The year began for me by making a decision, unlike some of my friends I’ve not embraced foreign travel as much as I’d like. I had planned to embark on a coach trip to Paris back in the summer which sadly fell through with a letter from the coach company stating that the trip had been cancelled as not enough people had booked. The refund however proved to be an unexpected boost towards the decision I mentioned above, that being to finally bite the bullet and venture outside Europe and go on my longest journey to date.
For many years as a Dr Who fan and avid podcast listener I’ve enjoyed the reports from Gallifrey One, the annual LA based convention which as far as I know is the largest and most wide ranging Doctor Who convention in the world. At one point I thought attending the event myself was merely a pipe dream and wasn’t going to be possible but during 2009 I had a rethink and realised if I concentrated my efforts towards saving for a whole year then attending the event would be possible.
So that’s exactly what I’ve been doing and as I type this attending “Gally” as regular attendees have nick named it so no longer a dream but now a firm plan for early 2011. This future event still seems somewhat daunting though, I’ll admit. I speak as someone who’s rarely travelled abroad, so far having only visited France and Germany and still hasn’t flown anywhere.
Part of me will only believe the whole Gallifrey adventure is happening once I’m actually sat on the plane in mid Feb 2011, even then I still view it as a series of personal challenges, some of which though will no doubt be a lot easier than others.
To quote one of my favourite podcasters I’m drifting, this blog was meant to be about 2010. Like all years it’s had it’s highs and lows, looking back on photos for inspiration one has to admit it’s been mostly a positive year for me.
The first few months seem like a bit of a blur so I’ll start with May when I attended Invasion in London, a Doctor Who convention organised by Tenth Planet Events. The day was interesting, enjoyable but as always lacked the loose informality of similar fan organised events. The day ended for me with a dash through the rain to meet a friend in a pub. Samantha, an Australian fan over here for a few months this year was the reason for my dash. We know each other thanks to the weekly online get together that is otherwise known as The Cultdom Collective Podcast, a live show that goes out via the talkshoe.com website every Sunday.
Also in May I attended my first ever protest when it was announced earlier this year that the BBC was threatening digital radio station 6Music with closure, listeners both through online campaigns and a couple of protests at BBC Broadcasting House made their voices heard. The 6Music protest I attended was a very friendly event with a fair share of celebrity speakers but also free cakes and badges on hand for the attendees. Sadly my Save 6Music badge was lost on a subsequent visit to London but the station was thankfully saved from closure and it’s audience did in fact increase to nearly a million. It also led to one of those rare occasions when I attended a gig. Despite being a big music fan over the years, live music has rarely been a passion of mine but after helping successfully save 6Music I went to 6Fest as kind of a vote of thanks towards people who’d contributed far more than myself towards the cause. The gig itself was entertaining, enjoyable and even led me to discover an indie band I’d not encountered before. The Modified Toy Orchestra may not be to everyone’s taste but they embrace the experimental side of electronic music that I’ve enjoyed hearing since The Art of Noise first came to my attention in the early 80s.
Jumping to the summer I attended the most memorable fan meet up of the year. Tony Gallichan of The Flashing Blade an entertaining and insightful Doctor Who podcast had had the bright idea of inviting his listeners to Hyde Park for a picnic. Roughly 20 of us attended in the end in weather so gloriously good we spent the whole afternoon sheltering under a suitably large tree. We talked, we joked some sang others even podcasted about the event overall the afternoon summed up fan gatherings at their best, a group of like minded people sharing each other’s company and a feel good feeling that comes from our mutual love of Doctor Who.
Reaching the Autumn, in September, thanks to friend and fellow podcaster Luke Harrison I attended Whoverville 2 a great fan run convention held in the unusual venue of a train shed, the event was fun, interesting and certainly the most sociable convention I’ve attended this year. There was a wonderful feeling of equality between the guests on stage and the attendees, hopefully I’ll be able to make it to Whoverville 3 as there simply isn’t enough of this kind of event to attend.
One of the year’s musical highlights for me came back in July when I made a last minute decision to attend The Doctor Who Prom held at The Royal Albert Hall in London. As I was buying one of the proms for a fiver tickets I had to stay in a queue for a dauntingly lengthy six hours but thanks to the weather, atmosphere and company the wait wasn’t remotely as bad as it could have been. I’d never attended a classical concert before and didn’t quite know if I’d enjoy it but the wait and my position in the venue(the arena area) right in front of the orchestra made it an amazing night out. Thanks have to be passed on to both Sheldon Collins and Adam J Purcell who between them helped guide me back to the nearest tube station for my journey home.
Autumn and winter of this year have brought mixed fortunes with our family suffering a burglary, many items have now been replaced but a cloud still hangs over the event as some things can’t esp when laptops full of data were taken. Thankfully the year didn’t end on a total downer with another fan gathering in the shape of The Flashing Blade Winter Warmer on hand to lift mine and others spirits, in 2011 Tony is planning another picnic which will certainly be a highlight of next summer.
So, to end a busy year with much to look forward to in 2011 especially Gallifrey which still seems like a distant dream even though it’s now approaching quickly.