This weekend was the Marillion Fanclub Weekend, and we started off with scamp arriving on Thursday night. It's been ages since we last saw her, and about 18 months since she last came to Ipswich, so we had a nice evening eating good food, drinking wine and catching up with each other.
Friday saw us set off to catch a 10:30am train, which was really rather civilised. The journey went fairly well, a delay on the tube meant we missed one of our connections and were an hour later at Weston-Super-Mare than we'd intended, though. However, we got there with not much fuss, and even got sushi from Bristol Temple Meads station, so that was nice :)
Once arrived and settled into our (basic beyond belief) chalet thing we headed off in search of beer :) That kinda set the tone for the weekend, and not just for us - the bar was pretty packed by the time we got there, and stayed packed at any moment there wasn't a concert, practically. After a nice little beer (well, big bottle of Newcastle Brown Ale) we headed off to the actual concert hall bit and got a bit more beer and met up with vento and Helen and their friends Darren and Clair. Then it was on with the show. For the first evening there were two support bands, Aziz and Robin Boult. I mostly talked to Jo and Phil during them, but they were pretty good :) Next up were Marillion, who were doing "Brave" ... this still isn't one of my favourites, I was listening to it on my discman all week leading up to this but it pretty much passes me by. It did rock live though :)
After this The Bays played stuff for people to dance to, which J and I duely did ... followed by going and sitting in the bar till the wee hours. Both J and Jo made new friends1, and I fell asleep and provided amusement for people. I went to bed at 2am, and struggled to put the sofa bed up, but succeeded in the end. J and Jo returned at 3am, and J fought with the door, then proceeded to announce his drunkeness at frequent intervals, it was kinda amusing ;)
Saturday arrived somewhat too soon, I was wide-eyed awake by 0930, which is a little early. After being lazy slobs for most of the morning we got our act together and went off to "Swap the Band". There had been a competition for people to come and replace a member of the band on stage for a song. They were all pretty good - though it was weird having different vocalists ... that altered the feel of the song so much more than replacing an instrumentalist. But most of them were good enough that you could just enjoy the song. After that we had the Q&A session with the band, which was a little curtailed, as they'd started "Swap the Band" late ... I like the Q&A sessions they do, though I never have any questions of my own, but the guys are funny.
Then it was off to queue for merchandising - I spent about half an hour in the queue, and spent so much money that I got a free t-shirt :) I bought:
- A skinny flower t-shirt for me
- A skinny flower t-shirt for Jo
- A convention t-shirt for J
- A convention t-shirt for me
- A kids Anoraknophobia t-shirt for me (which caused much amusment to the guy serving me, coz I stood and held it up against me to see if it fitted, and it does make rather a nice skinny shirt)
- A limited edition lithograph of the artwork on the Brave album cover
- A stick of rock for me
- A stick of rock for J
- A stick of rock for Jo
- The Aziz album
J had bought the Barry Bottle Opener/Fridge Magnet, and the two new Marillion CDs the night before, so I didn't need to get them too ;)
Saturday afternoon we went and got food (of a sort), then retired to the chalet to drink beer. Jo and I put our faces on2, then off out again for chips before the evening's entertainment. There were supposed to be four support bands this time - but one didn't happen, and we dunno why. The three that did were The Wishing Tree, White Buffalo and Cry No More. I really like The Wishing Tree - the lead singer has a gorgeous voice, and some of the music is really beautiful. White Buffalo passed me by a bit, and Cry No More were a bit annoying. I don't mind the occasional crudity/lowering of the tone, but it got a bit relentless, and I thought it crossed the line into pure coarseness without wit. Lots of other poeple enjoyed it though. The Marillion set wasn't chosen in advance, they did 'setlist bingo' ... which worked well :) They played some of my favourite songs (including Uninvited Guest) .. my only gripe was that some twit to my left kept yammering on about how the Fish stuff was better. Oh, and I couldn't see, but J kept lifting me up so I did at least get a glimpse of all h's costume changes :)
We then retired to the disco. It was pants, but I'd've enjoyed it more if I was more pissed. The music was all the cheesy rock classics, and the DJs were the Smashy and Nicey type, and they had a real thing about flicking the house lights up. But whatever.
Sunday morning arrived, and we headed off to look for food - found a place across the road selling sandwiches. Then there was another Marillion set - this one was "acoustic", and they also did the prize draw in this one. I stood on the steps to the side this time, so I could see properly, which was a nice change :)
We then headed back off to the train station, and started the trek home. Less changes, and everything connected. We were all exhausted once we got back here though, and I was asleep by 10:30pm. Thankfully I had the Monday morning off work, so it was a leisurely start :)
It was a really cool weekend :) Hopefully they'll be doing another one next year - the rumour is that it'll be in Holland (which might be easier to get to, actually). Pics are here, btw.
1Sorta, anyway. The guy J was talking to was a big Porcupine Tree fan and was wearing the same t-shirt as J (PTree, Signify), and they chatted for ages (and he seemed like a nice guy). Jo's "friend" was apparently the most boring man on earth, but that's what you get for taking pity on someone whose friends have abandoned him ;)
2I rarely wear make up, but I succeeded in doing it rather well both evenings, I should wear make up more, but it'd mean getting up earlier were I to wear it to work, and I'm not sure I can be bothered.