84 Glasgow Science Centre, Halloween Party 2016 – 28th October 2016

Troop Icons BAT 2015Location
Science Centre, Glasgow 18:00 – 21:00

Mission Report
Noisy as hell and twice as hot, is my overriding memory of our fourth outing to the GSC Halloween Party and unfortunately with our numbers turning up to the event dwindling year on year, it’s not going to be a surprise when one of the other local costume groups muscle us out of it altogether given the unofficial photo stand opportunity set up by a rogue TK that was present.

I’m pretty sure I’ve been meaning to Batman at this event every year since we started, but it’s always been one of the few calendar occasions when Ghostbusting has been appropriate. Having finally achieved the milestone of getting the entirety of the GB Écosse contingent together last year (and of course that movie ruining it as a costume for me for the foreseeable) though it seemed that the Bat’s time had finally come…

…or it least it would have if only I hadn’t entirely forgotten the state of repair of my capes and discovered that the sole of one of the Nike Air boots had exploded while the costume was in storage, covering the majority of parts in powered yellowy-foam debris about three days beforehand.
Fortunately after some frantic cleaning, polishing and running repairs to patch up a cape to wearable standard I was ready to go and -wouldn’t you know it- the place was crawling with mini-Ghostbusters all night!

While just the three of us and Claire Mackie from the Rebel Legion were hardly going to make it onto the TV again this year, but once again this year she did the work of four costumers, interacting with the public and showing a patience and courtesy to some of the… lets say… overly-enthusiastic… kids. And adults.

One child who was enthusiastic in good way, was a tiny little girl, dressed as Batgirl. I first encountered her at the start of the evening when we were positioned near the entrance, both to greet the punters as the arrived and I suspect in a futile attempt to cool down. With the lack of fear or self-consciousness that comes naturally at that age, she quickly approached to say hello and tell “Batman” about her costume. After chatting for several minutes, she waved goodbye and started to wander away, looking back every so often to check I was still there or watching and waving back to her. Throughout the rest of the night regardless of whether we were marching back to the changing facilities, or going upstairs on the escalator (proof right there that science is real, and heat rises; somehow it contrived to be even hotter on the first floor. Luckily we didn’t dare try going to the second, lest I literally melt into a puddle) or awkwardly positioned next to one of the interactive displays whenever she’d wander by she’d stop and have the same conversation with me before waving goodbye and resuming her business, once again looking back in my direction to check I was still waving. At the end of the night, having resumed our position near the doors for people on the way out she passed me one final time and reprised this routine again. I’m not sure she didn’t think it was a different Batman every time or that maybe I looked lonely stood slightly apart from the Star Wars costumes as I was, but I appreciate her taking the time to stop on each occasion…

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69.1 Hayocks Primary Fete – 31st May 2014

Location
Hayocks Primary School Fete, Stevenston 10:30 – 14:00

Mission Report
After last years solo outing I was once again asked back at the last-minute to man the photo stand.  I’d made an attempt to get this out up as an official even this time as they really wanted Star Wars characters as opposed to Batman…  erm… Returning, but unfortunate changes to the command structure here in Scotland prevented that and ironically may make this the last event I attend.

The weather was smashing so the day didn’t really drag at any point.  In the end we managed to get more money than last year from the photo stand which is not bad considering many of the attendees were likely to be the same family’s and kids, but I only heard the comment “you got your picture last year” once during the day.

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65 Hamleys Christmas Extravaganza – 17th November 2013

Location
Hamleys Toy Store, Glasgow 11:00 – 17:00

Mission Report
Perhaps it’s available as a Deleted Scene set a couple of hours after the opening fight with the Red Triangle Circus Gang, but I don’t recall a sequence in Batman Returns where Michael Keaton has trouble getting up or down the stairs in Wayne Manor. Then again that fight was over substantially quicker than the six hours I spent in the Batsuit for the Hamleys Christmas Extravaganza, so maybe that explains why he still had feeling in his legs afterwards.
Another curious oversight would be Alfred’s washing line of sweat-sodden underpants and socks stretching across the width of the Batcave but, I digress…

Positioned on the floor below Hamleys itself I didn’t get to see the others attending this troop, beyond Boba Fett or a Cylon in passing, however the was a near constant procession of kids, babies (and the occasional adult) all day for photos which meant the time passed pretty quickly. The demand was such in fact that I had to be retrieved having only had a couple of bites from my 15:00 sandwich lunch as a substantial queue had already built up in the time it took me to walk back to the Management Suite!

As a downside to this I did feel some of the kids were rushed through slightly, with the next set moving in to position before the previous lot had stepped out of frame. Judging by some of their Joker-like smiles the majority of them seemed happy enough though, even if my interaction was essentially asking them their names, introducing myself and asking the if they wanted a picture each time, making it slightly awkward when some were returning a second and third time.
Many were proud to display their Bat-related t-shirts and tops, the couple sporting Superman sweatshirts being reassured that I could totally beat him in a fight.
Also, I have to wonder what the babies that had their picture taken with Batman holding them are going to make of those photos in a few years…

As always the Hamleys staff looked after me well, wrangling the crowd and coaxing those brave enough to spend time queuing, but maybe having second thoughts when it was time to approach and thanks should go to our security guard escorts, who’s name I unfortunately did not catch for watching over me for the duration.

Might have to attach a pouch to my utility belt for the storage of gifts in future if my haul of a chocolate gold coin and two drumstick lollies is anything to go by. However the best gift of the day would not have fitted, being a small boy who turned back after his photo to reassure me that I was by far the best Batman he’d met and that my voice was really, real causing a momentary break of character as a grin broke out on my otherwise grim visage.

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59 Dalry Nursery, Fundraising Event – 13th July 2013

Location
Dalry Community Centre, Dalry 12:00 – 16:00

Mission Report
Yeah, it’s probably a bad sign, when it takes me over a month to produce a field report for an event and probably indicates that I’m not having much fun with trooping, when I reproduce all the conversations I had on the day with two of the helpers verbatim in comic book form… Dalry Field report 1Dalry Field report 2Dalry Field report 3Dalry Field report 4Dalry Field report 5

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57.1 Hayocks Primary Fete – 1st June 2013

Location
Hayocks Primary School Fete, Stevenston 11:00 – 14:00

Mission Report
Felt a bit weird trooping by myself at an event, but helping out my former school was always going to be a really quiet affair, so it wasn’t worth the hassle to try to involve any of the other Scottish contingent in it and keep the whole arrangement under the table.

In the end they raised £2418 (£30 just from photos with me, possibly more if the subjects want a bigger copy of it, though I guess that’ll depend on whether Julie manage to take any with the supplied camera without blurring them as she can be prone to do!) I feel somewhat consoled that the majority walked away with at least a Batman trading card for their donation in the event that’s the case though.

It was slightly surreal to engage one of my old teachers from nearly 30 years ago in conversation while in costume. Unfortunately she left before I had a chance to explain who I was properly after de-kitting, then again Miss Hutchinson was always more of a Return of The Jedi or Garfield fan as I recall…

It was nice to be asked to draw the raffle prize winners at the end of the day, although I wish I’d realised there was 64 of them before agreeing to it!

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