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10 February 2010 @ 08:43 pm
SFX Weekender 2010 Con Report
My weekend started on Thursday, when I hopped the train to Kitty's so we could set out at sparrow-fart o'clock on Friday morning. That's the first time I've seen 6.30am from the right end in about 20 years and I feel all accomplished now! *g*

While I was there, they introduced me to Big Bang Theory. Now, I've seen it mentioned here and there on my flist, but I never really gravitate towards comedies, and SGA and Eureka pretty much filled my geek quota, but OMG! Why did you all keep quiet about Sheldon?! How could you not tell me how completely and utterly insane he is?! I will never look at ball pits the same way again. And 'Bazinga!' is now a part of my lexicon.

We picked up suki_blue and then sweet_exile and followed TomTom's sometimes rather dubious directions to the glorious venue that is Pontins Camber Sands, near Rye.

Once there, we were flagged down by three Jedi Stormtroopers and the most enthusiastic Tennant!Doctor of the entire weekend. (Honestly, he got everywhere, including the stage during the awards on Saturday night!)

When Kitty was unable to produce her travel permits or recite her registration at the request of one of the Stormtroopers, the Doctor opened her door and scanned her, declaring her to be human. But sweet_exile turned out to be an alien...

Suki grabbed our kit from the registration office, and then we went off to find our VIP accommodation which turned out to be situated within tottering distance of the main building.

"VIP" turned out to mean one room with very narrow twin beds, one room with bunkbeds, a pullout sofa in the tv roomlet, a very bijou bathroom and a kitchenette area where we stored the important stuff like biscuits and crisps and sweeties.

We missed most of the welcome and introduction because we desperately needed food, but we got into the main Void area in time for me to grab a con t-shirt and join James Marsters's signing queue before it got unmanageable. At this point, vampirefever, vic_amy_z, princess_s and lonelybrit popped up to say hi before wandering off to take in the sights. It was a Horbling mini reunion! mirasol arrived an hour or so into the event, and was soon wandering the Void in search of us.

Suki went off to listen to the "Fantasy, horror, science fiction: what's in a name?" talk in the centre of the hall, and I got to experience the joys of queueing to meet the Marsters. *g*

While in the queue, I got into a staring contest with a Darth Vader slightly shorter than myself. Impossible to win, I now, and after a few minutes of being Vadered at, I figured he wasn't going anywhere until I said something, so I did. Wearing my biggest smile, I leaned forward and said "You're so shiny!" And he leaned even closer, told me he liked me (o.O) and then moved on to Vader at someone else.

When we got to the front of the queue, I spotted a silver pen on the signing desk, so made a snap decision to get my t-shirt signed instead of the photo I'd just about decided to buy from the table.

I told James that it was my first con and he told me to "Talk to people! Everybody! They're all such fun! Get phone numbers!" Then he told me he'd gone to his first con in '78, and when I asked if he had souvenirs, he told me he still had his handmade communicator. (Actually, he said 'handmade com... thing' and then did a hand gesture like he was flipping open a Star Trek communicator. Hee!)

We took a quick wander through the dealer tables, and then it was time for food again, followed by a dash back to grab seats for James's Q&A. I am very happy to be able to report that he really does give good Q&A. He's enthusiastic and charming and absolutely adorkable and I can't remember the details of a single thing he said apart from the fact he constantly got Captain John and Captain Jack mixed up. *headdesk*

After James, we trotted downstairs to the Screening Room to watch Supernatural episode 5x01, Sympathy for the Devil, and I learned that when those larger than life boys are projected onto a huge screen, they get even prettier! (How is that even possible?!)

We kept to our seats in the screening room because SPN was followed by a Buffy singalong. 'Once More With Feeling' was screened with subtitles for those of us who didn't properly rehearse, but there were a couple of guys behind us who knew every word, including the correct dialogue that had been improperly transcribed into subs. Definitely bit Xander fans.

The girl in front of me had brought along her copy of the score and let me have a quick skim through to refresh my memory of some of the melodies. Hee!

The after dinner cabaret, "The SFX Imaginarium", was flashy, literally. Girls in LED-studded bikinis jiggled about on stage; guys with axle-grinders showered the closest rows of audience with sparks; there was a 'live' on-stage alien autopsy that was probably entertaining to the first few rows but was pretty meh for those of us not close enough to see any actual details. And then there was the magician.

Twenty minutes on one trick with no end in sight was more than enough for us, and we were more than a little bit tired, so we went back to the chalet, where pjs were donned and fannish squee was engaged.

Two hours or so later, after choc chip cookies and penguins had been consumed, we all shuffled off to our VIP beds and crashed until morning.

Saturday morning we chose breakfast over the David Gemmell Legend Awards panel, and then we joined the combined queue for Gareth David-Lloyd, Tom Baker and Elisabeth Sladen, and while I was gleeful about meeting Ianto, Tom Baker has always been, and will always be, my Dr Who. I love the hat, the coat, the scarf, and the total insanity involved in offering jelly babies to Daleks and Cybermen. I even love the hair. ♥

While in the queue, we were given flyers about Gareth's new project, a short called The Casimir Effect, about love and time-travel and 'different', according to Gareth and the director, who was the one stalking his captive audience. He told us we could use the flyer as emergency toilet paper if we had to, but it never became necessary. ;)

I got Gareth's moniker on my tee, just below James's, and then took a large step sideways to Tom's booth, only to realise there was no silver pen there! I immediately popped back into Gareth's area and asked to borrow his silver pen, which he very courteously allowed me to do.

I had no trouble talking to James or Gareth, but Tom left me tongue-tied and wide-eyed. I'm sure he was amused. Elisabeth Sladen was very charming, told me she liked my ring and got me to stretch the t-shirt so she could sign it without making a mess. I always wanted to be the Doctor as opposed to the companion, but she was still a role-model. *g*

After a quick meetup with the others, who were going to listen to the Being Human panel (a show I still have not looked at), I again went off and haunted the booths and tables for treasures. I came away with a Cult TV magazine, a two-sided poster (Halloween/The Thing), several badges and beer coasters, two postcards and a lanyard for literati and two postcards for Mommie Dearest (a Supernatural one because Jensen looks very pretty in it, and a topless shot of Wentworth Miller with all the Prison Break tattoos because... well, because she thinks that he's really hot and that the tats are amazing. LOL!)

Next up on stage was the panel discussing "The Growing Influence of Comics on Films": Dave Gibbons, Paul Cornell, and a couple of 2000AD creators whose names I can't remember. (Sorry, guys!)

I came away from that with the almost irresistible urge to watch 'The Spirit', just to see how bad it must be to have been named as the number one comic-to-movie adaptation that should never have happened. *g*

Someone also said that while movies can raise the profile of comics, they rarely do much for sales - quite often because movie-goers have no idea where to start. They called for relevant comics to be put on sale in the lobbies of cinemas alongside the popcorn and ice cream so that people can come out going 'Wow! I want to read that!' and be able to pick up an issue before they lose the buzz.

The point was also made that there are so many different titles that someone coming out of a movie may be so confused by what's on offer that they give up before they ever start. (I guess they're not as stubborn or obsessed as me. *g*)

It horrified me when one of the panel recounted hearing someone fresh out of viewing a Spiderman movie say 'Oh! They're making Spiderman comics now!' I... What?! I have never read Marvel but even I know Spiderman was a comic first. *headdesk*

Straight after the Comics/Movies panel was Tom Baker's Q&A and it was the highlight of my week. The man is an excellent raconteur, and an ex-monk! He was hilarious and risqué and I could have listened to him for hours, but he either had an innate sense of timing, or he had his phone set to vibrate in his pocket when his 45mins was up.

That is definitely a man who knows what to do with his carrot. (Feed it to the horses on his way home, or so he says. *g*)

More food was procured from the canteen (all decent quality for very reasonable prices), and then we were back in the Main Void to grab chairs for Gareth's Q&A. We did catch the last 15 minutes of Elisabeth Sladen's talk. (She played Sarah Jane to Tom's Dr Who), and came across as very earnest and sweet and serious about her character and her character's integrity.

Gareth started out by telling us he'd been told to watch his language, as there were kids in the room, and that if he did slip and swear (and he did), people weren't to complain to SFX but should instead complain to him, because he wouldn't give a damn. Then he mentioned a couple of 'banned' questions (including the one about what it was like to kiss John Barrowman), and then the questions started and every other word could be - and was - interpreted as some sort of innuendo.

Even the word 'innuendo' got a giggle, which made Gareth say it again, and again. And then the interviewer referred to him as a 'backdoor boy' and set the whole audience off into raucous laughter.

Gareth kept asking the audience what the rugby score was, as Wales and England were in a deathmatch and he'd graciously deigned to miss the first half to talk to us rabble. (Apparently, England won, so I can only imagine Gareth spend the evening drowning his sorrows. *g*)

"Writing for TV" was the next panel, which I sat through on my own while the rest of us went off to watch the screening of True Blood 2x01. The talk was interesting, and a few good points were made. Gender issues were raised and the all-male panel said that things are changing, slowly, but that if you have a good idea, and a good script, it's desperately needed as there is so much rubbish on TV right now.

They also mentioned the way 'unscripted shows' (reality TV [*gags*]) have been pushing scripted shows out of the schedules and that that really needs to stop. Okay, I may be adding that last bit, but it's true, dammit. ;)

From there, I wandered down to the Screening Room to find the other miscreants and ended up watching what is probably the only 15 minutes of True Blood I will ever see. I didn't mind the vicious slaughter of some unknown right at the end, by a mid-hairdo Eric the Viking Vampire, but the 5 minutes of emo whining and declarations of twoo wuv from Bill and Sookeh, followed by 5 minutes of softcore porn? No thanks. (Sorry to any True Blood fans reading this, but it left me cold, which, I suppose, is better than the books, which annoyed the ever-living hell out of me with the constant, boring TMI.)

Moving on. *g*

Food was had, and then it was time for the SFX Sci-Fi Awards 2010, as presented by Robert Rankin, who is a very dapper gent (with his neon flashing teeth in or out) and a wonderful sense of the absurd. He was very entertaining but I missed the second half because the chilli I'd eaten barely an hour before had obviously been fast-tracked and may not even have touched the sides on the way through. (/TMI)

I went back to the chalet and started to get ready for the Maskerade ball. I didn't actually have a character costume, but I had a lovely gown that looked rather SFFish, so I decided to go as 'Princess in Peril #17' (if anyone had asked, which they didn't). Suki dressed as Robin (and posted a photo I took in the VIP chillout room - see link below), and Sweet_Exile went as an anime char in a lovely grey schoolgirl outfit with a frill of underskirt peeking out from under her skirt. I'm sure she said at one point who she was going to be but you know how it is. *g*

There were more LEDed-bikini-clad girls on stilts and more axle-grinding and some dancing on stage and then it was time for the disco, DJed by Pat Sharpe. Suki and Sweet_Exile got up to dance pretty quickly, but I needed to finish my drink before I was quite brave enough to join them. Plus, I needed the right music to make my debut (something with a good rock beat, just don't ask me what).

At midnight, Pat Sharpe gave way to Attica Rage, a Heavy Metal band from Glasgow that gave me flashbacks to my teenage years (in a good way). I proceeded to dance like a mad thing, and it only occurred to me as I walked home at gone 2am that the last time I was able to dance like that, over 9 years ago, there were no such things as camera phones or YouTube. Ah, those long lost heady days of anonymity. :D

Beds were reached about 3am after more cookies and fannish squee. (And I may have broke Suki's brain by explaining the origins of 'squick' as exemplified by a most gruesome Malfoycest fic that I will not be linking to. :P)


I came home with orders to watch some 'Being Human' and some 'Vampire Diaries' to see if I can find a new vampire show to love. It's been too long between eternally beautiful monsters.

I think I'm done so... No, I forgot the stilty people.

The good: Superman on stilts! Batman on stilts! Man in flashing suit and giant codpiece on stilts! Jugglers on stilts! Strange, glorious creatures on stilts! Semi-naked women with whips on stilts!

The bad: Clowns. On stilts. A team of 8ft-tall, ugly-ass clowns on stilts roaming the void and terrorising children and my fellow coulrophobes. And there was a tiny one too, barely 3ft-tall, who had ninja-like stealth skills he used to sneak up on you and scare the crap out of you while you were too busy keeping your distance from the 8ft-tall f*ckers to notice him. *shudders*

Oh! And there was a super-tall stilty demon, all red fur and body make-up and huge curly horns, from whom I claimed a hug. :D

Next time, I'm taking my own fabric pens because I would have been able to add Dave Gibbons's and Robert Rankin's signatures to my shirt too if there had been a suitable pen handy. Ah, well. Live and learn.

Okay, I'm pretty sure I'm done now. In conclusion: SO! MUCH!! FUN!!! I will definitely do that again.


Reports and photos** by the rest of the rabble:
Kitty, Suki**, Sweet_Exile**, Mirasol (who has posted a list of the award winners), and VampireFever**.

sweet_exile: Ianto - Fragmentssweet_exile on February 10th, 2010 09:10 pm (UTC)
The Sonic Screwdriver was definitely on the blink. He said I was a Slitheen cheeky git!

The boys did look very pretty on the big screen, much better than on my laptop.
darkhavens: can't sleep obscure pairings will eat medarkhavens on February 16th, 2010 04:50 pm (UTC)
Hee! I didn't hear him call you a Slitheen! How rude! *g*
tabaquitabaqui on February 10th, 2010 09:20 pm (UTC)
Sounds like an absolute blast. I would love to join you some day!

I have the same feelings about True Blood as you - no thank you. And i've caught the last ten or fifteen minutes of 'Vampire Diaries', as it's on right before Show and...well....

Let's just say that if they took the 'vampire' part out of the characters, you could be watching pretty much any teen-angst/emo-whine fest. Gossip Girl or One Tree Hill or, gods help us, the new *or* old Melrose Place.... All actors too old to be in high school playing high-schoolers and moaning on and on about how hard their life is now that they're a vampire, know a vampire, hate a vampire, whatever.

I can't comment on Being Human, as i only watched the long-ago very first pilot and *loved* it, and was so pissed that they ditched the actor playing the vamp and the ghost before they did a whole season that i boycotted it. Heh.

Glad you're home!
kitty_poker1: BH-A+G+Mkitty_poker1 on February 11th, 2010 10:04 am (UTC)
...was so pissed that they ditched the actor playing the vamp and the ghost before they did a whole season that i boycotted it.

I felt kinda the same way but was quickly won over by the new Mitchell and Annie and can't imagine anyone else in the roles now. They're great!
darkhavens: can't sleep obscure pairings will eat medarkhavens on February 16th, 2010 04:53 pm (UTC)
I wish you could join us! So much fun would be had!

Dammit. I will take a look at Vampire Diaries, just for the pretty, but I don't do teen-angst/emo-whine, which is why I couldn't stand Veronica Mars. (I just wanted to slap everyone on screen. LOL!)

I would love to find a new vampire show that had enjoyable, deliciously dark vampires without all the emo crap and whining. Is that so much to ask? :P
tabaquitabaqui on February 16th, 2010 09:12 pm (UTC)
Oh, man. It would be *awesome*! :)

I can't take the emo, either. Just - so tedious. I think the popularity of vampires has dragged out all the drek. Hopefully it'll die off a bit and we'll get something good eventually.
I am Derek's vocal eyebrows: sx; number two [me]literati on February 10th, 2010 10:27 pm (UTC)
I'm glad you had such a lovely time, babe! Also, presents! ♥

darkhavens: can't sleep obscure pairings will eat medarkhavens on February 16th, 2010 05:00 pm (UTC)
*smooches* Presents that will make it into the post (along with the flash drives) SOON! ;)
(Deleted comment)
darkhavens: can't sleep obscure pairings will eat medarkhavens on February 16th, 2010 05:02 pm (UTC)
It was wonderful fun. I've never been able to do any fangirling in public before. It was exhilerating. :D
disconnectedmirasol on February 10th, 2010 10:57 pm (UTC)
You certainly broke my brain with the explanation of "squick" - I couldn't bring myself to watch the trepanning scene in From Hell when it was on telly last night as I kept thinking "poor Draco".

The weekend was brilliant fun and I'm definitely doing it again next year, even though it's in Stalag Pontins.
darkhavens: can't sleep obscure pairings will eat medarkhavens on February 16th, 2010 05:03 pm (UTC)
ROFL! ^^^pets you^^^

Next year for sure! We'll be veterans. *g*
shakatany: DW-Lady de Souzashakatany on February 11th, 2010 04:02 am (UTC)
Glad you had such a wonderful time *is envious*

BTW did Gareth get his silver pen back?

darkhavens: can't sleep obscure pairings will eat medarkhavens on February 16th, 2010 05:05 pm (UTC)
Thank you!

Gareth did get his silver pen back, yes. Though at a later point, I did wish I'd kept hold of it, as there wasn't one at Dave Gibbons' table in the dealers' corner and I would have liked to add his autograph to my shirt. Robert Rankin's too, for that matter.

Next time, I take my own. :D
Maz: Dovethismaz on February 11th, 2010 06:43 am (UTC)
What a brilliant review and what a fun weekend you had.
Best bit to me - that mini-Vader liked you *g* I love the whole idea of mini-Vader.
darkhavens: can't sleep obscure pairings will eat medarkhavens on February 16th, 2010 05:08 pm (UTC)
Mini Vader was so cute! And very shiny. *g*

I had to go through the program to remind me of the order of things so I could get my review in some semblance of order. My memory needs prompts.
kitty_poker1: BH-Mitchell+Georgekitty_poker1 on February 11th, 2010 10:08 am (UTC)
Excellent review! You've reminded me of some stuff I'd forgotten, like James constantly getting mixed up between Captains Jack and John and us lot correcting him. LOL!

We had such a wonderful time. *happy sigh*
darkhavens: can't sleep obscure pairings will eat medarkhavens on February 16th, 2010 05:09 pm (UTC)
Thank you! It was a wonderful weekend. I need to be winning the lottery so I can do it every weekend. *g*

*twirls you*
Goes "Ding" When There's Stuff: DC Batman and Robin Fallsuki_blue on February 14th, 2010 03:54 pm (UTC)
I'd forgotten all about the squick! ACK! I still can't quite believe it *retches* You know, I don't think I've ever truly been 'squicked' before that moment.

Soooooo, we're going again next year, Y/Y?
darkhavens: can't sleep obscure pairings will eat medarkhavens on February 16th, 2010 05:11 pm (UTC)
Sorry for reminding you? (Hee!)

Definitely on again for next year! *bounces in anticipation*
Goes "Ding" When There's Stuff: DC Ragdoll Sorry!suki_blue on February 16th, 2010 06:16 pm (UTC)
Yay, hurrah, I'd better get saving!!!
Maz: Dovethismaz on March 5th, 2010 05:26 am (UTC)
Hi. I hope you're well. I just popped by to wish you a very
darkhavens: smoochdarkhavens on March 5th, 2010 05:50 pm (UTC)
Thank you! It's been a wonderful day so far and with Chinese food on the menu, it can only get better. *g*
PL: birthday wordsponders_life on March 6th, 2010 01:24 am (UTC)
Happy birthday, DH!!!
Happy birthday, DH!!! I hope you are well and having a lovely day of celebration.
darkhavens: smoochdarkhavens on March 6th, 2010 02:02 am (UTC)
Re: Happy birthday, DH!!!
Thank you, darlin'! It's been a wonderful day and it ain't over yet. *g*