Thursday, May 15, 2014

Who is Judge Dredd? A Rookie's Diary

Regular readers of the blog will know that I was involved in a recent new Dredd convention organised by Rule32 called Lawgiver - and said readers will also probably have noted that I haven't done a blog post about how it went. Well - as it turns out - I don't need to, because the brilliant Jonathan Hannah has kindly written a post all about it for this FoldsFive blog. It's not only an excellent read but also a witty and detailed primer to Dredd and his crazy universe. Fire away, Jonathan...

I know who Judge Dredd is. He’s the lone personification of the law, duty bound to punish the worst criminals of a sprawling, walled-off futuristic dystopia branded Mega-City One as he sees fit, with only a stern expression, gruff demeanour and a huge but extremely versatile handgun called a Lawgiver to rely on.

And he never, under any circumstances, takes his helmet off. I mean, I might not have read every comic book under the sun, but I know who Judge Dredd is.

Judge Lemmy’s reaction to being asked for a photo. 
A rookie mistake on my part.
Or so I thought.

My long-standing notion of Dredd has largely been informed by the 1995 Stallone film, snippets of articles, and a few iconic - and often repeated - quotes, despite having never read a Dredd comic.

But when I was invited to a landmark Dredd convention back in March by Judge Lemmy, his wife Vicky, and Judge Court after being detained by the former, I decided I’d better do some concrete research. I began with watching 2012’s Dredd for the very first time.

Dredd was one of those films that are always on the periphery - you’ve never had the time to see it but the concept is endlessly intriguing. 

Word of mouth and rave reviews had already given me some background on what to expect: a gritty, Training Day inspired story with a faithful Judge Dredd played admirably by Karl Urban’s lower jaw.

The latest sports news off the street, creeps. 
The Ma Ma Clan dropped the ball, made an error.
 Our friends are on Floor 76 and trying to make it all the way home. 
But the inside word is that the odds are against them.
That’s right; there are no Stallone shenanigans here. And no Rob Schneider either. 

But I have to admit, I wasn't awestruck at first. The opening voice-over and chase sequences left me unconvinced for some reason, and Mega-City One didn’t entirely resemble the crumbling ruin I had cathartically constructed in my mind. 

It was only when Dredd met rookie Judge and powerful psychic Anderson that things really started to get interesting. “What are psychics doing in Judge Dredd” I asked myself. My interest was thoroughly piqued, and every scene henceforth only served to draw me deeper into the post-apocalyptic underbelly of Mega-City One.

A memorable highlight came just after Dredd and Anderson had entered Peach Trees. I relished the storytelling opportunities of this world within a world as the downfall of its brightly coloured gangs at Ma-Ma’s hands stirred up precious memories of The Warriors, a cult film dear to my heart.

“Ma-Ma is not the law. I am the law… 
And as for you Ma-Ma…judgement time”.
Stubborn as I am, I still had my reservations, thanks to a little cinematic gem called The Raid. I understand both reside in completely different genres - The Raid is an Indonesian martial arts thriller - but themes, plot points and even the score are comparable between the two.

Those same reservations were soon swept away by the slow realisation that Judge Dredd is a wonderful mesh of sci-fi, dystopia, satire, punk, noir, and ultra-cool quotes.

No wonder they’re iconic.

As Dredd stomped off into the Mega-City One sunset - hopefully in search of the newly appointed Judge Anderson - I already considered myself a member of the “Make A Dredd Sequel” camp.

Tearing myself away from the TV, my next stop was the local library, where I was confident I could pick up a few Judge Dredd or 2000AD graphic novels to further my studies.

I found two; not bad at all, but I needed more. Luckily, I was informed by a kindly assistant that she could help by importing a pile of assorted Dredd adventures - including a Batman/Dredd anthology - from my local prison, notorious for housing some of the worst criminals in the country.

That was an ironic plot twist worthy of any comic.

Unfortunately, they had to go through an intensive security check first and with three weeks to go until May 5th, I turned my attention to the admittedly incomplete Judge Dredd wiki, and attempted to consume as much information as my memory could handle.

As is usually the way, exploring the source material uncovered a wealth of surprising facets to a world thought mapped; I’ve listed the key ones below.

1. Dredd actually does take the helmet off on rare occasion, but his face is always conveniently obscured

Disregarding the 1995 film starring Sylvester Stallone, Dredd’s face has never been fully revealed, even to this day. A storyline in which Dredd suffered complete memory loss led to his disfigurement in the Cursed Earth. He has since undergone extensive reconstructive surgery, including having bionic eyes installed, required after his own were ripped out by a demon.

2. Dredd is one of many clones of Chief Judge Fargo - the first of his kind - trained from birth to become Judges

Judges Rico, Kraken, and Dolman are all living, breathing subjects of a cloning experiment, making them Dredd’s biological brothers. How else were they going to replicate that chin?
3. Dredd has battled paranormal and inter-dimensional threats

The Dark Judges - modelled after the Biblical Four Horsemen - invaded Mega-City One from an alternate dimension - known as Deadworld - where they succeeded in eliminating all known life in the universe after entering a pact with two witches to gain supernatural powers. Among Dredd’s most reoccurring and deadly foes, Judge Death (far right) is also a frequent adversary of Psi-Judge Anderson, and has even faced off against DC Comics’ Batman, Scarecrow, and The Joker. Judge Death is a relentless, remorseless killer, and has been portrayed with a dark and sadistic sense of humour, a trait that has varied in degree depending on the writer. He’s also really scared of anything remotely pink and fluffy.
4. There are Judges who police the Judges called the Special Judicial Squad, or SJS for short

The unforgettable Judge Fish, promoted to Deputy Chief by the totally insane Chief Judge Cal. Sadly, Judge Fish was assassinated by SJS Judge Slocum, forced to do so by Dredd who he had helped to arrest earlier. Cal went into mourning, and outraged that few had attended his loyal sidekick’s funeral, ironically executed Slocum by pickling in a giant vat of vinegar for calling him “crazy”, a capital offence during Cal’s time in office. Based on infamous Roman Emperor Caligula - whose animal of choice was a horse, of course - Cal’s reign of lunacy - which included brainwashing the Judges of Mega-City One - was the subject of a 2000AD epic titled “The Day The Law Died”. Before becoming Chief Judge, Cal was the corrupt head of the SJS, an internal police force that routinely carries out inspections of Judges by kidnapping and beating them to a pulp to see if they crack under pressure. They also wear uniforms outfitted with decorative skulls, a warning to all those outside their division.

5. Other countries have their own Mega-Cities and Judges
Detective-Judge Armitage is part of the Brit-Cit Justice Department’s plain clothes homicide division and is only one out of a large pool of hard-boiled characters located across the pond from Mega-City One. Brit-Cit is a huge city in the south of England with a population of approximately 160 million, though it is still dwarfed by Dredd’s American counterpart, with a population of around 800 million. The Brit-Cit Justice Department also has total jurisdiction over Cal-Hab, Murphyville and the South Wales Penisula - Scotland, Ireland, and (obviously) Wales, or at least what remains of it. Bad news for those thinking of escaping the maddening crowd and becoming an ex-pat - the Rock of Gibraltar was once a Brit-Cit territory but was destroyed via nuclear strike due to criminal activity. Brit-Cit continues the special relationship established between the USA and the UK with Mega-City One, and has provided support to Dredd on several occasions, though this special relationship is a rocky one, just like in real life. Other Mega Cities dot what habitable areas of the globe still exist; notable ones include East-Megs One and Two (Soviet Union), Hondo City (Japan) and the Sydney-Melbourne Conurb (Australia, duh).

6. 2000AD spans the entirety of the Milky Way

Johnny Alpha, star of 2000AD strip Strontium Dog, is a British mutant turned galactic bounty hunter, with pure white eyes that give him the powers of super-vision and telepathy. Existing within the same continuity, Dredd and Alpha have crossed paths multiple times, often with conflicting objectives. Trippy epic The Judge Child also brought Dredd to the increasingly bizarre edges of space in pursuit of a young boy foretold to save Mega-City One.
7. 2000AD has its own swear words

Perhaps the most amusing of all the facts and figures I discovered, Drokk is the Mega-City One equivalent of the F-bomb. Have fun.
My perception of Judge Dredd not just as a character, but as a universe, was radically altered.

Just as I saw The Warriors within Dredd, I saw a million other worlds within the pages of 2000AD.

By this time, my library order had finally passed their intensive security check, not unlike Judge Anderson at Dredd's conclusion. But time was against me; speed reading is a talent but eight graphic novels in about a week is another matter entirely.

JLA: Year One’s presence on the top of the pile can be explained by the fact it was in the library in the first place. So there.
The itinerary for Lawgiver was now live on Facebook, and although I was eager to learn of the day’s distractions, I didn't recognise a single name on the panels apart from John Wagner. It was then I decided I would wing it, seeing as I was already heading into the virtual unknown.

Equally empowered and fascinated by new-found knowledge, I stepped off the 13:08 train arriving at Birmingham’s New Street Station, having been tickled by Judge Death’s dark humour and dazzled by Simon Bisley's dreamlike art in Judgement On Gotham.

Assuring myself I was ready like Anderson - though Dredd probably would have disputed it - I clambered into a taxi and made my way to Eddie’s Rock Club, a fine establishment named after the eponymous Iron Maiden mascot.

Lawgiver’s imminent presence soon came forward in the form of Judge Lemmy, nonchalantly strolling down the opposite side of the street towards Eddie’s wearing a rather fetching cowboy hat.

Through the heavy double doors, I encountered Judge Court, and made my way into the main hall, where Vicky greeted me.

A view of the stage from near the back of the main hall. Just out of shot to the left was the tombola, featuring an array of enviable prizes - such as a piece of original concept art from Judge Minty and a Planet Replicas Dredd badge. The badge was won by Judge Pal, though it did take him more than a few tries.
The joyful reunion was suddenly interrupted by a not-so-welcoming party of Judges fascinated by the back of my specially created t-shirt.

“It was the Phantom, honest!”
Ah, yes. The t-shirt.

Many people were keen to compliment my t-shirt - for which I am grateful - including Judge Labelle, an affable guy with a good-natured sense of humour kitted out in Brit-Cit armour.

But I cannot take sole glory as Judge Lemmy and Judge Court were the ones who essentially gave me the notion. If they were the commissioners, I was the artist.

Except that even the Chopper artwork is not my own - eagle-eyed Dredd fanatics will recognise it from the first few panels of Unamerican Graffiti, cropped using Paint.

The only artwork I can lay claim to is on the back, created using GIMP, though it could just as easily have been done in Paint.

The decision to encircle the immortal statement “Perp Payne Fan” in a Phantom tag was done as a precautionary reference as explicitly associating yourself with a wanted perp at a Judge Dredd convention isn't the best idea in the world.

I'm not crazy.

Just in case that failed, I had a secret weapon, which I had concocted literally the day before. I soon suspected that it could be a heavy burden as much as a “Get Out Of Jail Free” card.

“Come on, guv, it’s obviously a clerical error!”
Judges Labelle and Lemmy keep me subdued, 
but I still can’t figure out if Judge Court 
is thoroughly inspecting my pass or if he 
too needs a bionic eye transplant.
No Judge could argue with a direct order from the Grand Hall Of Justice, right?

Sure enough, after another round of commendation, I was on my knees once more. This time it was under accusations of - you guessed it - forgery.

The Dredd experience had now come full circle and my initiation was complete. I have yet to meet Phantom Perp Payne, described later in the evening by Judge Labelle as “interesting”, though I am sure our paths will cross at some point.

I briefly had a chance to recover my senses before being escorted into the adjacent room by Judge Lemmy. It was at this moment I finally met Markus, a lovely man with a high tolerance for excitable children, and one of the event organisers as part of the Rule 32 Cafe.

Markus, expertly explaining the finer intricacies 
of the Dredd miniatures game.
Demoing the Judge Dredd miniatures game with a precocious youngster called Vincent, Markus invited me to play a round as he - and the boy’s long-suffering parents - attempted to ease Vincent’s rampant rule-breaking with gentle persuasion.

I leafed through the open rule book while waiting and - having also never played a tabletop game before - was relieved to find my videogame RPG sensibilities gleefully engage with the mass of statistics stringently listed on each thickly bound page.

Judge Lally, Vincent’s Mother.
Impressive hair, and Boing Spray too!
No, that’s not for her hair.
I soon learned that Vincent’s vivid imagination was only matched by his penchant for deploying consecutive - and usually fatal - salvoes of Hi-Ex ammunition. He proved a tough opponent though I was able to best him in our second match after carefully placing my roughshod clan of creeps around corners in an arguably cowardly ambush.

His little sister - Vivian - continually dismantled the set throughout, and even fetched my runaway dice at one point, as if to remind her older sibling that perhaps winning isn't everything.

Of course, I was extremely lucky he wasn't able to deploy his seemingly indestructible Holocaust Judge.

Those guys are the new Warhammer 40K Terminators.

After barely securing victory, I leant over the table and shook valiant Vincent’s hand - mother and father on consoling duty - hoping to impart a sense of sportsmanship to the talented pup.

Now feeling more relaxed and like a total bad-ass - because clearly I had just ended a future champion’s winning streak - I headed downstairs to the dungeon, spurred on by Marcus, to discover what horrors lay below.

For a place with a name inspired by a band, which in turn was named after a torture device, the “dungeon” appeared moderately tame. The only devices capable of eliciting harm were the ever-present dealers’ tables, designed to rip cash from hand in the self-destructive cause of brazen temptation.

The dungeon in all its dimly lit terror.  One girl at the dealers’ tables was oddly dressed as Batgirl. 
As I casually wandered between the carefully arranged tables gazing in polite curiosity at a smorgasbord of Dredd collectibles I spotted a flyer for an artist offering free sketches - and another for free hugs. Interested - in the free sketch that is - I wracked my mind trying to think of what I could possibly ask for; Chopper seemed to be an obvious choice but then I saw the artist was already detailing an impressive piece featuring Psi-Judge Anderson and Judge Death.

A beautiful profile, made even more so by
the personalised message.

You lucky person.
Not willing to disturb genius at work, I ventured to the opposite side of the room, where boxes upon boxes of old 2000AD issues and collected editions awaited to be discovered by connoisseurs.

Perusing with bafflement - caused by my near total lack of Dredd storyline knowledge - and amazement - at the distinctly different styles of art - my eyes continued to scan the length of the table and regrettably came to rest on an issue of a comic bluntly titled Shit The Dog with an even more vulgar cover illustration. 

At that point I felt more baffled than amazed, so I headed back upstairs, where I was discouraged to find the Dredd miniatures demo had been discontinued for the day.

The Judge Minty panel had already begun by the time I somewhat sullenly sunk into the main hall. I stood near the back, observing the behind-the-scenes footage with intense curiosity. Unlike most attendees though, I had not yet the pleasure of seeing the fan-made film, so I hadn't a clue what the participants were talking about!

In the back-right corner lurked the “You Be The Judge” attraction, an irresistible chance to try on Judges Dredd and Minty’s actual costumes from the film, made by Planet Replicas. Regardless of considerable interest, it was on hold until the panel had finished.

It was several days after Lawgiver before I realised that Edmund Dehn (4th from the right) was “that guy off Knightmare”. Doh.
Stood nearby, Judge Pal - affectionately known as Scowlin' Munkeh - struck an imposing figure on a poster for Lawgiver, but in reality, he was a jovial fellow only too happy to discuss his experiences as a Judge. I had enjoyably read his eloquently penned diary recounting his first patrol of the London Film and Comic Con - LFCC for short - on the 2000AD blog before attending Lawgiver and was keen to vocalise my judgement.

Aspiring rookies had the optional choice of feeling the weight of the Lawgiver MK I or II, decomissioned to prevent any messy accidents.
Being the friendly face of Mega City One law enforcement, Judge Pal has a tendency to do things other Judges could never comprehend, like smiling.

Despite this disturbing irregularity, Judge Pal’s inimitable style helped facilitate this cracker of a photo, surely a candidate for best solo picture of the day.

Judge Pal sneaks into the evidence locker for a photo op with Chopper’s board 
and Judge Fish, later confiscated by the all-conquering chin of Judge Burdis.
The board, Block War sign, and Judge Fish are the brainchild of Judge Greer, 
whose homemade Judge costume is another work of genius. 
Chopper’s Board was covered with the scrawls of attendees 
by evening’s end (myself included) and made for an excellent memento.

Judge Pal has written several other blogs on his Judge career,  featured on the official 2000AD blog under the handle 
of Shaolin Monkey, including one on Lawgiver. They’re well worth a read Judge Burdis also writes for Cellar of Dredd and  Judge Court runs FoldsFive, which also features contributions like this one from yours truly. He’s also authored a collection of short stories - available from Amazon, entitled “ The Shadow Cast Across The World” - and is currently writing his first novel. I suppose it makes a change from all that boring paperwork those glorified Desk Judges do.

Su tries to bribe Judges Burdis and Pal with a kiss.
Nick - Vincent’s father - overhearing my interest in the composition and structure of Judge costumes after I asked Judge Pal about the rigidity of the shoulder pieces - was also thoughtful enough to introduce me to a program called Pepakura. Used for printing out buildable 3D models with card stock, these models can then be reinforced with resin, fibreglass, and, “car filler to make anything”.

After chatting for a few more minutes about LFCC, Judge Pal expressed his pleasure at having met me, and excused himself to sit with a group closer to the stage.

Who the hells gonna mess with us?!
Waiting for the costume fittings to resume, I briefly introduced myself to Su and Tara. Su was a diminutive but highly capable Rule32 Café organiser and Tara was partner in crime to Judge Court and also diminutive and highly capable (I would see just how later on. Capable, that is).

I could see why they were married.

Making my way back to the adjacent room, I spotted a Judge dressed in a kilt near the bar and asked him for a photo. I enquired as to the condition of Judge Banquo; though I’m uncertain as to whether the joke was understood (my photo sucked though, so here’s someone else’s for your enjoyment).

Back in the room, Vicky was resting her legs in the corner, exasperated at the restlessness of Judge Lemmy. She would get her revenge later.

Cal-Hab Judge McBeth, who wasn’t even Scottish! 
He’s carrying a handmade sword in his left hand,
 which would appear in full glory later.
Not long after I had asked how she made her Hellgirl costume, Judge Burdis - a friendly yet physically commanding man who reminded me of Jeor Mormont from Game of Thrones - cajoled me into participating in the Chin Off. I told him I’d be terrible, but give everyone a good laugh anyway. And so I would.

Back in the main hall, my time to assume the leathers eventually came, just as the Chin Off was about to begin. Wearing them felt natural, if a little tight, though the lid was another matter. Heavier and more awkward to carry than I expected, there was a very real case of blind justice when it slid down over the front of my eyes, causing me to lean back and hardly being able to tell where I was pointing the Lawgiver MK II.

Didn’t I say Vicky would get her revenge?
Both Honorary Judges are content to punish their husbands until Tara goes a bit too far and puts the boot to Judge Court, maybe to hurt him or just wake him up. 
A learning curve for sure, but not insurmountable, if one was to decide to take up the mantle in the near future.

At least I managed to avoid incurring the disciplinarian wrath of Judge Burdis.

Judge Burdis, angrily reprimanding a cadet for lacking the requisite granite chin skills and the appropriate amount of facial hair.
A quick photo with Judge Lemmy later, then it was a simple case of carefully - and quietly - removing the costume and joining another queue - this one snaking towards the bar - and reclaiming the lid I had handed back less than two minutes ago, albeit briefly.

My entry in the Chin-Off fell short due to my unconvincing rendition of “I am the law!” which sounded more like an apprehensive question rather than a threatening statement.

Taken just before the Chin-Off, as I scramble to get Judge Minty’s costume off before the contest starts.

Chopper is a perp, and my t-shirt was emblazoned with his motifs, including that of two others.
Judge Burdis: Here comes Chopper…Say the line.
Me: I am the law?
Was that not clear?
Credit must be given to young Vincent; the brave lad’s charming effort catalysed a tremendous roar of appreciation and a chorus of “Awwww”.

Reluctant to take centre stage all alone, Vincent’s choice of chaperone - Judge Lemmy, over his own mother - was met with bemusement, not least of all from Judge Lally herself.

Or, as she put it, “Judge Lemmy is a lot cooler than Judge Mum”.

Vincent - name changed for security reasons - feeling much happier after being given a reward for shunning his parents by Judge Pal.
I was impressed to hear Judge Aberg 
had come all the way from Sweden, 
and even more so once I had seen his 
Kiefer Sutherland impersonation on Facebook.

Spiffing Judge Labelle flew the flag for Brit-Cit with a genteel performance of “the line”, complete with a gentleman’s smile and thumbs-up.

Up next was Judge Aberg, whose unexpected Swedish version was so epic I half-expected Lordi to erupt up from behind him, saluting the whole thing with an extended guitar solo (I know they’re Finnish, alright?)

The group photo was something of a logistical nightmare, as Judges and VIPs had to precariously squeeze past fragile citizens corralled onto a congested staircase.

The photographer in charge dispensed some advice for those feeling just a little squished; “If you can see me, I can see you”, he assured the crowd.

It’s a good job Health and Safety officers weren't present, but I’d like to have seen them try to enforce their rules with Mega-City One’s finest on patrol!

Having been rescued from Judge Pal, Judge Fish is forced 
into a chin-off with Judge Burdis. 
Not that Judge Fish can muster any competition, 
as he’s inanimate, which is a slight problem.
 Judge Fish, I mean, not Judge Burdis, 
though he may have lockjaw from keeping up 
that impressive grimace. Do fish even have chins?
Across the street, a group of middle-aged shoppers wandered by, swapping furtive glances at the unusual sight of a dozen-or-so Judges getting into photograph posing positions.

Despite the lack of leg room, the group photo was a resounding success, though I'm sure everyone on the cramped staircase was grateful to stretch their limbs again in the much more spacious confines of Eddies.

Hello Mum!  Thats me in the back left.
The short fan film Judge Minty shown next initially screamed overkill due to a loud green hue that reminded me of the emerald shades of The Matrix.

It was instantly clear the atmosphere and themes of Minty were perfectly in tune with Dredd's though, a sentiment more strongly echoed as time went on.As the credits rolled, I had a far different opinion, especially when Markus - resting by the bar - suggested the tint evoked the choking radiation of the Cursed Earth.

Immediately, I thought of Fallout 3’s Capital Wasteland and its similar uses of colour.

Somebody turn this into a mod, please.
As Lawgiver began to wind down, Dredd was shown in the main hall for those who hadn't yet mastered the discipline of identifying every scene by diegetic sound alone; a discipline seemingly practised by everyone sat in the next room.

I took a seat and watched the opening sequence again; a sense of camaraderie now prevalent.

Judge Lemmy soon popped into view out of the corner of my fixed stare, and kindly invited me to sit with the intrepid group settled with an array of drinks next door.

Not long after, John Wagner joined us for a pint or two, which made for a surreal experience.

Mr Wagner sat smoking a pipe, inducing stereotypical visions of wizened world-weary authors and playwrights like Noel Coward, Edgar Allen Poe and HP Lovecraft, given credible reinforcement when he posed for a photo with Judge McBeth’s sword.

Despite having the co-creator of Judge Dredd sitting mere yards across from me, I didn't feel starstruck, as Dredd was still relatively new to me. It was, however, extremely humbling to see John mingling with his subjects in such a manner. 

Judge Lemmy and Hellgirl in Wales.
Don't they look happy?
Even though I might not have fully appreciated the gravity of his presence, I decided to refrain from squandering a fruitful opportunity, to ask the man himself what Dredd stories he would recommend to a rookie. 

The Cursed Earth was his favourite, followed by America; Judge Lemmy wholeheartedly agreed and wasn't afraid to offer his opinion on Wagner’s writing proclivities: “He’s a sick man!” he cheerfully proclaimed. Judge Pal’s earlier endorsement of Complete Case Files Volume 5 now boded for a tantalising triumvirate of tales.

Judge Court later revealed the encouraging news of his healthy Amazon sales and novel progress. Before leaving I would ask if he would feature this article on FoldsFive and apologise for neglecting to read his collection of short stories, a mistake I will have to rectify shortly due to the amount of jokes at his expense here.

After being schooled on Anthrax - the heavy metal band, not the WMD - by Judge Lemmy, who invoked the ire of Vicky by promising he would never wash his prized patch-covered vest now signed by John Wagner, she and Tara steered the conversation towards Eurovision.

John Wagner with a sword. The handle was constructed 
from the remnants of Judge McBeth’s old electric toothbrush.
Your argument is now invalid.
This disgusted Judge Lemmy so much he insisted I swap places with him, refusing to be flanked by two die-hard Eurovision fans and put in the line of fire from a third.

After Tara revealed her admiration for last year’s winning song - Only Teardrops - I tried to enlighten her and Vicky to the delights of singer and composer Emmelie de Forest by describing her sound as “Ethereal…like Stevie Nicks”.

Not exactly what I wanted to say, as she’s much more than “Ethereal (and) Stevie Nicks”, but that’s what stumbled out anyway. 

Nevertheless, a plan was hatched to Skype each other during the live final on Saturday, which despite technical issues involving laptops and lazy drunk (Editors correction) husbands (cough*Judge Court*cough) was an exchange of typical British sarcasm and a genuine love for music.

So, yeah. Judge Dredd and Eurovision. If that’s not an eclectic mix, I don’t what is.

Earnest - but reluctant - goodbyes were sadly spoken and hugged out (everyone had free hugs now), as departing attendees slowly began to spill out onto the street.

Offered a ride back to New Street Station with Judges Lemmy, Court, Pal, and Tara and Vicky, we stood outside, sheltered from the rain by the roof of Eddies.
Anthrax wrote and performed the song, “I Am The Law”, heavily 
inspired by Judge Dredd. The lyrics feature multiple references to 
archenemy Judge Death and the lore of 2000AD.

A call was made to a taxi firm for two vehicles (preferably with a large boot) for seven people, three with hefty kit bags full of weighty costumes and replica weapons.

Judge Aberg said farewell as we waited, revealing a Judge by the name of Fields had left his shotgun behind.

Unsure of what to do, Judge Aberg passed the weapon from his Swedish-bound hands to Judge Pal, who ventured to get a bin bag from Eddies to avoid being arrested on the way home.

Luckily for both of them, the DNA self-destruct had failed to activate.

Though the first taxi arrived and left swiftly with off-duty Judges in tow, four citizens were left stranded waiting for the second.

Wondering if creeps were to blame, I suggested using the mislaid shotgun as insurance should the firm fail to send another one as originally agreed.

For Sale - One Mega-City One Judge Issued 
Assault Shotgun. Please contact Scowlin’ 
Munkeh for details.
I was getting the hang of this Judge thing.

A harsh tone was adopted when Tara resolved to ring the firm, handing the phone to Vicky, who passively-aggressively asked the unfortunate dispatcher where our second cab was.

Apparently, the firm had sent a seven-seater but hadn't thought to notify the customers. Another was dispatched in its stead. 

With 15 minutes or so to spare, we hurried into the re-purposed meat wagon.

On the ride back, the driver apologised for the mix-up and revealed his passion for Judge Dredd, totally unaware his previous passengers possessed full scale replica Judge costumes!

Just making the last train home for two hours, I let my withered intention to read the next instalment of the Batman/Dredd anthology fall to physical fatigue, instead choosing to slip away in a sea of music, musing on my future with Dredd.

So, that was a rookie’s experience of Judge Dredd; a baptism of fire of sorts, but the warmth was undeniable and the flames strangely hypnotic. 

Roll on LFCC. And Lawgiver MK II of course!

The Judges Want You! To obey the law, creep. And to attend the next Lawgiver  (without breaking the law)
(Thanks to everyone who took photos and apologies for appropriating them. Sorry if I missed anyone out too!)

Thanks, Jonathan. And if you're wanting to read more about how the day went, other brilliant write-ups of the day can be by Judge Pal and also by Judge Burdis.

1 comment:

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