One of my first impressions of the group of Spaced fans was "Oh my god, everyone has made such an effort with their costumes"! Walking into the Corrib's Rest function room on the evening of 12 August 2001, I think I found it hard to believe that it had actually happened.
I remember back in April (was it really only April?) when we started to discuss having a meet up of fans on the SpacedOut forum, I suggested the weekend of 11/12 August as simply a random date and it seemed so far away. An awful lot of planning went into it - and all thanks to Nat for holding it all together. All the fans have done their bit tho!
Hours of commitment had paid off, watching the DVD (with and without commentary) for the 100th time, eating endless Jaffa cakes and drinking pints of the black stuff. I remember sitting in front of the DVD compiling two quizzes (on of which was never used) and thinking - "This program, its actually quite funny, you know!".
Anyway, back to the Corrib. Walking in the pub with Twist DKNY urban warfare range (Gail) and Mark Gatiss/Matrix bloke (Holly), I think that we got quite a few stares. Worth it tho', to see where the great program's pub scenes were filmed. Walking into the function room (or "tottering" in those outrageous heels) the atmosphere in the room was quite palpable. Nat was the only member of the group that I had met before, however, I recognised the usual suspects immediately from their photos on the "ID parade" section of the SpacedOut forum. The costumes! Oh they were brilliant! And everyone was happy, hugging each other like long lost friends. I was sure that we were in for a fantastic night, even if Jess and Simon didn't stay long.
I learned later that some people didn't really think that J&S were going to turn up, but I was always very confident. However, little did I know...
As soon as the music was turned on, the party started to rock. We all got the drinks in and ate our body weight in Jaffa cakes. Nat's decorations of the room (waste of baco, the foil) and fantastic Marsha poster we really fantastic to behold. I decided at this point to get some photos of the fans, before the "stars" turned up, and also suggested that we circulate the first quiz as an ice-breaker (as if we needed one - Hah!).
That bit of the evening seemed to wizz by for me - chatting to people, drinking and laughing. It seemed like the next thing I knew, Simon was poking his head around the door tentatively and then they were all just... there! I can't imagine what they were feeling, coming into a room of 30 people dressed as your characters! Simon and Nick, I'd met before. Jess looked stunning - really really pretty and very slim. I nearly fainted when I saw Julia! (I think she nearly fainted when she saw *me*), but best by far for me was the fact that Edgar "genius in his own lunchtime" Wright had turned up. The next half hour was a whirl. Edgar was very bubbly and talkative, offering to take me round the pub for a tour of locations ('and that's where Daisy says "Pull my finger", and that's where Dexter and Cromwell sat'). However, I did feel I couldn't monopolise my hero for the whole evening and so decided to circulate among the crowd.
Imagine my surprise to see Jess and Simon doing the quiz! (I later found out they had cheated shamelessly and *still* not managed to get them all right!) Talk about competitive! I still think that Nick and Edgar's answers were the best - and funniest.
Walking round the room at this point, I was impressed by how much the Spaced stars were doing to put the fans at their ease - and some of the fans were really quite nervous. They didn't seem to mind the endless requests for autographs, photos and hugs. Its really difficult to describe the atmosphere to anyone who wasn't there, but there was a whole lotta love in the room that night.
I took this opportunity to chat to Julia, who modestly describes herself as a "jobbing actress". I think she was a bit perplexed by all the attention. She was amazing - quite happy to have a conversation with me where we were both doing the "voice". Very strange experience.
My mind is quite addled now with the amount of red wine I had consumed, but I think the next thing to happen was the Q&A session. This was a lot of fun. Most of us had submitted questions to Nat in advance so she knew who to pick on. I got two! (How did Simon get his scar and what did they think about the BCC's finding against the League for using the word "mong"). I think that those who wanted to ask questions, did, and the gang answered them admirably, drunkenly and ramblingly. The moment when Gail's mobile phone went off is well documented, so I won't repeat it here. Suffice it to say, I'd like Nick Frost as my own personal secretary too - he is such a polite
After the Q&A, it was back to more of the same, but drunker. Conversations got quite intense. I remember snatches of my conversations with Edgar and Simon, but not as much as I probably should. I was amazed at some of the info that Simon fed us - about a new TV show he's going to do about Junior Doctors etc. We were on such a high at this point that it all passed in a bit of a blur. You know you've been drinking too much red wine when you accost Nick Frost in order to stroke his beard!
When it was time to leave, they had to literally drag each other away (especially Edgar...) and this shows you just how much fun we were all having. I think that they genuinely enjoyed themselves and now know that they have some greatly devoted (and non-nutter) fans.
My summary of the evening is: We were very lucky. We were a very small group of fans who managed to monopolise our heroes for an entire evening. We may have many more conventions, but I don't expect it will be quite such a small (select?) group again. Once word gets out about just how much fun was had.
My only regret? That Nick Lee wasn't there. If anyone deserved to experience that evening, it was Nick.
Tara (or is that Marsha?)