Friday Saturday Sunday
This being my first Dimension Jump, I wasn't quite sure what to expect, but I certainly wasn't ready for the journey there. Long Buckby being only 4 miles from Daventry, I decided to walk to the hotel. I took the long route, and ended up walking 6 miles before I had the good sense to phone for a taxi. Arriving worn-out at the hotel, my first thought was, "Thank God! I made it!" My next was, "Looks like the bar's open already". After checking in, I had a bit of a snooze while I waited for 8:30 and the fun to start.
During the opening ceremony, I volunteered for the competitions, and was picked for the first and last ones. I was the one sent back to my seat because there were already three boys in the first one. When I was next picked, Sean was smegged off mightily by my garish tie and vomit-coloured shirt. He was impressed when I answered the question (who said "Sorry, my pregnancy fell out"?) perfectly though. After the opening ceremony, I had some soup then sloped off to the Cats Whiskers club to get pished. After about half an hour of drinking Becks on my own, I was asked to join three people whose names I completely cannot remember. If you were sitting next to someone in a garish tie and vomit-coloured shirt who kept beating you at Star Trek trivia, then I'm sorry I can't remember your names, but it was great fun anyway. On my way back to my room at about 12:30, I found Sean moping around the lifts, telling me to lose the tie. All in all, it was a great evening.
Trying to save money, and not realising that breakfast was free, I left the hotel at 8am to find a cheap alternative to breakfast. I walked nearly two miles into Daventry before I even found a shop. I settled on two king-sized sausage rolls, and smuggled them into the hotel.
I got back in time to catch the second half of Colin Howards' bit. At the end, I moved forward into a better seat to catch Rob Grants' bit and Hattie Hayridges' act. The piece about her first (and last) school play was good, and I took some photos simply to finish off the film in my camera. Not that I expected the useless disposable thing to work properly without a flash. I had lunch, and while I was trying to use the last three frames in my camera up, the fire alarm went off. I pity the poor smeggers who were in the pool at the time. After a while the fire engines arrived, and eventually a certain Mr.Larson was called to reception. I can only assume he was the culprit, as I saw the "Larsonist" (someone else called him that first) leaving with packed bags, and managed to get a snap of him walking out, using my last frame. I rapidly swapped to a better camera, and found Hattie posing for pictures in the courtyard while on my way to see Danny John Jules, who was appearing at 2 o'clock (a day too early, according to the program). When it was announced that he wouldn't be appearing until he'd had lunch at half-past two, I went to get a few photos of Hattie. I wasn't sure my camera was working properly, so I took a few more.
I managed to get a good seat for Dannys' piece, and suspected that he was likely to make a spectacular entrance, I put the flash attachment on my only camera that could use one. It only had one bulb left. Danny came in with a unicycle, and I managed to get a picture of him. I changed to my non-flashed camera and photo'd Danny brandishing the unicycle, riding the unicycle, and picking up the mike. The inevitable request for Tongue Tied appeared, and I got some pictures of him singing, as well as providing the backing vocals along with about 200 other people. When he finished his amazingly funny Q&A session, I joined the queue to get his and Hatties' autographs.
It was twenty minutes before we started moving.
This was due to a fat scouser who wanted about 300 things signing. When I got to Danny John Jules, he decided to move (after I got his autograph fortunately) to help speed things up. He was back in under three minutes, because he couldn't get anywhere. When I got to Hattie Hayridge, she was back to giving out signed photos. I nearly got mine signed "To Dave" when she read it on my new "Everybody's Dead Dave" T-shirt. The I went back into the Danetree suite to get a seat for Craig Charles' first piece of the evening. I didn't get a very good one.
Nevertheless, I managed to get quite a few photos of Craig walking on stage, inviting Danny up, with Danny on stage, with the kid who forgot his question, with the people who brought them some drinks, and everyone else who came up on stage, including when they were talking to the new Kochanski on Dannys' mobile phone. I finished the film in my good camera, then went onto the one with the flash attachment. I used up most of the film, capturing moments that were too funny for words.
When he finished, I had dinner, and went to change for the fancy dress, thinking that I wouldn't have much time between the end of Craigs' second performance and signing session, and the start of the fancy dress disco. I was immensely wrong (as usual!). While waiting to be let into the Danetree suite for the preview of Live on Earth 2 (that was the impression it gave me of being, anyway), many people were witness to someone blasted out of their skull doing the wine speech from Stasis Leak, and taking an entire minute to tell us that it was three minutes past nine! The show itself was worth enduring this for, many times over. It opened with Craigs' new song (that had possibly been inspired by his part on The 10%ers) Handgun, and Craig came on stage firing one. It only fired one shot before jamming though. He went on to prove that his keep-it-up skills weren't helped by a bit of string. We were repeatedly told not to take flash photographs of this stunt, as it would put him off, and I probably got the only picture of it, because (ha ha) my camera didn't have a flash! It didn't matter anyway, because even with the 400asa films I had in all my cameras, none of them came out properly. Craig was not only very funny simply talking about stuff (he was probably making it up as he went along), he was also hilarious doing an impression of a turd (don't ask!). He made a point of telling everyone, including the girl he called up to the stage, that four hundred witnesses had seen him not touch her. The poem he recited to her was very good, and I heard someone wondering where he could get hold of it.
As soon as it was finished, I joined the queue for the signing, and was hurried to the front along with every other fancy dress entrant, so that we could get his autograph quick enough to know what to do for the fancy dress, and have enough time to get changed for it. Being mostly in costume anyway, I put my clip-on flip-up shades on so that I could get a photo of Craig and myself as Ace Rimmer. He liked my shades and my camera, especially when the person I asked to take the picture for me held it the wrong way round. Thanking him profusely, I joined the rest of the hopefuls waiting to be told how to behave in front of the judges. After this, I generally hung around in costume, waiting for the start.
The quality of some of the costumes was brilliant, with Laurie Sages' Inquisitor being my favourite. Competition in the Quarantine Rimmer and Mr.Flibble departments was rife - there were five Rimmers in gingham dresses, and at least two giant Flibbles. I was immediately after the Compact Kryten, and in front of Rimmer #5, who insisted that 25 was his lucky number and therefore he should go 25th instead of me. I wasn't exactly surprised that Compact Kryten won (Rimmer #5 had been predicting it since he saw him), followed by Lauries' Inquisitor, then a proper Kryten with a real cardboard body and everything. After the lucky winners had been photographed by all and sundry, I managed to ask Danny John Jules how crap I had done. Hurriedly finishing his mouthful of salad, he told me it was because I didn't have a wig. "Fair enough," I thought, "but what's wrong with my quiff?" It had, by now, collapsed into the unmanageable mess that makes up my hair.
It was boiling in my costume, and most of the competitors had the good sense to change before they hit the dance floor. Not me! Only stopping to grab a lager with ice, I began to "strut my funky stuff", and spilled about a fifth. Disco Dave was on top form (presumably - I had never heard him in action before) and until 2:30 am there was non-stop music. I discarded my leather jacket and cream sweater early on in the evening, to dance in my plain T-shirt. For a laugh, I entered the boys best dancer competition, and won a Freak Power CD for throwing my shirt into the audience to the backing of I'm Too Sexy. I was on my feet to the end of the night (but only just), probably injuring several people severely when I randomly hit them with my many extraneous arm movements that my weird dancing style involved. The last thing I remember is putting a "Do not disturb" sign on my door.
Waking up at a quarter-to-eleven, I thought "Smeg! I'm going to be late for Red Dwarf USA!" Then I thought "Why do I want to be on time?" I managed to get to the Danetree suite, where it was being shown, after checking out, by ten past eleven. Surprisingly, it was quite good. The promo afterwards was a bit better than the pilot. What puzzles me is why the Americans needed a separate series to us Brits. We didn't alter Star Trek did we? Anyway, I used the last frame of my three films I brought with me to take a snapshot of the screen after Lister, Rimmer and Kryten first meet the Cat. It's a terrible scene, but at least I got all four of them at once.
Overall, it was a smegging good weekend, with smegging good company, and smegging expensive food and beer! Great fun, but it'll be my last Dimension Jump for a few years at least.