The weekend of 19th – 20th November saw Birmingham’s National Exhibition Centre hold the second and final Memorabilia show of the year. Organised by the people behind MCMExpo, Memorabilia brings together fans of cult movies, comic books and TV to celebrate their obsessions, meet the stars and lighten their wallets with the many vendors in attendance. This was my first Memorabilia show, and I’d always assumed that it would basically be a huge collector’s fair – which it is – but it also offers so much more.

Sunday was the day of choice, mainly because my eldest son Ryan was keen to meet Arthur Darvill (Rory from Doctor Who), so off we headed to soak up the geekery. I’m starting him young.

 

 

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As we approached the entrance, we just caught the tail-end of the 501st UK Garrison march coming out of the massive hall. UKG is the largest Star Wars costuming group in the world and recognised as the most movie-accurate. For good reason too, the range of costumes on display had a stunning attention to detail. While a good portion of the march was made up of Imperial Stormtroopers, there were also Snowtroopers, TIE Fighter Pilots and a couple of nefarious-looking bounty hunters, as well as a plethora of costumes I’m not Star Wars-aware enough to identify. Backing up the troop were a bunch of characters from UKG’s sub-division Reel Icons, featuring similarly movie-accurate costumes of Freddy Krueger, Leatherface and an extremely impressive Predator. While all this movie malarkey is good fun, there’s also a serious side to their operations. UKG has raised over £1 million for charity in its 10-year history through various fundraising activities.

On the inside we headed over to the Trash Compactor, which was the dropping-in point for members of the UKG. Also in the area was Hollywood Heroes, another fundraising costume group, with a photo opportunity among more faces from the Star Wars universe. The clanking of metal alerted the crowd to the adjacent Robot Wars arena, so we took our places in the safe zone and watched robots of various shapes and sizes knock seven shades of rust out of each other. Considering it must be 10 years since I watched any episodes of Robot Wars on TV, there were some remarkably familiar looking tin terrors.

 

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A line started to form nearby and as queuing is one of Britain’s national sports, we decided to check it out. As luck would have it, it was the photo shoot with Arthur Darvill, the person my son most wanted to see, so we had to be in it. Considering he was probably the most popular draw of the day the line moved remarkably quickly. Before we had a chance to get bored, Ryan was standing with his hero for a photo. I think we could have gone home at that point and he would’ve been a happy bunny.

Next up was a spot of FWA Wrestling, which had all the pomp and ceremony of its American counterparts. It was all a bit, ahem, theatrical for my liking, but the assembled crowd seemed to enjoy it, especially the kids.

 

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From there on we slowed the pace a little and browsed some of the exhibition stands where RMFX was displaying some great A Nightmare on Elm Street props and incredible life-size sculpts of Freddy Krueger, Superman and Heath Ledger’s Joker from The Dark Night. There was also a good showing from The Prop Builders Forum and their selection of replica movie and TV props.

EA’s massive Battlefield 3 attraction was off-limits to under-16s, so we checked out the traders tables that offered an absolute treat for collectors. Toys and collectables from every movie and TV show imaginable were on offer, and the noble art of lightening one’s wallet was in full effect everywhere. It’s one of those dangerous situations where you find yourself with a fist full of cash and trying to convince yourself that you don’t really need a full-size Predator head or a complete set of Walking Dead figures. Thankfully, sanity prevailed and I got away with buying just a few bits and pieces for my kids.

It was a great day out, certainly the best option on that cold and foggy afternoon, so one I’d strongly recommend if you’re in the area. And if you’re not, check out if there are guests you want to see and make a weekend of it. You won’t regret it.

 

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About The Author
Daniel Benson
UK Editor / Webmaster
Fuelled mostly by coffee and a pathological desire to rid the world of bad grammar, Daniel has found his calling by picking holes in other people's work. In the rare instances he's not editing, he's usually breaking things in the site's back end.
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