DoctorCon 1992 Comments
DoctorCon 1992 took place in the Newtown Community Centre, Wellington on 18-19 January 1992 this year. It was organised by the Wellington Chapter with some assistance from the NZDWFC coordinators. The convention proceeded smoothly, ran on time and met all its expenses - these all being things which a number of New Zealand conventions in recent years have failed to do.
More importantly everyone seemed to enjoy the con. I would like particularly to congratulate Paul Rigby and Matthew Eglinton on their competent running of registration and the video programme respectively - these 'behind the scenes' jobs were perhaps the least noticed but among the most important in contributing to the success of the event - and of course to the committee as a whole. Congratulations!
Debate: Not as farcical as last year, but pretty much a failure. The Season 17 debate would have been infinitely better.
Next Regeneration: Lots of fun and some interesting ideas came through... notice the number of 'grim 'n' gritty' Doctors/companions suggested.
Role Playing: Worked much better than I expected. Plenty of people participated and I'm fairly sure everyone enjoyed themselves, even Blair 'Blonde Permed Twit' Rhodes who was given a bimbo as a character and didn't do anything the whole time.
MacDonald's: 5½ each. I wouldn't have believed it if I hadn't seen it... 5½!
Slip-up: More successful than anyone expected. If only we'd been able to rehearse it...
Video Making: 'The Toaster of Fear' has to rank right up there with Ghost Light and The Curse of Fenric. It was utterly brilliant and made the rest of the Wellington Chapter videos look like slime. Brilliant performances by the Doctor and his disappearing dozen companions. Bonus marks to Jeff Stone for his kit-kit-kit-kit sequence...
Writers' Workshop: Fairly good, interesting and all that... make it longer and better for '93 and you have a really good event on your hands.
Doctor Who on Location: Congrats to Jon for making the talk very interesting. I originally had it on my 'avoid' list but went along anyway and was pleasantly surprised.
Battle for the Universe: That was an amazing event. It ran until 6pm, the players were so enthusiastic. Moreover it required little if any supervision. A fun event that took care of itself!
Theatre Sports: Just as fun as I expected it to be. Again, make it longer for '93. It is so much fun.. .a pity no-one else had the guts (stupidity) to choose rhyme for a section. No, it took Reginald Inc. to do it., .well try to do it and fail miserably.
Overall: The convention was a great success. The Happiness Patrol performed their duties with great panache and were very helpful to everyone. There was a general spirit of fun among all congoers that I was surprised to find given the con's size (79 attendees) and limited focus. Perhaps it was those very things that made the con such an experience? Also the venue helped - it was small but not cramped and people couldn't get lost in the place as in some hotel cons. So you'll see me in '93!
DoctorCon 2 was really the most amazing, spectacular, splendid, wonderful con I have ever been to. (That is out of a massive total of three cons). The reason I enjoyed it so much is that without a guest speaker con goers were more interested in getting to know other people at the con. Also I was finally able to put faces to the names I've read so much about in TSV.
I realised during this con that I didn't have the right attitude towards being a fan. My huge collection of Doctor Who books totals five, my incredibly enormous video library consists of the grand total of zero Doctor Who episodes and the last time I watched four episodes in a row was 1989. So thank you DoctorCon for making me realise the error of my ways.
The con events were really fun. The only problem I had was that I am not conversant in Doctor Who language. I can barely name all seven Doctors, let alone name individual episodes (I can already hear the gasps of horror.)
I think I liked the Companion Olympics best, I can still hear the ringing in my ears from the screaming event. I also liked the committee's 'Slip-up' play. Someone went to a great deal of trouble to write it.
Paul Rigby - Happiness Patrol Member
The events consisted of a nice mix of panel type events (such as Land of Fiction and The Making of TSV) and quiz game type events (such as Sale of the Century and Brain Burst). The events seemed well run, fun and interesting.
Of particular note were the auction ($41 for The Savages!), the masquerade (where contestants included an excellent Dalek and a realistic Helen A) and 'Doctor Who on Location' where Jon Preddle enthralled an attentive audience with his location snaps. Also enjoyable were the Video Making and Theatre Sports where Jeff Stone and the 'Ooo Crew' showed us how to really embarrass yourself. Of course there were exceptions and sadly these tended to be events run by us, the Wellingtonians, such as 'Slip-up', which failed to live up to expectations.
The venue turned out to be ideal. To begin with I thought that perhaps it was going to be too big, but it proved to be just about right. The venue's position, a few minutes walk from a shopping centre, also contributed.
However to me what really made DoctorCon was meeting so many people who shared my interest. DoctorCon was two days in which to get to know people and have a good time doing it!
Something that surprised me was the distance and effort some people went to. One person travelled from Tauranga after reading about the con in the Herald!
These things combined to create a personal and friendly atmosphere, which was especially evident on Sunday by which time people knew each other better. The difference between the serious opening ceremony on Saturday and the relaxed closing ceremony illustrates this.
Speaking as a member of the con com (what a nifty abbreviation that is!) it was great to see all our hard work (and the hard work of others) pay off with the event enjoyed by so many, including ourselves.
No report on the success of DoctorCon would be complete without some mention of that person we all know of, Chris Mahoney, who achieved a type of cult status over the weekend without actually attending. To say that Chris Mahoney, or more importantly Jeff Stone's impersonations of Chris, were important to Doctorcon's success would be an understatement!
Despite being guestless, getting off to a shaky start and being run by a committee of which half had never attended a convention before, DoctorCon was a success and happiness did prevail.
DoctorCon, what a con! It was great to see all the old faces, faces I've only read about and faces I've never heard of before, and to eat so many hamburgers all at once. All the best to everyone and a special thanks to David and David's mum for providing me with a floor to sleep on.
Wasn't DoctorCon 2 a real blast! I had a time and a half and a bit more besides. All the wonderful people who were there helped to make Sunday the success it was. The video making was classic - but will Jeff Stone ever live down his brilliant performance? Event-based cons beat having guests any time. I look forward to DoctorCon 3 in Auckland 1993; be there or be rectangle.
The con venue was an excellent choice in my opinion - not too large and not too small and incredibly handy to the Newtown shops. The majority of the goings on during the weekend took place in the main hall, the Panopticon, with smaller rooms given over to more specialised areas (video room, role playing, sales tables etc) and it was in the Panopticon that things got underway with the official opening ceremony at 11am. Paul and Flis, in a rather strange way, declared the festivities open ant the committee gave us a brief outline of what would be happening. Then the perennial favourite 'Is Colin Baker crap?' debate began. Terry Shore must be commended for his rapier like wit and subtlety in presenting his entire argument thus: 'Cohn Baker sucks!'
For those fans without extensive videotape collections a continuous video programme ran in the Matrix. While hardly exciting to a well-versed Whovian like myself, the selection was good overall. Gems like The Horns of Nimon, The Ice Warriors and the colour version of The Daemons graced the line up.
Saturday on the whole was the least interesting of the two days - the overall itinerary wasn't all that riveting. Having missed the auditions for 'Sale of the Century' we had to sit back and watch NZ's top trivia experts in action. Later there was a celebrity round where vaguely famous Kiwi fans took audience questions. This was interesting. Both Matthew Eglinton and I managed to stump the omniscient Jon Preddle (at last!) I also got a point for trying to list every story the sonic screwdriver appeared in. 'Here's a point, Jeff. Now shut up.'
Other highlights of Saturday were the auction, where once again Who merchandise went for outrageous sums (I take my hat off to Bevan Thomas and Clinton Spencer who each forked out approximately $40 for a Target novel!); the Masquerade which was almost a non-event, and Terry Shore's non stop Dalek impressions. The night was topped off with 'Slip-up', a comedy piece performed by the Happiness Patrol. This went on for much longer than anyone expected and was not a particularly rip roaring success, but it was zany and anarchic, so who cares!
Sunday was a total blast from start to finish! First up was the video making where a largish group of us tried our hands at making an impromptu DW production. The end result of our labours can only be described as... um... unique. Later 'The Toast of Fear' was shown to rave reviews.
Paul Scoones' Writer's Workshop was every bit as interesting as the one he held at WhoCon - all present had an opportunity to air their views on Doctor Who fiction, both amateur and professional. Also of interest was Jon Preddle's (whoops, sorry I mean RH Cotwood's) talk on his visits to various Doctor Who locations in the UK. I think a lot of people were put off by the description of this event in the con book, which is a pity as it was really good!
'Brain Burst' was the name of a rather different Doctor Who quiz, where teams tried to guess a list of things when given a topic. Our team, 'The Ooo Crew' successfully fought off the efforts of Jon Preddle's team to triumph in this event.
Oh dear - DoctorCon's Theatre Sports did not go well for us, 'The $84 Men'. We lost; we lost badly. (I belong to the school of thought that goes thus: 'If a skit goes wrong give up, fall over, laugh and then die.') Faced with the awesome forces of Chris Owen's stunning 'solo' act and Jon Preddle's utterly brilliant team, we were doomed before we began. Oh dear.
Soon enough, sadly, it was all over. As the people drifted back to reality again I felt that we'd been given a great time; two magic days.
Well to end all I can do is give thanks to people - to Aden Shillito for being brave enough to film 'Toaster', to Jessica Smiler and David Lawrence for putting up with me for five days, to Adam, Ehren and Clinton for not abandoning me during Theatre Sports and to the entire Wellington Chapter for being perfect hosts. I had a great time and I'm sure everyone else did. Bravo once more and see you all at DoctorCon 3! Be there, or you'll get on my nerves! And we all know what happens when people get on my nerves! Ooo! Ooo! Ooo!
An excellent time if not a bit 'messy'. The Video Making was the best. I enjoyed Stairway Con, Hallway Con and Finding MacDonald's Con. A wonderful time and well done, Happiness Patrol. You gave me an enjoyable weekend that I will never forget. Memorable moment: realising that the other bidders had stopped and that I was going to have to pay $36 for Paradise Towers!
In the words of Jeff Stone - 'Saturday sucked but Sunday was a blast!' Yes, it's true, the first day of DoctorCon 2 fell flat with boredom, Sunday on the other hand was definitely well worth attending! It was worth the seven-hour trip to get there to meet you all if not for the convention itself. Well done for pulling off a relatively successful (considering no Doctor Who actor could make it) convention. The last day was great fun - I look forward to attending DoctorCon 3 in Auckland next year!
DoctorCon was a great achievement for everybody concerned. It isn't often that you get a great convention that has a good family atmosphere and is oriented around the people, unlike some conventions, which seem preoccupied by a special guest. DoctorCon achieved its goal by having a good weekend of entertainment for people who are really interested in Doctor Who. I feel sympathy for those who missed it. Keep up the good work for DoctorCon 3. We look forward to that.
This item appeared in TSV 27 (February 1992).