I remember back to October 2006, chilling out at Lee Rosey’s Tea Room in Nottingham after watching Richard Jacques and TJ Davis perform for the first time. I was conversing with my two new friends Kevin and Svend about the event; “We could do something like this” I remember one of them saying. The thought didn’t cross my mind that two years later I’d be setting up a mixer desk and sound system at 8:30am for the Summer of Sonic 2008 event in London, while having a quick chat with Richard Jacques about life in general, as he sifted through the selection of CDs I’d brought along to play.
To say the event was a success would be a massive understatement; it was a roaring torrent of win. Walking around the event after finishing up on my slot on the decks, my ears were treated to what I can only describe as a choral rendition of Live and Learn – everyone was singing along to the song as they explored the event, and it was beautiful!!! I couldn’t walk five steps without spotting a familiar face, or having someone stop me to introduce themselves, to put a face to a (screen) name. Nigel Kitching was trapped in his corner, surrounded by fans asking questions having cherished copies of Sonic the Comic signed. The room was filled with people of different colours, creeds and ages, some having travelled hundreds, even thousands of miles to be here, and all to celebrate their one mutual love…Sonic the Hedgehog.
It’s kind of hard to describe the atmosphere to someone who did not attend the event; the only word that comes to mind is electric. All those in-jokes that have no chance of getting a snigger in “real life” were getting massive responses, in particular whenever Dreadknux or AAUK hit the stage to introduce the day to make an announcement. My nerves shortly dissipated when it was my turn to take up the mike and host the T-Time competition; the contestants were so enthusiastic and up for the laugh, and the audience went absolutely wild – I was drowned out several times by laughter, and a rather unique spontaneous rendition of the Sonic Underground theme. I had been worried about the difficulty of the questions, but that worry dissolved with the conclusion of the contest and Helenbaby giving up her prize, resulting in an overjoyed peteb, and lots of on stage hugs. That feel-good feeling continued for the rest of the day, and it was one of the best feelings I have ever experienced…
…that and standing next to Lee Brotherton during TJ Davis’ performance with Richard Jacques, which again was nothing short of surreal. “How am I going to top that?” Lee whispered as Diamonds in the Sky finished to a standing ovation. I’d watched Lee stand with a nervous smile for most of the day; I think he’d totally underestimated his status amongst the fanbase, but was soon happily signing copies of True Blue and posing for photos with fans. Needless to say Mr. Bentley Jones went on to astound the audience with the exclusive version of His World, and the rather fantastic duet with TJ to cover Dreams Dreams. Nigel Kitching was just as awesome, and even took the time to sketch out Sonic and Decap Attack characters for those who requested them.
While taking ten minutes out for lunch away from the fray, a drama society group came out of their meeting upstairs, and curiously asked me what was going on. The older member, who must have been in his mid-forties, said “I’ve heard of Star Trek and Doctor Who conventions, but a Sonic the Hedgehog convention?” His younger colleague, a pleasant American girl, piped up: “Oh hell yeah! I’ve still got my Genesis, I loved playing those games!” which then sparked a conversation between their group regarding retro gaming. It occurred to me at that moment that we were but scratching the surface of the fandom here. The idea of the event was for it to be a one off, but I think everyone knew as we closed up the event that this would most certainly not be the last Summer of Sonic we would be holding, especially if we put the word out, and advertised the event.
The day ended on another incredible high – a birthday surprise for Roareye Black, who was totally taken back by the surprise and a Sonic themed cake as well as the revenge of Radio Redux, with Dread and Roareye performing a splendid rendition of the DK Rap. Helenbaby won the star prize on the Spinbola raffle, which is in my mind is without doubt karma returning to reward her good deed earlier in the day. We literally had to push people out of the door so we could get packed away, because I don’t think anyone wanted to leave!
I guess the last thing I’d like to mention about my day is the hard work of all those people behind the scenes; Urtheart, Vger, Turbo, B’man, JJ4eva, Fastfeet, Roarey Raccoon, Violet, Darkspeeds, Flyboy Fox, Jo and her brother. Lets not forget Lewis aka Sonic for spending the day in a Sonic suit, and Kev and Svend who spent many sleepless nights organising and mobilising the event. These guys gave up their time to pull off what everyone agrees was nothing short of a spectacular day. Many thanks to all the guests who came along with the soul purpose of entertaining their fans – we love you!
I have no doubt in my mind that SEGA were watching this event closely; I certainly hope they were, because as Dread pointed out in an earlier post, even in a time when the social climate online is hostile, fans can still unite to create something fantastic to celebrate the legendary blue blur.
…so, same time next year eh?