Gillingham 2006

Published: 04 February, 2010 - Featured in Skin Deep 136, August, 2006

This year the organizer’s of the Gillingham show changed it’s date, they brought the show forward by a couple of weeks to the bank holiday at the end of May and the day’s also changed from Saturday/ Sunday to Sunday & bank holiday Monday.


When I found out the show was being held on Sunday/Monday I must admit I was a little surprised, I had visions of the Monday being as dead as a Dodo. I thought that Paul, Jan, Darren and the rest of the organizers had made a big mistake. Anyway, we drove down on the Sunday morning, got set up and waited for the doors to open. Within a couple of hours of the doors opening the show was as busy as any Sunday has been since day one. The weather was not brilliant and that helped to keep people in as well. This year there were no competitions on the Sunday, nor any judging so the people were there for the day out. I managed to get to talk to a lot of people and socialize a fair bit (it was my birthday weekend after all!). Photograph Mac doing some implants (feature in upcoming issue) have a few beers, (birthday drink, just one or two – ahem) and still do some shots of people in the studio. Because there were no competitions the hall did empty out fairly quick in the evening and by 9pm there was hardly a sole left which meant we could pack up for the day at a reasonable time and go and get something to eat. We had every intention of coming back to the bar and having a couple of drinks but in the end were so tired that we went straight to bed.

Monday morning saw us up and about, feeling refreshed for a good nights sleep. After breakfast we had a leisurely time getting ready for the day ahead. I had a few people to do some photographs of who I hadn’t done the day before, so I busied myself doing this and when I came back into the main hall about half an hour after the doors opened it was packed. I can honestly say that from about 1pm right through to gone 7pm I don’t think I left the studio, there was a queue of people waiting to be photographed right up until when they all had to leave for the judging to start. I was then busy for the rest of the afternoon photographing people who were coming to be judged. Gillingham is brilliant for this as being set up in the same room as the judging takes place meant I was in just the right place to see a lot of work that I could of otherwise have missed.

The competition winners and trophies were announced and awarded a bit later than previous years because of the sheer volume of entries and once done, many people drifted off home. Because it was later than normal when we finished we packed up and then had something to eat in the hotel restaurant, which was then followed up by a few well-deserved drinks in the bar, which made up for our early night previously. 

Over the past couple of years the King Charles hotel has been undergoing modernization and improvements and this year the hotel was sporting a complete new bar and bar area, which looked very impressive. 

This year was without doubt the busiest and best Gillingham convention that there has ever been; the change of date has certainly paid off. Gillingham is a friendly laid back show that doesn’t take itself as seriously as some shows and because of that everyone always seem to have a great time. My thanks got to Paul, Jan, Daz and the rest of the crew and I’ll see you there next year…oh yeah, I must say thanks to everyone who sang happy birthday to me at about 11.55pm on Monday night, just when I thought I’d got away with it. 


Best realistic
John by Jay Parker

Best Tribal / Celtic
Tim by Dan Stone

Best male large colour
Tim by Mantas

Best female large colour
Nicola by Jay Parker

Best male small colour
Jay by Leigh Oldcorn

Best female colour small
Leanne by Jason Butcher

Best large black /grey
Tim by Mantas

 Best small B /G male
Podge by Jason Butcher

Best small B / G female
Sarah by Spacey

Best done at show
Russ by Jason butcher


Text and photos: Paul Callaby


Skin Deep 136 1 August 2006 136