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 ConsConventions Updated: 01/05/17

Friday midnight Saturday 3.30pm Saturday midnight Sunday 2pm

Friday midnight

After a long journey up after work, arrived in Blackpool just before 10pm. I've arrived at Cons later than that, but I wasn't at the Con yet. I checked in at the B&B, freshened up, then got a tram to the Norbreck. Asked around, registration was closed, so I'll have to do that tomorrow, but hung around anyway. Wanted to meet up with Tal and get into the general atmosphere of the place. It took a few minutes to find her, during which time I'd got myself a beer (probably not a good idea, considering how empty my stomach was). Almost immediately she went onto the dancefloor. I don't dance with beer, and wasn't feeling like it anyway, so I just hung around and watched. After finishing my beer, went and found Tal again and said goodnight. Got a tram back, but the conductor thought I knew where I was going 'cos I said the name of a road, not a stop, and I missed my stop. Had to walk back through Blackpool centre approaching midnight for over mile. It's a place of chavs, tarts, slags, and wannabe-wideboys. Oh, and save me from happy drunks - one guy coming the other way, did a little jump-and-heel-click thing as we passed, it looked like he was about to kick me in the face. It took about five minutes to extricate myself from his entreaties to come and have a drink with him by way of apology.

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Saturday 3.30pm

Awake early, perhaps because I never really got to sleep due to the stifling heat and the hunger pangs I'd been suffering all day. Had breakfast - despite my hunger, felt like I could hardly get any down, and still felt hungry afterwards. No apetite is a symptom of Depression, and guess what I got plunged into a couple of weeks ago?

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Anyway - caught tram to Norbreck, registered, hung around the lobby in the hope of spotting Tal. Eventually did, she was queuing for autographs of people I'd never heard of, so I buggered off to the dealers room. Saw Heather and Ming on the way. Said, "hi," both blanked me (not that I expected much else from Heather, except maybe a barbed comment or three). Bought a DVD, hung around some more. Bumped into Tal again, asked what her general plans were for the day. She practically exploded, stormed off through the hotel, leaving me carrying the stuff she'd bought and thrown down in her tantrum. I left the bag on her door handle, then hung around in the lobby again, waiting for the Armin Shimmerman & JG Hertzler Q&A. Went to it, sat at the back, there were a good few laughs. Heather asked whether either of them would be interested in doing a film of a Shakespeare play, like the MacBeth that's being planned right now - causing JG to leave the stage and satisfy the conditions for ameliorating the curse. There were also fun stories about how they trained for months at a time with Outer Mongolian Huns in the use of Bat'leths, which were "hard as diamond, razor sharp" - until they had to give JG rubber ones beause with his eye covered up, he was a little dangerous with them.

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Near the end, I left to try and find Tal, see if she was okay. Apparently she was, but still not interested in giving me the time of day, so I went into Bispham to get lunch. Couldn't finish it. Waited ages for the tram back, then it was the autograph session that I was interested in. The queues for Mark Sheppard and the one for Jewel Staite went quite fast, but the queue for Armin Shimmerman didn't. I joined it, moved six feet, then didn't move for 15 minutes. I thought "screw this" and left.

So, to recap - the reasons I came to Decalogy were to

a) Hang out with a friend;
b) Have fun;
c) Meet & greet a few famous people, and listen to their anecdotes etc.

A isn't happening because the friend I was supposed to be hanging out with, and invited me in the first place, is having a strop and ignoring me, and the other people I know are also ignoring me. B isn't happening because the Depression is preventing it (I still laugh at jokes and funny things and so on, but I don't enjoy anything). C isn't happening because the convention is a merchandise factory - you are either queuing for autographs on licenced authorised items (from Guests a majority of whom I've never heard of), or sitting in an auditorium with the worst calibrated PA system ever, so that the amplified voices of the people I've never heard of are all distorted because of the placing of the speakers causing interference with one another, and you have to strain to hear every word with any sort of clarity. Plus, two of the Guests (one of them JG Hertzler) charge for having something signed, and you have to pay for getting your photo taken with a Guest. I long ago said that the only time I'd pay for an autograph was if it was the fucking Pope's - or whoever's fucking the Pope. The programme and schedule given out are uninformative, and the conditions under which you are allowed to take photographs are highly restrictive.

So - plan: Get changed, eat (if I can force anything down) go back for the fancy dress and Jedi Chefs party (I'm going as Darth Wossname, see whether anyone takes issue - don't expect any photos though, as there'll be no-one to take them). Tomorrow, maybe turn up for the Jewel & Mark Q&A in the afternoon, perhaps hang around for the closing ceremony and party, then bugger off.

The blurb for the con says "but there is even more to DECALOGY than just guests, photos and autographs. What would a STARFURY event be without the parties?" The answer is "just guests, photos and autographs." It's a pile of crap. It literally is a con.

 

Saturday midnight

Got an apple on the way to the tram stop, managed to eat it okay. Got to the hotel, the queue for the fancy dress almost left the building. Joined it, wasn't long before I got to the hall, found a seat. Had my lightsabre and chef's hat rolled up in my cloak (well, I wasn't going to travel on the tram wearing them, was I?) and placed them on the table, ready for an appropraite moment (ie. the visible presence of lots of Jedi Chefs) to put them on.

The fancy dress was supposed to be starting now, but it was delayed. For nearly an hour, we sat through filler music and videos of past Starfury cons, all of which came over the still-abysmal sound system. Then, after about an hour, they held the raffle. And then they took ten minutes to wheel the Guests in, so that the costume parade could start. A costume parade, that's literally all it was. I'd grown to expect more from fancy dress events at Cons, but I suppose it should have been no surprise that a Starfury would be a let down. Tal was in it, in her Anne Summers ST:TOS uniform. The rest of the costumes weren't bad - however, they weren't on a stage, so we had to rely on the big video screens to see what the entries looked like. Problem was, the tech crew had about as much idea of photographic light levels as they did sound engineering. Everything was a washed-out over-bright white-flooded blur. Anyway, they finished the "contest", the judges buggered off, and Mark Sheppard played compere. He asked all active Jedi Chefs to come onto the floor, so that they could elect Miss Jedi Chef 2007 (the only candidate being one of the fancy dress entrants). Duly crowned, the Jedi Chefs returned to the audience, and Mark talked for a few minutes, most of it being lost through the speakers again. The judges returned, and gave a prize to about half the contestants (oh, yeah, really good that, give a prize to half the people who entered, leaving the other half going "whuh?" - if they're going to give that many prizes out, go the whole hog and give one to everybody!)

Anyway. Mark and Jewel got their birthday cards and cakes, they blew out the candles, and the Guests all buggered off again. Except two, Christian Kane and Steve Carlson. They make up the band Kane, and they gave us an over-long "acoustic" performance. The tunes were bland, the lyrics may have been good, but they were so mangled by the speakers, it was all very yawn-inducing. Finally they finished, and I got myself signed up with the Jedi Chefs. They gave me a blue lightsabre for the official photograph.

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I prefer something with a bit longer wavelenth.

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I had a wander, saw Tal briefly, hung around at the disco - which was bland, had too much bass, and was mangled by the speakers anyway - then buggered off to get the last tram back. Managed to spot my stop and get off in the right place this time. Tal leaves the con tomorrow morning. Considering her attitude, and the fact that there's only one thing on tomorrow (in the afternoon) that I'm remotely interested in, I'm thinking of going home tomorrow instead of Monday - I won't have to spend two days doing nothing in this shithole, and I get a free day to attempt to usefully employ in London, even if it does cost me another 30.

 

Sunday 2pm

Have decided not to bother going to the Mark Sheppard & Jewel Staite Q&A in 90mins. The con is poorly organised and badly run. Despite their protestations, it is not fan-friendly. There is a definite sense of clique, of in-group mentality, and if you are not part of that clique, or know someone in it, you will not have a good experience. It is a commercial enterprise, run purely to line one or two people's pockets, it is not a fan-structured event run for the benefit of the average fan-in-the-street. And since I'm no longer on speaking terms with the person I know who's in the clique, and the person who invited me here has gone, there's no point in me going to sit in a darkened hall and listen to indecipherable anecdotes. Unfortunately, my train home is tomorrow evening, and any train today would cost me 60+. So, I've got one-and-a-half days to kill in this shithole of a tourist trap. Good job I found a bookshop and bought the latest Sharpe book to read.