It is now apparent that Barry Rees, the organiser of this event, has bounced cheques on at least six of us guests, as well as the backers, the caterers and the marquee company. This matter is now in the hands of the law.
- Kenny Baker - Saturday only
- Brian Muir
- Peter Mayhew -CANCELLED
- Richard LeParmentier
- Peter Burroughs
- Jerome Blake
- Alan Flyng
- Derek Lyons
- Jeremy Bulloch - CANCELLED
- Alan Harris
- Chris Parsons
- Pam Rose
- Little Kiran
- Toby Philpott
- John Chapman
- Stephanie English
- Chris Muncke
- Mike Edmonds
- Garrick Hagon - CANCELLED
- Peter Roy
- Shane Rimmer
- Ian Whyte
- Stephen MD Chang - CANCELLED
- Laurie Goode
- Ted Western
After selling out of photos at Bayern Park, in Germany, I have re-ordered! I will also try a few new things too, to see if they are attractive to the public. First up will be simple laminated bookmarks.
A banner I did for Facebook to draw attention to the event.
Finally, the accommodation is set and we have just to wait on the travel day prior to the event!
Pre-orders for Swansea are being handled by Mark Cookson, who handled the same for London Film and Comic Con and Jason Griffiths is assisting us - the signers - with getting all we need to be ready on the day. Barring any more changes, the next report will be of the event itself, as I will blog both days from the hotel.
Well, the travel day to Wales arrived and I picked up Derek Lyons and Pam Rose and set off on the M4 for Wales. We stopped off halfway to rendezvous with Stephanie English, Rick Stanley and Dave Louis Oldbury at a salubrious service station, known as Leigh Delamere. The name is the most attractive thing about it, of course, and soon we were off and approaching the Severn Bridge. I could see flashes in my rear-view mirror, thinking Steph was flashing me for my attention. It was, in fact, Rick photographing the approaching bridge! LOL.
Arriving in Port Talbot, we reached the familiar edifice of wrack and ruin known as The Grand Hotel! My oh my!!! What a misnomer!!! The organiser finally turned up after all of the signers had arrived. We were finally offered a fish and chip supper rapidly unwrapped by the organiser's wife and daughter - decidedly unappealing - and then off to bed.
|Friday night is fish and chip night in old Port Talbot Town!|
My room had twin 2'6" beds (I am 2'3" wide!!! LOL), a bathroom larger than the bedroom with a shower lacking a pipe to connect the taps to the shower head, a washbasin with the hot tap sheared off...... and a night of discomfort and cold ensued - and a carpet beetle caught making it's way to my case! Deceased! RIP!!!.
|The chearful welcome sign on the door to the hotel!!! And oh, how tempting!!!|
Next morning, I did my impression of a walrus stuck in a bucket as I tried to take a bath ( a daily occurrence in this hotel, naturally) and, after a decidedly bargain basement breakfast, we set out in a flotilla of cars to go to the advertised venue, which turned out not to be the National Waterfront Museum........ but a tent!!! A draughty wind tunnel of a tent on the grass to the side of the museum! As the day progressed, the damp, which had risen from the earth overnight, condensed onto the roof and support poles. A battle, which lasted the two days began, to keep the constant drips from above ruining our photos.
The day was lightly attended and those signers, who had not succeeded in finding a table on which to set up in the tent, but were accommodated within the museum, had a very much more successful day. Entry into the tent cost £5 and the National Waterfront Museum of Wales is free entry, with constantly arriving visitors attending!!! No brainer!!!
|Dave Prowse, Ted Western and Peter Roy await the thronging crowds...insert the rolling tumbleweed here!|
|Pam Rose seated with Dave Louis Oldbury - and an empty tent!|
|Shane Rimmer, Alan Harris, Lindsay Muir and Rick Stanley ... and an empty tent!|
The day crawled to a premature end, as we were sitting twiddling our thumbs for the most part, watching Dave Prowse mop up all the sales. The event had been laid out with all the toy stalls just inside the tent and then us. Dave took over two tables facing the incoming guests at the head of the table in a U-shape layout. After parents had spent on their children to buy figures, magic tricks, lightsabres etc, little money remained, and so they headed straight for Vader and that was that! The organiser had been warned in the friendliest of fashions by me from an early date to stop booking more and more guests, as this was going to be the inevitable result!
In addition, many of the signers were determined not to stay for the second day, but we jointly agreed to give it a try. Certain guests did elect to go and were not missed at all, in spite of being advertised as principal guests!
That evening, we were all invited by the backer's wife, Morgan, to a meal on them at the Indian restaurant local to the 'Grunge' Hotel. This proved to be a triumph of PR, as it lifted all out spirits and we all enjoyed a fantastic meal of the highest standard! Naturally, conversation did include talk of our organiser and his uninspired efforts, matched by realities adrift from promises! Nevertheless, all of us, veterans not only of Star Wars films but also international careers with extensive experience of conventions, decided to make the most of the second day.
|Fed guests are happy guests - lesson one!|
|Milton Keynes Garrison Honorary Membership.|
Galactic Knights Honorary Membership.
|Richard LeParmentier finds time to read the small print of his paper - again!|
This second night was supposed to be the end-of-con party at the local casino - a peculiar venue to say the least! Actors were annoyed to find themselves being obliged to show ID, credit cards and fill out forms for membership, in order to access the 'party'! I had been there before and knew what to expect, having been dragged down a few weeks previously, only to sit in this same venue, mistaken, along with Stephanie English, for auctioneers! Another story altogether. The highlight of that abortive trip had been a terrible karaoke singer belting out Tom Jones songs to the ceiling at great volume, oblivious to his audience. I purloined his audience as I burst out laughing uncontrollably - sounding like Muttley, as I am known around the world - and forced the audience and table players to listen and watch me. No film of it exists, but there is a recording of the singing in the background drowned out by Muttley! LOL
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7_Q35-dTMxU The Laugh!!!
Having experienced every sensory discomfort already, we were cringingly embarrassed by an order barked out by the casino manager (at the behest of the convention organiser), that all non-actors were to leave the table and the finger buffet to the actors, masquerading as the only decent meal of the day. I failed to say earlier that this second day I received a salad bap - my meal for the whole day!!! Of course, some of the costumers present made to leave and did, before Pam Rose and the rest of us protested the situation and the remainder were asked to join us. Too late, of course, to rectify this gross error of judgement!
Here is a link to an article written by an attending journalist, without the benefit of knowing the behind-the-scenes story....http://www.obsessedwithfilm.com/movie-news/owf-are-star-struck-at-starmania-2010.php
So my dear friends, there it is. An adventure, certainly! A fun time with old friends - for the most-part, yes! But a successful convention and to be recommended - NO!
And to top it all, at least eight cheques from the organiser are now bouncing like . . . . B>A>L>L>S!!!!!!!!!!!!! Watch this space for updates!!!!!!