Wednesday, March 23, 2016

(Re)Generation Who II: Bride of the Daleks

This is the story of our trip to the second (Re)Generation Who, where my neighbor eloped with a Dalek and we learned of the terrible scourge that is Cyber-crotch.

When I attended last year, it was very much of a last minute thing. I pestered my friend Jen to attend with me, and I very possibly would have wimped out if she hadn’t been willing to come along. You can read the entire account at this link.

Like any good Hollywood sequel, the second go-round was bigger, better and had a larger cast.

We have:

Me: Josh. Whovian since way back.

Jen Classic: Mrs. Josh. Whovian through osmosis.

Friend Jen: The friend with whom I went last year. Whovian.

Dave: Friend Jen’s husband. He’s a fan of the new show, but not so much of the Classic series.

Actual exchange from when they arrived!
Friend Jen: When we were watching the show, Dave referred to the Doctor as ‘Doctor Who’.
Me: What, is he WOTAN?
Friend Jen: Ha ha ha!
Me: Ha ha ha!
Dave: (sigh)
Me: This is going to be a long trip for Dave.
Nicole and Jeremiah: Our awesome neighbors. They don’t know much about Classic Who, but fortunately I was able to educate them by showing them the proper ranking of the Doctors before Friend Jen could poison their minds with her frimble-framble.

We car-pooled down together and did Doctor Who Mad Libs in the car. On our arrival first thing we saw after entering the hotel was the Dalek in the lobby, and as Nicole would later say, that set the tone for the trip.

We were able to catch a few panels in the evening, the Fifth Doctor Panel and the Companions Panel. I’ve always found Davison’s portrayal of the Doctor a touch bland (although I was very impressed after listening to the Waters of Amsterdam), but he was very engaging. The Companions Panel was interesting. Apparently, Anneke Wills had not been scheduled to be a part of it, but she showed up anyway. They had to scramble to get her another mic and chair. She was drinking something bright blue out of a glass goblet. I have no idea what it was. If I had seen it in another context, I would have figured it was Windex.

Sophie Aldred was also on the panel, and I was really going to get her autograph this time. For reals. I mean it! After all, Ace had been my second big crush, right after Angela Cartwright, and I love the character. She mentioned that there were plans for Ace to appear on the Sarah Jane Smith Adventures, had Liz Sladen not passed on unexpectedly. I would have loved to have seen that.

When asked about amusing costuming mishaps, Sophie told the story of how the silver would come off of the Cybermen costumes during the filming of Silver Nemesis, and the costume designers would have to touch them up between takes. Since the wear was most noticeable up  high on the inside of the legs, they took to calling the condition “Cyber-crotch”. I felt bad for the ASL translator on this panel, who probably never dreamed she’d be signing that particular phrase in front of hundreds of people.

Wearing jeans would have prevented this problem, but Cybermen are only allowed to wear them on casual Fridays in the Death Zone.

We took a break for dinner and booze, and caught some of Hannah Harkness, who was great. Jen Classic and Nicole danced the night away. I’m told the event eventually degenerated into some kind of depraved Dalek prom.
"What about space-prom, Blane?"
I didn’t go to the Second Doctor Panel, but I assume they spent it talking about Tomb of the Cybermen.

The Five-ish Doctors Panel was very well attended, and I wasn’t surprised, as the people at this con are really the target audience, longtime fans who accept the ridiculousness of the program along with its ideals. I’m not sure how it’s possible to enjoy Classic Who without at least acknowledging its shortcomings, and by embracing them, you own them.

I didn’t think I’d have quite the reaction I did to hearing Nick Briggs that I did. He’s the voice of the Daleks, but more than anyone else, he’s the voice of Big Finish, and I listen to a lot of Big Finish. He was on the stage and he mentioned Big Finish and then added “We love stories”. Someone from the audience yelled out “Subscribers get more” and it was great!

He taunted Nicole’s boyfriend, and I felt kind of bad about that, because a lot of work went into that Dalek.

We didn't catch it on tape, but he ends it with a "ha ha" that's especially brutal.

Sophie Aldred’s panel was next, and the convention booklet said Hannah Harkness was supposed to moderate but we got a substitute instead. Sophie was wonderful. She’s the perfect ambassador for the show, and I’m inclined to believe her excitement is authentic. If she’s just pretending to be enthusiastic, well, then, she’s just about the best actor ever to come out of Doctor Who.

Her role on the show ended when the show ended in 1989, and while she’s continued playing Ace in other media, the majority of the questions are about Classic Who. She stopped accumulating material for her vignettes about it more than twenty-five years ago, and she must have told the stories she told us hundreds of times, but it never felt that way and she really seemed to enjoy the act of telling them.

She was just perfect. We were right in the front row. I would have gotten some great pics if the lady with the dragon on her shoulder hadn’t kept darting in front of me.

You know who you are, dragon lady.

I did get a chance to have my picture taken with Sophie. I had to drag the entire team (except for my wife, strangely). I almost missed it, and was the last one in. She was nice, friendly. She pretended not to hear me when I said “Marry me” under my breath. She asked how I was, and when I said “Very nervous”, she said “Oh, don’t be afraid of big, bad Sophie.” The session went well. Here’s our engagement picture.

Yes. I know you can see the top of my zipper. But my fly was up, damnit.


I liked the War Games event. I’m a painful introvert, like a lot of self-identified geeks, but the interaction sparked several conversations that would not have otherwise occurred.

The guys from Ars Paradoxica came across like a bunch of jerks. Pro-tip, don’t interrupt a private conversation to shill for your panel. If you do, don’t refuse a request to scan your War Games badge. I’m never going to listen to your dumb show now.

No one wanted to hear how much I hated Peri. Not the little kid dressed up as Peri, not Nev Fountain. (I never ran into Nicola Bryant, but I assume she would not be interested either.) I couldn’t find a receptive audience for my bitching. Maybe I can host a panel on it next year. "Hating Peri: The Catharsis of Spurious Morality"

(Obligatory disclaimer, all of this is directed at Peri and not Nicola Bryant, who is a lovely person)

I picked up Return to Telos from the vendor room so we’d have something to listen to. It was the most average Cyberman story I’ve ever heard! (It was certainly no Legend of the Cybermen). All the Non-Whovians laughed at the Cybermen’s singsong voices.  Bah! They’re not going to be laughing after cyber conversion, I tell you what.

Geek Boy Press always seems to be at every con I attend, so I’ll link to his excellent work here. Lily can’t wait until the entire wall is covered.

Overall, a wonderful experience I look forward to repeating for years to come.

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