Me, Hubby Brian, Doobie, Bagpuss and Sharkey's adventures at R17
Back to reality now after an amazing weekend at Redemption 2017.
Sat waiting for person to collect my car for a service... originally thought this would be a good plan - and instead of me taking car in early and trying to get home again, I could just hand over the keys and let someone else do all the work whilst I recover from the weekend. I was originally told 8.30am, then 9.00am, and now it's gone up to "before 12".... so there goes my lie in... ah well... I have the rest of the week to sleep! So glad I booked the whole week off this time!
Anyway, this gives me time to drink tea and recall all the amazing stuff that went on this weekend :D
It goes a bit like this:
We decided to drive the more direct, though cross-country, route to get to the new Sheffield location for Redemption 17. The A roads were more like Z roads... one of them really wasn't a road at all, but more of a farmer's mud track which we trundled along, stopping several times to check the map thinking "this can't be right, can it?"
It was all pretty spectacular scenery over the Peak District, despite the trundliness of the roads. We eventually came out of the wilderness and saw signs of civilisation and Sheffield. Then we spent the rest of our afternoon driving round and round the ring road, until, due to my hubby's fantastic perserverence and map reading skills, we eventually managed to get onto the right road, and into the correct lane of the right road to actually make it to the hotel! The hotel from the outside looked very calm and innocent - almost thought we were at the wrong place - but as soon as we opened the door, the expected craziness hit us immediately... yay we were "at home" again!
Firstly saw Melinda Sinha at the Reg desk and ran over for hugs, then spied Martin Jones for yet more hugs, and strangely I had run passed and not noticed the one and only Ivan Sinha, despite the fact he had two heads!! So more hugs were required and apologies for being so out of it that I'd not spotting Ivan in his Ruler of the Universe costume as Zaphod Beeblebrox.
Then back to the hotel reception, grabbing the door key and up to find our room.... couldn't find it, as we had somehow managed to book the 1862 Suite and when a staff member showed us to our room, we discovered it was full of the lovely people from OPs. As much as I was quite prepared to share my room with these guys, we thought it best to go and re-check our accommodation - and many thanks to Ming for calling the Hotel Manager to sort out the double booking. So then we waited for a long time, feeling like we were causing much chaos already, and we'd not even unpacked!! Hee hee! Luckily my bestie, Kayta, and the cheeky Steve Rogerson appeared for reassuring hugs whilst we waited.
The ever-so-nice manager was most apologetic for double booking our room and luckily managed to find us a spare room in the same hotel - phew!
Once settled in our room we went down to explore the new venue.
Downstairs in the bar we were welcomed with hugs from the lovely David Ulicsak who had a message from our mutual, and great pal, Rob Jones who sadly could no longer make it to the Con... You woz missed Rob! xx
We wondered about a bit familiarising ourselves with the room locations, and ended back up at the bar, where the wonderful Chris Stocks greeted us, and so I took the opportunity for a quick cuddle with him :D We got introduced to a new friend, Harpal, who was most concerned for me, and continued to be throughout the con, when he heard about all my food intolerances - not sure how this subject came up so quickly!
Then the fabulous Jon and Vicky appeared, as if by magic and so more delighted hugs followed :D We talked of all our friends who couldn't get to the con this time, but who were already being missed, including, of course, the stunning Maddy Marsh - missed you babe! xx
After the Opening Ceremony, we enjoyed a lovely chinese meal in the hotel restaurant, as the manager pointed out that they could cope with even my level of food intolerances, as the food was cooked to order, and sure enough he was correct. Whilst waiting in the food queue, we were entertained by Mr Chris Stocks (squeee!) and the lovely Mr and Mrs Ivan Sinha. Ivan was recalling the day we first met on the dancefloor at the very first Redemption in 1999 and we were laughing muchly about how we still owned our very first disco outfits, but that they didn't quite fit us as well now - being 18 years later!!!
After a lovely meal and chat with the Sinhas, we went off to prepare for the ceilidh!
Kayta, Martin, Bri and I pulled off some funky routines and after the first 2 dances I was well knackered! I immediately got neck and back ache, but battled on!
We were missing a couple for the one dance, so I spied:
Mr Cute: Steve Rogerson
Mr Gorgeous: Chris Stocks
and so, knowing they would make a visually beautiful couple, I encouraged them onto the dancefloor and to be dance partners together (for my personal entertainment!) One of them took a little longer to be persuaded, so I had to resort to physically dragging Mr Stocks up (which proved to be rather fun!) despite him swearing to get double revenge on me later!
The double revenge, or "REWENGEE" as he preferred to call it, turned into triple revenge and took the form of spinning me around extra fast, extra times and bouncing up to be even taller than normal to make my dance moves even more challenging!!
We had a mid-ceilidh break, where the lovely band played a waltz. Hubby Brian dragged me onto the dancefloor, and despite having fairly recently had ballroom dancing classes, I could not think for the life of me how to do one. So we went free-style, Bri doing what he knows and me, what I know... so we ended up doing what Chris referred to later as a "mixed martial arts class" - Brian doing hip throws on me and me playing air guitar to tunes which had no guitar in them! Inevitably, it ended up on the floor, but not without Brian getting a Drazi point for his unique freestyle dancing!
Had a lovely breakfast at the hotel.
There was so much to do at the con, that we missed out on a few panels - I would have loved to go to Judith Proctor's Morris Dancing sessions and was also intrigued by the idea of Misha's Warhammer 40K Cop (would love to read any reviews of these?)
We made it to the 50 years of Star Trek panel and enjoyed listening to Gaspode's impressive knowledge of all things fandom related, and for his stamina for coming straight from a previous panel which he'd been talking for an hour. Go John!
I then spent a very pleasant and relaxing hour, adult colouring with Melinda Sinha, and catching up on the Sinha family's activities. Ivan came back from the chaos costuming session and informed us he had yet another character which he would be performing in the Masquerade! I think he said he had around 8 costume changes over the weekend! What a guy!
Then it was time for my excellent hubby and Philosopher, Brian, to do his thing at his "Morality and Mortality" panel. He gave two warnings - one about the potentially disturbing content of his talk/discussion, but most importantly to warn everyone that he would be reading out his own poetry!! Zikes! :O
I tried *really hard* not to heckle ... honest... but when Brian was describing how he had not chosen his own body and so was stuck with the body he had, and had to just lump it... I couldn't help a "Me Too!"... Unfortunately, I didn't anticipate the laughter from the audience, which went on for a long while and so I ended up having to take refuge under my cardigan in shame at disrupting Brian's talk somewhat!
There was some excellent audience contribution, questions and discussion and we really enjoyeRead mored the panel - so thanks to everyone for attending and contributing! We left on a high, full of energy for our long, but rewarding walk up to Nando's to spend our Christmas vouchers on chicken, spicy rice and Minty Peas! The Minty Peas were delish - and a lot more powerful that I expected with the chilly and mintiness! Yum!
MASQUERADE AND CABARET
Our next event was the Masquerade and Cabaret :D
About 20 minutes before the Cabaret, I was informed that I was required to assist with Zaphod's Cabaret act. My very brief, briefing - mostly by text from Zaphod's lovely wife, Melinda - simply said "it will involve your natural abilities, bring your air guitar" and later "Be Brian May, Wear This" *throws me a shiny scarf* ... and then I had an anxious wait, not knowing when Zaphod would be on, but being on high alert, ready to jump up and perform on cue! I was officially scared, though once on stage, my "natural abilities" seemed to take over and it was all one big, though very enjoyable blur of craziness.
The most hilarious part for me, was when we walked off stage - Zaphod and I were leaning against a wall, breathing very heavily, trying to get our breath back, which took a very long time! We don't seem to have quite as much recovery power as we both did 18 years ago after our first Redemption disco! And we still had the Pirate Disco to perform at later!
A massive thanks to Mrs O'Shea who superbly managed to capture some most excellent photos on camera of the cabaret act which we are both very grateful for... thank you so much!
Then, it was time for my main act... the Redemption Disco! I'd been waiting 2 long years for this, and again, it did not disappoint.
I think the following photos say it quite well, but I shoud probably include my usual apology to anyone whose face I sang loudly into or thrust a guitar or microphone into their hands and encouraged them to perform!
I WENT TO THE DANGER ZONE ... with Chris Stocks!
I would apologise to Chris Stocks for screaming "Danger Zone!" loudly and repeatedly about one inch from his face, but I won't, coz he was doing the same back to me! And I think we probably both enjoyed it too! :D
I think the disco was quite a massive stress relief for lots of us - I remember Jon and I shouting "Arrrrrghhhh" loudly into each other's faces, and I don't even know what song that was!
Jem and I did a Quo tribute to Rick Parfitt (RIP Rick), and Ivan and I did a tribute to Michael Sheard (RIP Michael) bringing a chair onto the dancefloor for him for his "School's Out for Summer" - and worshipping his greatness... it was genuinely an emotional moment for me. I loved that guy.
Other highlights included watching my bestie, Kayta, doing some funky air guitaring - without the need for a plastic guitar I was informed - exuberantly on the dancefloor. I asked her if she'd been drinking and her inappopriate, unmentionable response confirmed that yes she'd had a few!
Thanks to Tony, Marwen and the tech crew for keeping the music rolling, up until 2am - I didn't notice that I'd been dancing for almost 4 hours... until the next morning, when I then did notice, quite painfully! I don't quite know how all the bruises on my knees got there?!! Anyone?
Didn't think we'd cope getting up and packing and still be ready for the 11am Ruler of the Universe Hustings session (where I'd promised Zaphod some "inappropriate cheering") and so we decided to be reckless and book a 3rd night! The rooms were lovely and very comfy and it was so nice to be able to go and crash out in your room between panels.
RULER OF THE UNIVERSE HUSTINGS
MAN OF IRON
Hilarious, as usual!
So many other amazing/great/bizarre moments that it's hard to name them all - here are a few:
- Gettting hugged by SnowGrouse in the bar, being invited to Finland and recommended to take part in an Air Guitar competition!
- Getting my "every 2 year" shoulder massage - this time from Steve R (thanks Steve) - volunteers for the next time, please apply in writing ;)
- Chris Stocks telling us he'd been up until stupid o'clock 5am?? Yet was up early and looking just as good in the morning! (unlike me and the massive bags under my eyes...)
- Inappropriate behaviour from Steve Rogerson (never change, Steve, gotta love that guy!)
- Ivan and Harpal pointing and shouting "Teacher Leave Those Kids Alone!" repeatedly at my hubby Brian during Pink Floyd's number. (Shouldn't have told them you were a teacher!)
- Klingon Roy making me air guitar to Abba
- Melinda, who kept making me laugh all weekend with her random comments :)
- The Hotel fire alarm going off at 3.26 am on Sunday night and jumping out of bed ready to find clothes and leg it out the hotel :O
- Posing with fellow air guitarist and Bigglesworth on the stairs.
- Lesley's emotional handover, making us all cry (we were with you all the way!)
- Tony The Joker's purple trousers- fabulous!
- Zaphod coming 2nd in Ruler of the Universe competition, and Hilary's Missy winning (another amazing costume by Hilary!)
- Going to The Danger Zone with Chris (did I mention that?) :D
Thanks to everyone for all the fun! Keep in touch! Do it again soon!
(or in a Steve Rogerson's style of words: "Do you again soon!")