I levelled up just recently & it was a rather fantastic celebration. That said, it wasn’t without a lot of planning…. with more than a few that fell through.
So, I was turning 30. It needed to be big. I figured with a big round number like that, why not throw a Timelords Ball? Have a Wall of Shame that spanned three decades, build myself a TARDIS & host a yet another shindig requiring costumes. Because for me, that’s pretty much a tradition.
There were a few obstacles over the years (yes, years) of my planning. The end of a long relationship. I moved house… three times. I met a wonderful person & fell head over heels…. & still am. We bonded over a love of Earl Grey [hot] & Classic Doctor Who (of all things) & he just happened to already have a set of rough drawn schematics for a full size TARDIS replica. We talked & planned & plotted. Being the good engineer he is, everything had blueprints & CAD drawings, scale models & very complex designs. There was the TARDIS, two types of consoles, & an Ironside DALEK – all of them were going to be electronic too. A remote controlled K-9 was to be my pet project.
Late last year, he was in a head on car crash when a P-plater pulled into his lane to avoid an ambulance (which was thankfully empty & took him & his son to hospital). All things birthday went out the window for more important things like specialist appointments, CT scans, MRIs, & all things health & recovery related. While the young sir was fine, D still has a few things still needing treatment & diagnosis. Suddenly it dawned on us that we had 4 weeks to go & costumes, sets & props hadn’t even been started…. & the money set aside had gone to more important things. The race was on.
I had originally intended on coming as a Silurian. WIth time & money as it was, I needed to find something that didn’t involve full head mask making, body prosthetics & body paint. I considered coming as Idris, from the episode written by Neil Gaimen but the difficulty in finding the right fabrics put a stop to that. Then I recalled a pattern I bought years ago for a performance costume that I was still yet to use. I headed to spotlight…. & bought 15 metres of royal blue cotton drill, & 1 metre each of white & black cotton drill. I was coming as the blue box herself.
I didn’t have the invitations done either – it was just verbal & facebook. I had decided to forget the idea of traditional invites when Jenji came to my rescue from the other side of the country. Overnight she drew up an invite that was everything I could have hoped for & more, that I could print & post. Hurrah for friends & for things working! I ran into further issue again though when not a single Spotlight store in Perth had corset busks or boning in stock. Wholesale, I could buy 100 of them…. for rather a lot of money. Time was fast evading me.
Danny was in much the same boat. A year ago, he’d ordered a 5th doctor costume… but the company went into liquidation before he’d received it. Running out of time himself, he went & hit up ebay & online cosplay stores, hoping for the best. Cosplay Sky were great to him. They walked him through taking his measurements & promised to rush his costume when he told them what it was for & when. But that would only be the coat. Over the course of a week he managed to also find the jumper, pants, shoes, hat & a shirt that was as close as he could manage. The coat arrived the day before the party & fit him to an absolute tee!
I gave in on making the corset & started looking at stores. I spoke with Dark Cherry Corsets, because she’s my favourite (seriously – service over & above, local, smiles, great service, quality, great service, cheap products, & did I mention fantastic service?), but she couldn’t 100% guarantee any of her suppliers could arrive before the 2 weeks was up & she didn’t have any royal blue corsets in stock, let alone one in my size. Let’s add honest to her list of reasons why she’s the best. After Mame & Burlesque Baby also showed up nothing, I went to my second last option – an online store I’d been eyeing off for a while. They had a perfect underbust, in my size *&* with guaranteed 4-8 day shipping. Dracula’s were great.. & they arrived bang on when they were expected (though DHL, Toll & Aus Post are all in my grumpy books for their drivers refusing to bother coming down our long driveway the first time). On top of that, the quality was brilliant & it came with it’s own zip up protective bag. I was still determined to make the skirt & hat.
Danny decided that he still wanted to make at least one of the consoles. The Ironside wasn’t going to be built, & we were going to make do wth his blow-up TARDIS instead of a full sized one, but he’d be damned if he didn’t complete at least one console. So he opened solidworks one evening & threw together a design for the secondary console from the Tom Baker years. It was sent off to his company, Jetcut, to be water-cut out of coreflute. We were special, they not only did it straight away but they even delivered it personally & with a smile!Then Danny came to me with a huge grin. One of those grins like the cat that got the cream. Or that look Shadow gets, right before she launches at your ankle. The caretakers of the old Hireable TARDIS, that isn’t actually hireable anymore, had gotten back to him & told him he could pick it up & borrow it for the party. Things were looking up a bit. One of his friends loaned him a trailer to hook onto my car & he was off on a misson. 1. Bed frame & mattress from my Dad, 2. Mattress, outdoor chairs & patio heater from my Mum, 3. Outdoor chairs from BJ & Teagan, 4. TARDIS. One hell of a weekend’s work. After meeting the TARDIS caretakers & seeing how much of a fan of Classic & Neo Who their son is, we invited them. After all, he had no friends who were into it & he wasn’t that much older than the young sir here, who is one of the biggest fans I know. He was floored & immediately gave very serious & thorough thought to his costume.
It was the weekend before & I was still up to my ears in photograph scanning & collating. Scanning? Yes! The first 24 years of my life are all film documented! Wall of Shame it was – there are some REALLY dodgy photos of me from my childhood. With both of my parents photographers, it was a matter of Don’t stop the baby until I have the shot. There are 3 photos of me eating catfood beside our cats, taken on a fully manual, wind on, film SLR. Because they wanted to make sure they had the shot before they told me I shouldn’t eat catfood.
Suddenly, it was already time to begin the airport to collect the visitors from interstate. Jamie was first, & on the way back from the airport we picked up the prints that I’d had done at Good Guys (I could go into detail about how the printer couldn’t spool the photos unless I had 3 weeks of no sleep, but lets leave it at I gave in, collaged them into four hundred & fourteen 6×4″ sets of two images each & gave them to a cheap kiosk instead!), before knuckling down to trace the skirt pattern that I still hadn’t had time to do. Give me an engine & I’ll rebuild it. No worries. Ask me to sew & it’s slow-going, & uncertain. But this? It was worded terribly. For a Simplicity pattern, I was shocked & unimpressed. Jamie & I poured over it for hours, traced & then wanted to throttle something as we found that the tracing paper stretched & skewed. “Cut the original. I don’t care anymore.” But when it came to pinning it to the fabric, it further didn’t make sense. Lara came over after the skype video call didn’t help, & even she spent a long while trying to work out where & what to cut. It was hellish. I didn’t feel quite as bad when a circus & burlesque performer & an actor & cosplayer who both make their own, couldn’t work it out. Eventually though, we thought we had it.Pinned, marked & cut, Lara headed home to leave me to sew. I was over it by that point & left the cut out fabric to the side & worked on the hat. Jamie & I had been shopping in all sorts of places, including op shops, for parts. We had diamantes (in a range of colours), chiffon, organza, feathers, hairclips & paint. I marked it out, cut the black fabric, hemmed it & painted “Police Public Call Box” in white friendly lettering. I then pinned everything where I wanted it to show Jamie & get her opinion when she surfaced in the morning. I went back to cutting out photographs.
Thursday, take Jamie to meet my hairdresser & have her hair done. Yvonne’s Creative Hair Design, Bedford, in case you’re wondering. She’s been doing my hair for about 17 years now… even when I lived in Port Hedland I only let her do my hair. Worth it. While Jamie was still in the chair with her cuppa, it was time to collect Jenji from the airport, before heading back to pick up the new-look Jamie.
The foot of my sewing machine was AWOL & I had borrowed my mother’s machine. Then I couldn’t get the bobbin to spool. Neither could Jenji. Josh though, who had come to help get things around the house together & build the console with Danny, he stood up, leaned over Jenji & flicked the bobbin down into place & spooled it like a pro. Not at all like it was the first time he’d touched a sewing machine since year 8. I made a [further] complete fool of myself at that point. Facebook statuses were created, asking friends how to tell the right & wrong side of cotton drill… & if there was one. Jamie googled what a “flat felled seam” was. Then foot of Mum’s machine started playing up; randomly changing speeds & stopping. Alli would later come to my rescue with that, with the loan of her sewing machine *&* overlocker.
Friday. My birthday. We had stayed up really stupidly late to have a single vodka (Debowa) shot at midnight to see it in. Upon surfacing to daylight, we were cleaning, rearranging, sorting out photos to butchers paper, & then picking Kasia up from the airport. We had to drive out to Garden City to drop something in to my work, & while there get blue nailpolish (OPI’s Blue My Mind) & pick up a new foundation for Kasia at my Arden Counter. My back was taking a serious beating with all the driving, leaning, crouching, lifting & moving I’d been doing. Dinner Out became Dinner In while freaking out at last minute things that weren’t done yet. Kasia & Josh & Jamie cooked. Jenji drew even more – a broken chameleon circuit for my costume, an ironside dalek for my guest book, & a celery stick for Danny’s coat. We stayed up as late as we could keep our eyes open while Danny made his infamous jelly shots (with ALL of the Jelly – bad Jenji, giving him ideas) & went to bed knowing there was a heap still to be done. Jamie & I still hadn’t managed to do any of the shoots we’d planned yet.
Saturday…. I woke up in agony. My back was on fire & I couldn’t even sit up. My skirt still wasn’t done, the TARDIS needed a final repair, the console needed to be painted & its buttons added, & the photo sheets weren’t done either… & those were something only I could do. Dad came up early to do the TARDIS repairs & help with the photo sheets. He’d already corrected a lean, repaired cut wiring, & rewired it. Now she just needed her signage reattached with the silcone I’d grabbed on one of my [many] Bunnings trips that week. I sat propped up, dosed to the nines on my really strong prescriptions, while Josh, Jamie, & Jenji arranged & stuck photos down at my slightly slurred direction. Lara arrived, bearing a couple of skirts that would work instead, just incase she couldn’t get the proper one made in time. She laced me into my corset & I was at least able to stand without needing huge amounts of assistance.
5pm & the guests’ arrival was rapidly approaching….