On February 3, 1959, rock and roll musicians Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and J. P. “The Big Bopper” Richardson were killed in a plane crash near Clear Lake, Iowa, together with the pilot, Roger Peterson. The event later became known as “The Day the Music Died”, after singer-songwriter Don McLean so referred to it in his song “American Pie”.
At the time, Holly and his band, consisting of Waylon Jennings, Tommy Allsup, and Carl Bunch, were playing on the “Winter Dance Party” tour across the Midwest. Rising artists Valens and Richardson had joined the tour as well.
The long journeys between venues on board the cold, uncomfortable tour buses adversely affected the performers, with cases of flu and even frostbite. After stopping at Clear Lake to perform, and frustrated by such conditions, Holly fatefully decided to charter a plane to reach their next venue in Moorhead, Minnesota. Richardson, who had flu, swapped places with Jennings, taking the latter’s seat on the plane, while Allsup lost his seat to Valens on a coin toss.
Soon after take-off, late at night and in poor, wintry weather conditions, the pilot lost control of the light aircraft, a Beechcraft Bonanza, which subsequently crashed into a cornfield, leaving no survivors.
Love the story I heard on how Ruby Wax got on Red Dwarf. On the day of recording Ed Bye was walking round the house desperately, wondering: “Where are we gonna find someone to play a sassy American reporter now?” Ruby (his wife) just walks up to him, hands on hip and says: “seriously?” and rewrote the part to fit her in half an hour … He had only thought about a male playing the part.
I had such a wonderful first experience, I just wish it was more than every two years. I can’t wait for the next one. Although, considering how happy but utterly dead on their feet all of the DJ Staff looked, I can totally appreciate why there is such a huge break between each one!
I was so impressed with all of the guests that attended, they were so generous with their time and completely up for the fun of the weekend. Special mention must go to the main cast though, particularly Chris Barrie, for the sheer dedication to signing everyone’s autographs, posing for numerous pictures and stopping to chat to all of the fans that were there that weekend. I know that the autographs ran over by a VERY considerable way (I was hearing rumours of 9pm from one person!) on the Saturday but most cast members stayed until the bitter end and all were so lovely about it.
Mark Dexter and Stephen Critchlow were particular surprising joys for me. Both were hilarious and very friendly. Mark and Chris’ Q&A was fantastic, they both work very well together and are a great little double act. Robert was so adorable (I’m not sure what it is but I always feel very maternal about Robert Llewelyn, despite the staggering 36 year age difference).
Hattie was again extremely generous with her time and very sweet. She was another person that was signing autographs for an age and never once complained.
Lucie Pohl and Suanne Braun were again, wonderful. Their Q&A consisted mainly of advice and anecdotes about acting and stand up comedy and needless to say, it was brilliantly funny and very inspiring.
And then there’s Danny.
Mad. As. A. Box. Of. Frogs.
But so nice. His Q&A was the most mental, random 45 minutes of my entire life. At one point we were talking about motorbikes and ‘pink helmets 😏’ for about 20 minutes and to this day, I’m still not entirely sure why. One thing we did learn quite conclusively is that you can give him any actor or actress and he will either have worked with them directly or know someone that has. In his own words, he is ‘the King of Six Degrees Of Separation’.
And his signed CD version of Tongue Tied, with the vinyl cover art by the genius that is Colin Howard, caused the most ferocious bidding war I’ve ever seen in the Sunday morning auction. The bidding was between two very competitive people in the room who WOULD NOT GIVE UP. It went on for the best part of 15 minutes and it sold eventually for a colossal £275! Unbelievable!
Oh..and I met a childhood hero of mine, Dave Benson Phillips!!
The weekend was wonderful, a great experience and one that I’m very eager to repeat, if possible.
All that is left to say is THANK YOU to all of the cast and crew of Red Dwarf for being so great when it comes to fan conventions, especially Dimension Jump. And a huge THANK YOU SO, SO MUCH to all of the DJXIX staff and crew who work so hard, so tirelessly for the best part of two years to make each DJ what it is. Every one of you that I spoke to was so welcoming, helpful and professional. And the fact that you do all of this for us - for the love of the show and it’s fans is just phenomenal and awe inspiring.