I've recently started organising regular Doctor Who club meetings at central Auckland's Muddy Farmer pub. The second monthly pub meet was held last Saturday and was a great success.
The formerly well patronised Auckland Chapter of the New Zealand Doctor Who Fan Club has been inactive for many years. A lot of that had been to do with the lack of a new series, and by the time it did come back last year, most fans were in a position to obtain episodes fairly quickly on their own, negating demand for a revival of the once-popular video days.
The newly revived Auckland Chapter therefore is much more of a social beast. I find it far more appealing and edifying to sit around talking over a few drinks and some food than it is to all cram into a inadequately ventilated room to peer silently at a TV screen.
After the initial novelty of last month's inaugural pub meet I was concerned about a decline in numbers, but we again had thirteen people which was about as many as we could comfortable cram in around a few tables dragged together. Thirteen people constitute a 'Fandahleen', according to the ever-inventive Jon Preddle, who spontaneously invented a hand signal to demonstrate this. This is in danger of becoming a regular in-joke, especially if we keep hitting the same number.
Oddly enough despite the same number in attendance it was rather a different crowd; around half the contingent this time hadn't been there the previous month. A few travelled all the way from Hamilton, and there were even some people from the dim distant past, including Chris Mander, Bevan Thomas and Tim Hill, in attendance. At times it felt more like a reunion event than a regular meeting.
Rochelle brought along Doctor Who merchandise to sell, including the brand new Tenth Doctor novels that had just arrived the previous day, and we admired Adam's Marks & Sparks Dalek and TARDIS keyrings.
Jono launched the first issue of his free 'pubzine', Zeus Plug, which seemed to be well received by everyone. Normally I'd be somewhat wary at the prospect of another New Zealand Doctor Who fanzine starting up, since TSV struggles for local contributors as it is, but Zeus Plug is not very much like TSV, and it's a stretch to think of it as a competitor. I've written a couple of pieces for forthcoming issues.
The pub meet started at 6pm and the last of the group left shortly before midnight, so it was a long night for those who stayed the distance, and bodes well for future monthly meetings.