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Fireman Sam, eBooks and hair dye

I went to my first SF convention in 1992 (30 Oct-1 Nov, ConCert, King's Manor Hotel, Edinburgh. £20 reg.). It was with Janice, Nik, Scotty, and a good few other from the crowd I role played with. It was a good experience even though I put my foot in it on several occasions.

Before hand I had a conversation with Nik about what costume I could make for it. I had drawn a blank. I tried to think through what bits and bods I had. One of the things I mentioned was a fireman helmet. I picked it up as an interesting object at a jumble sale. Nik suggested going as a fireman from Fahrenheit 451, after my blank look she lent me the book.

I made a jacket with Nik's help (out of charity shop blanket and fabric dye, ended up a bit purple/grey not black), it had silver buttons, and combined it with yellow waterproof trousers. I repainted the helmet black and was good to go.

No one knew what it was meant to be, everyone thought it was Fireman Sam, which to be fair it was much closer to.

I have spent a chunk of this evening going through the book again. For Eastercon this year I hope to try again and do a better job.

What follows is all the description I can find, an eBook extracted as a txt file and grep makes the job of research a lot easier.

grep --before 1 --after 1 'sleeve\|coat[^a-z]\|orange\|shirt\|[pP]hoenix\|[Ss]alamander\|jacket\|slicker\|badge\|[^a-zA-Z]cap[^a-z]\|[^a-zA-Z]hat[^a-z]\|[^a-zA-Z]chest[^a-zA-Z]\|helmet\|pocket\|pants\|uniform\|trousers\|[Ii]gniter\|stitched' $filename

Reading the first bit I think I need some advice on hair dye.


Montag looked at these men whose faces were sunburnt by a
thousand real and ten thousand imaginary fires, whose work flushed
their cheeks and fevered their eyes. These men who looked steadily
into their platinum igniter flames as they lit their eternally
burning black pipes. They and their charcoal hair and soot-coloured
brows and bluish-ash-smeared cheeks where they had shaven close; but
their heritage showed. Montag started up, his mouth opened. Had he
ever seen a fireman that didn't have black hair, black brows, a fiery
face, and a blue-steel shaved but unshaved look? These men were all
mirror-images of himself! Were all firemen picked then for their
looks as well as their proclivities? The colour of cinders and ash
about them, and the continual smell of burning from their pipes.

Hat & Helmet

  • Montag, you forgot your helmet!

  • With his symbolic helmet numbered 451 on his stolid head

  • the Captain's hat and the sign of the Phoenix on his hat

  • He hung up his black-beetle-coloured helmet and shined it


  • There's a Phoenix car just driven up and a man in a black shirt

  • with an orange snake stitched on his arm coming up the front walk.

  • He stood in the hall of his house, putting on his badge with the orange salamander burning across it.

  • He tapped the numerals 451 stitched on his char-coloured sleeve.

  • she seemed hypnotized by the salamander on his arm and the
    phoenix-disc on his chest


  • Beatty, Stoneman, and Black ran up the sidewalk, suddenly odious and fat in the plump fireproof slickers.

  • Beatty never drove, but he was driving tonight, slamming the Salamander around corners, leaning forward high on the driver's throne, his massive black slicker flapping out behind so that he seemed a great black bat flying above the engine

  • he hung his flameproof jacket neatly


  • Beatty flicked his igniter nearby and the small orange flame drew his fascinated gaze.

  • Beatty raised his hand in which was concealed the igniter.

  • He pulled out his igniter, felt the salamander etched on its silver disc, gave it a flick…

  • These men who looked steadily into their platinum igniter flames


  • putting his pipe in his pocket thoughtfully.

  • they lit their eternally burning black pipes.


( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
Jean Sutherland
Mar. 12th, 2013 07:58 am (UTC)
Charcoal hair
Hi. The Clairol.co.uk website has useful info on hair dye. I presume you'd want semi-permanent rather than permanent. Unfortunately they don't do anything like charcoal, but there is black, ash-brown or flame-red! The general hints are useful though.

Otherwise I'd suggest a browse in Boots or somewhere else with a decent sized haircare section unless you bite the bullet and get a Groupon voucher to go to a professional hairdresser.
Have fun.

Jean (Sutherland)
( 1 comment — Leave a comment )


Andrew Patterson

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