Friday Saturday Sunday
Arriving at Heathrow Park Hotel at 11.10pm, after a 17 hour journey from Hell and Edinburgh, I barely had time to register my presence at DJ before the first day's events were over. This was my second DJ, my first in four years, and I was determined to enjoy it. Not having the money for a hotel room for two nights, I walked back to the airport and spent the night reading the Red Dwarf Omnibus, and when I'd finished that, a copy of The Big Issue. May I reccommend Terminal 2's Departure Lounge to anyone attempting a similar feat. At 7.30am, I made my way back to the hotel, checked in, got some cash out, breakfasted at McDonald's, and crashed out in my room for two hours.
Waking up, I made my way to the main room to catch Mac McDonald's Q&A session. He appeared to be one of the few Americans that has truly mastered irony, and understands its application to the idiosyncratic British sense of humour.
After lunch, it was supposed to be Craig, Danny and Hattie, but Craig had apparently told the DJ crew he couldn't make it, and Danny was predictably late, so it was left to Hattie to take the stage alone for a Q&A session. Danny turned up 35 minutes late in a blue ensemble consisting of wooly hat, anorak and tracksuit trousers. Robert and Chris arrived at about the same time and snuck into chairs at the back.
After a quick snog with Hattie, Danny relaxed onto the on-stage sofa and ordered his lunch. A foil covered plate of chips soon arrived, and Hattie had to cope with more questions on her own until Robert arrived on stage at 2pm.
At 3 o'clock weall trailed out of th emain room to queue for everybody's autographs in the merchandise room. Separating the two rooms was a distance of about 100 feet. It took me about 90 minutes to travel the distance, during which time Den was repeatedly seen running up and down the line telling people not to take photographs. I saw some people who didn't listen though - as I got near the door, I saw at least two people take photos of the person they had just got an autograph from. Once in the room, we filed past the actual merchandise table, which was selling everything from DJ2k mugs, to special edition mousemats, not to mention T-shirts, baseball caps and postcards. Then you turned right and got autographs. After that, you could pay to be photographed with Bob & Madge, or have a free try of the Red Dwarf fruit machine. I passed on both.
The disco started at 7pm, and the fancy dress was due at 8.30. Having a fairly elaborate costume, I decided to change first and go to the disco from the start, so I wouldn't be rushed later. As it turned out, the fancy dress was delayed by half an hour, so I needn't have bothered changing into my cavalier costume quite so early.
Norman Lovett did a repeat of his set that he'd done at the Edinburgh Festival, which I'd seen already. This time I foundit funnier. After Norman finished, John Lenahan, aka Talkie Toaster, did a set. He was almost as funny as Norman, and he did some nicely tongue-in-cheek magic tricks as well. The the disco re-commenced, although it was some time before the tunes got good enough to dance to again. There were all the classics that seem to be madatory at a DJ disco, and the DJ even managed to find a copy of Tongue Tied, played it.
Next morning, I managed to get up by 9.30, and after finding myself in the restaurant, decided to treat myself to a full English breakfast. The hangover hit just before I finished my jam and toast, and I decided not to risk any more. I left for the main room. I don't really know why - I hadn't bought a raffle ticket and my pen was so crap I hadn't entered the Trivial Pursuit.
It was time for Chris, Chloe and Norman (with his daughter Kitty) to take the stage and answer questions.
After lunch it was Ed Bye's turn to answer questions. Ed was the only member of the production team we could ask about the movie - he couldn't tell us anything though.
After Ed, effects man Bill Pearson revealed that so far, the only reliable Craig-proof props he'd created were the Canary guns.
Then it was time for another autograph session, the queue shortening much quicker this time with only two people sigining. I took the opportunity to take a look at the fruit machine. Damn fine idea, excellent game, with sound effects taken from the series.
I was chivvied from the room by an irritable Andrew (and who can blame him?), so that the Closing Ceremony could happen. This is where we found out that Graham "Not-so-Nicey" McTavish hadn't turned up, or even called to say he wasn't coming. Oh well, I didn't want to ask him anything anyway.