86 Dreams Come True shopping experience at Hamleys – 6th November 2016

Location
Hamleys Toy Store, Glasgow 10:00 – 12:00, erm… 08:00 – 10:00

Mission Report
There seems to be a reoccurring pattern of us turning up for events at St. Enoch’s when we’re not expected, the latest occasion of which was for this troop. Somewhere, amongst the Chinese Whispers between the chain of folks involved in us actually being allowed to turn up at events these days, the start time for this got mixed up with the equivalent event in Manchester, thus the majority of us arrived (an hour ahead of our start time) just as the Shopping Experience was coming to an end…

Due to our long relationship with the Hamley’s staff though they were happy to open the store to the public early and have us wander about for a few hours regardless. Although the place was quiet at that time of day there were a decent number of punters passing through the shop and even in the slower periods… well… the staff there are highly versed with keeping immature minds occupied and wandering hands from pulling all the stock off the shelves!

Cementing his place as most sickeningly talented member of the squad, Yee not only managed to knock out an accurate rendition of the Star Wars theme on the piano, but somehow did it using his feet. And while fully kitted up as a Stormtrooper.

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85 Disney Star Wars GO Rogue Experience – 30th October 2016

Location
Disney Store, Glasgow 12:00 – 16:00

Mission Report
Unexpectedly returning to the Disney Store for a third engagement (and doubling my troop count for the year in the past fortnight as a result, a figure not seen since the heady days of 2010) I was presented with the opportunity to change from spotting to trooping.  With the restrictions on costumes considered appropriate by Disney though, I had a bit of a dilemma in that my Biker Scout is getting on a bit to the extend its trooping days are probably numbered and it was too short notice to charge up Artoo leaving only my untried and untested Jawa.

Kitting up for the first time since the clearance pictures was quick enough, but I ran into problems with the sound module.  A slight crackle whenever the audio jack was connected indicated that there was a fault with the board and that left me incommunicado for the duration of the troop.
It also became quickly apparent, before even leaving the changing room in fact, that this costume was excessively hot to wear.  Indeed within ten minutes the sweat was pouring down my face, not helped by my feeling that Jawas shouldn’t really stand still and my constant scurrying around!

Initially my mischievous behaviour included trying to relieve passers by of their jackets and fleeces, but I had to quickly abandon this when the second or third victim appeared quite content to be fully divested of his garment instead of pulling away and fighting me for the prize.

Instead I positioned myself behind the troopers in attendance, partially obscured by the entrance pillars allowing me to pop out and photo bomb pictures of them with various members of the public, returning to concealment before anyone other than whoever was wielding the camera was aware of my presence until the photo was viewed later.  In between, I could peer out of the adjacent section of glass shop frontage until noticed by a passer-by vanishing from view by the time they had alerted whoever they were accompanied by to look in my direction, leaving more than a few folk befuddled.
In fact one such game of repeated hide and seek with a small lad and his unenlightened sister went on for so long, that a good 20 minutes after my last appearance at the window he was still hanging about.  So it was that later on when I heard banging at the glass I assumed he had returned yet again, but saw a gent crouched on his haunches concentrating on transferring his various purchases into a backpack.   He spent a considerable amount of time on this task, under my constant beady glowing-eyed observation entirely unawares of my presence until eventually, task complete, he looked up and saw me, immediately falling backwards onto his behind in good-natured shock.  Which was probably kind of lucky for me because he was a big chap and I doubt I could’ve run particularly fast in the robe had it been a requirement…

As I mentioned earlier, contrary to my previous statue modus operandi at this location, the costume seemed to dictate constant nervous movement so it came as massive surprise to overhear a conversation between two teenage girls about how the Jawa clearly wasn’t real and was clearly and inflatable.  Playing along with this I limited my activity to a gentle bobbing back and forth in the one sport until they were entirely convinced their observation was correct and then just as they turned to leave moved my arms to a different position, causing them to bolt across the shop floor towards the exit with a scream.

All in all not an unpleasant experience, but the inability to communicate made it an odd one.  The sinister blank-faced visage perhaps isn’t suited to an event like this where very young children are coming into the environment unawares and it’s probably a costume that needs…  more…  I dunno… interaction… be it appropriate props, sounds or to be in a bunch of them.  Strange too that after hearing a couple of comments from the public in the same store the weekend before about having traded with the Jawas at Hollywood Studios, and despite carrying a pouchful of tat, not a single person approached me to try and do this all day!

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83 Disney Star Wars GO Rogue Experience – 23rd October 2016

Location
Disney Store, Glasgow 12:00 – 16:00

Mission Report
back at the store the next day, our TB numbers bolstered by Kylo Ren and a Stormtrooper, it was mostly more of the same.  The public turnout was noticeably lower, likely related one way or another to that afternoons clash between local rival teams.
Our increased contingent meant that we were divided between the door and stage areas of the Store and while I kept myself amused with more statue behaviour (yeah, honestly mate your wife is dead wrong about me being real too, they would definitely have three people moving about in costumes and one random mannequin on display, you keep telling her) at the door there just wasn’t the flow of people passing by to avoid the day dragging.

Curiously a photographer turned up wearing a 501st Legion t-shirt, though clearly not a member of the organization, claiming to be from Jedi News.  Even though they sold some of those garments off to benefit Medicinema, I dislike that approach as it comes off as an attempt by a third-party to give themselves a level of legitimacy by trading on our name…

Rotating out to the stage at the back of the store unfortunately dried up the flow of the public to a trickle despite the best efforts of our spotter to direct the photo seeking people at the door in our direction, it’s probably the top draw they want to have in that position as two more random costumes just wasn’t enticing enough to lure the punters so far back into the store.  Thus it was a struggle to make it to the 16:00 finish, ending the weekend on a slightly damp squib; albeit through nobodies fault, except perhaps the Scottish Football Associations scheduling department!

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82 Disney Star Wars GO Rogue Experience – 22nd October 2016

Location
Disney Store, Glasgow 11:00 – 15:00

Mission Report
Firstly, apologies again to BatBoss Hailes and Steve Smith for rudely awakening them both by having to call them first thing on Saturday morning due to a bit of a communication hiccup at the organizers end.

Once that hurdle had been cleared and my fellow Biker and I had “knitted” up in the management suite upstairs we made out way down to the shop and positioned ourselves either side of the entrance.  Our positioning was such that the constant flow of customers into the shop had to bypass us, possibly to the discomfort of some of the more fragile children, and regardless of which direction the people out in the centre were coming from at least one of us was visible to further lure them towards Disney’s tills.

It’s been a while since I entertained myself by playing “statues” at a troop, but the position we were in lent itself easily to such shenanigans and even when observing my much more animated counterpart folks were still arguing with each other that I was just a statue.  As a bonus our position meant we were right below the air conditioning vents all day too!

It was because I had been buoyed by (most of) the experience of spotting at the Glasgow Film and Comic Con that I’d signed up to this to begin with, but I admit to not being keen to do this event the closer it got once it dawned on me that there would be no charity donation from the House of Mouse for our services (and even less so when it turned out to be two days on deck and not just the one!) however despite being initially unaware of our attendance the staff of the store looked after us like champions throughout the day.  Costume malfunctions aside, would I do it again?  Well, I sort of had to

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71.1 Exclusive Doctor Who Poster Giveaway – 20th September 2014

Location
Hamleys Toy Store, Glasgow 12:00 – 16:00

Mission Report
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.

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