November 2016~ FCD Out Of The Ashes 1.5

After the success of 1.0, fans asked for an event nearer to Christmas. It didn’t have to have guests, it was just a way of getting everyone together for a party. It also happens that David, one of the bosses at FCD would be celebrating a big birthday around the same time so it was decided to combine the two and so Out Of The Ashes 1.5 The Monster’s Ball was born!

Two guests were invited. John Carrigan who had appeared at 1.0 and Rainbow Sun Francks from Stargate Atlantis. Both guests were amazing and took part in every aspect of the event, from the Friday night’s games, bingo and quizzes through to talks during the Saturday event and then finishing up by joining in the festivities of the Saturday party.

The Saturday event took place in The Langton Suite of The Hilton Leicester. The were a number of dealers stall and about 60ish people in attendance and Steven Cockings from Trekyards was also there with an amazing collection of screen used Stargate props. The were a number of talks by various people, including John and Rainbow. The event ended at around 4.30pm.

The theme for the Saturday party was Monsters (as Halloween had just past). There were around 70 people at the party and great fun was had by all. David and Wil did a live stream from the event announcing the guest lineup for 2.0 in March next year with more guests yet to be announced!

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April 2016~ FCD ‘Out of the Ashes’

I honestly do not know where to begin. This has to be the best event I have been to in years!

FCD 2015 was a great event. I volunteered at the event and was asked by Wil and David to join the main FCD team shortly afterwards. Many months were spent in planning and preparation. At one point we did not think we would have an event to put on due to some complex issues but after changing the venue and making it a one day event, we were ready.

The team members arrived on the Friday afternoon. After unpacking we began setting up. I began by helping to construct the Klingon bridge but then went into the main event room to assist with the setup there. Once setup was complete, we had a team briefing and then chilled out for a while.

Later that evening we had a team meal along with our guests and media partners. Then I decided to hit the sack so that I was ready for the next day.

I woke up early and went to the event rooms. We had a very quick meeting and once breakfast was over we got ready for opening. We honestly had no idea about how many people would turn up after all the trouble the event had encountered. We had enough chairs for 100 people to sit and watch the various talks etc. It was nowhere near enough…..

The doors opened. Shortly before the opening ceremony it became clear we needed more chairs so some of the team set about quickly putting more out, but still people kept coming. 483 in the end…….way more than expected.

The opening ceremony took place with Wil and David introducing the guests (Claudia Christian of Babylon 5, JG Hertzler, Aron Eisenberg and John Carrigan all from various incarnations of Star Trek) and so began the day.

What followed was a series of hilarious talks by the guests, a charity auction that raised lots of money for charities and a surprise marriage proposal by team member Simon to his partner Sheridan who was also a team member. JG Hertzler helped Simon with the deed by setting up an elaborate ruse and asking Sheridan for her help. It was awesome to watch and congrats to both!

Whilst the various talks were going on there was also the chance to have a professional photo taken with the guests as well as wander around the various dealer stalls.

The main event ended at 5pm and we had to quickly clear the room ready for the evening. It was to be a meal followed by a disco with karaoke. The theme was Spy vs Spy. There were many fine costumes on display and a great time was had by everyone. The party continued into the small hours……

Sunday was spent having a quick, final tidy up before chilling out and saying goodbye to old friends and new.

Overall, the whole weekend was a blast! It was like being at one massive family party! The energy in the main room was amazing and the constant smiles on everyone’s faces said a lot. It was knackering but absolutely worth it!

Roll on 2017 and well done to all involved but especially to Wil and David, and a HUGE thank you to all the FCD team members that made me feel so welcome!

April 2015- First Contact Day

This was my first event of the year and all I can say is WOW!

It was also my first time in a long while that I had volunteered to help out at a con. The last time I did so was back in the 90s at the Rising Star events.

The weekend began with a meetup at our hotel bar. It started early, around 2pm and went on until midnight. We chatted about geeky stuff, drank lots and played Cards Against Humanity. I left about 11.30pm as I had to be at the venue for 9.15am.

I woke early, got ready and set off, arriving at the National Space Centre on time. I met up with the crew members and other volunteers and we had a briefing from the Chief Steward, Tim. Then the doors opened and we took up our positions. Mine was to help control queues at the front and direct people to the correct place.

I stayed doing this for a fair part of the day but also managed to take part in other events such as talks by the celebrity guests, photo shoots etc as well as visiting the dealers room and other exhibits, including an awesome display of ships from the original Battlestar Galactica and larger props such as Captain’s chairs from Star Trek and a First Doctor’s Tardis console.

The Red Shirt challenge (Most number of people in one room dressed as a Star Trek red-shirt) took place on the Saturday afternoon.

As I no longer have a shirt that fits, I was asked by Wil to be an official adjudicator and help with the count. This year was 107, an increase of 50 from last year. All documentation will be sent to Guinness for approval.

The celebrity guests for the weekend were Garrett Wang (of Star Trek Voyager), Claudia Christian (Babylon 5), James Swallow and Una McCormack (authors of a variety of sci-fi books), Alan Flyng (Imperial Officer in Star Wars VI) and via Skype, Larry Nemecek (Trek Guru). Claudia arrived late due to ill health. She managed to stay for a couple of hours but then left. Luckily I got her autograph before she left. Hopefully she will return again soon.

That evening we had the Gold Pass meal and disco which was good fun. Garrett was a real party animal and we had a nice group photo with him. The music was great and there were a lot of con dances going on. I finally left around 11.30pm.

Day 2 was similar to the first day. I scaled back my duties a bit as I wanted to see what I had missed the previous day. Sunday also was not as busy with just over 300 people in attendance as opposed to over 600 on the first day so I’m sure my presence was not missed! The highlight of the day was watching Garrett Wang do his talk. The man is hilarious and does great impressions of various Trek alumni.

There were quite a few members of our Facebook group, The USS Riker’s Beard at the event. We arranged to have a group photo at the original series Captain’s chair. Luckily, we managed to recruit Garrett as our 3rd honorary member (Vaughan Armstrong and Larry Nemecek being the first two) and he joined our group photo and got to sit in the chair.

The weekend ended with the charity auction, farewell speeches and a promise of things being bigger and better next year. We all then departed back to the hotel bar and drank the JD dry!

It was an awesome weekend thanks to David, Wil and the crew and I hope to be asked to help out again next year!

May 2014~ Cosplay

I was never really into Cosplay, but in 2012 an event came along that changed all that.

Destination Star Trek London was to take place in October of that year, and some friends convinced me to buy some costumes. I did alot of research on various companies. There were some very cheap (and very bad looking) costumes, some VERY expensive (but amazing) costumes. In the end I settled for a company called CosplaySky.

As price goes they were mid-range. Not cheap and horrible nor very expensive. They also had a great range of Star Trek costumes. I had a few questions and emailed them. A nice lady called Sophie answered very quickly and cleared up any concerns. With the convention approaching, I had to get ordering.

In the end I settled on three costumes. I purchased an Original Series Red Shirt, an operations top from Star Trek: First Contact and an Landing Party Jacket from Star Trek: Enterprise (pics below). I sent off my measurements and waited. Very quickly I received a confirmation email which told me I could keep track of the order online. It was very quick. Within 8 days the order was complete and shipped! They arrived within 5 days, very prompt when you consider they had to travel from China to London.

The Review

First, let me say that most of their costumes are designed using images taken from the show/films so they are never going to be 100% screen accurate. If that is what you want, go and spend £1000s elsewhere and good luck. One of the things that attracted me to this company was that they made costumes for you no matter how big or small you are.

Star Trek: Enterprise Landing Party Jacket
Overall, a very good outfit. My two minor issues are these: the sleeves near the cuff are just slightly too baggy/big and the yellow colour for the stripe was a bit too bright. Needs to be paler. On the whole a great costume and a perfect fit!

Star Trek: First Contact Operations Top
This was the one I was apprehensive about, but when it arrived it was near perfect. So comfortable to wear too! Again, only two minor issues: the turn up on the cuffs was too big and the yellow colouring for the undershirt and striping was again a bit too bright, but still looked great!

Star Trek Red Shirt
I had an issue with this top, but it was all my fault! When it arrived and I put it on, it was way too long. The bottom came down near my knees and I had about 8-10 inches extra on each sleeve. I checked the order and I noticed I had made errors with the measurements on this one. I washed it a couple of times on hot and tumble dried it and now it fits! Very authentic looking with my only gripe being the collar was slightly too large. Nothing else!

Would I buy from them again?
Now, I know some friends had issues, but some of them ordered very near to the con and it was rushed. My advice- give yourself plenty of time!

Yes, I would wholeheartedly order from them again! In fact, there is another Star Trek con in London this year and I am planning on buying at least two more and so are some friends as we are planning to go as a group!

GUINNESS WORLD RECORD ATTEMPT

Wearing my First Contact Operations costume, I, along with some friends, took part in the attempt to break the record for “Most people dressed as a Star Trek character in one place”. I am pleased to say we broke the record!

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I can highly recommend Cosplaysky to you and suggest you visit the site at www.cosplaysky.com!

April 2014~ First Contact Day

It was off to Leicester to celebrate 49 years until Earth makes First Contact with Vulcan (as seen in Star Trek: First Contact, Zefram Cochrane makes first contact in Bozeman, Montana, with the crew of Vulcan survey ship T’Plana Hath.)

It was an event run by the fine people of the USS Equulus. It was aimed at fan clubs and other groups. I also managed to catch up with my old friend, David Limburg, who I have known since the late 80s.

We spent time in the main hall, interacting with other groups and looking at dealers.

A discount for entry into the National Space Centre was available and we took full advantage of it.

In the afternoon we set the Guinness World Record for the most “Red Shirts” in one place.

After that it was back to hotels for drinks and merriment!