Thursday, 20 September 2012

Helga - Weymouth Maritime Mix

So, I never did get round to talking on here about the delay in Helga's grand debut.  Mostly because at the time it was too depressing, then afterwards I didn't really want to make myself glum by thinking about it too much.
To recap, I made Helga (see previous posts) to appear in the Spirit of the Sea Carnival in Weymouth, which this year was made to coincide with the Olympic Torch Relay to celebrate its arrival in Weymouth.  Unfortunately, when the day came there was such torrential rain (literally, there were flash flood warnings all over the South West that week, it wasn't messing about!) that the parade had to be cancelled.  This was gutting for everyone, especially the organisers who'd put so much effort into making it happen in the first place.  And it wasn't just me and the other 3 large scale costume students that had been working for months on it, there were a group of 2nd years that had been leading around 800 or so school children in making costumes for themselves to wear in the parade.  It sucked, basically.
Anyway, flash forward to September 9th and it was finally Helga's chance to shine! (and luckily the sun did too)  This time round we were there to mark the end of the Paralympic Games, and it was fabulous!

There was a last minute switch around with the performers, since my fellow costumier, Immie, who was meant to wear it, no longer had an actor to perform in her own costume, and wanted to wear it herself.  Luckily Gabby stepped in, and I couldn't have asked for a better performer!  One thing about Helga is that she gets heavy.  I tried to make her out of the lightest materials possible; plastazote foam and pvc pipes, but even so, after an hour or so you're going to really feel the weight - especially with the coastal winds we had to contend with as we were going along the promenade.  But Gabby was an absolute trooper, not only did she look the part with her bright green hair, she battled the wind without complaint and posed and smiled for photos for all the crowd.  And wow, the crowd!  I have never had so much adulation in my life before.  I'd been put in the procession as a motivator, been given a costume from our stockroom to wear, and put next to Helga/Gabby to be on hand should anything go amiss.
It meant that I was right there to hear all the praise and see all the excited pointing fingers and variations of "Oh my god, it's the fish from 'Finding Nemo'!"  Not only that, but because we were right at the back of the procession as a kind of grand finale, the crowd would all cheer as we passed them by.  I tell you, it made all the blood, sweat and tears that went into making her all fade into insignificance.  I definitely want to do Carnival again, if only for the 2 hours worth of ego stroking at the end of all that work!
Anyway, photo time:

And some I nicked from the Moving Tides Procession facebook page:

Me walking alongside looking chuffed (and a little bit concerned for Gabby's back!)

I love how this one shows the vibrancy of it all.  Also, you can see my friend Jess in the  foreground wearing her sunset (or sunrise?) costume.  Had a minor hiccup in that someone forgot to pack her poles, but she was able to scrounge some from some unused costumes and bosh it back together in time - it looks fab!

My favourites were the dinosaurs.  The procession was 'ocean-themed' but  because  we were on the Jurassic coast line there was a big fossil theme within that.  The dinosaurs were amazing!

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