Dimension Jump XVII

by Seb Patrick

Friday Night

Fans arriving to register on Friday afternoon immediately note that the Birmingham City Centre Holiday Inn has been given something of a Space Corps-themed facelift, with posters indicating arrival at Mimas Central station, home of the JMC Recruitment Centre. Similarly clever designs adorn the walls at every turn - including adverts for holographic light bees, the floor map of the Trojan Quantum Twister, and even special "his and hers" Holly and Hilly designs on the bathroom doors.

The fan club team have gone through something of a regeneration since the last event, with old hands - headed up by chairman James and event co-ordinator Jo - joined by a batch of new, hungry young guns determined to make their mark. Two of the new team, Alex and Carrie, open proceedings with a zingy, patter-filled introduction: "Red Dwarf X was the first full series in thirteen years! Think of what you could be doing with that time! Thirteen years sitting around and waiting, or thirteen years trying to get a movie version off the... ah."

"I was asked to host an intense, high-powered quiz. Unfortunately, it didn't arrive, so we're doing this one." You wouldn't know it, but this is Tony Hawks' first time at a convention. "They've been asking me to do one of these for years, I've just never been able to. In fact, I never really thought I was worthy, because I wasn't in it very much - but then I realised, as the warm-up act, I was actually the very first person involved in Red Dwarf!"

After thirty questions of varying difficulty - the answers to a surprising number of which just happen to be "Tony Hawks" (with points deducted from anyone who dares to say Tony Slattery) - the quiz comes down to a crucial tie-break between representatives of two teams. The all-important question concerns the number of times the word "smeg" is said onscreen between Series I and X, with two good guesses of 240 and 215 getting remarkably close to the actual figure of 255.

Quiz out of the way, it's time for the now-annual tradition of Friday night karaoke. With many attendees popping off for food and drink, it's a little slow to get started - but one fan takes the opportunity to get through as many Frank Sinatra songs as there seem to be in existence. Things quickly liven up as the room fills back up and more drinks are quaffed, and the evening ends on a pleasantly raucous note. Your correspondent would like to state for the record, however, that Alexei Sayle's "Ullo John Gotta New Motor" is rather difficult to perform when entirely the wrong lyrics come up on the screen...

As fans continue to mingle in the bar, reacquainting with old friends and making brand new ones, we make our way to the stasis booths in preparation for the first full day, a day destined to be forever known as... Saturday.