I got down to Courtenay Place about 9.45 a.m. Most of the front rows were taken but I managed to find a front row possie just around the corner from the red carpet and opposite the stage which was all done up to resemble a hobbit burrow in the side of a hill, and had two hobbit doors. The band playing a couple of times during the wait was Neil Finn's who is singing the 'mountain morn' song on the soundtrack of "The Hobbit". He's one of NZ's favourite top evergreen singers. Check out his pedigree.
It was very very very hot. There were over 100,000 of us squashed together. There were lots of people dressed up, mainly as hobbits. They looked so good. Thousands upon thousands of tourists who had come expressly for the premiere. Red Carpet Tours had a group there and they seemed to be really enjoying themselves.
I sat on the ground, then stood up, then on the ground, then stood up... and it continued like this until 3 pm. After the first few hours a maintenance crew came out with ladders, tools and posters. They immediately transformed the traffic lights in front of me into a giant Gandalf monolith , thereby blocking half my view. I managed to squeeze sideways a couple of feet away from the monolith. After another couple of hours, a very very big camera on a crane took up residence in front of me in my new position, blocking a lot of the stage. Then some security guys stood in front of the one bit of stage that I could now see. From 3 pm until 7.30 I stood up, and please remember I had a sore foot!
I hardly saw a celebrity on the red carpet because right beside me on the corner was a group of PETA animal rights campaigners complaining about mistreatment of animals on the movie set (this is complete rot because the SPCA was on the set all the time and they said the animals were treated very well) and they waved placards. They did not reveal themselves until the last second. Naturally the stars scooted away from these people, so no star really came near where I was standing. After a while, a group of security people stood directly in front of the PETA people holding up their own (Hobbit) placards trying to block off the PETA ones, but not before the press had had a field day taking pictures of the PETA folk.
I did spot James Cameron, director of "Avatar" for a brief moment. He's a NZ citizen now and lives in the Wairarapa, somewhere near Peter Jackson's estate. All the 'dwarfs', too, were there, but honestly, there were so many of them that I got all muddled up with who was who.
At 6 pm, the speeches began and I managed to get some photos (well about 50 actually and here's just a few of them) but by now the sun was lowering and it was shining in the wrong direction. Oh dear. I truly don't believe I'll go to any more premieres. It's just not worth it anymore, what with the long wait, the heat, and having waited 8 hours I only got to see folk on the stage for a short time and by then I was almost on the verge of collapsing (hey, old person here, remember?).
Richard Armitage (Thorin) in centre