Saturday, 26 March 2011

Spring Memorabilia, Day 1 - Models, Snakes and Sgt. Benton...

It’s been a few months since my last event and as such a few months since I last wrote a review, my typing fingers feel a bit rusty, but here goes!

Prior to Memorabilia I was indecisive (to say the least) about if/when I was going. It started as just the Saturday and then just the Sunday, but after much deliberation and (lack of) planning ended up as both days.

Scarecrow 'meets' the Doctor
Having only decided to do both days the week prior to the event meant booking a hotel was not an easy task, after spending a good deal of time going through the available places we finally decided to stay at the Corley services just off the M6. Hopefully this wouldn’t be a decision we’d later regret...

Being a last minute decision to go also meant that normal convention group was smaller than normal. Our travellers for this trip would be myself (as the 10th Doctor), Tim (as the 11th Doctor) and Jemma (as our Companion).

Having had a disorganised Friday night I hadn’t packed a bag so ended up doing packing at 6.30am on the Saturday morning (I do not recommend this!!). Luckily I wasn’t the only one having a disorganised morning; Jemma overslept and was only woken when I called her at 7.15 to see if she had any concealer!!

Smith and Joneses
Skip on to 10.15 and we arrive at the NEC. With a display of perfect timing both Tim and I arrived in the car park at the exact same time. (Timing, Timelord... there’s a joke there somewhere...)

Neither Tim nor I have much experience with how MCM events like Memorabilia work so the first plan of action was to get our bearings and see where everything was. I have to confess the pre-paid entry tickets work a treat. Book online, have the ticket emailed as a .pdf, print it and take it with you. No need to worry about postage, easy!

One thing that did confuse us was how the photoshoots work, some were advertised at fixed time and others appeared to be on request, I also wasn’t overly taken with the fact that the only proof you had that you’d paid was a raffle ticket with the person’s name written on it, I kept worrying that I’d lose it somewhere.

Tim getting Dirk Benedict's autograph
While at the photo area we also had out first disappointment of the weekend, Brian Blessed had been forced to cancel his appearance due to a family emergency which was a real shame as both Tim and I were hoping to meet him (He is a true legend!!).

Most of the morning was spent wandering round, catching up with old friends and making some new ones. Jemma was patiently waiting for her photo session with Russell Tovey. While Jem was waiting for her photo session Tim and I decided to give Dirk Benedict a visit. It was at this point we came across the concept know as a ‘smiley ticket’. As a concept it works, but what we couldn’t get our head round was why only have this for a couple of guests? Surely all or nothing would be a better idea?

The queue for Dirk Benedict seemed never ending, but there was good reason for this. Dirk was enjoying himself and spending a lot of time chatting to people and making it into an experience rather than a quick encounter, I'm a big fan of guests like that.

Me and Holly McGuire - 'That photo'
After a quick (and not brilliant) lunch, it was time for the Dirk Benedict photoshoot. This for me would be my second little niggle of the day. The photo area was kinda disorganised, after waiting for a good while and multiple queues beginning to form I decided that action was needed, how do you ensure that you’re at the front of a queue? You form one of your own!!

The photo itself turned out rather well (despite me being sceptical to start), it’s just a shame we had to wait so long for it to happen, not that I'm complaining...

After the photoshoot it was time to visit the Kyla Cole and Holly McGuire. I’ve never met a glamour model before so I wasn’t sure what to expect. There are a number of stereotypes of what models are like, but I’m happy to say that in their case they weren’t true.

Kyla was really nice and truly stunning to look at and Holly was a real laugh. When we posed for a picture Holly turned to me and asked “Are you The Doctor?” this took me by surprise so I instinctively answered “Yes”. While this was happening Jem was in the process of taking a picture, the result? A classic picture of us staring into each others’ eyes; which was just asking for a comedy caption.

John Levene - Legend!!
One of the things I really liked about Memorabilia was the fact there were loads of different things there. It wasn’t just guests and trade stands (don’t get me wrong I love the guests and enjoy wandering round the traders). There was also British Wrestling (which looked good!), Robot Wars (oh the memories!) the Evel Kinevel Museum (a piece of history) and also The Tropical Rainforest Roadshow...

Now the last thing I expected to see while walking round the event was a stand with animals from the Tropical Rainforest. Unknown to me Jemma isn’t overly fond of snakes and had never touched one before; this was something that I felt needed to be remedied.

While introducing Jemma to the snake John Levene appeared, it turns out he has a fear of snakes as well! So it was time to convince him to touch one as well, the look on his face during this encounter was absolutely classic.

How to overcome fear, face it head on.

In addition to the snake I took the opportunity to hold a few creatures I’d never encountered before. A Tarantula was first up, followed by a Scorpion and finally a pair of hissing cockroaches. It’s amazing how such small creatures can cause a crowd of people to take a giant step backwards!!

With that and another cup of tea, it was time to call an end to day one of Memorabilia, time to head to the Hotel and get ready for day two...