From humble beginnings as a small, annual collectors’ fair, Memorabilia has grown into a star-studded event, taking up a huge hall in Birmingham’s NEC. As well as the main fair, usually held in March or April, this year saw the first Summer event, which was held over the weekend of the 26th and 27th of July, and was attended by G&T’s John Hoare, Tanya Jones and Ian Symes.
The main attraction is the celebrity guests, and for this event there were no fewer than four members of the Red Dwarf contingent. As he is often ‘too busy’ to attend Dimension Jump, a lot of fans were keen to meet Craig Charles, who was a guest of The Stamp Centre. After hearing more than a few nasty stories about his treatment of the fans, we were surprised to discover that he is actually a nice guy; spending a lot of time chatting to his admirers, who would probably have been satisfied with a mere ‘hello’. Also present at The Stamp Centre’s stall was Craig’s brother Emile, famous for his appearance in Timeslides as Young Lister. Naturally, he wasn’t as much as a feature as his more famous big brother, but he was certainly an affable chap.
|Tanya with Chris Barrie. A stupendous moment in her own personal history.|
Also in attendance were a pair of Dimension Jump regulars – Chris Barrie and Hattie Hayridge. Following the recent release of The Brittas Empire on DVD, as well as Lara Croft: Tomb Raider: The Cradle Of Life opening in America, Chris had plenty of things to sign. However, the top prize for originality goes to Tanya, who managed to dig out her copy of a Spitting Image book for Chris to autograph. It has to be said – Chris is looking very trim. Although he was far from a bloater before, Chris has lost a bit of weight since Dimension Jump, and has grown his hair back to the Rimmer style. This is clearly a good omen that The Movie will be going ahead soon… Sadly, the same can’t be said for Craig Charles, whose hair is noticeably thinning. Bless ‘im.
Hattie Hayridge was her usual bundle of loveliness. She was fresh from her first appearance as Holly for eleven years (for Ace Rimmer – A Life In Lamé), and was in her element being jolly nice to her adoring public. She was flogging copies of her excellent autobiography Random Abstract Memory, a trick which was sadly missed by Craig Charles, who didn’t have any copies of The Log, No Other Blue or The Craig Charles Almanac Of Total Knowledge on him.
Of course, the only truly bad thing about these sorts of fairs is the extortianate price charged for autographs. The Stamp Centre had the right idea – autographs for free, as long as you buy something from them. However, getting Chris Barrie’s signature will cost you a ridiculous £15, regardless of whether or not you buy a copy of the Brittas DVD or a photo. This is barmy, but people still go for it. We’re idiots, clearly. Especially considering Dimension Jump costs as little as £50 all-in, for which you’re entitled to about eight autographs, as well as a great weekend.
|So many people. In just over seven months, every one of them would be dead.|
As well as the autographs and the celebrities (which also included Brian Blessed, Carol Cleveland, Colin Baker and some Page 3 girls), there was of course an excellent range of merchandise and rareities available. There were bucketloads of books and comics, vast quantities of videos, tons of trading cards, a terrific amount of toys, mounds of models, auspicious amounts of autographs, a magnitude of magazines, as well as the best-selling book Alliteration – A Beginners’ Guide.
As well as having the fairest autograph system, The Stamp Centre had the best Red Dwarf merchandise. This ranged from a vast array of photos, to the Skutter Concept T-Shirt, one of the finest ever produced, to the quite magnificent Kryten pewter bottlestopper. They also had a set of four Red Dwarf mugs available to pre-order, as well as the lovely floaty-type pens.
Sadly, The Stamp Centre was the only stall to have more than a meagre Red Dwarf selection. Amongst the sci-fi hardcore, it’s just not as popular as Star Trek, Star Wars and Buffy, and this is reflected in the proportion of merchandise for sale. Perhaps The Movie will generate more interest, and the next Memorabilia event will have more Red Dwarf stuff? We can but hope. Nevertheless, we’ll certainly try and attend the next one – it’s one the biggest and best collectors’ fairs in Britain. A pity that it costs £8 just to enter the bloody place, on top of £6 for parking – but when you pick up a copy of the Red Dwarf Omnibus for a shiny pound coin, you can’t complain too much.
Comparison of Purchases
|A bottle of Coke||A Back to the Future DeLorean model|
|A photo of Emile Charles|
|Limited Edition drawing of cast|
|Gordon Brittas – Sharing The Dream|
|Three Of A Kind book|
|Kryten pewter bottlestopper|
|2x Skutter Concept T-shirt|
|4x Red Dwarf mugs|
|February 1998 edition of Cult TV|