Geek Festby Yelena Calavera / Images by Jamie Camfferman / 11.09.2013
Winter decided to pay an uninvited visit this weekend, dashing the hopes of Gauteng LARPers who had intended on donning skimpy lycra bodysuits and flouncing about carefree in the noonday sun. However, we were not to be deterred so easily. We wore our lycra anyway, but were unable to flounce and had to content ourselves with frost-bitten shambling.
An assortment of the kinds of folk who had a horrible time in high-school (and now individually contribute more to the GDP than the rest of their matric class combined) turned up with their nerd clans in tow. We were separable into two factions. There were those who were in stealth mode in their mandatory monochrome black, and those outfitted for cos-play, wearing colourful wigs and bat-shit-crazy costumes.
The clutching of small, plastic figurines (in sexy postures most of our kin will never find ourselves in, for all our lycra wearing) was made nearly impossible by frozen fingers. But a nerd intent on a plastic figurine is a force to be reckoned with and even the unannounced visitation by the fucking freezing cold couldn’t prevent money from changing hands.
I too spent my fair share of cash on plastic shit imported from China. I spotted a pair of book-ends going for an exorbitant price that I simply had to have. I had a mild apoplexy on the spot and then warmed my hands in the blood of a geek (who had recently fallen victim to a zombie attack) in order to pay.
Having sated our desire for plastic crap, our clan then huddled together for warmth on the lawn and listened to the quiz.
“Now for question three: What angle was Harrison Ford’s foot at the first time it appeared in Star Wars Episode 4?” the quiz master asked.
“Thirty-seven point five degrees!” came the answer.
“Right again, sir! Boy, but you sure know your Star Wars.”
The geek gets a standing ovation and when the applause quietens down, the commentator continues.
“And now for question number eight…erm…I mean four! Please excuse me—I’ve been drinking all day!”
This continued for quite some time and I’m sure it degenerated substantially, but we were lured away by robots and zombies.
The robot wars were a terrible disappointment. It was nothing like on TV. The robots just got stuck on a hay bale and had to be picked up and carried off by their owners. Not even the exciting soundtrack provided by the band—some caterwauling undead who’d been handed instruments—could make up for the disappointment.
My photographer and I thought to get in on the Zombie Run action and we made the mistake of stationing ourselves a bit too strategically. We were caught in a stampede of terrified runners fleeing from the unrealistically dextrous undead.
One pair of zombies, a father and son, was doing a good job of crushing the dreams of runners. They monopolized the track and snapped up the lives of the people who had voluntarily signed up to be terrified and harassed by the undead hordes.
To me, it seemed insane… until I saw the water guns.
A lucky few sported plastic Kalashnikovs filled with fake blood, which could be used to spurt gore at zombies in a temporary attempt to keep them back. Inevitably though, they’d rally and close in on you…
So as the resident expert on such things, a member of my clan bombarded me with questions.
“So can you, like, fuck up the zombies and hit them with spades and shit and, like, decapitate ‘em if they try bite you?”
Holy mother of Jesus, I thought. How dangerous it is to put geeks in the proximity of live zombies after years of annihilating them for kicks in the virtual world! A bad, bad situation could have developed under these circumstances.
Luckily, geeks are not the biggest partakers in PCP, and so the Zombie Run went down without incident.
I arrived too late for the cosplay competition but my photographer informed me that I hadn’t missed much. The crowd had been, by her evaluation, unaware that it had happened at all.
I did however get a chance to see big, barbarian-like men dressed up in medieval attire hitting each other with plastic swords.
Now this is the stuff I live for!
But before the sun set, we had to skedaddle. The cold was closing in and the ice weasels were coming… For all my dedication to the cause, the prospect of braving the cold in an open field—even for a Star Wars marathon, was too terrible to contemplate.
*All images © James Camfferman.