I won’t say I told you so, but I had real doubts about the wisdom of this midnight opening in Govan from the start and unfortunately in terms of attendance by the public my fears were born out, with around a total of 15 punters on the night with varying levels of interest in our presence, leading to time being called on the event by the store before 01:00.
Not to dwell overly on the negative, but trooping works best when there are people to interact with and unfortunately for the two in armour they were left to contend with a very boring period of standing around in a hot and uncomfortable environment, which didn’t lend well to demonstrating the UKG doing what it does best, a statement which I hope is about the most negative thing I ever have to write in a field report for the whole time I take part in these troops.
On the positive side, the staff of the branch made us feel hugely welcome providing us with facilities for food and drink, and spacious (well there were only two using it) changing facilities for the TKs, as well as more than ample space to store Artoo and all his equipment prior to our 23:30 debut.
Personally I’ll remember this event for it being the little droids public debut and not the though. I’ve found it difficult in playing droid wrangler to get an impression on the night of how the people who encountered him reacted, the role best suited to being somewhat removed and out of sight of the action, and I felt he’d been somewhat overlooked by dint of his lack of mobility due to the slidey floor tiles which his little castors had trouble achieving purchase on and reduced him to a dome spinning and beeping presence. The feedback I’ve had since though seems to confirm that both adults and children (and security guards) were over the moon to see him and some serendipitous timing with his bank of sound samples led to at least a couple of punters leaving with the impression that it was a genuine conversation they’d had with him.
Of the good to come out of it, my mother made it along as on of our few members of the public to her first ever troop and took the opportunity to indulge in some late night toy shopping (which enabled me to score some Clone Wars figures by judiciously slipping them into the basket when she wasn’t looking); this was definitely an ideal environment to iron out the bugs in R2 and his control systems, without leaving anyone potentially disappointed in his restricted level of mobility and the manager is very definitely set on having us back during more sociable hours in future.
The stint outside (which no doubt led to several domestics between couples torn between completing their late night shopping and stopping to play with the Stormtroopers) also gave us a laugh when at least one “Glesga Jakey” probably forswore any substances stronger than tea in future, when he looked back and saw the two figures in white didn’t vanish after he’d struggled past with his Asda bags as his DT hallucinations usually do…