Redemption (convention)/1999 Con Reports

From Fanlore
Jump to: navigation, search

Some Topics Discussed

  • Ruler of the Universe competition
  • filking
  • hijinks regarding the cardboard cutout of Gareth Thomas, a guest of honor who could not appear
  • guests of honor: Joe Nazzaro, Sheelagh Wells, Brian Croucher
  • puppets
  • turkey readings
  • slash panels, other panels
  • "trial of Roj Blake" for treason
  • Blake's 7 bloopers
  • David 'Servalan' Walsh answered questions from slash fiction writers on what was or was not possible regarding sexual positions between two guys

Links to Some 1999 Con Reports

Other Full Con Reports

[Judith Proctor]:

[see the main Redemption page for Judith Proctor's description of planning for this con]

Friday morning, we set up registration and got everything ready. We took the hotel events manager around the building and showed him what we'd be doing and where and how we'd need all the rooms set up. We checked details of catering, invented silly names for sandwiches - BLT - Blake Loves Travis - and generally organised stuff. Things were still going well. People began to appear in a gradual trickle and we were in business.

The programe items started at 2pm and even for the early items there were a few people. We'd only expected half a dozen or so for the early items, but they seemed to be enjoying themselves. I can't recall much what I was doing. I know I was on the move a lot keeping track of various things, but it was incredibly relaxing compared to the weeks beforehand. I made sure I was at Registration to meet Brian when he arrived and was glad I'd mugged up on his most recent photo so that I recognised him immediately. He had his son Sean with him, a lovely lad about 8 years old. (Sean enjoyed the weekend, asked to come each day). I introduced Brian to his first panel and left him to it. (I'd offered to do it with him, but he said he'd be fine on his own) I'm not sure if it covered the intended topics, but the audience seemed to be enjoying it whenever I went past. Brian later described it to me as his 'stand up comic' routine.

At 5pm Paddy started his RPG. I wasn't sure how many players he'd catch this early in the con, but we set up a flip chart with a large notice on it to say that a game was starting and there was a group of players next time I went that way.

I can't for the life of me remember what I did until the opening ceremony, apart from the fact that Julia tells me I had a meal with her and Sheelagh and Joe. Said hello to a lot of friends as they arrived, did all sorts of odd jobs, sorted out various bits and bobs with the hotel, said hello to the other guests, etc.

The actual opening ceremony has gone entirely from my mind, though I guess I must have been there... Actually, I do remember my son arriving at a rush just before it started (he had school on Friday so couldn't get there early). I told him to grab the standee and it was worth it to hear the laugh as we brought it onto stage while passing on Gareth's apologies for not being able to be there.

Steve's mixer games came immediately afterwards. They were fun and I was really pleased when a fan came up at the end of the session and said that she'd come as a single fan knowing nobody and felt that she'd made some friends already.

I helped my husband with some of his unpacking (you did?) before going on to run the Friday night filk session. This must have been the first con in a long time where I didn't have to forcibly recruit filkers. All the filk sessions were well attended with people who'd done it before and also with people who'd never been to a filk session in their life. As usual, we were short of people who knew the words, but I passed out songbooks, and some people tried songs that they knew the tunes to. When my voice threatened to give out, I shifted to playing the concertina. Rachel (whom I'd never met before) had brought along a violin and started playing harmonies to my melody. It was absolutely wonderful! Before she left that evening, I made her promise to do a caberet act with me on Saturday.

Went to bed happy and slept well.

On Saturday morning, I did the panel with Brian Croucher and David Walsh. Although Brian had been fine on his own yesterday, I had definite ideas about how I wanted the session to go, and I also wanted to be there as a buffer just in case the two of them didn't get on. I needn't have worried on that score; it was a very enjoyable session. We got some interesting comments on the respective morality of the two characters. Brian seeing Travis as a very straightforward man with military principles and Servalan as far more of the underhanded schemer. He bounced well off David and even called him Jackie on several occasions.

Went to say hello to Jenni and Fifi in the chaos costume workshop. My goodness, that room was a sight. There weren't many people there, but those who were looked as though they were having an absolute ball! They'd even brought along a sewing machine and were working away at a costume for Buck Rogers. I wished I had time to stay and make something myself.

Moved along to give David Walsh moral support in his first solo panel session. He turned out to be a very interesting speaker with some amusing anecdotes about meeting Paul Darrow on the underground. He became a Servalan impersonator virtually by accident and it was interesting to hear him talk about how it had all developed.

Missed Brian's next panel as I was running a workshop on zine publishing, but I knew Joe Nazzaro would be a good interviewer and didn't worry at all. The zine publishing workshop had four publishers and one neophyte. Good actually, as we were able to give advice from our differing points of view. I was fascinated to discover that Green Dragon Press (UK) always collate by hand. I couldn't do that to save my life.

How anyone decided what to do between three and four pm is beyond me as choosing between Babylon Park, chaos modelling, the second half of Sherridan's trial for treason, the start of the bring and buy sale, a workshop on SF writing by EPS and Sheelagh's make-up discussion would have made me agnonise for ages. Fortunately I didn't have the problem as my first priority was in getting the hotel to clear the tables needed for the bring and buy. We had the room set up as 'boardroom' which meant that the hotel provided stuff to drink and write with. Very handy for some of the workshops we'd programmed there, but a bit in the way for massive zine sales which needed the large table space, but without the extras.

I took a brief peek in Sheelagh's session which was going well (I needed to make sure that all the costumiers had cleared out their fabrics etc., but they'd left the room in excellent condition).

I also looked in on the chaos modelling session which was very slow initially - probably because there was so much else on at the same time. However, when I checked again an hour or so later, there were some very creative space ships indeed. They were using several of the items I'd been hording for the last month. Asthma inhalers, orange nets, plastic milk-tops and more were all venturing into space. The finished results looked wonderful.

I'd promised myself the 'realism in slash' workshop and arrived not long after it started. The next person in after me was a man, so reacting even faster than David (who was checking on people coming in from his vantage point facing the door), I asked him if he knew what slash was. He replied that it was horror movies and the like. We suggested that the talk might not be quite what he was after and he departed. Sadly, I was called away, as the talk got really interesting, to sort out some details for the forthcoming autograph session.

I took a peak in the main hall while we were setting up the autograph tables. My goodness - now I know where some of the tech budget went. When they said 'large screen' I hadn't realised quite how large that was. Mind you, it gave a darn good picture and there seemed to be lots of people in there watching 'Call to Arms'. I rather regret missing that.

The autograph session was quiet and relaxed. No really big name guests meant that there was a steady trickle of people rather than a flood. The guests had time to chat to people and nobody had to wait a long time.

On my way back to ops I passed the room where my husband and Calle were talking about web pages. Seemed to be an interested audience. I spent a lot of time passing groups of people <grin>. There were small clumps of fans wherever I went: in the gaming area, in the boulevard, in various programme rooms, in the bar. It was great. They all seemed to be enjoying themselves. It was great. I felt that we'd really succeeded in doing what we'd set out to do and created an event where people could get to know one another.

After that it was the fancy dress/cabaret rehearsal. These things always drag on a bit because tech need to find the requirements for each person/group and that means talking to people one at a time. I sat in a corner and practised playing 'The Ash Grove' at various speeds on my concertina.

Note for non-musicians. An accordion is a massive thing that looks like a sideways portable piano with a bellows and needs shoulder straps to support the weight. A concertina is a much smaller instrument that is usually octagonal in shape and can easily be held in two hands. I have a concertina. A three row D/G Anglo concertina to be precise, though nobody except another concertina player would probably be interested. (In any gathering of concertina players picked at random, you can pretty well guarantee that none of them will have instruments with identical fingering, as the designs vary enormously)

More autographs. Brian Croucher's a man who says what he thinks and can be very disconcerting when he decides to pull one on you. He looked Chris straight in the face and announced that he didn't like him at all, then laughed and apologised when Chris fell for it. (I'd have fallen for it too - actors can be very convincing. I've seen Gareth pull similar stunts, even on people who know him well)

Then the fancy dress. True to our philosophy of having fans do things, we appointed David as a judge. A costume fan was roped in for another and I got volunteered as a third. The standard of entries was great. Jem Ward started us of with variation of one of Shakespeare's speeches. The opening to Henry V to be precise. I only wish I had it written down, because it was very funny. 'When we speak of spaceships, imagine that you see them and not wobbly special effects' (or words to that effect). He got the best humour award.

I can't remember all of the entries now, but the standard was very good. There were several entries from the chaos costume workshop and we gave a special prize to a cyberpunk. (A cyberman with punk rock slogans sprayed on his chest). There was a very good 'chaos' Romulan as well. Commander Kor (well known to anyone who'd been in the bar) won the prize for best costume. The great thing about being a judge is that you choose the categories. So we could also award a performance prize to Jason Vorhees doing a guitar routine with his axe.

The last entry (exempted from the competition as I was a judge) was a brief skit Jem had talked me into. Dressed as Blake, I went and picked Avon out of the audience. Avon and I argued. Avon shot me and I fell down dead. 'Oh my God!' said Jem. In unison, the audience completed it. 'He's killed Blakeie. You Bastards!'

The cabaret. Brilliant. What can I say? Helen Brunton's superb belly dance. Cartagia and Londo doing a routine together. The Reduced Blake's 7 Company with their wonderfully timed sketch about the BBC. The filkers with 'Don't follow him. Have me.' (I won't comment on my bit, but at least I managed to play it without any mistakes and Rachel was much better than me in any case. I sang 'Ladies From Hades' as well and Rachel did a song of her own.) The demonstration of Minbari flighting-pole techniques by a ranger and his novice. David Walsh dragging various people onto the dance floor. It was fun and I'm sure I've forgotten some other good performances.

Another filk session. I'd been terrified that I'd be too ill to manage all the items I'd intended to run (I really had been pretty bad at some points) so I'd roped Lil and Jean in to run this particular item. As Lil said, they couldn't hold a tune, but had plenty of books. It was an enjoyable session and we got the occasional non-B7 filk and lots of enthusiasm. I rather liked the UFO song. I even found enough voice to sing some filks that I haven't dared tackle in a long time. ' Viva Servalan!' requires volume!

Took in part of the slash turkey reading where Predatrix was reading some stories that were so bad they were superb. I decided to go for the live action routine and tried to mimic some of Blake's supposed actions. (And I was stone-cold sober too - I almost never drink at conventions) All I can say is that the writer had a vivid imagination and we all had a good laugh.

I wanted to introduce Val to Gareth as she'd been on registration a lot of the time and hadn't seen him yet. We went down to the Mountbatten bar where he usually hung out, but he was gone.

And so to bed as I had to be up the next morning, but on the way past ops, we saw a notice - Gareth had been kidnapped by the green Drazi and was being held for ransom!

Ah! I haven't mentioned the Drazi war yet, have I? All weekend members had a badge that was green or purple (Whadya mean it was lilac? If I say it was purple then it was purple!) Points were scored for all competitions and awarded to the apropriate side. People really got into the spirit of it, and the greens were losing...

Sunday.

I was down for a puppet workshop first thing Sunday morning, but the girl who was doing it with me hadn't been able to come because of illness. As she was the one with the Blake's 7 puppets, I was going to cancel the session, but Nik said she really wanted to go to it. So, I grabbed my puppets and discussed all the different ways of stringing them and how to use them and untangle them and we had half a dozen people and had a good time. I hope Nik makes that shadow puppet - it'll be quite a complex control.

Did a talk with Brian. He said he'd like someone to feed him questions if the audience didn't have any. He was very interesting. He teaches and directs on occasion. He has strongly socialist views and is concerned that people and countries find it so difficult to work together for the common good. We discussed all sorts of things, the types of roles he gets cast in - he's perfectly happy being typecast as a criminal Eastender type, says it keeps him in work (which reminds me of a comment of Gareth's in which he rather regrets now that he tried to avoid being typecast). Brian doesn't even see it as stereotyping as he says there are plenty of criminals in the East Eend. (He spent a time in jail himself many years ago before he became an actor)

I found Brian to be very different from some things I'd heard about him from people who'd been to other conventions. He struck me as a fairly quiet man who relaxes more as he gets to know people. He's also a good speaker and holds the attention of an audience. I suspect that fact that he's now completely tee-total may be enough to account for the difference. If you ever want to buy him a drink, it's a pint of lemonade.

Sex in Space discussion with Neil Faulkner. We'd run a session on the same subject at Who's 7, but this one came out very differently. We worked more on the way media handle sex and its portrayal and how programmes such as Xena and 'Queer as Folk' are introducing gay characters closer and closer to the main stream. We also came to the interesting conclusion that a large majority of those present preferred not to have explicit sex on screen. It was felt that it got boring and repetative pretty quickly. Good character interactions are sufficient to fuel the imagination on their own.

I did some work on final cataloguing of auction items before catching the end of the Ruler of the Universe hustings and wished I'd had the chance to see more. Servalan won, but it was a strong field and I have to express my admiration for Londo Mollari, Emperor Cartagia and the Sandman who had some wonderful costumes and ran great campaigns. Buck Rogers also put up a fight. The characters were wonderful. Mollari stayed in character all weekend, to the extent of disconcerting a taxi driver at the end of the convention!

The auction was at 2pm. The item that fetched the most was one of Servalan's original costumes. The leather jacket and skirt from 'Pressure Point'. It was modelled for us by David Walsh, thus proving that he can fit into Jackie Pearce's costumes. The second most popular item was donated by Sheelagh Wells and was a video of 'The Gruesome Grannies of Gobshott Hall'. Two fans got into a bidding war for this rare Paul Darrow item and it fetched over a hundred pounds. Jane Killick had donated several original Babylon 5 scripts and these along with autographed trading cards and other B5 items donted by Joe Nazzaro all helped boost the auction takings.

Gareth came in half way through with a bunch of green Drazi singing 'Show me the way to go home'. We awarded them 100 points for innovation and auctioned Gareth off to the highest bidder.

Brian Croucher took over the auction part way through. I'm not sure if it's the slightly intimidating manner <grin>, but he moves stuff quickly. We were running out of time at the end of the auction and needed to shift the last 20 low-value items in about two minutes. I asked him to take each item in turn and sell it to the first person to give him the price he asked for. No second bids or anything else like that.

I'd pass him a photo, book or programme and tell him what I thought it would fetch. He'd promptly add one or two quid to that and got his asking price every time in a couple of seconds. We were moving stuff faster than the badge numbers of the buyers could be recorded. What I found really fascinating was that we were getting a price that would normally have taken a couple of minutes to reach under normal auction circumstances.

The auction ran late, but not drastically so due to the speed up at the end. We developed a fast method of clearing the payments afterwards. I sorted out the items in advance and gave them to the people in the queue while two others checked the bids and took the money. The helpers did a sterling job.

The closing ceremony came immediately afterwards and finished virtually on time. I had a chance to thank the army of volunteers who'd helped with tech, stewarding, registration, programme items, stuffing registration packs and so many other tasks, and suddenly it was all over.

Luckily the stewards party gave me a chance to wind down. We organised a mini-raffle for the helpers and I'll never forget the look on Ivan's face when he drew his own ticket out of the hat first.

Ivan asked me if I'd eaten at all (He'd forced me to take a meal on Saturday by the sneaky expedient of booking me a table). At that point I realised that I'd had nothing since breakfast and hadn't even noticed! I grabbed a Danish pastry and kept going as I wasn't really hungry.

After that I went to help clear out ops. Around midnight I was just on my way to go to bed when a voice said 'Are we having the filk session now?' So we had a filk session. People brought out songs that they'd written themselves and we even composed one or two new ones. I seem to recall singing some of my really wrist-slitting songs. I like singing depressing songs when I feel happy. Cally dreaming of all the dead people on Auron is about as bleak as you can get.

It had been a great weekend.

Will we do it again?

Maybe. [1]

[Louise Badsey]:

The first thing that attracted me to this convention was when I read an advert about it in "On The Wing" - Steven Pacey apa. It mentioned that there was to be a panel on Slash Fiction where David 'Servalan' Walsh would be answering questions from slash fiction writers on what was or was not possible regarding sexual positions between two guys! The next thing to attract me was that it was a Blakes 7 convention and that Brian Croucher would be there and having already met the first Travis at Deliverance, it would be cool to meet Travis 2 also!

The convention was at the Ashford International Hotel in Kent - a very nice place - all the activity rooms being off the main boulevard where there were seating areas and the bar close by. There were only about 150 attendees so by the end of the convention you pretty much got to know everyone and they were a nice friendly lot too! You basically felt very relaxed and could just walk around by yourself, see all the events you wanted, and when you wanted company, there was always someone you knew about that you could talk to.

Ooh, where to start my review? I've got my programme book here in front of me with the events I saw highlighted, so I'll start from the beginning I guess! Friday afternoon at the hotel - the first event I got to see was Brian Croucher and Judith Proctor talking about how alike Blake and Travis were. To be honest, I can't remember any of this except that I was talking to Brian about Worcester as he did one of his first shows at the theatre we have here - also that it was superb to see Brian for the first time! He looked a lot thinner than he did in the last picture I saw of him, which was a signed photo I got at an auction of Brian in Eastenders in which he looked much bigger! He still had cute chubby cheeks, but was a lot trimmer and looking good!

The opening ceremony was pretty exciting - it was very professionally done, but in a friendly atmosphere as there were not many people there considering. We had several mixer games where we had to go around the hall asking questions to people. This was very good actually as I got to meet a penpal I'd been writing to for some time, but didn't know he was going. I'd never have known it was him as his badge name was "burpy" - however, he recognised my name and so we ended up hanging out together for the rest of the con.

Not much else event-wise on the Friday, just getting to know where everything was and meeting people. I discovered that the best place for this was the dance floor and there were a group of about 6 of us dancing for 5 hours until 2 am in the morning. None of us had met each other before but we all had one thing in common - we enjoyed a good boogie on down! So we also "hung out" for the rest of the con!

My one penpal, "burpy" entered the Rulers of the Universe competition as Buck Rogers and so I became his campaign organiser and we put up leaflets and gave out stickers for people to vote for him. It was great actually as I offered a sticker to Brian Croucher and from then on whenever he saw me around he kept saying "Vote Buck!"

I was enjoying a drink in the bar with a group of Klingons on the Saturday morning, when along came David Walsh who I recogonised as "Servalan" - he came up to me beckoning me to go over and speak to him! I was pretty much surprised, but quite pleased as I'd been looking forward to seeing his session about slash fiction for about a year! He had basically seen that I was wearing a Liberator hand gun (home-made) and asked if he could borrow it the next day in an event he was doing. I said sure and went on to tell him that I would be at his slash discussion as I had lots of questions to ask him!! He said "Uh oh" but was smiling also!

During the day I got to buy some slash zines from the dealers room. There was a new one out with some more great artwork from [Whitby27]. Later on that day, I actually discovered that [Whitby27] was at the convention and so just had to go and talk to her! It was excellent meeting her - you almost felt like kneeling down in front of her crying "we're not worthy!" I was quite surprised when she said she didn't get much recognition for her artwork which I could not believe! I therefore made up for this by telling her how much I enjoyed her work. I also got a photo of her holding her zine which she seemed quite shy about doing. She was really nice and it was great to meet her.

I went to a panel on the Saturday which discussed the relationship between Travis and Servalan. This was hosted by Judith, Brian and David (dressed as Servalan). It was great as Brian seemed pretty much disturbed to see some bloke in a dress pretending he was Servalan. He pointed this out saying "don't you think this is a bit weird!" He really didn't seem to know what to make of it! Got of photo of them together as well.

After this interview, I zoomed off into the main hall to catch the end of the Blakes 7 bloopers. Unfortunately, I was only in time for the last 15 mins. I saw the Space Rats episode where they were trying to escape in the buggy. They all jumped in, Avon commanded "Go!" and they stalled the buggy! There were several scenes like this - on one occasion the buggy started to roll backwards down the hill - they were all in fits of laughter which was great to see.

My next point of call was the Zine Publishing panel run by Judith. Julia Jones and two other ladies who produce zines and myself were the only ones there. Therefore, the four of them basically spent the session talking to me about editing stories and putting them together in zines. Very interesting stuff.

As for the "Realism in Slash" session - yes, it was as good as I'd expected and it was worth the year's wait to see it! As David "Servalan" already knew me, he decided to use me as a "prop" for his opening session and so called me out the front in order to do some sexist jokes! It was a good laugh! He then also picked on me to ask the first question and announced to everyone "this woman is dying to ask me some questions so she can go first". I guess it served me right, so I started off by getting straight in there with my question "in all these stories I read the two men have always got a tube of lubricant in the bedside drawer - do you really keep lubricant all around the house and do you need it?"

The answer was yes, very much so and it is true! He then went into detail about the types of lubricant available! Apparently you can get small packets of it which you can carry around with you. By the way, this interview was held in a small room - filled with mostly women, although there were about 4 or 5 men there also!

Whenever someone new came into the room, David stopped the discussion and asked the person "are you aware what slash is" so as not to offend anyone - well, this one chap walked in and David asked the question - the chap answered "yes, horror films isn't it" - we could not help but smile whilst someone answered him "no, it's homosexuals" - he shot out of the door at high speed!

The discussion mainly involved David telling us all about his relationships which he related in a very informative and entertaining way. The idea was for slash writers to ask David what positions etc were possible in gay sex so that we can get in right in our stories. Apparently David and a friend were going to actually demonstrate the positions for us, but his friend was not able to make it to the convention, so we had to just imagine them from his descriptions!

He then decided to ask us woman some questions also - like why we write this sort of stuff! My one room mate - Ruth (better known as 'Predatrix') spoke on our behalf for this one! We all had a good laugh actually, as well as learning quite a lot from the session. We went over our time limit for the room as we were having such a good discussion and I'm sure we could have gone on all night!

Next was autograph time and I happened to be first in line (there were not many at the convention, so there were no real queues for anything which was great!) - I therefore managed to get a quick snap together with Brian - as shown!

Then it was Saturday night and therefore disco time! Buck Rogers, Mike the Jester, Ivan - Disco King, Steve Rogerson, Richard the Klingon and the rest. Another 5 hours of dancing with our ever growing dancing group (around 10 of us now!) At around 2.15 am they chucked us off the dance floor and we retired to the boulevard where Buck taught us a card game called ping pong bang which we played until 4 am in the morning. It was only at this time that I decided I ought to go to bed since I was supposed to be on stewarding duty at 9 am in the morning! So I crept into my room just after 4 am trying not to wake up my roomies. I had a choice of 2 light switches, one for the bathroom and one for the room - I went for the obvious switch being the one furthest from the room and yes you guessed it - wrong one! The room was illuminated and my poor roomies were all lit up! I gave a quiet call "sorry!" before quickly correcting my choice and later on had to find the way to my bed in the dark! All Down and Safe at 4 am and still managed to make my 9 am stewarding duty the next morning!

Sunday lunch time was the "Sex in Space" panel - Neil Faulkner and Judith Proctor ran this one. We basically discussed who was having it off who with who in all types of sci-fi series, starting of course with Blakes 7! They asked us for our favourite pairings and I put my hand up to vote for Tarrant and Travis! The funniest bit though was when they asked everyone in the room whether they would actually like to see explicit sex on TV in sci-fi programmes, or whether you should only get a hint so you could imagine the rest. Well, my two friends sat either side of me and myself immediately raised our hands to vote "yes, we do want to see explicit sex in sci-fi shows" - unfortunately, we were the only ones in the whole room who put their hands up and so we embarrassed ourselves when they pointed out that we were the only ones and the fact that we were all sitting together!! (Engage red face mode!!)

The Rulers of the Universe competition was amusing, as well as my friend "Buck Rogers", there were a couple of Babylon 5 entries - the only one I recognised being "Londo" - the lady doing this was great - she was in character all weekend - doing the voice actions and everything and I think she deserved to win. However, Servalan pipped everyone at the post when it was turn for her vote. Just before everyone was asked to raise their hands to vote, she stood up and called for Travis.

Along came this guy dressed in black leather, along with black gloves, eye-patch and large yellow ring! She commanded him to shoot anyone who did not raise their hands to vote, so they didn't get much choice in the matter! This was a very nice touch, very effective and deserved the winning vote!

Oh yes, one more thing I need to mention, I could not leave the con without checking out the zine library. I did found a whole section on Slash Fiction and so spent a good hour checking out some stories as well as some amusing artwork! Whilst I was there, in walked David "Servalan" and friends - of course they joined me in the Slash section and David and I went on to point out stories and 'interesting' drawings to each other which proved most amusing!

All in all a great time was had, met lots of new friends who I'm still in touch with now and who I will be meeting up with again at other conventions this year with luck.

* incredibly sorry - there were apparently about 250 to 280 attendees, not 150 as I'd guessed, cheers to Judith and Steve for the information! [2]
[Chris Blenkarn]:

[Iain Coleman]:

Short version: a great con, many thanks to all involved. Long and roughly chronological version...

Friday Afternoon: Rachel and I arrived about 5ish. Rachel's not a fan - she was coming to stay at the hotel and go visit some old friends in Canterbury while I did weird scifi things. After (eventually) locating our room we went to the bar and bumped into assorted reprobates from the mailing list. Neil remarked that he wouldn't have argued with me so much if he'd realised how tall I was. I suspect it would take more than that to cramp his style, though.

Friday evening: Several pints and a quick meal later, the opening ceremony. The scavenger-hunt thing was a good ice-breaker, though it says a lot about fandom that the hardest type of person to locate was the lager drinker. I got 26 points for being 26: If I'd realised the context, I'd have claimed to be 547. There followed a bar quiz (and more drink), then off to...

Friday Night: ...The Space City party, hosted by Una and Alison. I'd like to tell you more about this, but I'm afraid I was very, very drunk.

Saturday Morning: Mouth like a badger's jockstrap and eyes like pissholes in the snow.

Saturday Afternoon: Some really good discussions. The hotel has a couple of boardrooms, big enough for a couple of dozen people. These are the locations for some lively and interesting meetings. I enjoy them all, but particularly the one on whether or not "Animals" is the worst B7 story. We really must produce that ideal episode sometime, if we can find a quarry with a gasworks in it. Then off for a cabaret rehearsal. This is a technical rehearsal, and as such involves the performers sitting around doing bugger all for a couple of hours, then spending a few seconds standing on some marks. We repeatedly inform whoever is running the rehearsal that we'll need a table on stage for our performance.

Saturday Evening: Some B5 movie is shown, but I'm too busy getting stressed. I have no confidence that the table we need will be organised, and there are a million other things that could go wrong. After the movie there's a bit of a lull in the main hall while things are set up for the masquerade. Matthew and I go direct to the stage crew with our furniture requirements and they couldn't be more helpful, even giving us an opportunity for a proper run-through. My stress levels decrease to merely insane levels.

Saturday Night: The masquerade is great fun, with some really entertaining costumes. Jason and the Cyberpunk are particularly fun. Then it's the cabaret. We're first on, and to my pleasure and relief it all goes more or less according to plan. Matthew, Una and Alison perform splendidly. I then sit down, have the quickest pint in living memory and settle down for the rest of the acts. The cabaret as a whole is of a very high standard - even the filking, which I usually hate but Judith's solo and Steve, Jenni and Fi's piece are top notch. I even have the honour of a dance with the Supreme Commander. Finally, there's the disco. Loads of fun. The best thing about fandom is its spirit of uninhibited exuberance, and that is much in evidence.

Sunday Morning: Wisely, the organisers have scheduled nothing totally unmissable for this morning. I wander around the dealer's room, passing by the Dr Who vids (35 quid? Somebody is taking the piss.) but picking up a copy of Chris Boucher's "Star Cops" novel (which is very good, I'll post a wee review later).

Sunday Afternoon: A couple of discussions. I organise a small workshop on dodgy science in B7 which is good fun with thought-provoking contributions from all who join in. I even make an apology to Neil, but that's a matter for another time. Then there's a discussion on Fantasy and SF, which turns out to be a fascinating exploration, with everybody bringing in different perspectives. I certainly found a lot of food for thought there, and I think other people did as well.

Sunday Evening: Back home. Both Rachel and I have had a great weekend, and it's hard to take in the fact that what is conventionally referred to as real life has to begin again. Rachel in particular was somewhat apprehensive about sharing a hotel with a bunch of freaks and weirdos, but by now is a convert to fandom, describing you all as a great bunch of really cool, fun people. So there you go.

Thanks to everyone who organised and helped out at a terrific con. Special thanks to Judith for her assistance and advice before the con, and to Steve, who helped me organise various last-minute things quickly and without fuss.

I had a great time, I hope everyone else did too, and I look forward to seeing you all again soon. [3]

[Jenni-Alison]:

Well, here I am (almost) caught up on sleep and about to find out whether it takes longer to write a con report or to read 1267 messages.

Having planned ahead much better this year, I didn't find myself staying up until 2am on the Thursday before Redemption. Instead I finished my Hi-tec costume at about 9pm (having taken the day off to be on the safe side) and got the chance to sit around and relax a bit before the excitement to come. This naturally meant not even starting to pack until about 10.30am on Friday -oops, I'm not going to arrive at 12 oclock then! Before I'm overcome with guilt I get a call from Fifi - she was going up Thursday night, and she's not ready to leave yet either. Vindicated! Colin goes off to check the car for water, screenwash and other such things. He discovered I have no oil - oops again, I meant to check that at some point, really! Finally set off at about 12.15 - Late, late for a very important date - with the car absolutely crammed with costumes, zines, and bits and pieces for the chaos costume workshop, including my sewing machine (sink was left behind but only reluctantly).

[snipped]

Somehow 3 hours passed, and I remember none of it (I was probably bumbling around being lost) Oh, no, there was an hour of Steward duty on one of the doors, I remember. A trip out to the car to get some last lingering bits and pieces allowed me to bump into a rather convincing Londo Mollari (complete with astounding hairpiece), whom I was surprised to find that I knew once I got up close. Mollari spent the whole weekend fully in costume and character, accent, gestures and attitude all completely accurate to B5. An impressive feat. She was running for Ruler of the Universe, along with several rather intriguing characters. The opening ceremony commenced, with the "treasure hunt" idea being a great success. A list of people you had to find including Cat owners, someone at Deliverance; someone wearing a badge that wasn't a con badge (Me! I was wearing my Tarrant Nostra badge, Carol!) Someone with a birthday in February, etc, etc meant you had to spend a fair amount of time running over to strangers and asking impertinent questions. A great idea. I believe Louise Rutter won (didn't you?) although Brian Croucher and Steve decided to check some of the answers. Thanks, Steve - I really enjoyed showing my black underwear on stage, and yes a bra strap was all you were getting, so there!

Pub quiz was next, and I managed by dint of some careful seating arrangements to be on Neil Faulkner's team - who better to team with than the winner of Deliverance' Mastermind quiz? Unfortunately we were less well equipped on the B5/miscellaneous side although we had some good guesses (I think Nicola wandered off into Discworld answers at one point, but since I wasn't any closer to the correct ones that worked out just fine). Then the Space City Party!

Arrived with assorted alcoholic bits, but Fifi was the one with serious quantity - she'd got some cocktails worked out. I'll let her elaborate, but lets just say that Og's Arsehole was brown and white liquid, with flaky white stuff, and Steve had to be the first to try it. Did anyone get a picture of Steve licking Og's Arsehole? (Yes) The penis tree was a work of genius - so pink, so shiny so appetising the little decorations looked. I was forced to go and change out of my costume since it was pretty warm and discovered a dilemma - no normal clothes! I'd forgotten to bring more than one dress....oops. Highlights I recall were Nelly's picture of naked Tarrant (if you haven't seen it, Carol, you must! Really soft and dreamy, and as Colin put it "Anatomically correct" but my god! that's got to be the size of a baby's arm!) which was great, increasingly drunk discussions of POV in writing (quickly became writing slash, of course) involving Alison, Steve and Pred'x among others, some drunken conversations with Iain and Rachel, his girlfriend, but it all became a bit of a blur - can't imagine why <vbg>. It was incredibly hot (I think this is a feature of SC room parties - is it a conspiracy to encourage us all to strip off?) brilliant fun, and thank you to Alison and Una for hosting - I can imagine the mess the next day!

Wobbled off to bed at about 3am and proceeded to tidy the room around a snoring Colin in the dark. In fact I did this every night, although I'm really not sure why - perhaps tidying in the dark is restful? I've got an alarm call in for 8am Saturday morning, but I know absolutely that there's no chance it will come - hotels always forget me. Still, I'll make the Stewards meeting at 9.30 come hell or high water. Resolve to sleep lightly

Oh, dear, It's past my bed time. I promised myself that this year I'd post the whole con report in one go, since last year I only did part 1, but here I am, a huge mail message further in and I've only covered Friday night, 3am. It's going to be a long, long report!

and getting longer....

Saturday:

Not surprisingly the hotel forgot my alarm call (this always happens to me - sleep lightly in strange places and wear a watch!) and yet I still woke up at 8am - having stayed up to unpack in the dark after the room party (I know, but it relaxes me) I thought that was pretty good for 4 hours sleep. Made the Stewards meeting for 9.30, after a nice relaxing bath and a *really* strong cup of real coffee, where I thought I was meeting Fifi. However, I was completely wrong and my brain had made it up - she was setting up for the Chaos costume workshop. For those who didn't see any advance program guides, the Chaos costume workshop was an opportunity to come along and get a costume sorted out at the last minute, and Fiona and I were running it (in the loosest possible sense). As a result we'd bought along lots of things - old clothes, fabrics, card, spray paint and paint brushes, face paint, duct tape in lots of colours, bin bags, toilet roll innards - basically imagine what it looked like *behind* the set of Blue Peter before they present the one they made earlier and then quadruple the mess. And here of course we meet the sewing machine. When I arrived in the room where we were going to spend the next 4 hours Fifi had already set up with a lot of the kit, and we'd already got a costume enthusiast. Someone had the makings of a costume with them (!!!!) and wanted to sew it - he'd bought all the material with him, and was hoping there would be a sewing machine. The costume was that of a Franciscan monk and I'm happy to say that he was a far better seamstress (not in the Pratchet manner) than I and so could safely be left with my little sewing machine.

At the opening ceremony we had also met the contenders for the Ruler of the Universe. I'm sure most of you have heard of Dave Walsh - the world's most convincing Servalan impersonator - he was determined to win this time. Also contending for the position were Londo Mollari (previously mentioned) a wonderfully languid Emperor Cartiaga, The Sandman (my own preferred candidate, for whom Kat was campaigning so ably) and a surprise entry - Buck Rogers. However Buck didn't have a costume, unlike the other ambitious souls, and so Fifi had cornered him and persuaded him that he needed help. Thus we could expect him at our little gathering.

I shan't exhaust you with all the details of the following 5 hours (we overran) except to say that personally I was utterly exhausted at the end of it. It was brilliant fun, and thank God we worked out how the air conditioning ran, since three of our costumees were dressed in silver bin liners - at the end of play we had one Romulan, complete with a very detailed belt and V decoration with high neck who methodically prepared her costume with great attention to detail. We also had Buck Rogers attired in a very V necked silver top (Fi kept cutting the V lower and lower to let the hair show!) with silver satin shoulders and sleeves (let me tell you, I've never stripped a man down and wrapped him in plastic and pins before!) And as a late couple of entries we had a girl who leapt gladly upon the black PVC and made herself a very Dr Who looking alien head, along with a very tall man (bearing a strong resemblance to the good looking one from Men Behaving Badly) looking for inspiration. It only took one word - Cyberman - and he was off and running. Inside one hour he had transformed himself into "Cyberpunk" - creature of silver card, silver bin liners, tin foil and graffiti. Because he'd be wearing it for the fancy dress competition later we sent him off with a roll of tin foil to cover his legs, and packed up in a tearing hurry. Andrew the Monk finished his hood and packed himself off, and we got all pins, paper, glue, card and additional tables out of the room in time for the next meeting.

Then it was time to rehearse quietly in Steve Kilbane (The Sandman)'s room for the evening's Cabaret. Fifi was in fine voice, but I was rather unnerved to find out that when nervous what emerged from my throat sounded more like the mice in Bagpuss than singing. Still, it'll be all right on the night, and all that. Suddenly I was starving, not having eaten all day, but rushing around looking for food I was accosted by a Federation trooper from whom I bought 3 tapes, and while becoming increasingly manic and wild eyed at the lack of food rushed off to order room service. Quick, and not bad - the salad was quite filling.

Next was the technical rehearsal for the fancy dress - this consisted of trying very hard not to be intimidated by all the other people being terrifically confident and good. Eventually got to stand in front of a microphone (my first time). The tech guys quickly realised they'd have to max the volume of my microphone to get me up to volume - in the end Fiona was standing a foot back from her mike, and I was practically fellating mine (smile - life has some amusements, doesn't it). I got some really helpful tips from "the magician" on how to sing in public which actually helped my confidence a little, and then it was time to wait.

The Fancy Dress began at 8pm (and started pretty much on time - a miracle). They were all great, but my evening was made when the Cyberpunk walked stiltedly on with his lower body wrapped in tin foil. His chest was decorated with the legend "Anarchy on Telos" and the music was Sex Pistols (of course). It became even funnier as we realised he couldn't see where he was going (he wouldn't let me cut the eye holes out!) and the tin foil leg wrappings were crumbling in places, to reveal that he was bare beneath the metal! Brave man. Jason from Friday the 13th was also present, with a bloody axe and a torn shirt revealing bloody flesh and ribs (ick!). He walked on to Alice Cooper's "The man behind the Mask" and proceeded to play air guitar with the axe. There was also a ST:TOS Klingon (commander Cane?), our Franciscan brother, the Romulan, and several others. Quite a good turn-out. Winners were the Klingon for best costume, Jason for best presentation and the Cyberpunk for best Chaos costume. Very entertaining.

Next was the Cabaret. Very wisely given the complexity of their piece, Iain, Alison, Una and Matthew were on first. They were brilliant - their piece was so funny, with lines for Terry Nation (Alison) and the director of the BBC (Iain), and also Chris Boucher (Una) with Matthew taking other roles, and much use of black and white print outs of the B7 characters. And the image of Una standing between Iain's legs with her hand on his shoulder terrifying him is vivid in my memory - if that's how Chris Boucher really got the BBC to back 2 more seasons of B7 then it's slash all on it's own! Then there was some wonderful singing and playing from Judith and (oh, dear times are passing and names are flowing out of my head...) a very pretty red haired violinist, guitarist and singer, some stick fighting from a couple of B5 rangers and I managed to sing without strangling on my own vocal chords (although my hands were shaking so much I couldn't hold my drink once I sat down!) I also claim the credit for making Dave "Servalan" Walsh nervous, since I passed all the worry on to him - he could handle it, he'd performed before. He danced with Iain, who actually felt him up (what did they feel like, Iain?) and with Steve Rogerson, whom he partnered with one of the Conspirators and then "Servalan" proceeded to get the audience up and dancing two by two, very skillfully. Now it's time for the Rocky Horror/Glam disco.

One of the very entertaining things about this con was the fact that there were normal people also in the hotel - walking back in my Magenta costume (complete with borrowed red wig and fingerless gloves - thanks Kat!) (See the Photo on the right) I was suddenly acutely aware of this - costumes aren't nearly as surprising to fen. The disco was great, the music was really good and I don't remember not dancing for any length of time. One really great man in a wheelchair came onto the dance-floor and danced with us, and the party atmosphere was fabulous. A disco at a con is much more fun than a disco in RL! Taking half an hour out to go for a quick filk I found quite a crowd singing, and in that time Judith performed a really haunting song - I don't know it's name, but the words "The Children of Auron are gone, are all gone" I can still hear. Still, the party waited, so I hurried back and danced some more until 2 or 3am. When I left it was still going strong - Fans have strong constitutions!

I went to bed (after spending about an hour tidying up the room in the dark again) looking forward very much to Sunday, when I would attend a few of the panels and maybe spend a bit of money in the dealer room too.

And now it's my bedtime again here in RL, so nighty night everyone, and dream of con's and parties!

Yay! Finally I get around to part three. And you all thought I'd stopped (at last) - no such luck!

Sunday

Well, I have to admit to a bit of a lie-in this morning. It was a very, very late night what with the filking, the disco, the drinking and so on. After an evening seeing Steve dressed as a Klingon with a tribble skewered on his Bakleth (sp?) what more could Sunday have to offer? I really meant to see Sheelagh Wells' talk, but unfortunately I slept straight through it. Still, after a quick bath and back in costume we hurried off and were just in time to catch Brian Croucher's talk. In fact it was more of a question time - I honestly think he asked more questions of us than we did of him. By this time I think he's probably talked quite enough about his role as Travis, and he seemed genuinely interested in us fans. He asked why we came to conventions, what the attraction was. He seemed to rate our intelligence quite highly, but he did struggle to really understand. He was more in tune with literary sci-fi fans, it appeared to me. He seemed a very modest person, and he laughed at the idea that a friend had suggested, that the fans hung on his every word - he said we're fans of the show, not him. Judith did a good job of keeping the conversation going when he flagged and they discussed his typecasting as a policeman or criminal. Brian seemed quite philosophical, even happy to be typecast, since it ensured he had a reasonable flow of work. It was a very comfortable friendly panel, and I found myself wishing I'd seen more of him over the weekend (no, Penny, not that much more!)

Then we had an hour to track down Dave Walsh. Talking at the disco on Saturday night he discovered that Colin had a simple Travis costume with him, and the fiendish plot was hatched, but we needed to iron out the details. We found him in the bar, confirmed the plan, and then went back to attire Colin in black, complete with black leather gloves, Lazeron crystal and large eye patch. I think Colin practiced stalking menacingly all the way back down to the bar, but maybe he always walks like that and I just didn't notice.

Unfortunately I had Steward's duty for the next hour, so it looked as though I would miss the culmination of all their plotting, but help was at hand - Sasha relieved me from the video room, as she wanted to watch the video - SAAB, of course - and I was put on the door downstairs to cover a non-appearance. Duty was enlivened by the green Drazi leader hunting for the Gareth cut out, and it was even funnier to discover that Jane Killick, one of the guests, was apparently involved in his abduction. Then even better - the non-appearee turned up and relieved me! I was just in time to see some of the very entertaining hustings in the Ruler of the Universe competition. Servalan was naturally very good, Mollari and Cartiaga made a wonderful double act, with Cartiaga passing all difficult questions on to Mollari, who was very quick and always in character. Buck Rogers was simple, but effective, and the Sandman was brilliant. Fully in character, looking the part in his long black coat with flames licking at the hem, with black shades and long hair, and very, very quick and funny. Our exit poll showed that many voters were swayed at the hustings in his favor. Then it was time for the voting.

First the Sandman was voted for, achieving a very respectable showing. Then Buck Rogers had a small but loyal following - vote sleaze! Next was Ambassador Mollari, moving into the lead decisively. Cartiaga had a small group of insane lemmings willing to die for his ascension to godhood, and then came the moment for the votes for Servalan to be counted. Servalan rose, took the microphone, stood centre stage and cried "Stop this farce immediately". She wasn't prepared to participate in an election when there were more efficient ways to be used. "Travis, come here" and a black figure with a sinister eye patch stalked through the crowd to stand below her facing the crowd. "Travis, you may fire at anyone who does not have their hand raised". Travis raised his left arm and began to choose his targets impassively. You wouldn't believe how many hands went up, many people raised two.

Servalan won the election, and I suspect that if you were to count the number of people in the room and compare it to the number of votes that were cast in total there might be a few more than there should be. I collected *my* Travis on the way out - I think he had a lot of fun.

After some running around for a scarf to cover someone's head (what was that for anyway, Judith?) (Judith - to allow David Walsh to change into a costume that was for sale in the auction without him worrying about getting hair dye on it) I went swiftly along to Iain's panel on Dodgy science in B7. This was really interesting, and as someone who had their hair parted neatly by the explanations on line it was great to actually see the diagrams and know what they were talking about. The panel was enlivened by a very elderly gentleman who arrived and seemed to enjoy himself enormously, except for the moments when he fell asleep. As Iain said later "Everyone's a critic".

After this it was a choice between Fantasy and Science fiction panel, or food. My stomach won, so we rushed off to the restaurant, and were very grateful to the kind staff who agreed to let us eat even though they should have closed 5 minutes earlier. They really were great.

Food over, we walked to the dealer room to spend money. What on? Why Judith's zines, of course. I can't wait for the time to read them though.......Then back to the bar, and just in time to say goodbye to Iain and Rachel, who were off back to Cambridge. Sniff. The beginning of the end. Then it was the closing ceremony.

The closing ceremony started off with the raffle, and I was chagrinned to discover that I'd lost all 10 of the tickets which I'd bought. Even more worrying - all the unclaimed prizes were the colour of mine, and believe me there were a lot of them. Ah, well, that's life. After the raffle they announced the winners of the Drazi war. In spite of the Green Drazi's intrepid abduction they had in fact lost to the PINK team. Bah! Judith thanked everyone who'd been involved in organising the con, and then it was officially over.

For the next hour was the Stewards party, in which I won a raffle prize! Brian Croucher appeared and I got him to sign a zine. He was certainly happy to do so, and no, I'm not telling anyone what he put so there! He's a naughty man, though. Then I headed back to my room to change into normal clothes and prepare for the dead dog party.

It felt very lonely walking back to the bar without my badge, passing other people without badges and wondering if they were fans, and whether they'd like to talk. Still, once I hit the bar I immediately met Linda, Julia, Deborah Rose and Val. We got chatting, were joined by Chris Blenkarn and ended up sitting for most of the evening chatting and drinking water. (Judith - in the interests of accuracy <grin>, Chris asked me to point out that she certainly wasn't drinking water.) In fact, I think I had my best B7 discussion of the weekend with Julia. Then we caught Judith and dragged her off for some filking (well, you weren't really resisting very much, Judith) which carried on until very late, and then it was back to the bar to help Mollari and Steve pour our unconscious Klingon into the Taxi before bed.

We actually made breakfast on Monday morning, but only by 10 minutes. Packed quickly, and lingered for a while in the boulevard saying goodbye and watching others go. We saw the Klingon who had no memory of what had happened the night before - he'd wondered how he got home. Then, finally and reluctantly headed for home.

The journey was improved by two things. Firstly listening to The Final Act - a great tape, I recommend it to Travis fans, particularly FINALACT followers. Secondly the black cardboard cows on the roundabout near the hotel, one of which appeared to have met Steve Rogerson, and had become a bit unsteady on it's feet as a result. Why they were there I don't know.

It was a brilliant Con, my second now, and I loved every minute of it. Thank you so much to all the committee for making it happen, and for working so hard to ensure it was a success. I can't wait to see everyone again at the next possible con, and maybe meet some more people who couldn't make this one. [4]

[Steve Kilbane]:

What do I remember about Redemption?

  • Walking in through the main doors on Friday at noon, thinking, "We're *here*"
  • Setting up the PA for the bar quiz:
  • "Know anything about tech?"
  • "Such as?"
  • "Can you set up a PA?"
  • "Nope."
  • "Fine. Can you lift one?"
  • Coming back into the Rocky Horror disco, to see half the con following Jason during Bohemian Rhapsody.
  • The b5 bloopers tape: "CnC - this is Sinclair", and a clockwork Starfury.
  • Being very nervous at the start of the cabaret - trying to rehearse the chords, and being hassled by a Klingon who wanted to borrow the guitar.
  • Rehearsing in our room with Jenni and Fifi, and thinking "We can do this."
  • Watching Chris and Rachel jamming during the cabaret rehearsal, and thinking "Why are we doing this?"
  • Putting on the Sandman makeup. Oh, yeah, I remember that. I wake up _sweating_ about it, in fact.
  • Sheelagh: being nice to a possibly illegal degree.
  • "Peril sensitive hair".
  • Londo. In costume. And in character. Permanently.
  • Dancing to "Sweet Transvestite" with k.
  • The sound of my heels in a silent hall, while taking the stage for the first time.
  • Seeing a _very_ blonde-haired person going into the main hall, and thinking, "Bet that's Robert."
  • Steve Rogerson in Klingon outfit, recognisable by the tribble impaled on his large, um, weapon.
  • Jem's Henry V.
  • The Space City party (and the geeky upmanship - upnerdship? - with Richard and Robert. Robert won. :-> )
  • Judith producing three filk verses to "House of the Rising Sun" in ten minutes, from a standing start.
  • Having *no* idea when I'd last eaten, or whether I should be hungry.
  • Being at least slightly squiffy, for 60 straight hours.
  • Being *hugely* thankful I'd brought the Enter Sandman music for the hustings; music meant I was first on, which meant I was last to answer any of the questions, which meant I had a chance to think of something funny.
  • Having *no* idea who people were voting for (with the shades, boots, long coat and bright lights, it's a miracle I didn't trip and fall off the stage)
  • Una's enunciation of _penetrating_.
  • A cigar labelled "Vere".
  • Tom and Louise discovering that the last two quiz posters were in the lifts.
  • Playing along to Tom's Time Warp filk on Sunday night.
  • Judith's Children of Auron.
  • Jane Killick's experiences of dealing with, um, "personalities", from b5.
  • Knowing _nothing_ in the bar quiz.
  • Desperately trying to think of an opening platform for the opening ceremony.
  • And the same again, for the hustings.
  • Having a good ol' whinge in Una's panel.
  • Plus, of course, not wanting it to end. It was great, all of it. [5]

[Nelly Meijerink]:

An attempt to tell the story of two Dutch girls attending their very first Convention.

Won't bother you with any details about travelling to Ashford as all went quite smoothly anyway.

We arrived at the hotel around 2 o'clock, checked in, brought our bags to the room and got our badge and bag at the registration desk (this all sound very *matter of fact* but geez was I nervous. Couldn't always understand what people were saying, couldn't utter a word myself. It took quite a while to adjust to listening to / speaking English, by Sunday evening I started to feel reasonably comfortable with it <grin>).

Judith told us how to reach the supermarket and after first ending up at the front of the hotel we discovered the small gate at the back of the carpark. What we bought: wine, beer, orange juice, milk and cookies. Then to the dealers room, where we bought our copies of Vem Quest and Tales from Space City from Julia, bought a few B7 videos (it seems Virgin decided to stop selling them here in Holland after volume 10 :(( ) and stared our eyes out at all the things that were for sale. After the shopping was done we settled down in the bar for a drink and something to eat until the Opening ceremony began. That was followed by the Pub quiz, which we didn't participate in (gosh, all those difficult questions!), but was lots of fun and David Walsh did a great job on that.

The Space City party was loads of fun. I got a bit drunk and so mustered up enough courage (with a bit of force from Hanneke) to show my Tarrant drawing to a few people (thank you all, for the compliments, you made me happy).

Saturday morning after breakfast we went to the Travis and Servalan session, with David Walsh and Brian Croucher talking about, well, Travis and Servalan mostly <grin>. Brian Croucher was a pleasant surprise. I didn't really expect to like him as he's not my favourite Travis and I didn't think he was very appealing in Eastenders either. It was interesting to hear him talk about what kind of person he thought Travis was and the way he portrayed him and about acting in general.

After that is was off to the main hall to watch the B7 Blooper Reel. Sheelagh Wells was marvellous, she sure knows how to create a magic atmosphere! I enjoyed so much listening to her. And oooh that lovely little Baby Orac she showed us...

Next session in the main hall was David Walsh talking about how his Servalan act started and grew (and grew). I love that man, he's a great entertainer and wow he really does have BEAUTIFUL legs! I felt a bit sorry for him because it was freezing cold in that hall and he was wearing a dress which didn't exactly cover all of his upper body.

Then to the dealers room again to buy Renaissance and Morgan (best fanfic story I ever read, with some great art by Val, I'm sooo glad to have my own copy now) and another B7 video and the Sevenfold Crown tapes (listened to them this morning, I like Steven Pacey's comment on Tarrant's personality "What personality was that then?" (sorry Hanneke <grin> oops, and Carol))

In the evening we thought of watching 'Blake' in the videoroom first and then go to the Fancy Dress (and so miss most of it) but decided not to because Hanneke had already seen it (and I haven't but felt it would be better to watch it at home on my own so I can cry when I feel like it) and the Fancy Dress and Cabaret was too tempting.

Just before it started I went to the bar to get us some more drinks, while I waited for them someone came standing next to me, turning to look at him I nearly got a heartattack... it was Jason from Friday the 13th (kindly asking the barman for a straw, he couldn't drink out of a glass because of the mask he was wearing) !!!

Highlights of the evening were... well, it was one big highlight actually :)). Judith and Rachel's music, Jenni and Fifi's song (great voices, all of them), Steve in his Klingon outfit dancing enthusiastically, Servalan in a beautiful dress, the BBC sketch, oh everyone was fantastic! The rest of the night we sat in the boulevard drinking and talking (completely forgot about the disco) and went to sleep far too late but very happily drunk.

Sunday somehow is a bit of a blur. I remember we wanted to watch 'Children of Auron' in the moring but missed it and watched 'Aftermath' instead. Great episode and nice to see Dayna in action for the first time in my life. After that we went to the Sex in Space discussion, which was very interesting, but that's as much as I can remember :((. In the afternoon we went to the Ruler of the Universe hustings and voting. It was difficult to choose between Londo and Servalan, they were both terrific, but as Servalan had brought Travis along to threaten us the choice was made a lot easier (btw the Sandman was VERY impressive as well).

After the auction and Closing ceremony we went to have a drink and something to eat in the pub and then thought we deserved a treat so went to watch the last B7 video that was shown that weekend... 'Animals'. After about six minutes or so Hanneke and I were the only ones left in the room... and we stayed there watching till the bitter end.

By half past 11 that night my brains finally completely refused functioning, so I left Hanneke in the boulevard in the company of (I think) Steve, Katharine and Calle, and stumbled off to bed. Monday morning we left Ashford early to take the train to London (where we bought, yes, some more B7 videos). The flight back to Rotterdam was rather bumpy, I was too tired and dazed to be afraid I guess, but Hanneke wasn't :((. We were both very happy to be back home again.

A big thank you to all the people who made Redemption such a wonderful and unforgetable experience! [6]

[Richard Proctor]:

The Widower's Tale

Some years ago Judith volunteered herself (and the rest of humanity) to help with running the next Blake's 7 convention - the rest as they say is history.

[...]

Saturday:

Up early (head a bit rough) and have breakfast. And then off to the room to pack up the stuff for the dealers room. See Judith for nearly two minutes as she collects some of her stuff from our room. Start setting table up, but this is not as easy as it should be, all the zines were by now shuffled and had no known order, the only possible solution was to get them all out and sort onto the table. People came wanting zines as I unpacked - a good sign. Half an hour's frantic activity later and the table is sort of ready, though the final enhancements have to wait until Sunday. Initial sales are brisk and furious - is this a good sign? As well as selling our zines, I am also selling some for Julia and looking after Sheelagh Wells's table most of the time. I even get to see Judith for 18.3 seconds briefly. The morning continues, the trade is fairly hectic until midday - then where have all the people gone?

During the afternoon only eight people bought anything from us! The dealers room was empty! This was not because there was no one at the con, it was rather that there was so much going on that the dealers room was empty. At the close of the dealers room that day, 2 dealers went home. I then went and repaired Gareth, using masking tape and pliers and a spanner (as a hammer).

A short breather, then Calle and I have a session on web page design we have been volunteered for - an interesting discussion with novices and some relatively experienced people about what to do and not do when designing web sites. Calle and I are both anti-Microsoft and edit our web pages in ordinary editors. The basic message is keep it simple. In the middle of this Kelvin returned the Digital Camera, so here is part of the audience.

After the discussion, I sorted a few things out and ended up with a drink and then saw most of the fancy dress/cabaret. I see Judith there, but then she is on stage and I am in the crowd. Then had a look round a few things, repaired Gareth again (this time with heavier duty tape) and came back to the disco. Now since about the age of 19-20 I have only been to a couple of discos, so this is a rarity. But dancing on the left were many of the same crowd as had been at the Space City party the night before. Eventually I joined in with Una, Stephen, Jenni, Steve, Kat, Chris, Alison and the others - phew! This was warming up nicely when in came Robert and Ellie. These pictures do not do Robert justice...

Sunday:

[...]

I then go to the stewards party, Ok I am not a steward but who cares, I certainly helped in other areas, a few nibbles a few hellos and goodbyes, a raffle - I let Judith pick something for herself, there is nothing I want there. Then get everything left (Puppets, Judiths unwanted cases, etc) into the front of the hotel and bring the car to the canopy at the front so I can pack every thing protected and in the light. Where have these "extra" boxes come from? You want me to take "that" home - oh well. Pack the trailer and the car - it is easier than on the way there, I also ensure that the zines are not the bottom layer in the trailer, if any water gets in it will end up beneath the puppet theatre. Gather by front desk to say goodbyes. Lots of goodbyes, but then there is a Children shortage, Henry goes off in search of Kelvin. Christopher (Rob's son) turns up and also goes off looking for Kelvin. Kelvin appears and goes in search of Henry. Henry appears and goes in search of Christopher... Eventually bang on target of 7pm at about quarter to eight we are off - bye Judith.

[...]

Its over!

The good points: The people, the parties and the discussions.

The bad points: It's over, the con was so good the dealers room was empty, and having to get back on Sunday. [7]

[Robert Baskerville]:

Sorry to hear about people struck down by the Con Bug. Since this has led to a veritable famine of Con Reports, I thought I'd stick down a few lines...

Unfortunately, it was a shorter con for me than I would have liked; pressure of work prevented me from taking off all day Fri or any of Monday, so much of Friday and Sunday was taken up with travelling. The journey to Ashford was hellish; six hours of rain, traffic (except the M25 - traffic usually shows *signs* of movement...), screaming baby in the back (must get one of those Limo's with sound proof window behind the driver <g>)...

Arrived. Can't even remember *when* we arrived; must have been sometime between 8 and 9pm. Hotel seemed very nice; quietly efficient and (as we discovered over the weekend) child-friendly.

The Space City Party was excellent - a little hot and steamy, but then what else would you expect? An event difficult to describe; you had to be there really. No one ate the Penis Tree which, considering that the high-quality rock Penises were all the way from Blackpool, was slightly disappointing (OK, so maybe the crepe-paper pubes put people off?)

Saturday began with breakfast. It then continued with a second breakfast. Much of the day was a blur; went from full wallet to empty wallet without buying anything although a mysterious stack of zines next to Ellie seemed to grow ever higher.... Finally got a copy of "Bloke's 7" (and got to hassle Joe N later on about when the other 51 might appear). The bring-and-buy was well attended by buyers, less so by sellers. There was a Klingon selling Trek stuff (the phrase "That William Shatner he's crap isn't he?" with a heavy Welsh accent from said Klingon was rather memorable) and some large boxes of zines which sold well. This Con was far more slash-friendly than the last I attended. We had to prevent precisely zero minors from wading through the boxes of slash (they were having far too much fun elsewhere!), and I have to admit to enjoying the two or three rather surprised expressions from people caught unawares (aparently the large "/" I drew on the relevant boxes was too subtle).

[...]

Spent long while in our Hotel Room with a tired child who was too tired to sleep. Watched the end of a bizarre episode of Colombo in which William Shatner was the murderer. Had a slight costume crisis (Ellie had suggested it just before we left Manchester and part had got left behind), resulting in Ellie having to race to Sainsbury's again to acquire an item substitute. Small child finally hit the end of the alphabet (ie. began emitting the sought-after zed's)

The cabaret was fun. Steve R ended up with one of Servalan's false nails stuck in his costume (Oh, didn't I mention? Steve had turned into a rather worryingly convincing Klingon by now - must have been that Og's Arsehole cocktail at the Space City party).

The Rocky Horror/Glam Disco followed. Thanks to Paula for the loan of her room (long story) and for Kat W for the loan of the wig (long story). The Disco was fun. Thanks to Steve for the 20 extra points "for showing balls" (I didn't think they were visible through what I was wearing, but there we go).

Went to the Slash Turkey readings. Enjoyed this.

Went to bed; still tired from all the travelling :-( For some reason, my feet hurt a bit. Must have been the disco.

[...]

That's it - lots of gaps and things I did but can't remember when they were (like the panel discussion on Fans - "Sad Bastards or Postmodern Irony" or something like that; another excellent title from Una!) [8]

[Kevin McCully]:

Friday

On Friday, I made my way down to Ashford, Kent by train, and arrived at the hotel just before 9pm. The hotel is big and plush and I was impressed. I was checked into the hotel by a young lady by the name of Dayna (yes, really!). Once I had found my room and registered I began to explore. The hotel had been invaded by people in costume, Avons, at least one Jenna, a couple of Klingons, a couple in 59th Wildcards uniform (from Space: Above and Beyond), Londo and Cartagia from Babylon 5 and of course, Servalan. I was even more impressed!

Throughout the weekend, the Drazi war game was run. The attendees were divided into two teams, green and purple. each team had to collect points by winning the various contests. At the closing ceremony all points were added up and a winner declared! Also running was campaigning for the Ruler of the Universe elections, with each candidate having flyers strategically placed throughout the hotel.

I'd missed the opening ceremony (typical!) so I hit the bar for a quickie, then I decided to try out some filking (this is singing re-written versions of various folk/pop songs). Poking my head around the filking room revealed Judith Proctor and a young lady called Rachel ( correct me if I'm wrong!). There were 4 people there so I decided to swell the numbers. We were treated to Judith's accordion playing and Rachel's violin, and good they were, well better than my singing at least!

Judith's voice gave out and we retired to the bar for a while. I got talking to a man from Bedford who had been filking with us, he is mainly into Dr. Who.

Saturday

The first thing I did on Saturday was miss breakfast (typical!) so I went next door to Sainsbury's where the staff were asleep. On returning, I caught the tail end of a panel with Brian Croucher and David Walsh which was interesting. I was wearing my teleport bracelet and Brian said "He'll be going up soon!" The discussion was supposed to be about Servalan and Travis but it had obviously strayed onto other subjects, but was interesting nonetheless.

At midday I went down to the main hall for the Blake's Seven blooper reel, introduced by Sheelagh Wells. This was very funny and included the infamous "Avon's teddy" incident.

When the video finished Sheelagh showed us some of the late Vere Lorimmer's photographs and a baby Orac loaned by Mary Ridge, and shared some of her memories of the show.

I retired to the bar for a while after this, then at 2pm I went back to the main hall to see Brian Croucher again, this time interviewed by Joe Nazzaro, talking about his career as an actor.

After Brian, I wandered upstairs and into a discussion by Sheelagh Wells, talking about her long career in television make-up, this was a fascinating talk, Sheelagh obviously loves her work and loves talking about it. She is a pleasure to listen to. She told us how some of the make-up can be made from household ingredients, for instance I didn't know stage blood can be made from golden syrup and food colouring.

In the main hall foyer was a life-size cut out of Gareth Thomas, who couldn't attend as he was working. He looked very effective, with a pint of beer in his hand. This was later abducted by the green team in an attempt to gain extra points in the Drazi war.

The fancy dress competition and cabaret, were very entertaining. Cabaret acts included Judith Proctor on accordion with Rachel on violin, an interesting interpretation of the song " Don't marry her, have me", about a battle of wills amongst the Liberator's crew, a look behind the scenes at the BBC and of course, Servalan. That woman gets everywhere!

The next item in the hall was the disco, and not being into discos I headed off to the filking room. This time we had a larger filk session with about ten people. The Tarrant Nostra folks popped in for a while, hot from their cabaret act. After the filking, I watched some video then went to bed.

Sunday

Sunday dawned bright and clear, and I woke up in time for breakfast (yeah!). I stumbled into a talk by Joe Nazzaro about Babylon 5 spin-off, Crusade. We were shown some slides of the new sets and uniforms, and some inside details from the show. I checked out of the hotel, then went to the "Sex in Space" panel, where we discussed the relationships between characters, who they may have slept with, and whether we liked our characters to have sex on or off screen.

Next door in the main hall was the culmination of the Ruler of the Universe contest. The candidates were Servalan, Cartagia, Londo Molari, The Sandman cunningly disguised as Steve Kilbane, and a late entry from Buck Rogers. After giving their opening statements, the panel took questions from the floor. Buck Rogers pledged to introduce a long hair tax, Servalan promised to give everyone Pylene 50. When asked about genetically modified food, Londo said there is nothing wrong with Centauri food which is better than that stuff the Narns eat. The Sandman didn't seem to have a policy on anything. The questions finished and the candidates made their final statements. The vote was taken, and Servalan won by a narrow margin. She was declared Ruler of the Universe until her death.

After the auction, conducted by Brian Croucher, came the closing ceremony. The end of the Drazi war game was declared with the purple side winning (booooo!), the indoor cricket game (don't ask, please!) was won by Blake's XI. Servalan announced her marriage to Londo Molari, to help her carry out her duties as Ruler of the Universe.

I went upstairs to watch Fireball XL5 (the Triads) for half an hour, noting its similarity to Blake's Seven episode Orbit.

While I was waiting for my taxi to the station, Brian Croucher said goodbye to me and hoped he'd see me at the next one. He shook my hand before he left. He really is a gent, not at all like Travis!

I found this convention interesting because it had been designed to include the fans of two shows, Blake's Seven and Babylon Five, and unite them in sharing their appreciation of both. I also enjoyed the way the attendees were invited to participate in the events. It was an interactive experience. [9]

[Murry Smith]:

I was eager to get to Ashford for two reasons. First, due to hearing all the Who's 7 stories, to see if the Ashford International Hotel lived up to its reputation; and second, to see if a smaller convention than Deliverance '98 could prove just as enjoyable. I found the hotel to be well up to standard; there was nothing wanting in my room, the breakfast was great, and the main hall built such that discos could take place without risk of disturbing sleeping guests. There was an elongated, glass-roofed lobby, called a 'boulevard', with a large amount of seating, convenient for sitting down and talking to fellow fans, and very close to the bar.

Overlooking the boulevard were a number of boardrooms intended for conferences, which were ideal venues for many of the panel discussions. The temperature in the hotel was kept very warm, allowing all of us to go around in shirtsleeves and T-shirts, although this feature made me think at times of a Federation dome. In total, the hotel was an ideal venue, with one small exception: the piped music, which consisted of a number of songs which were replayed continuously, despite Judith's best efforts.

As for the convention, I must say that it was superb, being well organised throughout. Compared with Deliverance, the atmosphere was quite different, due to the smaller number of fans attending, and the small number of guests. The result was a more fan-orientated convention, with the guests left somewhat on the edge.

Regarding the guests, Sheelagh Wells and Joe Nazarro, I had met at Deliverance, and found them to be as nice as ever; Jane Killick I had few dealings with, not being a B5 fan; but Brian Croucher was the guest I was most interested in.

He came with his son, Sean, a well-behaved boy for his age, and appeared to be a quiet man who relaxed once he got to know us fans. In one of the first panel discussions, 'Two sides of a coin: How alike were Blake and Travis?' he impressed me, and, it appeared, the rest of the audience, by being a good speaker, holding our attention.

The best part of the convention for me, as in others, was talking to fellow fans, those who I had met at Deliverance, and many who I had not, but whose names were familiar from the Space City and Lysator discussion groups. One of the first people I met after registration on Friday afternoon was Servalan impersonator David Walsh, although I was at first unsure that it was him; because he was quietly dressed in grey, and I had never seen him wearing anything but a dress!

Also evident was a woman dressed as Londo Mollari who stayed totally in character until Monday morning. It later came as no surprise that she was one of the contenders in the Ruler of the Universe election, along with Servalan, the Emperor Cartagia, and Buck Rodgers, the latter having visibly gone downhill since the TV series, campaigning on a 'more sleeze' ticket. I ignored the contest, presuming (correctly, as it turned out) that Servalan would win.

I had volunteered to act as a steward, so went to the steward's meeting at 7 p.m. that evening. Ivan and Sacha Rukaber, the head stewards, put us at our ease, assigning us our duties. Their organisation of the process was very good and friendly, ensuring that we all enjoyed our new responsibilities. I received a total of three hours stewarding on Saturday, all arranged not to coincide with anything I was interested in; and I found my duties far from onerous, as I had someone to talk to or, by that stage, new fanfiction to read.

What followed was the pub quiz, run by David Walsh, which was enjoyable, followed, for me, by taking part in an unexpected filking session run by Judith. I got involved by wandering in and sitting down out of curiosity; the next thing I knew I was singing! I'm not the kind of person who is interested in filking, but enjoyed having participated.

The next event I went to was the much heralded Space City party, where what seemed like most of the list was present, packed into one room. It was a good opportunity to meet them all; and the hospitality of some, in terms of the food and drink provided, was incredible. I say this as someone who contributed nothing. There were so many leftovers that they were finally consumed at the steward's party. I finally left in the early hours of Saturday morning, glad that my room was only down the corridor.

Saturday proper was as good as I expected, starting with me parting with a lot of money in the dealers' room, acquiring among other things the new zine 'Renaissance', which is well worth a read. One of the dealers had two signed photographs of the Spice Girls, which I felt was a mistake, as they are too normal compared to Servalan, who could show them what 'girl power' really means.

Later were two panels, the first on the lack of military strategy in B7, the concensus being that the resistance movements in that universe were somewhat parochial, interested in liberating their own planets, but not much interested in liberating others; and the second was on 'Animals: A misunderstood clasic?' about what episodes should be removed from the B7 canon. The latter ended up with people composing lists on what made a good and what made a bad B7 episode.

At 3 p.m. that afternoon was the bring and buy sale, where I was able to pig out on old but interesting B7 zines, plus the script for 'Terminal'. Later, at 5 p.m., followed a lecture by Nik Whitehead on 'Astrophysics in SF', which I found so interesting that I urged her to write it up and give it to Judith, in order that it could be posted on her web page. A while later came an autograph session, which was very quiet and civilised. I had the opportunity of telling Brian Croucher that I was Irish, which he was interested in, having said the day before that his grandfather was from Limerick.

Highlights at that time were a number of photographs being taken. One involved David Walsh in Servalan costume, Brian, and a Federation trooper; another involved 'Servalan' holding Susan Bennett's Avon teddy bear, with the trooper pointing a gun at his (the bear's head). The fancy dress competition then began, followed by the cabaret, highlights of the latter for me being a wonderful skit on the BBC and a demonstration of Arabic dancing. Later, all were treated to the spectacle of 'Servalan' dancing with Iain Coleman, followed by some Welsh Klingons, keeping up that character's bad reputation. Again, I had an early morning rather than a late night, as a result of just talking to people.

Sunday morning began for me with an interesting talk by Joe Nazzaro on the forthcoming JMS series 'Crusade'. Early that afternoon, after another visit to the dealer's room, was another panel, on SF weaponry. While the discussion got technical at times, there were many interesting contributions, including from a fan who was a tank commander in the Gulf War. It was noted that people perfer the weaponry seen in the 'Star Wars' films to those in 'Star Trek' because the former are adaptations of present-day weapons; so looks were agreed to as being very important for sci-fi weapons, not just present-day ones. There was also a discussion as to the genuine scientific possibility of a beam weapon that could be used by a soldier.

The auction, held at 2 p.m., was very interesting, not only for the items on offer, but because Brian Croucher was auctioneer for many of them. He was very good, ensuring that the auction moved quickly, once trying to get me to bid for a signed photograph of my fellow countryman Colm Meaney! Interesting items included Servalan's costume from 'Pressure Point', modeled by David Walsh, which went for a mere 160 pounds. (He had earlier confided in me his doubts about whether he would be able to fit into it, as he had put on weight since Deliverance!) Chris Boucher's script from 'Warlord' was sold for 35 pounds, while a large 'Guards! Guards!' poster, complete with a large picture of Paul Darrow, went for the same amount. Even a Gareth Thomas cardboard cutout went for 6 pounds.

The last panel was on the subject of 'Gentlemen prefer blondes: A chance for men to discuss their favourite science fiction characters'. The discussion was very interesting, looking at the portrayals of female characters in fantasy and science fiction, both on the big and small screen, including characters such as Zena and Buffy. The minor female characters in B7, the ones who were in one episode, were looked at, and the concensus was that many were quite good, such as Dr. Plaxton, Tara, and Cancer.

The 'Dead dog party' was next, which was everyone left in the hotel who hadn't left or gone to sleep sitting around in the boulevard, drinking and talking. Despite a little sadness that it was all coming to an end, I had some very good conversations, particularly with Neil Faulkner, Susan Bennett, and Graham Young. Apart from B7, lots of topics were discussed. On one occasion, we discussed our tastes in music as well as those of family members. I remember something that now saddens me a little: a shared liking for Dusty Springfield, who was to die so soon after the convention.

At last I realised the need for something called sleep, and staggered to my bed at about 3.30 a.m. on Monday morning. My surprise can be judged when I woke up at 7.40 a.m. without the need for a wake-up call!

As my flight from Heathrow Airport to Dublin didn't leave till late that afternoon, I was able to have a relaxing breakfast and say some long goodbyes to fellow fans, as well as thank the guests and organisers. While leaving was somewhat sad, I had the benefit of new fanfiction to read on the journey home, having come with a bag big enough to accomodate what I had bought. (This is a tip I recommend for convention goers.)

I had enough time to spend about an hour sightseeing in London before going to Heathrow; and I arrived back at my home in Dublin by about 7.15 p.m. that night, with plenty of new items, and memories of a very enjoyable and relaxing convention. To all my fellow fans who I met, most for the first time, it was great talking to _all_ of you; I left out names as this report would be one long list. To Judith, the barefooted Supreme Commander, and her committee, you were superb. Ivan and Sacha I also have to single out, for making stewarding a pleasure rather than a chore. You all did us fans proud.

(P.S. I began to pick up at Deliverance '98 what I now find to be a habit, on the way to a B7 convention, when my plane lands, of thinking, 'Down and safe'.) [10]

{Nicola Collie]:

A fortnight on and memories are fading somewhat. Time to stop procrastinating. Thanks to all the reports posted so far, and frequent reference to my little orange booklet, I should be able to give reasonably lucid impressions of a brilliant weekend.

Friday [...]

On arrival I was pleased to see the smiling faces of Chris, Val and Linda at the reg. desk. I checked in, and discovered that my two roomies had already arrived and nabbed the keys. This three-bod/two-key combination was to keep the reception staff on their toes all weekend - in the meantime my main concern was to identify one of my roomies and deposit my clobber. Chris graciously agreed to babysit my backpack while I settled in. While checking in I met Judith, and remarked upon the petite blonde named Dayna behind the desk. "Don't go on about it," said the lass who was serving me. "She got enough of that last time you lot were here." (Or words to that effect.)

In an effort to find another familiar face, I headed for the bar. There I spotted a Space City Badge adorning a hat, which turned out to be adorning Harriet. I joined her and Calle for a beer, and was introduced to Hanneke and Nelly. A half of something later, Harriet and I trotted off to find Katharine, who was stewarding, and we also encountered Una. Katharine introduced me to Predatrix (roomie 1) who gave me the means to dump my stuff. I was also able to meet Louise (roomie 2), by the simple expedient of trying to walk in on her in our loo.

Once de-luggaged, I rejoined some of the above-mentioned in the bar. After a rather underwear-oriented conversation with a pair of Klingons, it was time for the opening ceremony. The mixer games were great, but I don't remember much about the rest! Next, the bar quiz. Servalan did jolly well, and I didn't dare comment _too_ loud about the inaccurate pronounciation of some of the B5 names. Well, Neil had the answers sewn up, there wasn't much else to do but barrack ;)

There was a stewards' meeting at some point during the above, at which I volunteered to wear a red badge and stand around for a couple of hours. I was given a slot on Sunday evening, and sent to sell the rest of my soul to the reg. desk.

Off to the Space City party next. Many thanks to Alison and Una for their hospitality. How many people did we manage to cram in there? It was a great get-together, a chance for me to put lots of faces to names and have my name faced likewise. I can't remember who told me they thought I was tall and blond (or where they told me) but here seems like a convenient spot to mention it. Jolly hot, I lost my water bottle under mysterious circumstances, and no-one could hear the music that Alison and I had brought, but who cares?! I sampled Avon's Blue Balls (or something like that), and was close by when Steve tongued Og's Arsehole, but completely missed Nelly's drawing and was only peripherally aware of email via Robert's phone. I think this gives a good indication of just how much was going on in that little room. The party wound down about 2, I think, and it was time for bed.

Saturday.

Despite the late night, I was awake at a reasonably early hour on Saturday. Shower, dress, down to the restaurant for as much breakfast as I could face at that hour (which was quite a lot ;) ). Headed for a table mostly full of con badges and introduced myself. I think Chris and Janet turned up later on, and I remember discussing depilatories and dressmaking with David Walsh.

Once the fuel tanks had been topped up, it was off to see the reg. folks to organise when I'd be helping out, then off to play cricket. This turned out to be lots of fun, although it looked like a lot of hard work for Harriet, who was keeping score. Found myself representing Sinclair at the toss, won, and elected to bowl. Spent an entertaining period rolling dice and rationalising events in terms of B7/B5 canon, then off to see the one video I had to see this weekend: the blooper reel. This was great fun, Sheelagh introduced it beautifully and told some lovely stories. I had heard a great deal about the blooper reel, especially the teddy-bear incident, and I wasn't disappointed.

Ducked into Una, Neil and Chris' panel next, discussing which 13 B7 episodes we'd keep. Much lively discussion, but I can't recall if we came to any conclusions :)

Next - an hour at reg. A surprisingly large number of people were still arriving, including a photographer with an attitude problem. He was later escorted around by Steve (not yet in Klingon costume, iirc). I think this was when I managed to lay my hands on a con t-shirt.

Once relieved from reg I whizzed up to Ellie and Robert's bring and buy. I didn't bring, but I was happy to be able to buy a Tom Holt at a knockdown price. Score! Back out to the boulevard for more cricket, and the entertaining spectacle of watching Chris describing what we were doing for the benefit of a radio audience.

Chris and I excused ourselves from the cricket to see if there were any takers for her filking workshop. There weren't, so we listened to the hysterical giggling coming from the slash panel for a few minutes, then went looking for food. The cricket had drawn stumps for the day, so I found some sandwiches and headed for Richard and Calle's web design panel. I'm a complete neophyte in this area, but was able to follow the discussion and had many of my own prejudices about design confirmed :)

Cabaret/fancy dress next - so many acts, so little memory space. Deserving of a mention: Jem's brilliant Shakespeare parody (don't suppose the text of that is available?) was a hard act to follow. Stephen, Jenni and Fi filking beautifully (great voices, ladies!). Iain, Alison, Una and Matthew with the hysterical story behind B7. Judith's filk for the B7 ladies. Judith and Rachel's duet. Rachel's wonderful original song. The bellydancer. The staff-fighters. And heaps more that I'll probablly remember just after I send this.

Zoomed up to the room at some point to change into my Oxfam Orange shirt for the disco (rather more bad taste than glam rock) Sat with Katharine while she stewarded, and we enjoyed the breeze from Stephen's Sandman coat as he wafted past. Then off for a boogie (as Ivan (head steward) put it). Danced on and off until about 2, then chatting, then bed.

At some point during these events I discovered I had a rather sore throat. Put it down to trying to talk over the noise at the party on Friday night, and spent the rest of the day sucking Sainsburys lozenges.

I think it was Saturday when I found myself chatting with Sheelagh about Guards! Guards! Yes, it must have been Saturday, because I was wearing my G!G! t-shirt :) I was pleasantly surprised that she approached me, but it's just more evidence of how friendly and charming she is. Unfortunately she had to go and find Joe for a panel, so we couldn't talk as long as we would have liked, but I enjoyed the conversation we did have.

I think it may have also Saturday when I first encountered Steve dressed as a rather furry Klingon. I didn't recognise him straightaway, because I foolishly thought there were only two in the hotel and as far as I knew neither of them could have greeted me by name. As this Klingon a) knew my name; and b) didn't have a Welsh accent, I became a little confused ;) I did like the tribble on the bat'leth, though.

Sunday:

Another early morning despite the late night. Another large breakfast, then more cricket until it was time for Jane Killick's panel, Writing professional non-fiction. Very edifying, both on the title subject and in terms of background information about some of the personalities behind B5. Had my second guest encounter immediately afterwards, when I met Jane in the ladies. We had a quick yak about some issues I'd raised in the panel, then she had somewhere to be and I was off to Judith and Neil's Sex in space panel. This was a hoot, and also thought-provoking. Can't remember much of the discussion, but the speculation about Centauri anatomy and Londo's costume does stick in the mind. This is because I met said Centauri ambassador afterwards - in the ladies*. S/He had the grace to look embarrassed, but managed to recover character by giving me some story about being half-male, half-female. I suppose it must be tough, being an alien, trying to decide which lav to use. That was the closest to out-of-character I remember seeing Londo all weekend. (yuk, what a hideous sentence - but it's late and I want to finish this tonight or I'll put it off for another two weeks).

  • Yes, it had only been one hour. I'd taken the "drink lots of water" advice seriously....

Ruler of the Universe next. Most of the candidiates were very entertaining, and I particularly liked the Sandman's platform, restful sleep being high on my priority list by that stage of the weekend :) Servalan won, with the help of Travis and a generous helping of menace, which I wasn't threatened by :)

I'm not sure what I did next. I do know I wasn't at any of the programme items. I think it involved food, and hanging around at the expensive bar waiting for them to make me some sandwiches (I think they were off killing the pig). At some point I ducked out for some more throat lozenges, the sore throat having developed into a cough and runny nose.

Closing ceremony and stewards party filled the next part of the evening. I was seriously tired by this stage, so memories are a bit jumbled. Nibblies for tea at the party with coffee (badly needed but rather weak). Raffle tickets were passed around, and I managed to immediately spill coffee all over mine. Fortunately it was sufficently readable to satisfy the authorities once my number came up. I just missed out on a copy of Machiavelli's The Prince, signed by PD, and settled for a copy of Event Horizon (still unread). Also got a B5 badge with one of my favourite Ivanova quotes on it. At some point during the evening Kat, Nickey and I staged a daring rescue of Chris, who was being coerced into unwanted conversation. My stewarding stint was cancelled, as the hall was all packed up by then, so I sat around with a small group including several guests, and got a close look at a Narn head which Sheelagh had brought.

Dinner was room service soup with Kat and Stephen, then back out to the boulevard for some rather weary (on my part) chat. Off to bed around 10, and straight to sleep.

[...]

I had a brilliant weekend, and I'd love to do it all again (perhaps minus the throat trouble!). I seemed to spend ages just sitting around chatting with people, and I still didn't get enough time to talk enough to everyone :) I kept very busy with programme items, and still didn't do everything I'd have liked to - plenty of scope for new experiences for the next con. Many, many thanks to the organisers for a smooth, fun, exciting weekend. [11]

References

  1. Judith's Tale of Redemption (Judith Proctor), Archived version
  2. REDEMPTION 1999 - Event Review, by Louise Badsey, Archived version
  3. Iain Coleman's Report, Archived version
  4. Jenni-Alison's report, Archived version
  5. Steve Kilbane's Report, Archived version
  6. Nelly Meijerink's Report, Archived version
  7. The Widower's Tale: Richard Proctor, Archived version
  8. Robert Baskerville's Report, Archived version
  9. Kevin's McCully's report, Archived version
  10. Murray Smith's Report, Archived version
  11. Nicola Collie's Report, Archived version