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Heavens to betsy, there's nothing more surreal than the fan-addled opening of a new Apple Store. Glutton for punishment, CNET UK was present for the grand opening of the UK's newest Apple temple, located in the brand new Westfield Stratford shopping centre.

Click through our photos above to be mentally transported through the eye of madness, and into a swirling mass of Apple fan shouting, blue-shirted geniuses and high-fives. It was truly bizarre, and trust us, we know a thing or two about Apple queues.

If you thought the opening of a relatively small Apple Store that's inside a bigger shopping centre would attract less attention than the flagship shops, you'd be mistaken.

By the time we showed up, well before the 10am opening, there was a huge crowd assembled, and a queue that snaked across the new shopping centre's third floor promenade.

As the clock ticked down the moments until the doors opened, the blue-shirted Apple staff emerged, shouting and whooping encouragement and offering high-fives to the assembled crowds. Before long a noisy chant of 'Apple, Apple, Apple' was echoing around the building.

24 hours in the queue

We spoke to Imran, who was first in the queue.

So how long have you been queuing?

I've been queuing for 24 hours now, maybe a little more, since Monday, Monday morning, that's why I've got my sleeping bag right here.

So you were queueing outside the actual shopping centre?

Yeah, so I could be the first in the queue for the whole shopping centre.

Was it cold at night?

It was so cold. I didn't think it would be cold, it was cold. it was so cold.

So why this shop?

Because I recently bought an Apple iPhone 4, and the apps and the interface, I just loved it and I thought, okay I've never tried Apple before and I actually love this phone, and now I'm in love with Apple, so I thought I'd come here [to] get some of the stuff I love!

How do you feel about the cheering?

It's so amazing, I think Apple's got the loudest, alivest atmosphere in this whole store. Everyone's queuing around just to see what's going on.

Does it ever make you a bit nervous?

[laughs] When I first saw them screaming I was like, 'Okay I don't wanna go there now', no only joking. I wish I was Apple staff myself so I could do that. 

Zero hour

As the doors finally opened and the masses poured into the shop, the first 1,000 customers were awarded commemorative T-shirts. Apple fans, we will never understand you, but we cannot fault your dedication. Godspeed, you maniacs.

If you're not already sick of staring at Apple stuff, check out our photos from the Covent Garden Apple Store opening, our photos of the iPad 2 launch, and our own experiences queuing overnight for an Apple product.

Does this display of feverish Apple fandom have your heart swelling with pride? Or does it make your blood boil? You've come this far, it's time to make your feelings known in the comments, or on our Facebook wall.

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Before 10am. The doors haven't even opened yet at the Westfield Stratford Apple Store, but the queue is already massive as the Apple faithful gather.
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'neath the glowing logo the blue-shirted staff assemble.
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The first 1,000 through the door were given a commemorative T-shirt. Worth queuing through the night for? You be the judge.
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A cheery genius waves hello. Hello, cheery genius!
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The queue dominates the top level of the newly minted shopping centre.
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As per usual, the horde of Apple staff emerge prior to the grand opening, shouting and whooping to stir up the crowd.
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Liberal application of high-fives whips the assembled into a frenzy.
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A chant of 'Apple, Apple, Apple' goes up.
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A victory lap for the geniuses. Inspiring, or sickening?
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No-one was more excited than the Chelmsford town crier. This didn't seem weird at the time.
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By the time the first punters were squeezing into the shop itself, the crowd had grown frighteningly huge.
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