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.

Visual Archive

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Advertisements

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

Visual Archive

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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!

Visual Archive

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

53 Fairy Box Childrens Party – 10th February 2013

Location
Apex Hotel, Dundee 14:00 – 17:00

Mission Report
The first Fairy Box event five years ago occurred the weekend I was cleared to troop with the 501st Legion and the excellent social attended by all the folks who’d travelled so far from south of the border to be there means that I’ve something of a soft spot for it, despite there being very little to the occasion itself.

As one of the handful of (ir)regular Reel Icons events we get here in Scotland, this was the first opportunity to wear the Batsuit in public and a more opportune one couldn’t be asked for as its swarming with kids and, while indoors, there’s would be scope to slip away for a breather or recover should the need to de-kit rear its ugly head, especially important for me given my recent medical problems. It was tough going to make it to the end too, with me using an interim cape without the final chest fastening it meant a great deal of weight across my upper back and shoulders. The heat of so many sugar and e-numbered up kids in the room had it’s pro’s as well as cons though, the resulting buckets of sweat made slipping out of the wetsuit at the end a breeze (and a couple of minutes outside turned it into a highly efficient liquid cooling system!) but was best endured propped up against a wall and it was touch and go for a minute while standing in the photo queue as to whether I’d topple backwards and destroy the cupcake stand…

I’ve mentioned before the surprise and delight of discovering the autograph books the kids are issued with at this event – delight, that is, on my part that first year to not be in armour and asked to provide any. This year was no exception, fortunately I’d come prepared with a pile of Topps Batman Returns-style trading cards to hand out as I didn’t figure Batman signs his name as ‘Batman’ and would settle for drawing a little bat shape on his notes to Commissioner Gordon. Seems simple enough, and perhaps my woozyness wasn’t helping, but it just gets to a point when you’ve drawn a bat shape a certain number of times where it appears your hands just can’t remember which way the pen should move. I’ve no idea what shape some of those kids had in their books when they walked away so hopefully the cards came as some compensation… Didn’t see any laying about on the floor at the end so apparently they were highly prized!

It was highly decent of Rosie to take the time out to come and speak to Julie and I a couple of times during the day and I’m sorry we didn’t get the chance to say cheerio to her before the end. The staff of the Apex Hotel looked after us like kings once again (luckily they don’t search guests bags for their plastic ducks at checkout or we’d have been done up like kippers) and apologies to our fellow ISS (and honorary ISS) members for the limited socializing time on Sunday night, but some of us had to be up and away in the morning for work in the morning…

Visual Archive

This slideshow requires JavaScript.