Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Collectormania 17 - MK Dons 28th to 30th May 2011

This event was the 99th's annual trip to the MK Don's stadium in Milton Keynes with our good friends at the MK Garrison.  As usual me and Jim stayed at Shaun's B&B in Milton Keynes and were also joined by Craig, Simo, Ian and Marie.  

The trip started at about 10:00am on Saturday morning when we had finished loading my car and were able to set off.  Packing the car had been an effort in itself as there were two of us with three costumes each and one with two costumes plus all over night gear as well. Despite our best efforts, we had to leave one costume  and I decided to leave my Biker Scout armour behind and only take my officer/Juno Eclipse uniform and Memah.  

The journey down to MK took longer than the 2 and a half hours it should have taken as there had been a coach on fire on the M1 and there were serious delays.  In the end the journey took about 4 hours!

On arrival we unloaded the car at Shaun's and then me and Craig put on our uniforms and Jim stayed as Crew before driving the short distance to MK Dons from Shaun's.

For those of you who do not know the MK Dons stadium it is is the coldest place on earth... it is always warmer outside of the building.  The event takes place on the concourse of the stadium which although covered, is open to the elements and to what seems to be a never ending breeze.... a breeze that just seems to cut through you to the bone!

Anyway, we stayed at the event on Saturday afternoon with the MK Garrison until about 5:00pm before returning to Shaun's to get changed and warm before heading off to the home of the Commanding Officer of the MK Garrison [Mick] for a barbecue and for the European Cup Final [yawn!]  The football was on but only in the background and a good time was had by all including a "Happy Birthday" moment for 99th's first birthday and a lovely if not a little slurred speech off Craig.  Mick also did his usual up most to get us all drunk!  I managed to resist his efforts but unfortunately, Marie didn't and on Sunday morning she was not able to join us for the second day of the event until lunchtime. ......  poor Marie!  Never again!!!

Sunday was equally as cold at the MK Dons but I decided that I would still do Memah.  I had invested in a compressor pump and airbrush for my blue face and me and Jim spray painted my face blue before we left the B&B.  Once at the venue, I applied the make up and outfit but was a little unhappy with the way that the spray paint looked... it was quite dry and rubbed off quite easily..... but its all trial and error!

I was joined by two other Twi'leks at the event.... Lorraine who did Aayla Secura and CJ who did Ahsoka Tano.  It was fair to say that we all quite cold and I for one wished that I had my armor on!

Sunday was quite a busy day with lots of punters there but regular breaks were required because of 1) the cold and 2) a break from the tight fitting head dress of Memah [the Lekku] but I had lots of compliments paid to be by other costumers and the public about my costume.
We stayed at the event until about 5:00ish and then it was back to Shaun's to get warm again and try and make myself completely unblue!  Me, Jim , Craig, Simon, Marie, and Ian then went off to a Spanish Tapas bar in MK's Theatre District for tea.  Kindly dropped off there and picked up again by Shaun in his speedy Micra.

Monday was officially the 99th's First birthday and we had a table for the day but unfortunately, Monday's weather was worse than Saturday and Sunday had been.  Not only was it cold but it rained all day. As a result, the event was very, very quiet and at times, when the direction of the wind changed, we got wet on the concourse as well.  Fortunately, I hadn't gone to the effort of doing Memah on this day and wore my officer uniform.
We cut the 99th's birthday cake,  but we'd had enough and were cold and damp by 2:30 so decided to pack up and head back to Shaun's for a cuppa before heading off back home. Feeling in need of some comfort food [in my case pie and chips] we stopped off in Towcester for a bite to eat in a pub where the landlord turned out to be a huge Star Wars fan!  Finally arriving home at about 8:00pm and collapsing in an exhausted heap!

A huge thanks to Ian, Marie, Simo, Craig and Jim from the 99th and all in the MKG, too numerous to mention but especially Mick and Julia.

Here's to the next Collectormania in MK which thankfully will be back where it should be..... in the nice, warm and dry MK Shopping centre... Hooray!!!!   Did I say it was bloody cold!!!

Monday, 23 May 2011

Elstree Studios - Fist Impressions - Sunday 22nd May 2011

The 99th was given the honour of supporting Elstree Studios [The home Of Star Wars] in a huge event which was part of the Elstree Heritage  project which included a revamp of the local train station to add film and TV images and artwork, not just at the train station but also all the way down Shenley Road to Elstree Studios.

The work includes stars in the pavement, banners on lighting columns, vinyl "skins" on empty properties, plaque panels, a specially designed wall sculpture and more. You'll find a few details at www.ElstreeScreenHeritage.org.

This event was also attended by The Rebel Legion and the MK Garrison and for me, started on Saturday with the drive down the M1 towards London.  We had the Craigster with us and seeing as how it was his birthday weekend we stopped off at an Army surplus store that I know of in Ripley.  He was a like a kid in a sweet shop and did not know where to look first but after much browsing a purchase was made of army webbing.  T|his also involved asking a shop assistant how you put it together and wore it only for me to point out that the instructions were next to the display.  

We then continued our drive and arrived at the Ibis Hotel in Elstree early evening and had a surprisingly very nice meal at the hotel restaurant before being joined by Daz, Jo and Neo, Paul, Mel and Cora, Chris, Rob and Darran for a few sherbets but not too many given the big troop the following day! 

The day of the troop started with breakfast at the Ibis and then the arrival of Gary from the MK Garrison with the 99th Garrison Crew T - shirts!  Hooray!!!  

We then had a leisurely morning until about 11 when it was time to make the short journey to Elstree Studios where we needed to be in kit and ready for the first guests at 1:00pm.  I did Biker Scout for this event as I was not sure if the weather would hold out and I didn't fancy my twi'lek becoming streaky blue in the rain. It was also really good to see so much armor in one place at the same time.  We were asked to pose on some old double decker buses and various other locations as the guests arrived - including Barbara Windsor and Burt Kwouk of Peter Sellers and Pink Panther fame -   and then we were transported on those buses to the train station.  You should have seen the look on the faces of the good people of Elstree who were just going about their daily routine on a Sunday only to see a double decker bus go past them full of stromtroopers and two clone troopers, Lord Vader and Yoda on the running board at the back!  There were some serious double takes and looks of disbelief!

Lots of photos were taken at the station with the guests and with Barbara and the weather was actually quite nice - if not a little windy.  After the formal speeches we mingled and posed for more photos and then were transported back to the studios on the buses again!

A hug thanks to Paul for organizing this event and I will now try and name every one who attended..... apologies to anyone I miss but there were so many...... Jim, Craig, Daz, Neo, Jo, Chris, Rob, Darran, Peter, Jeff and Michaela, Kayleigh, Mel, Cora, Julia, Mark, Craig D, Gary, Matt, Clara-Jade, Ian, Martin, Jeff C, Milky, Mark M, Brad, Celine, Mike and Mike D.

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Wedding in Dudley for Karl and Catherine - 14th May 2011

The 99th Garrison was asked by the bride and groom to be part of their wedding day.  We were requested to be at the daytime reception venue [Blakelands Country House, Halfpenny Green, Dudley] in armour for 2:30 to greet the happy couple and guests who were due to arrive at about 2:45pm.  As is the way with weddings though things ran a little late and it was about 3:15pm before they started to arrive. By this time we had had sun shine and rain and more rain and had had to take cover inside. Fortunately, though the sun shine for a few minutes when the bridal party arrived and we were in position thanks to Craig's excellent instructions -   2 stormtroopers at the Gates, 2 Biker Scouts half way up the path and Lord Vader and 2 more stormtroopers at the main entrance.

The hardest thing to do though was not to look at the bridal party as it arrived as myself and Craig had agreed that we would stand to attention, looking straight ahead and then salute as the bride and groom walked past us... I so wanted to look at the limo and the bride's dress but managed to resist and the salute off me and Craig was well received.

Once the guests had arrived the rain came down again and we retreated inside and mingled with the guests as they had their pre-dinner drinks..... not the usual sherry or bucks fizz but bottles of Corona beer or cider!   We did get the chance for some official photos though before the rain arrived which includes one where the groom and his suitably suited party, dropped their trousers to reveal............   ....... their Star Wars underpants!  Fortunately, I had my helmet on to hide my embarrassment.... where was a girl supposed to look!!!  Then  when the guests went into dinner and were all seated we escorted the bride and groom to the top table to the Imperial March.

We also presented the Groom with a receipt from Christies Cancer Trust for their generous donation.

Whilst the guests had their dinner we were provided with refreshments which included Sith Lightning.... a bottle each of strawberry/apple flavoured cider brewed especially for the occasion with a picture of the bride and groom dressed as jedis on the label.  We also took the opportunity to take some photos in the very plush surroundings of Blakelands... a very, very, nice place indeed!  Much grander surrundings than we in the 99th are used to!

We then chatted for a while before going back out to meet the evening guests for a short while and being given more donations for Christies from some of the guests and departed at about 8:00pm as we still had a 2 hour drive up the M6.  

Huge thanks to Steve, Ken, Simo, Craig, Stu and Jim.


Tuesday, 3 May 2011

Star Wars Fan Fun Day at Burnley FC, Turf Moor, Burnley - 2nd May 2011

The organiser of the Star Wars Fan Fun Day annual event at Burnley FC [Neil Livesey] asked the 99th Garrison to support him again at this event.   Neil had arranged for the event to have more space at the Turf Moor this year and had celebrity guests such as ALAN HARRIS (BOSSK), CHRIS PARSONS (4-LOM and K3P0), CHRIS MUNCKE (CAPTAIN KHURGEE), PETER ROY (REBEL TECHNICIAN),LAURIE GOODE (STORMTROOPER AND SAURIN), NICK GILLARD (STUNTS), MIKE EDMONDS (LOGRAY), KATIE PURVIS (MATERNAL EWOK), MICHAEL HENBURY (EWOK), PAUL MARKHAM (IMPERIAL OFFICER) booked for the day.

I decided that this event would be my first official outing for my new Memah Roothes costume and so at approximately 09:20 hours I started to get ready.  After putting on my make-up and both me and Jim fighting with the lekku [in the ladies] to get it onto my head, I finally made my appearance at about 11:20am!  We almost reached the point where it was a case of "sod Memah - get the Biker Scout on" as the lekku really did not want to 1] go on or 2] stay on!  But perseverance and bit of swearing paid off in the end.

The effort it took to get the costume on paid off as Memah was very well received, including one little boy who decided to have his face painted blue so that he could be like me and kept telling his family that he wanted to be the blue lady.  He had his photo taken with me and would not let go of my hand!  Awwww! My first fan!
The lekku was very, very tight though and although the weight of it did not cause me a problem, I did have to have regular breaks every 40 minutes or so, just to take the lekku off and have a 5 minute breather.  Fortunately, after the initial struggle to get the lekku on the first time it went on relatively easily every time after that.... it was all about the angle of approach!

There was a lot of the 99th Garrison at this event, including Ian, Marie and Nigel who had travelled down from the North East and Mick and Steve who had travelled up from Milton Keynes.  We also had an extra guest as well as Stuart Arnold joined us doing various characters from his vast catalogue.  I wish him all the best with his appearance on Britains Got Talent this Saturday 14th May.  He deserves a lucky break!