thanks but no thanks. I mean it.

Ya'know, sorry Karen and the Babes but get a grip. The truth hurts. Australians aren't mugs. Where's your sense of charity and of respect for the people that made you? Carrie is bigger than the three of you put together and she came cheaper. Just saying.

What the actual hell? :/

That was pretty much everyone I know's reaction. No one I know is going. No one.

Well, how rude. Such a shame. :( I liked what you wrote about fandom. Especially that Tim Burton thing, that sounds lovely :)

I hope you get the chance to meet them - or Matt at least, if they're not doing a thing together - in some other way.

Maybe they'll do a signing at ABC like Alex did but I doubt it.

Those prices are completely insane!

Haha Chris!

And yep. Faith in Karen and the Babes shattered.

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