Friday, 20 November 2009

Dimensions 2009 by our own Richard Parker

Richard recently attended the event on the weekend of 14th November and he has very kindly written this report for our Blog. I just want to say thanks to Richard for his brilliantly written piece.

Conventions, for me, are about bar prices. Seriously, whenever a convention moves to a new hotel, the first question on everyone's mind is 'what are the prices like at the bar?' Secondly, 'what are the staff like?'
Okay, so that's not the the first question on everyone's mind, but let me explain.
For years, I didn't know any other fans of Doctor Who. I was aware they were 'out there', somewhere. But the nearest I got to fandom was reading Doctor Who Magazine. Fair enough, but a few years ago I resolved to track down my nearest local group and to start attending conventions.
What I found was an incredible social circle, a multitude of long, boozy weekends and very little actual talk of Doctor Who.
Drinking until six in the morning, catching some disturbed sleep for a few hours and then heading back to the bar at eleven to try and ward off the hangover...and this goes on for four days. Fairly regularly, someone will plonk food down in front of you, you'll manage to stagger to the toilet, you'll feel divorced from reality for four days and every so often you'll catch sight of someone you think you recognise from the seventies. I imagine Alzheimer's Disease has similar effects.
There are only so many autograph queues to stand in, Q&A panels with guests to attend and merchandise dealers to avoid, so eventually everything comes back to the bar.
This was the fourth year in a row I've been to Dimensions. It is, I think, the longest running convention still around and it's not hard to see why. For the autograph hunters there was plenty of star talent around, topped by Colin Baker and Paul McGann. Katy Manning remembered me telling her of my adventures in Soho three years ago, before discussing science and rationality with me over coffee. Anneke Wills and Nick Briggs hung outside cadging fags off the smokers. Rob Shearman sat in the bar on the Friday night, keeping me in stitches with his wicked and all-too-accurate impression of Terrance Dicks. ('And Barry said to me, 'what colour?' you see, and I said to Barry, 'Green! The colour for monsters is Green!)
There's the obligatory cabaret, of course. It's traditional for it to be awful. Imagine Richard Franklin dressed as a schoolboy, dancing around a stage while singing 'Daddy Wouldn't Buy Me A Bow Wow. You can't, can you? Neither could we. Even when it was in front of us. McGann had hidden in his room by this point.
Then there was the - equally obligatory – disco. No one told me they were videoing the bloody thing, but I'm now stuck forever with the embarrassing atrocity that currently inhabits Facebook.
A non-fan straight boy kept hugging me and told me I was his first 'man crush.' My friend thought he was confused. I just thought he was pissed. And cute.
The hotel manager being a fan, helped of course. His staff must have been instructed not to take the piss out of we nerds, and it has to be said we were all treated royally. And, the bar area was exclusively devoted to a live screening of Waters of Mars on the Sunday evening. 100 fans, absolutely spellbound. McGann wandered down for a fag half-way through, stopped, looked around quizzically as if thinking “What on earth are you all watching?”, realised, shrugged and disappeared outside in a wreath of smoke. The only moment of the whole weekend he could get out the door without being pestered about what it's like to snog Daphne Ashbrook.
Monday mornings are always the worst. Home, and reality, beckon. Breakfast with Anneke. Checking the local rag to see how much of a hatchet job yesterday's journalists have done. Strong coffee and lots of it, then the pain as you sober up and realise by just how much you've blown your budget for the weekend. Then the long drive home.
Best weekends of your life.
Even the straight boy said so.

No comments:

Post a Comment