Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Starting a club

The infamous theme song to "Sesame Street" asks: who are the people in your neighbourhood...

Well, we found out exactly Who, when Dave started a local Dr Who group in Toowoomba recently. When living in Brisbane in the past, he learned of a local group there, but it was now two hours drive away and expensive city parking. The answer was to start a local branch much closer to home. Only there's quite a lot of organising involved when starting a club it seems.

Organiser bags came in handy for carrying stuff to the library

Dave began by searching The Doctor Who club of Australia website, to see if there was already a local branch in this area. He asked on the Facebook groups page too. Seemed there was no-one with a local group, so he took the next step by contacting The Doctor Who club of Australia. While he waited for them to get back to him, he called the public library to book a free room for the club to meet. The biggest issue he had was finding media equipment for free.

He ended up hiring it out of our own pocket and had it delivered to the library, the day before our first meeting. This is a temporary solution, and now the race is on before our next meeting, to find free equipment. This by far, has been our biggest issue: finding free public equipment. I'll report back how this goes...in Brisbane they have a free Theatre through the public library, with a projector, dark room, etc.

How did the day go though? Well, it was great! Okay, a little boring in the middle when we watched a rare movie with Peter Cushings playing the Doctor - some of those old movies are slow and clunky! But we thought it would be interesting, because the actor who played the policeman in the movie we watched, also plays Donna's grandfather in the modern television series. From a young man to an older one, I like how they recycle actors in the new productions.

Okay, I probably lost you if you're not a Doctor Who fan, LOL. I think we lost some of the audience too (during the movie) as it was predominantly a young group who weren't familiar with the older series. There were a few people in our age group, but we could tell after our first meeting, we're going to have to change the format of the meetings to come. At first we went with 5 hours, divided in the middle with a lunch break. But like the new television series, we're probably going to have to edit it down to maybe 3 hours.

Sarah's official "Who" merchandise ~ Adipose Baby

The people were great though. We all admitted to how unpopular it seems to be, to confess you're a Doctor Who fan in public. We also learned that some people came because they heard the radio interview David did, but also through the flyers we put up on community noticeboards. Some heard through the internet and some heard from friends who passed it around. We discovered a lot about networking and when there's a common interest, how word gets round.

We have to admit to a rather embarrassing start to the meeting - isn't it mandatory to have something go wrong? We couldn't get the TV to work! The one we paid for out of our own pocket, wasn't acknowledging the equipment we plugged in. We asked the first group of people who arrived, if anyone knew anything about TV's. A young man stepped forward and helped me mess around with the controls, to no avail however. Dave continued to play host and greeted more people as they arrived. I was beginning to worry we'd be TV-less, so we asked the new group of attendees to which an even younger man stepped forward.

He managed to achieve in 2 minutes, what we had failed to in 30! He changed the plugs around and whulla. Golly, I breathed a sigh of relief and could almost have hugged him. Why is it the younger you are, you seem to have an innate sense of how technology works?

Anyway, the meeting was a wonderful day and I hope the people had as much fun as we did! Many said they were looking forward to the next meeting. We were chuffed with that. Then it was back to Gully Grove to feed the chickens. The day was complete! :)

And what about the TARDIS...did I manage to finish it in time for our first meeting?

Currently residing in David's Den!

Yep, and we used it to draw tickets for the lucky door prizes too, kindly donated by the Doctor Who Club of Australia! I loved how his TARDIS turned out though. Dave and Sarah kept staring at it when it was on the dinner table, the night before the meeting. Even a young girl (primary school age) asked at the meeting if she could take it home. Bless her, but I said it was a present to someone else and I wouldn't be able to give it away.

I'll no doubt have more to share on our local Dr Who group, but for now it's another 2 months until our next meeting. Welcome any suggestions!!


  1. Wow! Success! Young kids know technology because of the playstation. I can't even figure out my dvd player! LOL!

    Suggestions? Not sure. You noticed that the vintage movie theme didn't work as well for the young crowd. What would?
    I would start an email group on yahoo to keep people excited since there is a two month gap. Let people get to know each other and bounce around ideas there.
    I'm not much of an organizer though. I want to start an artisans club here and don't even know where to begin! LOL!

  2. My friend belongs to a Dr. Who club in Alabama. The library owns all the audio visual equipment. Maybe you could start a drive to purchase this for the library where you meet. You would not have to pay for the equipment from now on and the community could enjoy it.

    The old movies will work or not work and only the really interested will come back. Some may have seemed bored, yet they might come back for more free entertainment. They could get hooked.I would just go with what you have now in the way of entertainment.

    Is there any reason you only meet every two months? Keep your slot open by meeting each month...that way, like my friend, people will know that every first Sat (or whenever) is club day. In my opinion, you cannot garner support and attendance by meeting less.

    My friend said they have a business/announcement meeting, then a movie and then go out to a restaurant to eat. But, this is a bunch of older guys. So, going out to eat may not be best.

    Start a website for your club where people could come, read, ask questions, bookmark the site, and keep the dates of meetings in mind. This could be a place to solicit donations for the av equipment. However, I would not collect the money. If you get the local newspaper involved in the media/av equipment needs of your community/library, you will garner support much faster.

    LOL...I am an organizer by nature.


  3. Hang on a mo - double take - snap!

    There's two linda's, LOL.

    Can you believe I've just realised this? Seeing both your comments helped me realise you are two different people - duh!!!

    Linda without an M, I hope you haven't commented before and I've replied like you were another person, LOL. Because I may have thought you were Linda with an M. ;)

    Thanks for both your helpful advice. LindaM, it's really challenging to set up your own club because the niggly voice says people won't come. But we've certainly learned that if you touch the right spots in the community, word gets round.

    There were moments after our meeting, we thought we said or did something "silly" or out of place. But the reality was, we were probably a little confronted by the fact we were taken outside our comfort zones. We said, well that's okay then, it's normal to feel like a clutz when you've never done this type of thing before, LOL.

    It was a really good exercise for us. I'm now thinking of other things I've always put off, because of the niggly voice of self-doubt, LOL.

    Thanks for your advice too Linda (without an M) as it validates a few ideas we were tossing around too. The local library has a non-profit organisation called, "Friends of the Library".

    They often sell all the old books the library doesn't want any more, really cheaply, so they can pay for new books. Dave was thinking of rocking up to their next meeting to run some ideas about equipment. With the help from our Dr Who Club, we might be able to organise a TV between us.

    He was also thinking of looking up a few government programs coming online soon, to see if we cannot get the local council interested in supplying the library with a TV too.

    It's all stuff we're working on, and knowing bureaucracies, may take a while to sort through, LOL.

    Thanks for all the feedback though. And thanks for dropping in Linda, I'll have to drop by your part of cyberspace soon. :)

    Now its off to bed though, because it's getting late.

  4. Ha, I did not realize LindaM had commented. I talked to my friend who is in the Dr Who club. He said definitely once a month was workable and agreed a set time each month was better than every other month. Yes, the library where he goes owns the tv to watch the episodes. He said in order for it not to be all Dr Who and to turn off some people, and for variety they watched British 30 min comedy like the one with the ladies with flower names and others. He said that often those shows had 3-6 episodes on one theme.

    As for the younger set, do you think they came out of the desire for something to do? That's good. You really cannot take a scifi club and show westerns to get interest. Be true to the British theme. Sometimes they watch another scifi other than Dr. Who. But their main thrust is Dr. Who.

    He said there were 14 at the meeting last time. Of those, 9 went to a restaurant to eat. You can handle it that way so that people won't feel compelled to go out to eat, if you even want to incorporate eating out at all.

    A notice in the local paper now with an explanation of the genre of Dr. Who and a website that gives some background might generate interest. Our newspaper has free spots inside the front page for "community happenings." This includes clubs.

    I asked him why he had tardis in his email name/address. I thought maybe it was some tree or animal he knew about.

    He tells me about the tardis all the time. I think his club is Blue Box Companion. You are so far away, that you could make it yours, too.


    Exbf is in the pictures, in a shirt that says Virginia. I have never seen that picture. Now, he has shorter/less hair and less stomach.

    I am sure this group would answer any questions you might have.

  5. Thanks for all the info Linda, and sorry for not replying sooner. I've had a bout of unwellness, turned out it was allergies. Didn't even know it, LOL.

    I think the younger members came because Dr Who has more sex appeal nowadays - the girls love the younger doctors, LOL. Met a lovely young lass who was totally in love with the last two doctors.

    While I'm more in it for the adventure, it was good to see young adults being interested in something other than video games.

    We were playing the Sarah Jane Adventures too, which is a spin off series from Dr Who.

    Anyway, must dash. I'll look up that link and love the group's name. We're just called the Toowoomba Dr Who local group, LOL. ;)


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