Tuesday, 30 December 2014

Review of 2014

Review of 2014

Checking previous blog entries it’s been three years since  I last attempted a review of the year style blog and I’m not surprised because if memory serves they tend to be quite epic efforts creatively. But after having lost all motivation to do this since the end of year holidays began I’ve awoken today with enough motivation to make a start so lets see how far I get.

Big Finish Day 4

Fan activities began this year with a journey into the unknown, the first three Big Finish Days were held in easy to travel to East London and I’d worried about the move of this event to a hotel in Slough, but the day began easier than expected as I soon spotted a couple of people also staring at the GPS on their phone to find the venue, so after a short conversation we all headed off in the right direction and soon found the hotel. The first panel with actors Paul and his son Jake McGann had already started but thankfully seats were still available. I’ve seen Paul at a few cons now and he’s clearly getting better at them, I used to think he was a tad shy and not necessarily as good an anecdote teller as some guests but as I said he’s definitely got the hang of conventions more recently and regaled us with how he first found out about his surprise tv return to the role in Night of The Doctor. The con itself was a small and compact affair and I had to agree with other fans that it lacked things to do beyond attend panels or buy Big Finish and other merchandise  on sale. There was a good selection of cosplayers attending ranging from Unit Soldiers to Fem 6th and 7th Doctors. Other panels that day included ones on The Avengers(a show I really must watch the boxed sets of one day) and Sherlock Holmes who Big Finish are taking a more traditional approach to than the current BBC TV show. The walk back to Slough Station at the end of the event was easier than expected given that this was my first visit to the town and I decided to definitely attend Big Finish Day 5 but more of that later in this blog. https://www.flickr.com/photos/tdrury/sets/72157639902291876/


Cambridge to Bradford in a Day

Bradford is not a short journey from my home town of Cambridge but with careful planning and compromise it can be visited as a day trip. The event that drove me on back in February was a small-ish but interesting exhibition at The National Media Museum entitled Doctor Who and Me: 50 Years of Doctor Who fans which proved to be quite a nostalgia fest of fanzines, books, merchandise and other creations such as some fine example of fan art ranging from small items such as 3D knitted objects through to wall sized art works and a very inspirational full sized TARDIS replica. It also gave me a chance to cross paths with Michael of The Tin Dog Podcast who had lent his home made cyberman head to the exhibition. Due to the frustrating barriers of geography me and Micheal usually only cross paths at Whooverville so it was great to meet and catch up on a less pressured day. After Michael's departure I ended my time at the museum with an all too brief look around their amazingly comprehensive camera selection in The Kodak Collection housed in a sizably extensive basement exhibition area. Other areas of the museum would have to wait for another day but I vowed I would return as soon as possible. https://www.flickr.com/photos/tdrury/sets/72157640694083755/


Dave Keep’s Birthday  

Also in February I visited friends in Crawley to celebrate Dr Who fan and fellow podcaster Dave Keep's birthday, unlike my last visit to the town I opted to stay in a large hotel a short walk from the station, though work on the lines meant it was a replacement bus for part of my journey to and from the place. Much fun was had in the pub that night and I always welcome any opportunity to eat, drink and hang out with fellow fans and friends. https://www.flickr.com/photos/tdrury/sets/72157641018283134/

Surrey Steampunk Convivial

Also in February I braved the cold to hang out in a wonderfully warm pub with the equally wonderful Steampunks of Surrey. There was home made food, art and craft creations for sale and I took part in the always entertaining tea duelling. I missed out on the next day’s outdoor activities as I only came on the Saturday but I hear there was Ostrich racing which must have been a fun, yet odd sight for the locals. As ever the steampunks were in all their finery as you’ll see from the group photo below, I’ve never been one for dressing up myself but others efforts are always admired and appreciated. I did make a nod to costume that day by buying a bowler hat that later in the year would gain it’s own Steampunk goggles. Company and conversation was supplied by Jean from the Staggering Stories podcast team and the event itself was surprisingly large spreading to a second venue on the other side of the road. I’ll definitely return for more steampunk fun in 2015 possibly staying longer next time for the evening musical entertainments.


A Night at the Movies

April this year marked possibly the least use I’ve had from a hotel room as the whole night was spent in a nearby cinema enjoying the Sci-Fi London film festival’s Alien 1-4 all nighter event. The audience was small, barely 20 of us but it was a very rare chance to see all four Alien movies in extended cuts on the big screen. The first three of the films I’d never seen at a cinema before and it was quite a revelation as to how much better they looked on the big screen. I don’t think anyone in the audience stayed awake for the entirety of all four films, I myself frustratingly missed the famous “Get away from her your bitch!” speech in Aliens but Alien 3 which followed was surprisingly better than I remembered from my last viewing of it. There were breaks between each film and free cups of tea on hand nearby to aid our sleep deprivation! It’s certainly an experience I’d love to repeat so will be keeping an eye out for details of Sci-Fi London 2015’s programme of events.


Returning to Bradford

In May I took advantage of the May Day Bank Holiday weekend to pay a return visit to Bradford this time with a couple of nights in a hotel so the city itself could be explored as well as The National Media Museum. Bradford has a wonderful mixture of old and newer architecture and I have to admit I rather fell in the love with the place. On my first evening in the city I had a brief visit to the Media Museum to see one of their 3D IMAX films, Bradford is home to the oldest IMAX cinema in the UK as far as I know and the Museum and it’s cinema have steadily been modernised and expanded since they first opened back in the 1980s. On day two of my visit I walked the short distance to the Museum and spent most of the day there taking in it’s amazingly large collection which spans the history of home computers, television, radio and as a camera collector photography is of special interest with their aforementioned extensive and historical collection of cameras. My only criticism of the museum would be it’s cafe which only has a small selection  on the menu so I headed into the city centre for lunch but this did have me discover how good the local free wifi is with a large coverage area in Centenary Square that even at times spread to my nearby hotel room. To any US or Canadian friends reading this I’d urge you when visiting the UK to take in Bradford for yourself because the Media Museum alone begs to be visited.

Geekfest 2014

Also in May I took advantage of the mild Spring weather to head to a small sci fi event in the south coast town of Folkestone. Geekfest 2014 was mostly a gathering of dealers, cosplayers and fans but with a few signings going on too I was able to add to my Red Dwarf autograph collection when I met Danny John Jules who plays Cat in the show. I also took the opportunity to take a selfie as it was an excuse to show off my Bowler Hat which proved a useful cover from the harshly cold sea air outside. Somehow I forgot to photograph them but friends Adina and Pete were present Pete in his Star Wars costume adding not only to the atmosphere but also to many people’s photos that day. Folkestone itself proved well worth the journey and after leaving the event I walked down to the beach for the many photographic opportunities it provided.

Bond in Motion Exhibition

Late May marked the birthday of friend and fellow Dr Who fan Dean Hill which we celebrated by a trip to London’s Bond in Motion Exhibition of Cars, Vehicles and Props from the many James Bond movies. A good time was had by all and the exhibition itself was preceded and followed by a pub crawl, I’m not a big pub person myself but with company this good who could refuse?


Mythmakers Doctor Who Convention

Early June marked a frustratingly rare opportunity, these days certainly to attend a Doctor Who Convention in London. DWAS had organised a one day event about the making of the classic series taking a script to screen approach the guests included writers Terrance Dicks and Derek Sherwin, director Graeme Harper and the 6th Doctor himself Colin Baker who is always good value at such events. The venue Hammersmith Studios is being redeveloped soon so this was also one last chance to attend an event there.

Steam Punk II in Cambridge

Mid June marked a rare chance to attend a local Steampunk event with Steampunk in Cambridge, the second of these annual events I had missed last year’s having only found out about it after the event. Again there was a good selection of dealers to browse and it also marked probably my best appearance yet in the Tea Duelling maybe my Bowler Hat helped, by this time nicknamed my lucky hat. Again I skipped the evening events but may make the effort to attend them next time.


Shada Tour 2

I’ve already written a blog about the second tour of Dr Who: Shada filming locations that I held back in August so I’ll leave a link to that here and take the opportunity to say there will be a third, this time slightly expanded tour in 2015 as I realised one of the bridges is well within walking distance of where we went this year. Stay tuned for further details but again early August is the likely date of the tour in 2015.  http://tdrury1.blogspot.co.uk/2014/08/the-shada-tour-2.html

Nine Worlds Geekfest 2014

August rolled on and I was conventioning again, this time at an event with a difference, Nine Worlds Geekfest takes what feels like and old fashioned but welcome non celebrity approach to a fan event which was for a change dominated by discussions by writers and other science/science fiction experts and also had it’s fair share of Steampunks present though the only bit of their offerings I witnessed was a rather fun and interesting fashion show in which people explained their outfits and how they’d been constructed and designed. I shot a lengthy video of the fashion show which is well worth a look if the subject is of interest to you https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0pc8nNkG5ZU

Again an event which I’ll try to get to more of in 2015 if only to catch some of the science content all of which I missed out on this time.

Loncon 3 and The Hugo Awards 2014

In mid August I attended a day of the huge but fun and interesting Lon Con 3, a rare London outing for the World Science Fiction Convention. Again this was a less celebrity style event but it meant fans were out in force not only cosplaying, or exhibiting artwork but organising meet ups such as the ZZ9 HHGTTG one I attended which took the form of an indoor picnic. The day ended with me attending  most of The Hugo Awards ceremony which although large in scale, venue and audience had a friendly if highbrow fan style of presentation which contrasted interestingly with it’s huge showbiz style venue. I rather enjoyed Loncon but my budget doesn’t stretch to attending it outside of the UK, so I will wait patiently for its eventual return.

Whooverville 6

Late August marked my annual return to Derby for Whooverville as always an enjoyable one day con only marred this time by poor weather preventing me from attending the Whooverville Eve event the previous night but this was balanced by a rare opportunity to watch Dr Who with fellow fans as there was a screening of that weekend’s episode Into The Dalek not long after the con finished. Most seemed to enjoyed both convention and episode but a longer blog chronicling my whole weekend, especially travel problems can be read here http://tdrury1.blogspot.co.uk/2014/09/whooverville-6.html

Big Finish Day 5

Mid September and I was heading to Slough again for the fifth Big Finish Day, guests included Tom Baker, Peter Purves, William Russell, Matthew Waterhouse and Dan Starkey. All were happy to share memories of working on new and classic series and Mr Starkey was also on hand to judge the cosplay contest. I had to leave over an hour early as I wanted to get home in time to see that night’s Doctor Who episode but this was a much improved event on Day 4 with the cosplay contest and an exhibition of costumes from Blakes 7 to help break up the diet of panels and merchandise browsing/buying. Here’s a link to video of the cosplay contest for you to enjoy https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6ciIpavzjY0

Crossness Engine Steampunk Convivial

Late September marked the final Steampunk event of the year for me but the most exotic location the Victorian Crossness Pumping Station a day of music, tea duelling, umbrella fencing, morris dancing and good company in several members of the Staggering Stories Podcast team. Special thanks must go to Jean who gave me a lift to and from the station which would have been a rather long walk otherwise. The venue is amazing the company was fun and the weather was gorgeous too, the journey home sadly wasn’t trouble free with one rail company failing to provide enough replacement buses meant a 45-60 min wait in a car park whilst one arrived. Hopefully there’ll be another event at the same venue in 2015 and things will work out better on the transport front.

The Tower of London Poppies

Three times this year I visited the installation Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red which marked the 100th anniversary of the beginning the the first world war with 888,246 hand made ceramic Poppies in the moat of the Tower of London. One Poppies for every british death in that horrible conflict which proved to be a very moving and appropriate way to mark this moment in history. The crowds that gathered were quiet respectful though not necessarily as educated as myself on the subect, some of them for example were unaware as to why the Tower was chosen. It was in fact a major recruiting and training location during that war. Wikipedia has more information on the artwork http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blood_Swept_Lands_and_Seas_of_Red
My best photos were taken on my final visit there in mid November https://www.flickr.com/photos/tdrury/sets/72157648916590700/

Radiophonic Workshop Live at The BFI

Early December was one of my final visits to London this year and I spent some of the time enjoying something that I thought I’d missed (as several of their gigs were cancelled) I rushed to buy a ticket to see former members of the BBC Radiophonic Workshop perform a special sci fi themed set at BFI Southbank a venue better known for TV and Movie screenings than live music but it was more than up to the task at hand with comfortable seating and great acoustics. You can hear a brief on the spot review of the event in my podcast http://tto.libsyn.com/tims-take-on-episode-257tom-baker-phillip-hinchcliffe-and-marc-platt-at-big-finish-day-5

Plans for 2015

It’s early days yet but my plans for next year include visiting Scotland for the first time as Glasgow is the capital city of the Police Box with six of them still on the cities streets also in the offing is attending the Dimensions convention in Newcastle, not many guests announced yet but it will be fun to get to my first UK multi day convention in several years http://www.tenthplanetevents.co.uk/conventions---dimensions-2015-777-c.asp
All this and I haven’t even written a single paragraph about my efforts to build my own TARDIS a process that started a year ago from me typing these words but started to take shape properly in May you can watch the story so far in my video build diaries here https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLzudry55L5VbU8gwwL1WddVvBzhdMAOSt

Not much more to add other than well done if you read right to the end!

Tuesday, 2 September 2014

Whooverville 6

Whooverville 6 Blog

Travelling up to Derby on the 29th August was relatively straightforward with a train to Leicester initially then a brief-ish pause before catching a train to Derby itself.
My hotel near the train station proved less busy than previous years when it has played host to weddings and military reunions so checking in was quite fast.

After a bit of unpacking and radio listening, including Steve(Whooverville organiser) Hatcher’s appearance on BBC Radio Derby. I set off into the city centre to pick up my convention ticket for the next day. I also used this time to find the pub which was hosting the traditional Whooverville Eve get together and photograph birds on the nearby River Trent.

I briefly crossed paths with Steve and tapped his valuable local knowledge for a nearby eatery where I could have dinner, unfortunately the place he recommended had closed for the day so I was back searching nearby streets for an alternative.

I found a nearby take away and bought some Chicken and Chips but the noisy atmosphere(there was two rather over excited kids) persuaded me to eat my food on the move heading back to my hotel. At this point it had started raining, only lightly at first but by the time I was about ten mins walk from my hotel it had started chucking it down, my poor cardboard food container was thankfully not as wet as myself and by the time I reached my hotel room a change of clothes was needed!

My coat was v wet, so I hung it up to dry but sadly it took far longer to recover from the downpour than myself so I concluded no Whooverville Eve for me and I settled down to an evening of TV watching, by 8.30pm though I had an unplanned and rather long pre bedtime nap!

After a proper night’s sleep and and wonderfully filling breakfast I set off for The Quad(venue for Whooverville) For once I arrived a good few mins before the convention began, so early in fact that the TARDIS was still being assembled, so me being me had a close look at it so as to reverse engineer the build a bit. After that I had time to set things up in Cinema 2 which myself and other podcasters would be based in till early afternoon.

A couple of fellow podcasters arrived also bearing video cameras so we spread our cameras out so a multi angle edit can be produced of highlights from the podcasters room.

The first panel in the podcasters room included several actors who’ve had minor roles in Dr Who but it was kept interesting by podcasters Micheal(Tin Dog Podcast), Thomas(ex DWO Whocast) and Nick(The Pubcast).
You can see video of the whole panel here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aNUoP7e1Pdo

The second panel actors Michael Troughton, Deborah Watling and writer Derrick Sherwin were interviewed by Micheal(Tin Dog Podcast) and Paul & Chris(The Pharos Project podcast) Near the end of the interview Paul asked THE question, a running gag and funny moment I don’t wish to give away it’s best to watch the video to see it for yourself. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mfNPLZQIETo

The third panel required myself to take to the stage(eek!), I was joined by Luke(The Minute Dr Who Podcast) and between us we interviewed actors Peter Davison and Terry Molloy and musician Dominic Glynn. Luke is a much better interviewer than myself but I think I did quite well and must thank Micheal(Tin Dog Podcast) for supplying me with a few extra questions. You can see this panel here including the moment when I suggested to Peter Davison that a director’s commentary for The Five-ish Doctors would be a good idea and may have planted the seed for it happening. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_MQ6ndnlkl4

Final panel of the day in the podcasters room was writer Bob Baker being interviewed by Karen & Adam(Staggering Stories Podcast), Micheal(Tin Dog Podcast) and two other podcasters whose names and shows escape me but feel free to post them in comments and I’ll amend this paragraph.

After this panel we had to pack up our various technical bits and pieces away and vacate Cinema 2 as The Quad would be screening a film in there not long after.

At this point I was able to attend the rest of the convention as an attendee rather than a podcaster so used this time to buy some books and a DVD and catch the tail end of one panel in the main hall(Cinema 1) and the last panel of the day, star guest Peter Davison an interesting interview covering a large part of his acting career, by this time I was running out of memory on my camcorder but did manage to film the beginning of this panel. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qSrADU7szXQ
You’ll be able to see the rest of that and more action from the main room when The Whoovers release a DVD of the convention in a few months time, so keep an eye on their website for details of that http://www.whoovers.org.uk/

At the end of the convention I sadly had to miss a large part of the social part of the evening(again) as I wanted to return my stuff to the hotel. I returned in enough time to buy some dinner and attend a screening of that night’s Doctor Who episode (Into The Dalek) with fellow attendees some of whom had been doing the “Ice Bucket Challenge” in my absence. We all seemed to enjoy the episode and it was great to record a few reactions to it afterwards for my podcast which you can hear here: http://tto.libsyn.com/tims-take-on-episode-242doctor-who-into-the-dalek-review

I returned to my hotel and having enjoyed the episode so much I rewatched it via the BBC iplayer, the rest of the evening included a bit of packing to make life easier the next day.

The next day started easy enough with another excellent hotel breakfast before finishing packing and checking out.

I then headed the short distance to the station, when I initially got the the platform the departure board informed me my first train(of what was meant to be three) was running 10 mins late so I started looking up later trains for my connection then an announcement was made that it was now running 80 mins late, a few mins past then a further apologetic announcement that the station was organising a replacement bus(not a prospect I was looking forward to with my amount of luggage)

A few more mins and a final announcement told us to board a London bound train and change at an obscure little station called East Midlands Parkway. Once there I was able to catch a train to Nottingham, a half hour wait at Nottingham station and I was finally on a train heading south that would get me as far as Ely(only 15 miles from home approx) Once at Ely another wait of a few mins and I boarded a train home, this one however was so crowded I didn’t get a seat for the thankfully short-ish journey.

In the end I was back in my home town just after 3pm only an hour later than originally planned but due to the delays and changes a somewhat stressful trip at times.

Whooverville 6 itself was enjoyable but I feel that the weather and the journey home marred it slightly for me this year. But thanks to Steve Hatcher and all the Whoovers for an excellent event and to friends and fellow podcasters for adding to the fun. Hopefully next year’s Whooverville will prove to be a more sociable event for me especially if the Derby weather plays ball.

Saturday, 2 August 2014

The Shada Tour 2

I’ve just arrived home after conducting a second tour of Dr Who: Shada filming locations in as many years so thought I’d pour a few thoughts about it from my brain onto keyboard before the memories fade.

I cycled into town just after lunch having arranged to meet the group at the Maypole Pub, when I got near to where I was to leave my bike I spotted several of the group just starting to arrive at the pub a geniune case of immaculately good timing.

We gathered in the pub, drinks were bought and the group introduced themselves to each other as this event had been an open invite via facebook so a few people joined in the the fun who I otherwise didn’t know at all but when Dr Who fans gather we soon seem to get on, in the magical spirit of fandom and common interests.

We lingered in the pub for over half an hour and once it became clear no one else was going to arrive we started the tour.

The tour began slightly off topic because I wanted to demonstrate my flying TARDIS on nearby Jesus Green, not the easiest of locations for this as it was crowded today with locals chilling out in the sunshine. After several failed attempts I eventually got it in the air to an impressed crowd, someone asked “how high does it go?” which is hard to answer at times because it depends on the conditions.

We then began the tour proper at Portugal Place a street the Doctor cycles down in the climax to episode one.

After that we headed slowly(it was v busy with tourists!) down Jesus Lane and onto King’s Parade, home to several world famous landmarks including King’s College Chapel and Great St. Mary’s Church, at this point we almost lost Scott as a sweet shop nearby proved v tempting to browse.

This part of Cambridge is understandably tourist central esp in the summer months so proved a bit slow and hard to negotiate at times.

At the end of King’s Parade the tour reached Botolph’s Lane, another road used as part of the chase scene in episode 2.

We then headed onto Pembroke Street and passed by my workplace, it was at this point the weather showed signs of taking a turn of the worst and I was glad I’d brought my mac even though I hadn’t packed a brolly.

Next we headed into Emmanual College(St. Cedd’s in Shada) but here hit problems with porters, who didn’t want “large groups” going round the college. I had to slip into full on negotiation mode and somehow managed to at least let us stay for a brief five mins if we promised not to look round.

By this point the weather really had turned and the rain was getting quite heavy so we made an emergency diversion into Lion’s Yard shopping centre, this did at least allow me to share a bit more local knowledge and of history about the area.

Having changed direction we took the opportunity to head to The Haunted Bookshop, a lesser known attraction that is home to two ghosts and also a rather good second hand/collectable bookshop.

Next stop on the tour was Lakeland Kitchenware shop in case anyone wanted any Dr Who or Star Wars kitchen goods.

The final stop on the tour and another place where we encountered a problem was the alleyway
behind the Mitre and Baron of Beef pubs this was a TARDIS landing site in episode 3 of Shada and we’d visited it problem free last year but nearby restaurant workers took exception to us gathering on what despite being tiny is apparently though private property.

That marked the end of the tour so we headed into The Mitre for drinks and chat, a much needed wind down after the rigors of the tour. At this point I’d like to thank Dave Hingley and Vicki Green for putting up with me. I’m a far from perfect conversationalist and can be guilty of holding court a bit and talking at rather than to people so sorry if I was a tad full on guys but hope I was OK and you enjoyed the day.

All that remains to be asked is will I be doing the tour again? I have to admit yes, it will be in July or August of 2015 and if nothing else, today has proved to be a learning experience that a small minority of the locations aren’t easy to visit as a group.

Written on the evening of 2nd August 2014

Wednesday, 12 February 2014

Gallifrey One 2013

Wednesday (Day 1)

The 13th of February meant an early start for me 6.45am train to London then the comfort of the Heathrow Express. I was quite proud of the fact that I tackled the red tape of passing through the airport with ease, catching the plane didn't go as to plan. I was hanging out with a fellow Dr Who fan John who'd admitted to me be has a bad memory but after a conversation about what my seat was on the flight we ended heading to the non excistant gate 41. A literal mad dash back to departures led us to another run to the correct gate 21, we didn't miss the flight but boy was it close! Last two people to board and  appologies all round. We were on our way, not much of a view of London as we ascended into the clouds. I kept myself entertained by watching Frankenweenie, Dark Shadows and various things on my iPad . I didn't sleep so the 11 hours crept by slowly, eventually we arrived and had to face red tape all over again at LAX, some people are scared of flying. Flying, that's a doddle it's airports that scare the bejesus out of me, it's the officialdom and the complexity of the whole experience, hence I'll never be a frequent flyer and may only ever use them every couple of years.

Upon arrival at the hotel I was greeted with the immediate sight of friends I'd not met for two years so it was hugs all round even before check in.

My room was comfortable even though the view of the nearby main road wouldn't be to everyone's taste I found it fascinating and relaxing as views go.

The evening and night were a bit quiet, not as much sociable as I'd hoped so eventually I collapsed, sleep wasn't over quick to arrive due to my old friend jet lag.

Thursday (Day 2)

Sort of slept, awoke at 3.25am after drifting in and out of consciousness for several hours. Slowly woke up properly and had to make a move as I was starting a bus tour of LA from 8.30am. Met up with Jeff a friend I'd made through Facebook and fellow Doctor Who fan and we set off on the bus together. This tour was arranged differently to the one I went on two years ago and was christened "hop on hop off" the reality of this was explained by the driver as that at places we stop you could choose to stay there for a while but having been told we'd not be picked up for three hours we rapidly decided that that option wasn't for us. We began in character filled Santa Monica where we paid for out tickets before getting a tour of this beautiful Hispanic area. Our only other stop in this part of LA was a brief one near Santa Montica pier, we were warned not to head on the pier itself though as it takes fifteen minutes to walk to the other end. Our next location was Hollywood where we stopped for twenty minutes which doesn't sound long but was twice as long as I had before so I had plenty of time to take photos of the walk of fame and prints of the famous at Mann's Chinese Theatre, also while in this area the driver handed us 10% off coupons for a nearby souvenir shop so I bought a few items of genuine Hollywood tat to remember the place. I can't remember the exact order of the tour but other stops included Rodeo Drive where a short walk from the bus a Bugatti Veron the most expensive  car in the word had been parked and a very memorable trip up into the Hollywood hills to see both a view of LA itself and the world famous Hollywood sign. The driver got us back to the hotel shortly before 4pm and a tired me decided to hang out with friends in the lobby, while I did this an announcement was made that registeration for the convention was now open, a short bit of queuing in the basement and I had my badge. This meant ribbon collecting could commence. The ribbon thing with Gallifrey One is a little hard to explain but here goes, throughout the event you can collect ribbons to attach to your name badge from fellow attendees, some of them excist to promote things, I for example had a supply of them plugging the website of my Dr Who podcast, but others are far more random and entertaining ranging from famous quotes from episodes, catch phases or just witty phases related to the many forms of fandom. The ribbons are a creation purely of the attendees and the diversity of designs is at times quite awe inspiring. By the end of the convention I'd compiled a strip of over 40 of the things but this was nothing compared to the record holder a teenager a crossed paths with a couple if times in the basement who'd amassed an amazingly high collection of over 300, all different! All this ribbon swapping took place at an event also created entirely by the attendees "LobbyCon" as it's called is basically a crowded busy gathering of fans every night throughout the con(though it starts on Thursday the night before the con kids off) All sorts of antics go on at lobby cons from impromptu singing though to others more happy to sit in a corner and knit a scarf.

Friday(Day 3)

I'd bought milk in the hotel shop but a shortage promoted a walk to 7-11, a shop which seemed nearby but even though it was only a further ten mins up the road from Burger King where I'd had breakfast in the 84F heat it felt further. Once I grabbed nessesary provisions I headed back to the hotel, unfortunately this meant I missed the start of the first panel,  my friends from Radio Free Skaro's live show of interviews which they also recorded to podcast later that day, after this first event I opted to case the nearby dealers room, art show and cross paths with TARDIS Tara a lady who not only owns her own TARDIS but is also as far as I know the world's leading expert on the Dr Who scarf and can often be found knitting either one of the official designs or her own variants on the famous neck wear.  I returned to the main hall for Making Sarah Jane Adventures which consisted of three actors talking about their time on that Dr Who spin off, this was followed by interviews with Francis Barber and Shaun Dingwall. I took another break from the main hall after these to head to my room for a while before the main evening event The Opening Ceremony, a fun event in which consisted of info about the con from organizer Shawn Lyon and an on stage gathering of most of the weekend's guests, a late tea at nearby Denny's meant I sadly had to miss comedian Charle Ross's show "Geek like me" this was followed by Dr Who Live an improv comedy show of variable  quality the final event of the day was Mysterious Theatre 337, comedy commentary this time Daleks Invasion Earth 2150 was their chosen victim for mickey taking. More lobby con followed but not for long as tiredness had hit me.

Saturday (Day 4)

Day four began with an interesting presentation by Costume designer June Hudson, she's a rather important figure in Dr Who history having been given the responsibility of updating Tom Baker's iconic look for his final series. I met cosplayers a costumers who were chomping at the bit to ask her questions especially Tara I mentioned earlier who's driven on to compile the ultimate reference information on the Dr Who scarf. Hudson's presentation was made all the more interesting by its visual element, she'd brought along not just her original design drawings but paintings etc. that inspired those ideas. 

Stephen Thorne was next on stage, an actor who even most fans only know by voice as he's played several key roles while caked in make up, Thorne's interview was interesting a d fun, he rapidly started quoting Omega's line"I should have been a god!" at times during the weekend when learned on by the organisers to show off a little.

Phillip Hinchliffe was up next a name you may not know as a non fan(or not we as fans have started to call them) but he produced Dr Who in the mid 70s so is one of the key reasons I'm a fan at all having started watching the show at that time albeit at a v young age, his panel mentioned his battles with Mary Whitehouse and also the important role of teamwork in creating the show, the late Robert Holmes his script editor was paid tribute to in the knowledge and hard work he brought in to allowing his own personal influences to shape the programme.

At this point I dashed out of the main hall, one of the things that makes this convention so good is the diversity of the discussions going on, I headed off to see a panel called enlightenment about the upcoming final few classic series Dr Who DVDs being released including some which have taken a lot of work to bring them even near to how they looked on transmission, The Mind of Evil was sited as an example, the BBC wiped their colour tapes of this show back in the 70s, most of it has now been restored to colour using the almost dark art of a new technology called chroma dot colour recovery, sadly this technique couldn't be used for the stories' first episode as these chroma dots had been filtered out so two people have work long 16 hour days in recent months to colourise the whole of that episode almost by hand, computers can aid this process but tend to be a bit approxamite so need their work correcting.

I now dashed back to the main room for the last few panels of the day, the first of these was Dick Mills formerly of the now sadly defunct BBC Radiophonic Workshop, Dick held the audience's attention for an hour solid with his power point presentation about what it was like to work in this pioneering part of the BBC, Mills is quite the consummate public speaker both informative, witty and all out funny.

The next panel New Words, New Adventures was several actors who've worked on new who and to some extent a best of annecdotes panel but no the worse for that being the content of it.

Silvester McCoy then took to the stage or at least that was the plane but he had other ideas grabbed his radio mike and went on a slightly anacistic tour of the room answering people's questions face to face while the poor big screen cameramen and me tried to keep up with it all. Silv has never been one for rules having emerged from a fringe theatre background in the 60s, he was able to confirm one thing filmmaker Peter Jackson owns Silv's costume he wore in Dr Who.

Last panel of the day was Freema Agyman who'd played Martha Jones, she almost hadn't made it to the event at all as she's now starring in The Carrie Diarys a Sex and The City spin off made in New York. Freema was fun and bounced off her interviewer writer Gary Russel very well.

At this point there was a nice long gap of several hours so I went out to tea at one of my regular haunts Denny's Diner, Denny's is just ten mins walk from the hotel so home from home for many fans attending, its food is definetly filling more than healthy!

Saturday ended with what for many is a highlight of the con, the always entertaining Cosplay Masquerade. For over an hour cosplayers take to the stage, some simply to show off their creations, others have written sketches and come on in groups to perform them, entries ranged from the novice to advanced and many awards were handed out at the end to honour people's efforts. By this time jet lag had hit me so bad that I literally fell off my chair at one point, bear in mind I was nurse maiding my camcorder so was more active than most in the v large standing room only packed audience.

The day ended with a fan film recreation of Patrick Troughton story Power of The Daleks, it was quite good but jet lag robbed me of a full viewing of it.

Sunday (Day 5)

A relaxed start for me to the final day of the con as there was nothing I wanted to attend till lunchtime, so I used this to my advantage and had another walk found the extensive and large dealers room. The dealers had plenty you could buy back home but I was after rarer fare, Target Dr Who books these are becoming increasingly hard to find back home so I ended up buying 17 of them at knock down prices to fill gaps in my collection.

I then headed back to the main hall for a series of back to back panels that had caught my eyes. Anji Mohindra was up first, known to who fans for playing Rani in the Sarah Jane adventures, next was a panel called making Dr Who in the 1970s in which a wide selection of the con's guests related what it was like to work on the show at that time.

Churchill & the monsters was next on stage, actors including Ian McNiece who'd played the famous premier related their time on the show.

I then headed to a side room for an interesting discussion The Edge of Destruction about people's efforts to recover missing episodes of Dr Who, hopes were raised in this room by news of one man's long term project to investigate the archives of various African countries a slow, careful and by all accounts diplomatic process but hopefully one that will return some missing episodes at some point.

I returned to the packed main hall for the final panel of the convention it was entitled Revisiting the Legacy which makes it sound high brow but it was in fact another collection of entertaining annecdotes, it culminated in a moment I hope will go viral on you tube. Silvester McCoy was handed some spoons and finished the panel by singing and playing them on his fellow panellists!

I then haunted over to a side room one last time to catch an event that's grown from an informal gathering round a table in the basement to having its own room and place on the programme in just two short years The oodcast vs The Doctor Who podcast trivia quiz,I only had time to catch a few mins of this but the oods one despite the other team effectively having a highly knowledgable ringer in Luke Harrison whose knowledge is legendary!

A final dash back to the main all for the end of the year in review video presentation of Dr Who stars on various uk shows over the past year in interviews a lot of our American friends may have missed, this was followed by a special presentation a especially commissioned video interview with Stephen Moffatt head writer of the show right now and former attendee of this very con, not a huge amount to report from this interview but he seemed confident that the show's 50th anniversary would be celebrated in style later in the year. 

After that I wandered around the final v busy lobby con in an attempt to gather more ribbons and hopefully socialise more.  I took full advantage of the hotel's facilities and checked into my flight and picked the seat I'm typing this from. It was a late night so I could put a good dent in packing and clear space in the morning for one final breakfast.

Monday (Day 6)

The con was over but lobby con is unstoppable, after breakfast with Jeff and finishing packing I bade an emotional farewell to my room and base of operations for the con. Checking out itself was v fast and I soon joined my friends from the staggering stories podcast who managed to secure an interview with Dick Mills while we waited to catch the airport shuttle. LAX wasn't fun to negotiate I was among a few people give a full body scan and a pat down by security, thanks guys I was already shaking with nerves before then! Also baggage check in seemed woefully understaffed so there was a long it even before all the real red tape. The flight itself is going well, some minor turbulence but have slept well and as I finish this am watching Lincoln I say watching the picture is so dark I'm mostly listening. I'll return to Gallifrey One but will leave it a couple of years not only is it an expensive exercise but as you may gather me and airports(esp American ones) don't get on well. Can highly recommend LA as a tourist destination it's a city of great variety and character and I'm told from Venice Beach you can see the sun set into the sea.

You can see my photos of LA and Gallifrey One here http://www.flickr.com/photos/tdrury/sets/72157632763907666/