Hamleys Toy Store, Glasgow 12:00 – 16:00
This was a slightly odd event, surrounded by confusion over the transport and arrival arrangements and most obviously not being under the UKG umbrella. Although the there was as a steady stream of people through the day there were none of the queues that previous Hamleys events have witness and it was probably a bit quieter than they’d have liked. Apparently the footfall in the whole centre was way down over the weekend though because people were wanting to avoid any post-referendum trouble and stayed out of Glasgow.
I hadn’t actually heard of the trouble on George Square at that point but the photographer that was there had said their studio had a large number of cancellations that weekend for the same reason. In fact apparently a fight broke out within Hamleys at one point, but being inside the Dalek at the time I missed it and didn’t hear the details till after.
Those that did venture out seemed pleased to see Barry though and I have to admit I wasn’t too fussed about the turnout personally. Come the last hour I was really done in anyway and it was about all I could do to muster up some feeble dome movement, and didn’t have the energy to do a lot of speaking so if it had been busier I’d probably have to had to call it quits earlier.
St. Enoch Shopping Centre, Glasgow 10:00 – 17:00
It may have taken a couple of false starts, but finally everyone managed to get their ducks in a row for this long mooted event (although ironically “short notice” being one of the reasons for the previous failure to launch) and despite my aversion to early starts Barry was ready to glide out of the door of the shopping centre about 11:00. I was a bit wary of the idea of touring such a public space, especially with only one spotter, but fortunately at that time in the morning St. Enoch’s was still relatively quite. This allowed the press photographer and PR people to get the photos they wanted without too much hassle and meant we were back safely ensconced in the Unexpected Artist gallery space before the place got too busy.
Following a break for lunch, we ventured out again. This time the crowds were much more substantial and the presence of a Dalek was creating a bottle neck on one side of the north wing of shops. With security showing some concern we moved to the more open area below Hamleys, across from the food court and it was like Pied Piper with a trail of folk following in the monochrome menaces’ wake.
Although both Julie and I were slightly reticent about these “tours” it did bring a bunch of extra visitors back to the gallery unit each time we returned so from that point of view I guess it was a success.
Thus far we’d remained on the same floor as the gallery, but buoyed with confidence for our final trip out we dared the lifts to get down for a spin around the ground floor. This created some opportunities for shock reactions as the lift doors opened on the unwary and a stand raising money for children’s cancer awareness received a little boost in bucket donations when we situated ourselves next to them for a couple of minutes.
Unfortunately the resulting newspaper article in the Sunday Sun failed to actually mention the Unexpected Artists gallery in it’s text, instead rather vaguely implying our presence was to promote the new series of Doctor Who, but as the reporter on the day was too scared to approach the Dalek it’s not surprising the facts got muddied.
Loving a good pun, the only slight disappointment for me was that the event didn’t take place at the shopping centre at Braehead. That way the headline could have been a more appropriate “INTU The Dalek”…
SECC, Glasgow 08:30 – 17:00
I think I have a new favourite costume.
Sure it was only down to a confluence of events that led to me being at the MCM Comic Con Scotland with Barry instead of a Batsuit (Martins Thursday night suggestion to bring him and smaller hire car being the two most obvious culprits) but I’m not sure I’d have enjoyed this event as much in another costume. Being inside is an odd situation, it feels almost an open-faced costume, but there’s a level of anonymity like wearing a lid that makes mischief possible. As with Artoo nobody is looking at me, unlike Artoo I’m still in the midst of the interaction… Being sat down all day and having the inside complete with bottled water and snack bar and able to check your phone or 3DS without anyone seeing is great. Sweating away inside an airless box in a crowded atrium not so much…
And man was it was crowded. There’s a shed load of stories about how long folk queued for and even how long it actually took to walk to the end of the admission queue on arrival. All credit to Julie and Fiona, yeah folk in the hall moved out the way quickly when they saw just what exactly wanted to go past them while trying to get me back to the changing area, but had they not been there and it solely down to me I think I’d have been stuck out in the atrium all day.
It was entirely too busy to move a great deal of the time. It was all my spotters and I could do to position the Dalek somewhere on occasion and just remain there for the never-ending succession of photos, but perhaps had I been more aggressive with the forward momentum and less willing to stop for photos there would have been more opportunity for interaction and it would have been a more entertaining troop personally.
The reaction of the public was somewhat surprising, even allowing for the multiple times I heard “yeah I think it’s Warwick Davies inside”. Given the crowd liable to attend this sort of event, it was odd that so many of them were entirely taken aback by the presence of a Dalek at all; I just assume the majority would have seen something like it before in person, even if the smaller kids were amazed. Mind you it’s not often of a Monday morning when asked if I had a good weekend I can say I delighted various young ladies and soaked some nerds in the same day, so all in all a good first outing across the border for Barry his former family should be proud of him…
My only criticism of the event being that from the entrance all the costumers had to fight to try to cross the exceptionally crowded hall to get back to the changing area for breaks and back out again. Next year I’d like to see the facilities in a less awkward place if possible.