Converging at Conventions part 1

This is a tale of a historical meeting. Or at least it would be if we were historical figures, but for the sake for this story let’s put on our imagination caps and think of this as an adventure like one of our favorite Doctor Who stories.

This story starts out just like any other, with a man. This particular man decided to board a plane the day after his birthday and travel across the world to meet two friends for the first time.

You see once upon a time guy named Anthony Dry decided he wanted to start a website about Doctor Who, soon enough he found Christian Cawley, who also had an interest in doing the same. For a few months the two would run this site and form a friendship, all the while never meeting in person. Then in January of 2005 they decided to redesign it.

This is where I come in.

I happened along the site one day and soon after began writing reviews and articles for them as well as forming a friendship with the two. Now if you are keeping track that is three people running a website who have never ever met.

Now then fast forward a few more months to the plane trip mentioned above.

As fate would have it I was planning a trip to the UK in the interest of travel and dare I say adventure. While I was planning this, Tenth Planet was planning the Dimensions 2005 convention at the Swallow Hotel in Stockton on Tees.

The idea came that the three of us should attend this convention in hopes to promote the site, but more so to meet up, spend some time with friends.

Now it’s 6:20pm on Thursday November 10, 2005. I hand over my passport to the man at the desk named Byron. He asks me all sorts of questions trying to find out if I am a terrorist or not, and who can blame him after looking at my passport picture. As I am about to walk away he say to me, “Happy belated Birthday”, “How nice” I had thought, “I guess this means I’m not a terrorist”.

The flight itself was pretty uneventful so we’ll jump to seven hours later where I land in Manchester, England. It was here that I was to meet Anthony for the first time. One problem, I have only ever seen his art style head shot from the Kasterborous site. Would I recognize him?

It’s 8:20am November 11, 2005. I am waiting in the airport looking for anyone who resembles Anthony’s picture. No luck, the only thing that hits me is a Limo driver who looks like Pete from “Shawn of the Dead” holding a sign saying “Mr. Bolton”. Surely he couldn’t mean THE “Mr. Bolton”? Well, I decided it didn’t matter, what mattered more was the look of death he kept giving me expecting that I would, at any moment, snap to and say, “Oh wait a minute, I am Mr. Bolton”.

I never caved to his evil stare; instead I was more distracted by two things. One is the fact that it is now 10:00 am or so and still no Ant. The second would be that I have no return ticket back home. This ticket theme would seem to haunt us the rest of the trip.

Wait a minute this guy just patted me on the back and said “Are you alright then mate?” It didn’t take me to long to realize that this was Ant, he was every bit the nice guy he always seemed online. Thank God he showed up too because I had thought that he had overslept. He told me of the bad traffic that he has encountered on the way over. That and that he had overslept.

We headed to Liverpool where I met Ant’s parents, very friendly people, and his Dog Harry. I watched my first episode of “Space 1999” and soon after we started our 3 hour drive to Redcar to finally meet up with Christian.

45 minutes into our drive to Redcar now, and things are going well. We are getting along as if we had always hung out and soon we’ll see how it goes with Christian. Er, well, that is if we didn’t have to turn around because Anthony forgot his ticket to the convention.

Back at Ant’s house we get the ticket and restart our journey… The three hour tour has now turned into a five hour trip for those who are keeping track.

Now remember that Anthony and Christian have never met nor have they spoken on the phone – somehow the American of the group,(that would be me) met one of the two site originators before they ever had the chance to – and yet they live in the same country. I mention this because Ant decides to warn Christian that we will be late.

They spoke for the first time over the phone, and this is what I heard: “Is this Christian?” (pause) “You don’t sound like you’re from the north.”

To save time we’ll skip the next 4 hours and get right to Redcar. It would seem that every road is properly labeled, well every one but Redcar Lane.

Good thing for us that Anthony has perfect directional skills, and when he turns us around in the right direction we get to see Christian’s head plastered against his front window like a kid waiting for Santa Claus.

8:30-ish, we’re here we made it. It’s late, and I am jet lagged. Christian and his wife Ceri are fantastic. They had the table set for a lovely dinner prepared by Christian himself.

It was at Christian’s that I would be introduced to another cult classic “The Professionals,” which I promptly slept through. No fault to the show itself, but I am in need of a bed.

It is now the 12th of November and I am sleeping very well, until a Cyberman voice at the door wakes me up. Christian has put on his best impression of a Cybermen, or at least that’s how it sounded to Ant and myself; Christian will tell you another story.

It’s the convention day, and time to catch a train, we have to hurry though as we may miss the train and then need to wait a half hour or so for the next one. Things are going well. We get a block away from Christian’s house and a block closer to the train station. What could go wrong? Had to ask… Ant pauses in his tracks; he’s forgotten his ticket… again.

Next up…Part 2

Leave a Reply