Wednesday 23 February 2011

A convention, but not as we know it

This is gonna be an interesting entry to write.
You got to remember I am a UK based fan of a British show, but the majority of my readers reside in the US. Nonetheless, I write with a UK perspective and UK terminology (they are TROUSERS, not pants; it ’s a COAT, not a jacket!). So what follows is a British view of how the US handles my precious series.
I am not actually a big convention goer, a least not to the format of events such as Gallifrey. Back in the 1990s I used to run and organise conventions for The Prisoner appreciation society, with Portmeirion (the principle location for the series) as our venue. There was nothing like it. We would watch episodes in the village town hall, and if you glanced out of the window you could see the buildings you were seeing on the screen.

We would all dress up in the colourful costumes from the programme and parade around the village recreating key sequence. The clothes were fairly easy to replicate, and no-one went in for excessive detail – it was the overall look they were going for, and the mass effect was than the eye needed.

It was awesome, and having been spoilt like this for over a decade,  I never really took to the hotel-based events, since they could never compare to a live Portmeiricon event.

So when I started to get into the new Doctor Who I found a thriving community of cosplayers, all showing off their costumes and swapping tips and discoveries they had made. It didn’t occur to me that most of them were in the US. The internet makes the world seem so small!

The first event I went to was a pub screening and after party for Journey’s End. I had not long finished my latest coat a the time (the Mk III), so was keen to show it off with my newly bought Magnoli suit. We arrived a little late just as fifty t-shirted people turned to look at us. I tell you, it was an OK Corral moment! NONE of them were in costume, except for me. It was mid June and hot, and crushed together in a room with fifty other sweaty bodies made for a less than comfortable evening!

I naively thought all the dressing up happened at UK conventions too. Oh dear – emphasis on the naively.

Sunday 20 February 2011


One recent fixture of the Gallifrey conventions has been Scott Sebring, who provides a photoshoot service to cosplayers and their costumes.

Photo by Scott Sebring
Where most conventions would make a charge and rush people through, Scott (being a fan himself) takes his time to make sure everyone gets the shot they wanted, and does not charge them a cent for doing so!


Using professional lighting and a decent background, he churns out quality shot after shot, giving a gloss to the efforts of every costume maker.

While at Gallifrey I bumped into a couple of people I had made coats for, and they were proudly wearing them too! They weren’t expecting me to be there and were suitably surprised.

It was an opportunity I could not miss, as when I am asked to make a coat it is done and gone, and two are rarely together at once – this weekend we have FIVE of my coats (including my own).

Scott was dressed in an excellent replica Peter Cushing costume while taking our photos, which was a bit weird, but only added to the atmosphere of the day.

Once we co-ordinated everyone to be at the same place at the same time, we just about squeezed onto the background, and with a bit of nudging up we fitted in frame.

Saturday 19 February 2011

Doctor Who Experience -
Tenth Doctor incarnation

This weekend (Sunday 20th February) sees the official opening of the Doctor Who Experience exhibition at London’s Olympia.

Amongst the displays is a definitive collection of costumes worn by The Doctor through his regeneration (see left and right). Some out of necessity are replicas, but many are original and screen-used.

On Thursday I went to the first of the paid previews, following on from a couple of weeks of tester days to iron out teething troubles. While I was there I took a good set of photographs of all the costumes on show.

I have already written a Full Review of the exhibition itself, but here is a more targeted write-up focusing on the items of interest to a Tenth Doctor fan and giving them a more detailed look.

As I don’t run a blog for the Ninth Doctor, I’m including him here - after all, he pass the baton to the Tenth.

I gotta stop doing this to myself!

The busiest week of last year was in late June, when I went to the Bonhams Auction on the 23rd; a Tour Of Cardiff on the 24th; a Tour Of London on the 26th (clashing with the broadcast of The Big Bang); and reviewing the Cloth Ears Six Coat on the 27th.

Well, this week has been the 2011 version – and it’s only February!!!

It all started off on Monday with a sort of downer, as I finally had to ship out the Tennant Suit I had made for Kevin Coppa so he had it in time for Gallifrey.

Tuesday was - well I’ll come back to that later, but the evening was fun. I had the offer of free tickets to the Brit Awards at The O2 (see right).

It was hosted by The Lodger star James Corden.
For those that don’t know, The O2 was built in 1999 as The Millennium Dome and formed the centrepiece of the UK’s year-2000 celebrations. It has since been turned into a concert venue. It featured in the pre-credit scene for the Bond film, The World Is Not Enough.
Thursday was the official opening of the Doctor Who Experience exhibition at Olympia, near Earls Court (ironically where the Brits were held for many years, until this). I had pre-booked tickets for the first entry on the first day, paying a bit extra for a premium package. You can read about that under Doctor Who Experience Preview.

Then there was Friday.
Well this was’t planned - well not prior to Tuesday at any rate, but after waving the suit off on it’s journey to the US, I was just compelled to follow it and see how it all went at Gallifrey. So on Tuesday I had gotten myself a Visa Wavier, return flights, and a room at the LAX Airport Marriott Hotel, so today I flew out, landing at 2pm.

I cleared customs by 3.30pm and went straight to the hotel, checked in and dropped off my bags to then change into my Ten outfit. I was then ready to track down that suit!
I found Kevin in the cosplay room, giving him the shock/surprise of his life – he never expected me to show up!

Come to that – I never expect me to show up!!!

Wednesday 16 February 2011

Doctor Who Experience –
press article

Had to share this nice little article from yesterday’s London Evening Standard.

I can’t wait to get to along to the preview days next week . . .