The Prof and I have just returned from Dimensions, which rather conveniently took place just up the road from us. We hadn't been sure whether to go or not, but a conversation with the rather smashing Dr Who artist Steve Caldwell at Whooverville convinced us to give it a go.
Still, it was a bit nerve-wracking turning up on Friday night knowing nary a soul. We got there just in time for the pub quiz, usually a pastime of massive bewilderment to me at conventions. It never seems to matter how long I've been involved in the field, or how widely read I think I might be, when the questions start I'm at an utter loss. They're invariably so pedantically precise and searching that I tend to sit there like a flabbergasted guppy. We nearly didn't go, but in the end thought we might as well start how we meant to go on by embarrassing ourselves thoroughly and earning the righteous scorn of our peers.
When we entered, we spotted the venerable Messers Perryman & Williams, purveyors of all things Tachyon TV. Having decided not to start the celebrity stalking quite so early in the proceedings, we instead surreptitiously lurked in the row behind them, nudging each other occassionally and whispering "That's them!". However fate, and our charming host, intervened as teams of two were strictly forbidden, forcing us to throw ourselves on the mercy of these podcasting demi-gods. Four wasn't enough either, so we co-opted two lovely gentlemen from the row in front. Then another few people wandered over, one of whom was a vaguely familiar beardy chap and another one who was Paul from Big Finish (we met him at Whooverville too, where he was on the podcast panel with Oolon). Having formed our team, Rob Shearman, for it was he, named us "Fuschia From the Deep" and it all went down-hill from there.
The quiz was hysterical, not least due to some comedy spelling (Bernard Cribbons, indeed!) and some very contentious answers. It soon became apparent that we were the naughty team, because we were laughing and enjoying ourselves. Much to our horror, we were also winning (perhaps this would be a good time to point out that the prize was afternoon tea with Sylvester McCoy, Daphne Ashbrook & Yee Jee Tso). To be fair, we were only taking part for a giggle, but some of the other teams were desperately serious about the whole thing and it didn't go down very well when we did eventually claim our victors' crown (at least, not with the team that came second, one of whom decided to mutter darkly at us every time he passed us for almost the entire rest of the weekend).
Fate has a cruel sense of humour, in that the two people least suited to have won the prize (myself and John, because of our deep and abiding enjoyment of the seventh Doctor and the TV movie) actually now had to go and drink tea with it's cast. But I'm getting ahead of myself; that wouldn't happen until Sunday...
Having been kidnapped and dragged across the Muto wasteland around the Holiday Inn by Mr Shearman on a quest for sustenance and a BLT sarnie, we returned older and wiser in time for a fair old drinking sesh with a wide variety of rather lovely people. Andrew Smith (writer of Full Circle, first of the E-Space trilogy, and introducer of Adric) gallantly shared a bottle of red wine with us at one point and lots of Big Finish people wandered by to pass the time of day. We learnt how not to put our foot in it with a potential interviewee, heard some wonderful gossip (none of which will ever be repeated in any way, shape or form so don't ask), found out more about Pointless than we ever thought was possible (hi Angela!) and eventually wandered off to bed at 1.30am.
Was it a well written & researched pub quiz? No.
Was it an ideal way to get a bunch of potential strangers to interact with each other? Yes. It would have been a very different weekend for us if we hadn't gone along, so even though at times it was buttock-clenchingly awful, this Pixie will always have fond memories of it.
Next stop: Saturday, and the quest for signatures...