Alan Flyng

Alan Flyng

Wednesday, 6 October 2010

"Phase III", The Dark Side of Daedalus Con, Bochum-Werne, Germany. 5th - 7th November 2010.

This year, I attended as the sole Star Wars guest, but in the company of my dear friend, Wendy Lowder - another 'veteran' of the British Film Industry. Wendy and I have been friends for over 30 years and share many experiences filming, starting with appearing together in the film 'Breaking Glass', starring Hazel O'Connor - a Punk extravaganza - and 'Quatermas and the Planet People' - a film for TV, in which we played rather peculiar hippy-types - both filmed in 1980 in the UK.

Myself and Wendy at a previous convention in Bournemouth, UK

Wendy in the film 'The Missionary', 1982.

Wendy in the Roald Dahl film, The Witches, with Anjelika Huston and Mai Zetterling.

Wendy Lowder.
Wendy has appeared in countless films, including; Willow, Shadowlands, Superman 1 and 2, Ragtime, The Mirror Cracked, Octopussy, Victor Victoria and Krull, as well as appearing on TV and in iconic music videos. Here she is in Kool and The Gang's video for 'Fresh'. Wendy is the blond ugly sister!!!

The Convention.

Wendy and I flew out together on Thursday the 4th November on a minute twin-prop plane and were met in Düsseldorf Airport by my friends Markus Tschentschel and Rolf Prippenow. We were driven into Bochum through a gridlocked motorway system (for no apparent reason, it was the same throughout Germany that day) and brought to our hotel - the same as last year - the Hotel Specht.....

Das Hotel Specht - official con hotel.
We took the time to wander around the area a little and do a little window shopping and we both bought in a few 'necessary' bits and pieces. Later that evening, Markus and Rolf returned to take us out to a lovely Greek restaurant in a delightful cobbled courtyard and, I must say, the food was delicious and generous! Our thanks to you both for the wonderful hospitality!!! We had a very convivial evening chatting, giving Wendy a chance to get to know our hosts a little better. She is of the same opinion as me; they are very kind, considerate and good people - the sort it is a pleasure to spend time with! And so to the hotel and bed.

Next morning - Friday - we had a very filling and varied continental breakfast before our first day at the convention. Wendy was impressed with this small, family-owned hotel and it's charming staff, all of whom speak excellent English. We had a while to kill and so went back to a few of the shops we had surveyed the day before, giving Wendy a chance to buy a couple of very nice tops and a gilet. A girl can never have too many clothes I am told!!! We ate lunch in the hotel from a very alluring menu and both had fabulous meals, cooked to perfection!

On arrival at the convention venue, we were met by many friends from last year, proving that intimate and family orientated shows like this can attract and hold a devoted following, happy to return year in, year out, to experience the friendly and comradely atmosphere, whilst offering a hearty welcome to new visitors.

Lovely Bianka Riepegerste and her two adorable children, grown so much since last year!
 Wendy was welcomed literally with open arms and she was put at ease immediately. Amongst fellow performers, we met Der Klingolaus, the Klingons' answer to Santa Claus (, Freddy Bee, the convention MC and comedian (, a strong turnout by the 501st German Garrison (, led by Garrison Commander Markus Rau, and a host of costumed role-players, LARP and gamers from last year, as well as new groups! All in all, an impressive turnout!

Wendy and I were offered a table with the German Garrison, for which, once again, I thank Markus Rau, and we duly set out our stall. It took minutes only before we were in conversation with everyone passing by, as we found ourselves in the main entrance lobby with all attendees passing us to enter the convention!

Wendy and I with Ettore Holle, a great friend from Bussum in Holland.

The opening ceremony at 7 p.m.was fun, with lots of cheering and shouting as the assorted line-up of guests and groups attending were announced.

A few of the audience at the opening ceremony.
The evening soon turned into a talking shop as all caught up on news of each other's year and shows attended.since the last Daedalus Con in 2009, and Der Klingolaus brought the scheduled proceedings to an end with his usual loud and hysterical characterisation.

Der Klingolaus!

The evening continued through to the early hours with an informal party fuelled by schnapps-style exotic mead-based shots - from plain mead to cherry liqueur mead and even chili mead! As in previous years, the catering was, as ever, beautifully and tirelessly presented by the lovely Inge Meierkord, Marcel Meierkord and Inge's friend, Torsten. An army marches on it's stomach and Inge knows how to please!!!

Day two of the convention started on Saturday at 10 a.m. Attendances were up on last year and the talks and events planned went on in good order. At 12 noon I did a talk and Q &A, after being taken in to the auditorium by the 501st and then guarded on stage! It looked like an Imperial coup was taking place! :o)
501st Escort for my Q & A, with Markus Rau front left.
At 1 p.m. Wendy was the host of a funny and vigorous coffee meeting in one of the side rooms, attended by a good variety of people, eager to hear from Wendy of her experiences in film and especially of her work on Octopussy and The Living Daylights. Questions veered off onto all sorts of tangents. Wendy took it all in her stride and we had a very entertaining time with lots of laughter! 

Getting settled for Wendy's coffee meeting.
As the afternoon progressed, fan films, talks, computer gaming discussions took place in adjacent rooms, as well as the first of two performances by a band called Astray Path - a Goth/rock band with fantasy themed music - interesting!

The Klingolaus had everyone in stitches again, as he invited audience members onto stage, one by one, to perform a poem or song or receive a forfeit. Wendy, being a good sport. went up to recite a short poem, but received the Klingolaus's forfeit anyway! LOL

Wendy recites poetry on the Klingolaus's lap!!!

A spanking with the Klingolaus's sword is Wendy's reward - but she didn't complain.
In fact, I think she rather liked it! :o)
Later still, a competition to ascertain which costumes made by their wearers were judged to be the best took place, with myself, the Klingolaus and a TV writer/designer I had met the previous year called Stevie, as judges. The kids were particularly cute, of course and so each entrant had a first prize - how can you not give first prize to every kid? The best adult costume was won by the winner of last year's competition, but this year in a fantastic fantasy costume with metal armour, leather and real chain mail.

A winner in the junior section.

A three year old winner!

Rohan the Warrior, winner in the adult section.

The assembled winners in all categories.

At the end of the competition and with everyone who entered having received a prize of some description (for whatever categories we could invent), all competitors climbed onto the stage for a group shot....
There had already been assorted performances on the stage by the varied role-play and costume clubs present and the evening progressed with the second performance by Astray Path.

Astray Path
At 10 p.m. the party moved downstairs again and into the club atmosphere of the dance floor in the basement of the venue. Mead and liqueur shots were the order of the day and the party progressed into the wee small hours (so I am told!).

A bar full of mystery drinks!
Ettore Holle, the Dutch friend mentioned earlier, decided to stay over and had booked a room through the conference organisers at our hotel. Unfortunately, by the time the three of us got back there, the owners had retired and so Wendy, Ettore and myself ended up all sharing a room! As Wendy and I both wrote on photographs dedicated to Ettore the next day, it was a pleasure sleeping with him!!! (He slept on the floor by the way!!! LOLOL).

Sunday dawned and we three showered and breakfasted before being collected again for the final day. We arrived as Lars Adler and Stephan Wonczak were demonstrating sword fighting with Japanese swords and a bicycle wheel!?!

Stephan and Lars demonstrate ... something! LOL. Sorry guys - missed the lecture!

More fan films and exhibitions were on show this morning too, with new exhibitors replacing those who had left the night before. I had agreed the previous day to appear in a fan film as a Police Chief in LA, and quickly perused dialogue given me in German, requiring translation to English and then a mixed accent of a Bronx cop living in LA! A challenge at the last minute, but I enjoy challenges! It then transpired that having done these three pages, I would be needed again for a location shoot in Dresden, possibly some time soon! So, Germany, here I come again!!! :o)

Rene Altman, myself and Mario Schmaeske dressed for the LAPD fan film.
The day passed quickly and very soon it was time for the closing ceremony, conducted in his inimitable fashion by Freddy Bee...

Freddy wins through!
As each and every participant and club was acknowledged, the organisers applauded their contribution along with the rest of us! This has been a memorable weekend in the presence of good and generous friends and I look forward to this event continuing to grow in coming years.


Wendy and me with the 501st German Garrison.

Markus Tschentschel and Thomas Riepegerste - principal organisers - say farewell and thanks to the convention.

Wendy and I left straight from the venue with Markus and Rolf and headed for the airport again, there to have a meal together before saying our farewells. All went well - we had the same twin-prop aircraft for the return flight and arrived in London Gatwick Airport about a quarter of an hour late. This quarter of an hour lost was unfortunate, as, by the time we had collected my car from the long-term car park and set out for Southampton to rendezvous with the ferry to the Isle of Wight, where Wendy lives, we were still 15 minutes late and Wendy missed the boat! But Wendy is made of sterner stuff and she slept in the ferry terminal, before catching the first boat across - arriving home at 6.15 a.m! I arrived back in London at 3 a.m.

So, it only remains to thank everyone involved for making this convention and visit so memorable and I look forward to seeing everyone again soon!

Monday, 4 October 2010

BIG C STAR WARS EVENT NORWICH CASTLE MALL: 02 October 2010 10:00 - 03 October 2010 16:00

UPDATE: From Lee Nelson....
Thank you for coming to Norwich for The Big C Charity Star Wars Event, I would just like to let you know we raised £2,273.54. Once again thank you Alan, for making the weekend a success!

To see a newspaper article covering the event, please click here:

In response to a call passed to me by Derek Lyons and Laurie Goode, I stepped in as a last minute replacement for Kenny Baker at this event.

The Norwich Star Wars Club, in partnership with Gordon Barber Funeral Directors and The Norwich Castle Mall Management staged this event to raise money for the Big C cancer appeal on Saturday 2nd and Sunday 3rd October 2010, starting with the arrival by stretch limo of myself and my old friend, Alan Harris (Bossk the fearsome bounty hunter from The Empire Strikes Back),at the Castle Meadow entrance to the Mall. We were greeted by members of The Norwich Star Wars Club Heroes and Villains Costume Gang, including, amongst others, Darth Vader, Darth Maul, Princess Leia, Chewbacca, Han Solo, X Wing Pilot, Tie Fighter Pilot, a fully functioning R2-D2 and of course a guard of Stormtroopers.

Alan Harris (Bossk the Bounty Hunter) and members of the Norwich Club travelling to the event in the limo!

Inside the Mall, the Club's backdrops of the Tantive IV Corridor, Endor Bunker and Hoth Ice Cave with the Millennium Falcon, all designed by Owen Wright, were on display. The backdrops were available for members of the public to take their own photographs with their favourite Star Wars characters. All the Club requested was for a donation to be put in the collecting buckets for the Big C Appeal. Alternatively photographs taken by the Club's photographer were provided, printed and mounted immediately, for £5. Again the proceeds went towards the target of raising £5000 for the Big C Appeal.

Alan Harris and myself pose for a group shot with the assembled members of the Norwich Star Wars Club on the second day
Richard Walker, President of the club and himself a person living with cancer, was amazing in his energy and constant barking for attention on the PA and was responsible for drawing in hundreds and hundreds of visitors and enthusiasts to the displays.

No shortage of visitors! The Flag of Friendship is in the background of this shot - a fully LFL sanctioned attempt to get as many costuming groups around the world to contribute their club, garrison, squad badges and patches for charity and to cover the world map in the design.

The Lucasfilm sanctioned Flag of Friendship
 There was absolutely no shortage of guests and everyone I met was really friendly and welcoming! If only all conventions were like this!

On the second day I had a nice surprise with the arrival of Mark Whitworth, who I had supported in a charity auction for early onset Parkinsons research. He brought with him a very nice certificate thanking me and many others, including his own club, The New Sensation's Scooter Club,  for contributing to having raised £6,500!!! Well done Mark and I hope your plans for next year work out! Count me in again, if I can help!!! :O)

Mark and I hold the Thank you certificate. Made my day! Thanks Mark!!!

Alan and I had a great time talking with the public and, as is often the case, the children were invariably the experts! It is great to see eager faces enthused and engaged in something that gives them pleasure!

Marcel Prag (Bobba Fett) and his two sons pose for a photo with Alan Harris
 I hope to hear back from Richard that they have raised an amazing amount towards their target from these very active and enjoyable two days! I must also thank the driver of the stretch limo, Shawn of WOW-A-LIMO, for being such a great sport with his car. If you want to hire him you will find the company on Facebook! :o)

The WOW-A-LIMO car with Darth Vader (Peter Bean), R4D4 and Norwich Castle as a backdrop.
 The drive home was pleasant and punctuated early on, as I left the city, by the appearance of a brilliant rainbow tail hanging over where I had just left! A portent, hopefully, of further success for Richard and the club!
A pot of gold surely lies in the collection pales of the Norwich Star Wars Club for their tireless and cheerful work collecting for The Big C !

Thank you for coming to Norwich for The Big C Charity Star Wars Event, I would just like to let you know we raised £2,273.54. Once again thank you Alan, for making the weekend a sucess!