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While checking out the Aliens Legacy Message Boards, I saw people talking about an upcoming event called "Sci-Fi Weekend". It was to take place at the National Space Centre in Leicester, England. I contacted Malika, the woman in charge of running the event, and after some negotiations, I was officially a guest at my first convention not on US soil! I was very excited, especially when I heard that Terry English was going to be there. He's the guy who made the original Colonial Marine armor for the movie Aliens, as well as Excalibur, First Knight, and many, many others. Since I make replicas of the armor that he originally made (Check out the SpatCave store for more info!), many people were worried that he would have issues with me being at a con with him, let alone, in the same room. There was a small chance that he would be offended by this crazy American that was ripping him off, since he does still make the Aliens Marine armor for commission. But, since I really do love traveling to the UK, I decided to risk it and head over there anyway.
I landed in London and figured it would only be a short run to Lester (that's how the city is actually pronounced, all those extra, useless letters are just there for show). On the map of the UK, London and Leicester (how it's spelled) are really, really close. Hell, all of England is barely the size of my fist on the map. It looks like I can walk from one end of the country to the other in a matter of minutes! Thankfully, some members of the UKCM (a UK based Colonial Marine and Aliens Costuming group) agreed to pick me up. Of course, these are all people who I've known for years on the internet, but never actually met in person. So it was really great to finally get to meet them all. Darren and Kevin picked me up, loaded my gear in their van, and a mere 2 hours later (it is still hours in the UK, right? There's no metric time conversion I need to go learn now, is there?) we were in Liechester (how it looks like it should be pronounced).
We went to the NSC first to check in, but there was no one there. We met Malika and she gave me the info on the hotel, so we headed back over there. I checked into the hotel, and found out that not only had Malika given me a free room, she had supplied me with an unlimited food allowance for the weekend. And boy, did I plan to do some damage to that! Kevin and Darren headed back over to the NSC after checking in so they could help set up the displays and things for the con.
I went right to the room and took a nap, as it was a long flight and with the time difference, I was pretty knackered ( [nak′ərd] - adj: tired, worn out), and really wanted to see how small the rooms were. I hit the button to call the lift ( [lift] - n: elevator), and when the door opened, I thought I had accidentally called a large dumbwaiter. The elevator barely fit me and my two suitcases. You would be lucky to get 2 people in this thing. They would have to be two very friendly people. And it would surely only fit one con-goer.
Anyway, I lay down for my nap, but it was barely even noon, so it was tough to nap, so I closed the shades to make the room dark. Next thing I know, I look at the little clock on the TV and it looks like it says 11:30. I was pretty annoyed, since this meant that I had slept through all of Friday, missed meeting everyone, and would now be wide awake all night. I got up closer to look at the clock to make sure I was reading it right, and of course, it read 17:30. I don't remember there being a 17 O'Clock, hey, when in England, right? Of course, for those who don't know, most of the UK live on a 24 hour clock, much like our Military and Law Enforcement do. So, 17:30 is really 5:30. Which meant I had plenty of time before the bar closed!
I cleaned up, got dressed, and ran down to the bar!
A drink and some dinner really hit the spot, and then I looked up to see Terry English himself there walking through the dining area. I walked up to him and told him I was a big fan, and asked for a photo with him. I gave the camera to someone eating dinner, and here is what we got... the official, first meeting of Terry English and Spat!
Here's Terry and I posing for the camera.
He noticed that I was an American, and since there were not a lot of them here at this show, he asked what made me come all the way across the pond. I mentioned that I was here doing panels and demos on masks and costume making. He asked my name, and I told him it was Spat. He thought for a moment, and then asked, "You're not the same Spat that makes those silly plastic copies of my armor, are you?". I kind of shrugged and said, "Yes, I am."
And then suddenly, BAM! Sucker punch, smash to the face!
I hit the ground, pretty hard, and was hoping it was over, but before I could get my hands up to protect myself, I got a tiny little boot to the face.
And then afterwards, he had a small, victory dance, while saying things like, "Damn, yankees think that they can do anything they want! I'm Terry English, man!!"
Thankfully, the guy with the camera kept snapping pics, so I got it all on record.
When I woke up, many new people had begun to arrive at the bar. I could tell that many of them were Aliens and Star Wars fans, but not knowing who was whom, I just sat and drank my drinks and kept to myself. It wasn't until a guy who goes by the name PVB noticed me, recognized me and walked over and introduced himself. I did remember that he was someone who had bought a set of my armor, and after a few minutes of speaking to him, many other UK Aliens fans had spotted me and come over to say hello.
Kevin, my van bench mate.
Pug and Abe. This guy spends so much time dressed as an Alien, they consider him to be in costume when he is dressed like a normal person.
ID badges made for the UKCM crew.
That's right, I'm officially known as the "Dresser of Nerds" now. That's some title!
Darren! Big thanks for the ride!
And here's PVB, the first guy to recognize me!
Purple Pixie and Kona kidnap Abe and decide to hold him for ransom. They snapped some pics on their phones and texted them to Pug to show him what was going on.
The UKCM put together some awesome shirts for the crew at the event. Here's mine.
And on the back! I love this!! Especially the Trooper helmet on the tail.
Looks to me like Techno Viking is pouring something down Mantroon's pants as everyone watches and laughs, but I can't be sure.
Here's Trevor Steedman and Terry English. Trevor played Pvt. Wiebowski in Aliens.
Mantroon with a Spat Gone Wild DVD in his pants for some reason.
Kona flashing his nipple.
While Mantroon Dr. Evils Purple Pixie's nipple.
Reverend Scapegoat grating cheese with his face, or something.
Fal getting stroked by Mantroon.
And the afterglow.
Mantroon trying to get me to smell his finger afterwards.
That was the last thing I remember of the night. I guess Mantroon's stinky finger in my nose put me down for the night.
Ahh... English Breakfast! Gotta love it! Mushrooms and beans with eggs and sausage. Can't beat that!
The Scot's gave me a lift to the convention in their dropship as they called it. This was the logo on the side of their bus.
And this was the sign outside the room that was all for me for the whole weekend! Woo Hoo!!
Someone's not anatomically correct!
Fal's Doom Rifle.
Darren's Predator costume.
The UKCM Rifle Range. This was a great part of the show. They would bring kids (and adults through) and let them get some shots off at Aliens targets with these cool Nerf guns. Everyone had a blast with it.
These were some of the awesome props on display in the con. Some originals, some replicas.
Awesome sentry gun that actually tracked left to right. Very cool.
Acid damaged armor. A set of originals used in the film from the Harry Harris collection.
This made me laugh. It's a set of Marine armor that has little X'd out Stormtrooper helmets on it the same way pilots X out things they've killed. Very cool.
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