Dimension Jump XIX

by Seb Patrick

Friday Night

In a continuation of DJ XVIII's styling, the Crowne Plaza Hotel is once again covered in décor and signage that makes visitors feel like they're stepping into a bustling space port on Mimas or Io - a JMC recruitment advert here, a poster for the Peter Beardsley-starring Casablanca there. Indeed, the signage dominates the hotel so much that a fire crew, responding to a trapped lift emergency, mistakes an Xpress Lifts sign for actual technical information...

Adding to the sense of immersion is the introductory sketch, which has gone from being the simple hello from the team members that it was in the old days, to a full-on multimedia-meets-stage extravaganza. In in-flight instructional video featuring the voice of Rebecca Blackstone and the clearly-having-a-ball face of Mark Dexter sets the tone, before an unexpected interruption - a warning message from a Space Corps pilot named... Michael McGruder?

Debate over the official canonicity of this sequence will rage fiercely, but it sets up a narrative that will run throughout the weekend, as the area is "locked down" and fan club team members Alex, Carrie, Joey and Shelley attempt to track down a rogue Polymorph on the loose...

After this entertaining introduction, it's straight in to DJ's oldest and finest Friday night tradition: the pub quiz. Always a fantastic way to get fans mingling and socialising (and, occasionally, arguing over answers), this year it also serves as Mark Dexter and Lucie Pohl's introduction to the fans, as the pair serve as joint quizmasters. They throw themselves into the role with joyful abandon, and quickly begin to side with the audience when it becomes apparent just how difficult the questions are. In particular, an observation round based on Polymorph darned near leads to mutiny in the room, with even the most hardened quizzers struggling to keep count of exactly how many times the beast transformed...

With "Skellington Twister Appreciation Society" crowned as this year's champions - for once, without even the need for a tie-breaker, as they score an impressive 45/55 - it's time to bring on childrens' TV legend (and hardcore Dwarf fan) Dave Benson-Phillips, returning to Dimension Jump after a triumphant debut appearance in 2015. Dave is here to steer us through the evening's entertainment, and on Friday night that means only one thing: karaoke. It's a raucous, fun-filled end to the first night, especially when Dave starts to join in - and it's rounded off, as these things so often are, by a group rendition of Bohemian Rhapsody.

As some attendees retire for the night, while others head to the bar area to try out such culinary delights as Tastes Just Like Space Weevil (Jacket potatoes and salad) and Lister's Lunch Box (sadly no Sugar Puff sandwiches available), thoughts already turn to what Saturday will bring...