The Doomsday ethos is certainly work hard and play hard with most of the crowd finally heading to the bar to 'catch up' until the early hours of Saturday morning. It was going to be a long day and what better way to prepare yourself than stocking up on pizza and ten pints of Hobgoblin ale? Of course, not everyone drinks alcohol and the convent next door supplied holy water on tap. I like to think it was this that gave me the 'dicky tummy' and not the Lobster Tikka Masala I had eaten a few days previous. We are denizens of darkness after all!
What better way to start Saturday morning than with a session designed to get everyone up on their feet, whooping and hollering. I knew Saturday morning would be tough for some of the Friday night party animals so I added Ian Harvey Stone as the first lecture to get the blood moving. Ian's lecture 'Finding your voice in the magical landscape' was a workshop on how to vocally present yourself on stage professionally and in the 90 minutes that followed I learnt lots. Although I'm no performer I still lecture regularly and the areas that Ian covered were worth their weight in gold. Ian served his slice of how to command the stage with energy, humour and lots of audience participation making an unforgettable and valuable start to the day.
World record breaking strongman Stuart Burrell then took to the stage to give a whole new meaning to the phrase 'he couldn't punch his way out of a wet paper bag' by ripping out of ca hained and padlocked chainmail vest. He also demonstrated ripping a tennis ball in half and breaking free from cable tied wrists. There was even a bit of real blood much to the crowds delight.
Roger Curzon then recalled the tale of Uncle Albert's Box and the dark contents concealed within. Delivered with Roger's much loved deadpan northern charm it was Doomsday's first magic performance and a satisfying one it was too. Roger is a Doomsday regular who I remember performing years ago so it was wonderful to see him back doing what he does best.
Setting up a complete cabinet of curiosities exhibition for one of the UK's largest horror conventions in 3 weeks is a challenge right? Well Andy Cooper, Nik Taylor and Tristan Stothard managed to do just that AND make money from it AND make it so popular they are also doing it again this year. Andy and Nik gave a light hearted account of how they created some intriguing exhibits to shock and disturb the punters. A possessed Mr.Punch, a mysterious Oracle and Winston, a terrible example of taxidermy all made an appearance and gave us all a motivational kick of what can be achieved with lots of enthusiasm and very little time. Unfortunately Tristan was unable to attend Doomsday this year but I'm hoping he'll bring is Psychic Pain to Whitby next year.
A swift but hearty lunch provided the Doomsday crowd with some much needed energy although a double helping of dessert left me with a post-lunch sugar crash big enough to down an elephant. Dealers dealt while arcane knowledge was whispered and shared amongst the adepts before Luke Jermay took to the stage.
To watch Luke lecture or perform is a captivating experience. His knowledge and confidence of character pushes you down into you seat and commands your attention for the entirety of the lecture. As I mention previously, I'm not a performer although every time I see Luke it makes me want to pick up a deck of cards and at least have a go. And in the past I have to much success, that's if you consider baffling your Gran and elderly Aunt successful. Other Doomsday members though who do perform will have taken huge amounts of inspiration, methods and ideas away with them. Luke even shared some routines that he'd never revealed before especially for the Doomsday crowd. It's my birthday next week and a Marksman Deck is on my list for sure!
The great thing about my good friend Oskar is that in the UK nobody has a clue who he is. Yet, back in Sweden he is the star of the TV show 'Mysteria'. Only in Sweden can you get away with a kid's TV show where a group of wizards run around Stockholm trying to catch an accidentally summoned demon with the aid of random children. They also conduct a séance with a group of 8 years olds as well as invoke the ghost of a witch. Good, clean family TV. Oskar and Robert Dahlstom, also a star of 'Mysteria', gave translated excerpts of the series and demonstrated some of the amazing props Oskar created specifically for the show.
The final act of the afternoon was Doomsday veteran Tracy Wise. Every storytelling magician should look at Tracy's act and take note as her ability to captivate the audience and spin a good yarn is impeccable. 'Nursery Crimes' presented the dark origins of some of our favourite childhood nursery rhymes while intertwining magic and music to create an unforgettable performance. Those attending Doomsday South in November will see more of what this very clever and beguiling lady can do.
The 2 hour dinner break gave the crowd a chance to head into Whitby to sample what the local fishermen had dragged ashore, served with chips and lager. The typical gloom of a British seaside town gave way to the unusual spectacle of sunshine and everyone came back fully charged for an evening of entertainment.