Long before we were calling it cosplay, sci-fi fans were attending conventions in costumes of their own making. The BBC evening news program Nationwide covered the curious trend in a 1982 segment of their “Look North West”. They interviewed Roy Evans and George Barnes, who were dressed as spacemen, about the convention they were organizing. The event they were plugging, the delightfully-named “Scouse Con”, was held in (where else?) Liverpool on February 12th of that year.
The news program isn’t nearly as panic-driven as that “Nintenpendence” silliness of the last news clip we posted. Instead Nationwide was focused on the quirkiness of the costumes, enlisting Martin and Stephanie to model their Zaphod Beeblebrox and Princess of Mars costumes, respectively.
Some of the outfits seen here were on loan from the touring Theatre Clwyd stage show of ‘The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy’, including the silver ‘Marvin’ costume, seen in the opening and closing moments. Author Anne MacCaffrey was Guest Of Honour that weekend in Liverpool, and one of the animators from ‘The Hitchhiker’s Guide’ BBC TV series, Kevin Davies, gave an illustrated talk. The hostess with the mostest was the delectable Anne Page. The event was a huge success, with a spectacular pyrotechnic gun fight in the middle of the fancy dress parade when Space Pirates from “The 42nd” raided the event. [MrAnelight]
It’s kind of amazing to note how little interest this group seemed to have in Star Wars at the time. But some other things remained constant. The props still malfunction, the women’s costumes are skimpy, the cosplay will involve painted cardboard somehow, and the news anchors will express smug incredulity at these craaaazy superfans. At least we don’t see as many silver plastic jumpsuits at conventions these days. My eyes (and olfactory senses) are thankful for that.
[Hat tip and a malfunctioning laser gun to Unreality.]