Event report: Croydon Geek Con 2017

By - Tuesday 14th March, 2017

Now Croydon has its own local con, for local geeks

Photo by Paul Olivio, used with permission

Two years ago, the Ship pub’s then bar manager, Rae Yates, took the pub, and with her pal Carl Rowland put on Shipcon 2015, a two day event celebrating all things cult TV, fantasy, sci-fi and geeky. There were stalls, comics, cakes, and with the help of yours truly, a couple of special guests who had worked on Doctor Who. A good time was had by all, and in the past year, a monthly Nerd Quiz has been hosted by the pair to gather funds to put on a follow-up, Croydon Geek Con 2017, held once again at the Ship on the weekend of Saturday 4th and Sunday 5th March.

Lessons had been learnt from the previous event and now, with a team of helpers, a bigger and badder event was planned. Did this planning pay off? The answer is a resounding ‘HELL yeah!’, with a much heavier footfall, and a number of cosplayers adding to the flavour with superheroines, timelords, Hogwarts’ teachers and The Walking Dead survivors parading around the venue, with prizes awarded to best dressed adults and children (the daytime part of the event is very much a family friendly affair).

A full-size TARDIS stood sentinel at one end of the bar, with a chattering Jawa from Star Wars pushing past happy shoppers as they picked up Breaking Bad cupcakes and collectibles they never knew they wanted from a host of sales tables. Themed cocktails were sunk, hot food was gobbled (yes, the Ship has a kitchen once more!), with suitable music played from the DJ booth, including classic songs from The Simpsons, movie scores and TV theme tunes. The all-too-reasonable £1.00 entry fee included a raffle ticket, with all manner of geeky goodness on the prize shelf.

Props on display included an original K9

Live podcasts of Off the Reels and Croydon Radio’s Reviews from the Outer Rim saw discussion, debate and all-out arguing over topics including Suicide Squad’s Oscar win, but the real pull for the weekend was the Q&As with the con’s three special guests: Hellraiser’s Nicholas Vince; writer, film maker and monster actor Paul Davis, and returning guest, author/Doctor Who and Red Dwarf special effects maestro Mike Tucker. All three had secrets, juicy anecdotes and revelations to reveal, with the latter bringing an array of props from classic era Doctor Who for all to gawp at, including an original K9.

Photo by Paul Olivio, used with permission.

The stalls were cleared away for the Saturday night Heroes and Villains party, with the option for those with stamina to carry on until dawn with free entry at the Bad Apple. The after party on the Sunday was a more sedate affair with the latest instalment of the popular monthly quiz night. My team came sixth. Again.

It’s true to say that Geek Con’s organisers could go bigger and bolder in the future, and perhaps move to a larger venue, but to do so would lose sight of what they set out to do in the first place, which was to put on a community event for like-minded Croydonians in a much loved Croydon pub. This is a local con, for local geeks! Outsiders are of course welcome. They just might not necessarily get to hear about it.

The good news is twofold. Firstly, the Ship is happy to host the con again next year, so put the first weekend of March 2018 in your diaries. Secondly, £900 was raised for charities The Wayne Foundation and Cancer Research UK. Let’s see if we can double that amount next March.

Rob Preston

Rob Preston

Rob was a co-host on Croydon Radio's Encyclopaedia Croydonia, and hosts the popular bi-monthly tribute nights at The Oval Tavern on Oval Road. As a writer / photographer his work has been published in Doctor Who Magazine, Dreamwatch, Auton, Dog's Breakfast, Bulletin Your Head and SoHo Life & Technology Today. His short stories have been read at Tales of Croydonia at The Oval Tavern, and he is currently working on two anthologies of his own short stories, one crime, the other horror. He has written and directed seven plays at various Croydon venues, and survives today as a jobbing actor.

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  • Niki Rosenbaum

    Absolutely brilliant weekend, well run and well attended. Thank you to Rae, Stuart, all the guests and staff at The Ship for a fun time in a good cause. We will be back every year!