What I intend to do here is explain from my own experience what it is like to go to a Star Trek convention. I shall conceed from the beginning that any views and opinions expressed here are mine and mine alone. I intend to tell my experiences as I recall them some one-and-a-half months later.

Firstly I should start the story from the journey from Dundee to Glasgow. It was a Sunday morning [july the blah] and I was travelling on the first available coach from Dundee to Glasgow. Now firstly I should point out that the best way to go to a convention is not in uniform/costume. To wear your outfit on a coach or other form of transport is to risk snags, tears and ridicule from non-fans. My good friends Nick, Lucy and Gordon were already at the hotel ahead of me, all I had to do was find the Quality Hotel in Glasgow, get changed and enjoy the day [hardly a difficult task].

Having arrived at Glasgow and informed Nick that I was en route, I followed the map that had been sent as part of the information pack by Contagion 2000 [the people running the convention]. I took roughly half an hour to find where the hotel was - strangely by Glasgow Central station, surely a place I should have located faster than I did. Once inside I bumped into Nick and Lucy and things were off to a good start!

Once there, I changed into my uniform. Now for those that know me, I have two uniforms [ok, I now have three, but at that point I had two]. I have my science division Next Generation uniform and my science division Kirk movie era uniform. Given my historical preferences (obvious by this site..) I had brought the latter uniform with me. I quickly changed into the uniform and produced my handy Star Trek VI phaser. Now to the less fanatical Star Trek fans out there this may seem over the top, and perhaps it is, but since fun is the aim of the day, and since there are a couple of thousand other Trek fans there, no one is going to bat an eyelid.

The first advice I'd point out for once you are at a convention is ensure you have collected all of the identity badges and guide leaflets that you should be given at the door as this will prove invaluble during your stay, be it for a day like me or for the whole weekend [as my friends Nick and Lucy did].

The first port of call once I had gotten changed was the Sales Rooms. This is where the various sellers of books, magazines, T-shirts, soundtracks, uniforms etc etc are located. The next advice I'll impart is always have some cash or a cheque book with you. I thought that a Switch card would be useful, but it turned out that they were unable to install the necessary equipment. So to avoid walking across a railway station to get cash, I'd recommend money of some description - although I'll also point out that at a convention, whatever money you have, you will spend it, and the reserves, the reserve reserves etc. So careful budgeting of the money and careful choice of whether the item you intend to purchase is really what you want and will wear/use/whatever.

The sales rooms were a treasure trove for the sci-fi fan, whether it is Star Trek, Babylon 5, Farscape, Stargate SG-1, or any other sci-fi series/film. My weakness was for anything movie era - and as it turned out Warp One, the uniform tailors, were there with the waistcoat Captain Kirk wore in Generations. I simply had to have the uniform and this is where the spending of money becomes all too easy.

The next advice I'll tell you is whilst you are enjoying walking around in uniform, spending money that you probably cannot afford, try to remember when the guest speakers are on, or when you are due to queue for autographs as missing this will be missing one of the whole points of the weekend.

Marina Sirtis and Alice Krige Marina Sirtis and Alice Krige Marina Sirtis signing autographs Marina Sirtis signing autographs Alice Krige - the Borg Queen Alice Krige - the Borg Queen Resistance is futile! Richard Arnold's signed photo