Plan B: (Not quite a) Con Report

What do A Team fans do when their convention is cancelled at the last minute?  Why, go anyway of course!

Which was how I found myself on my way to Bournemouth for a weekend of video watching and fannish socialising.


Friday 28th February

After a brief (from this end) panic over the theft of Sar's bag we arranged to meet up in Gloucester for the car ride down to Bournemouth.  For once I found myself on a very comfortable train from Cardiff which made up for the Flying Biscuit Tin from Swansea. 

Traffic and weather were not friendly to drivers and I realised how lucky the A-Team were to always have good weather for their car chases.  We never got to see B.A. aquaplaning the van over stealth puddles in the road though I'm sure he'd be very good at it.

Once in Bournemouth we drove around in circles for a while before resorting to a map (the Team never got lost on their way anywhere either did they) and discovered that every other street in Bournemouth seems to be named Exter Something.  We looked rather sadly at the BIC where we might have been had things been different but soon found the Arlington which was to be the base for the weekend and the rather more low-budget (but very friendly) accommodation of the Babbacombe Court B&B where I was staying.

We settled our stuff then headed out for recon and a supply run (to pick up a bag of sugar to welcome Alex to his room.)  We also met up with Mr and Mrs Scamman in a confused encounter at the hotel front desk.  I suspect he wondered who these strange looking people asking about him were.

Sar seemed to have been appointed Chief Fan Wrangler by the hotel as they directed to the next arrivals (a mixed group from Canada and Kent) straight to her.

Alex arrived soon after, to be greeted by a giggling Sar and me.  By this time tiredness had started to lead to hysteria and we were getting a bit silly.  There was some discussion on how the bars on the windows could be put to more productive use before Jips arrived bearing videos and photos (we tried not to dribble over them too much.)

Next up was the Shriners dinner at (we discovered) a very posh seafood restaurant on the sea front.  The food was not exactly cheap but very tasty and prettily arranged. 

For some reason my choice of pigeon salad was a source of amusement for the rest of the weekend.  As far as I can see though, not having eaten something before is a perfectly good reason to have it. ;-)

The evening's conversation wandered all over but there was (of course!) a lot of TAT chat and discussion of favourite moments both humour and action.  Also a very long debate on the merits of various rollercoasters.  Consideration was given of how the Team might have escaped the restaurant without paying but we mere mortals paid up meekly after having one of the staff take a couple of pics.

I was struck by how immediately we all got along like we'd known each other for ever.  I've been to a fair few fannish gatherings and while they've always been fun I've rarely felt so instantly and utterly at home.


Saturday 1st March

We'd planned to meet up to start the video session at about 12ish so I spent the morning breakfasting and having an explore around Bournemouth.  The St. David's cross was flying over the pier and a long way from home with my daffodil in my hat I was quite touched by it.

After another supply run--this time by Alex--for a multiplug so we could actually turn both the telly and video on at the same time, we were ready to go.

We kicked off with the pilot which several people, including me, had never seen, and which notoriously generates mixed opinions.  Personally I liked it, once I mentally readjusted to the lack of Dirk Benedict.  It was a good intro to the characters and many of the elements which would become so associated with the show were all in place.  I thought Amy had a good introduction too--I adore the look on her face when they're drugging B.A.

It would have been interesting too see what Dirk would have made of the Face role as written in that ep.  I could easily 'hear' the dialogue coming from him.

There's always and extra something watching eps with other fans and when we put the next ep ('Till Death Do Us Part) on I had a daft grin on my face from before the credits started.  It's a good ep anyway and some of the funnier moment were enhanced even further by the giggling anticipation from most of the room who knew what was coming and were laughing before the actual scenes half the time.

Jips had brought along a load of TAT related tapes so we took a break from eps to watch some of them starting with a visit the cast made to Holland while the series was still filming.  It various from hilarious to downright weird and truly defies description.  All I can say is--I thought we were enthusiastic about the show but the absolutely mad adoration they were getting from the Dutch fans went so far as to be intimidating!

Next up was the TAT episode of Fanorama featuring Jips and Scamman competing in an TAT themed quiz.  The questions varied from simple trivia to 'spot the plot which isnít an episode' and 'spot the kids drawing which isn't of Hannibal'  (Did Scamman get an extra point for spotting that the odd one out was meant to be Murdock?)  Another highlight was the round where they got to play with paintball guns--Scamman looked very happy with his.

Everyone remembers the A-Team and this was demonstrated in two of those TV nostagia type shows.  "B.A. ain't getting on no plane" and tanks out of lawnmowers seem to be the staple icons of the show.

I'm not exactly a fan of Graham Norton but his interview with Dirk Benedict was interesting when he actually managed to talk to him as opposed to playing silly buggers.

By this time we'd apparently managed to intimidate the normal guests in the hotel and so, after some group photos, we disbanded to head home or in the Shriners' case in search of food.

After a circular walking talk of Bournemouth, Sar, Alex and me ended in MaccyD's.  Bit of a comedown from pigeon salad but distinctly more affordable.  The happy meal toy left me feeling rather cheated though as it was one of those that's designed to fit together with half a dozen others so you eat cheap burgers 'til they come out of your ears.  Still it included a pen and a whistle which had potential for bugging people on the train home.


Sunday 2nd March

My hotel turned out to be full of mad knitters who were causing a ruckus at breakfast.  ("Help help I'm being intimidated--they're making me feel like a normal person!")

I spent the morning sprawled across my bed scrawling fanfic longhand.  The 'writing  a scene from 3 different POV's' was still rattling around in my head from the fanfic writing workshop at the previous weekend's Redemption con, and I had an image in my head (of Murdock with a kite) which had to be committed to paper.

Managed to miss Sar and Alex at the Arlington so had another wander round Bournemouth.  Managed to find the scenic route between the two hotels so walked along the beach.  Got asked directions by another even more lost-looking holidaymaker and ummed and pointed vaguely.

Caught up with Sar and Alex in time to see the tail end of the Court Martial eps before we got ready to hit the town.  (Jumping Jak's does indeed play the cheesiest music in the world)


Monday 3rd March

Didn't want to go home!

Checked out of the hotel and went to meet Sar and Alex.  Wandered the streets of Bournemouth in search of breakfast, eventually ending up in some odd, round building very very chocolatey hot chocolate.

Wandered down to the pier and bought some rock.  Laughed at Sar and Alex on the arcade games and considered the possibilities of doing silly Murdock-ish things with the flight sim.

Have I mentioned I didn't want to go home?

Ate sticky rock and left over Doritos on the train back and go looked at oddly.

So when do we get to do it again? :-)


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