Hooray! It was the day of the Bournemouth Film and Comic Convention. We did it last year and this time, I had 2 special targets for signed photos who were Lance Henriksen (Bishop in Aliens, as well as 2nd daft comedy-cop in The Terminator) and Carl Weathers (Apollo Creed, as well as CIA spook in Predator).
I would like to say I paid attention to the journey (including parking on the A31 outside Ringwood, and going right round 2 roundabouts when signage was insufficient) but I didn't, because I was reading my Minecraft book the whole way.
But then we parked on the roof of the car park attached to the BIC (Bournemouth International Centre) and it was all familiar again. We didn't bother with going on the pier this time, and I've seen the beach and the cliffs and the gardens so we just went straight in.
A Comicon is a massive shopping opportunity, really, you can get Lego minifigures and model Terminators and swords and Deadpool masks and Star Wars mugs and Alien jewellery and Rocky Balboa T-shirts and Gandalf beards and Minion models and Pokémon badges and signed photos of Arnold Schwarzenegger for only £250 and if you're prepared to queue up, celebrities of all sizes will sign a promo picture for you.
Today was VERY strong on Cosplay. This is where you dress up as a film, comic or cartoon character of your choosing, just for the hell of it. Bud went as Captain Jean-Luc Picard, but we met Lt Ellen Ripley, a lot of Reys from Star Wars 7, a few Predators, some Breaking Bads, and a huge number of cartoon girlies with pneumatic chests because that's the way the comic artists draw them, suits me.
So we toured the numerous stalls and bought a Star Wars shirt saying support our troops, one saying I am the god of tits and wine, a Bishop the Synthetic Humanoid from Aliens, a clay model Gengar, a Lego minifigure Gengar, a Minecraft Iron Golem, and we asked about our 2 autograph-signers.
Carl Weathers had cancelled due to filming in Chicago. Lance Henriksen had cancelled. Even Kristanna Loken (Terminator 3) had cancelled. Ray Park (Darth Maul) had a queue stretching into the sea so we got the Green Cross Code man sitting next to him.
When he wasn't advising on road safety, Dave Prowse was in Clockwork Orange and also played Darth Vader. He is now quite old but content to spend his twilight years signing photos for £20 a time. In fact, I think this is the 4th time (may the 4th) we've seen him at one of these conventions. He asked me about how I came by my name. Look, it's Darth Maul behind me, with his double-ended Light Saber.
Then we had lunch in the Slug and Lettuce on Richmond hill, just like last year, and I stuffed myself on the adult scampi + chips, leaving only 2 scampis and a couple of chips before rupturing internally.
Then we went back into the convention, because you've bought the entry tickets and got your hand stamped so to not go back in would be a waste. Then we got a Predator poster, a Terminator poster and a massive Harry Potter poster (150 cm x 100 cm) all for my bedroom wall and a Charmander badge and he wanted to get me the Yoda T-shirt where it says Shut up the F*** you must but I said I wouldn't wear it. We both liked the T-shirt that said now I have a machine gun, ho-ho-ho. I might draw that onto a shirt myself.
And that was it, really, so we drove home in the rain (nope, still reading) and prepared to go to Johnny and Robert's Dad's birthday party, gosh, isn't 50 old. It was at the tennis club by the D-Day Museum and initially I was uninterested in communication because they were all playing tennis in the dark, choosing instead to play on the tablet, then we had a mass balloon fight and invented a game where you chase each other round the building and I got to bed near 0100. You know where you learn something new every day? I learned to blow up a balloon.