Up at 07:30 - lots of running around trying to remember what we were likely to forget (uh... yeah) made sammiches for the train-journey, stuffed portfolios in my ruck-sac, called taxi, put down meat, water and biscuits for the cats then got to the train station.
Two adult saver tickets, return to Chippenham? £86 >>
Train was packed and boiling arfin hot, spent first twney minutes standing in the corridor, but got a seat when we stopped in Birmingham. Slight feeling of trepidation all the way thee, but that's normal, I get like that every time I go to a Con. Though I was thoroughly enjoying watching the countryside turn into the prettiness of the county I grew up in.
Becca was right when she texted me - when we got there, Long Line Was Indeed Long! We got to the end of it and were told to go back to the front because we were pre-pay ticket holders XD All that walking in all that heat, for nothing! Ah well ^^
Got goody-bag each and then went to find Becca et al sitting by the cafe. I dumped my stuff and set off with Becca for a quick reconnaissance trip around the whole hall. Located various things - such as Tokyopop (hard to miss) and Mark Buckingham's table.
Took photographs, chatted with a few people, (one of whom was the Webmaster for the convention - you may have seen him wandering around in a black Hakama, carrying a high res camera) dumped a pile of my business cards on the entrance table and then went back to the bag-pile. Also handed out a few of my cards to various people ^^
For someone who is essentially broke, there wasn't much to do in the main hall, so after a bit of chatting with Matt, Becca et al, I went to go and chat with Mark. Unfortunately, he was just leaving, and we bumped into each other down one of the packed walkways. We spent about ten mins giving each other a quick catch-up and he told me to catch him again later after the Vertigo Panel.
He had to go so I went back to Matt, Becca et al and we all decided to go to Weatherspoons - or the equivalent anyway (it had 'The Knights Templar' in huge lettering on the wall, which amused me greatly, because I'm mildly addicted to Assassins Creed at the moment XD)
We were scheduled to walk back all together, but I was on a far more important schedule, so Matt and I went ahead to collect our stuff from the pile. Got there, had a mild heart attack over my missing port-folios, found them, prepared to go - said g'bye to Becca et al (who by this time had turned up) set off and saw Tony Lee and Dan Boultwood.
Stopped for ages to have a chat and showed Dan my 'folio's (I'm really chuffed he liked XD) told Tony he didn't HAVE to wear all those clothes (silly man was wearing a full three piece, in a hall with no ventilation and chock-full of people!) and then swapped cards with them both before haigh-tailin' it to the Ramada for the Vertigo panel.
Though we actually had no idea where the hell we were going >> We asked a likely looking bloke also on his way there, but he was also lost! So we all three walked together and asked two other blokes - who despite living in Bristol couldn't help much XD We eventually found it and parted ways in the reception room.
Got into the Panel about fifteen minutes late - very annoying c.c However! We were in time to learn about new Hellblazer projects, reprints of old Hellblazers containing Mark's work, lots of info about Fables, not many questions - but I honestly think everyone was dieing of heat-induced brainfarts >>
When the panel finished we went round to the singing room and I cued for an hour and a hald to get a pic off've Mark XD I spent the time chatting with two blokes who had come up from Windsor - one of whom had this HUGE intricate tattoo of various Star Wars characters (primarily Boba Fett) in this huge all-out battle, apparently it went 'from ankle to arse' in his own words.
There were also a number of French blokes jumping in and out of the various ques - got chatting with one of them when he showed me this great image of Batman he'd asked for from one of the 2000AD artists. Apparently they run a comic-con in france, and he has this HUGE stash of A3 artwork, all signed, for auctioning at his con >>
I never did get the names of the two blokes I spent ages talking too, but I did give one of them my card because we got chatting about art and comics.
Finally got to Mark and told him he could relax soon, cause I was last in the que - spent ages chatting and chatting and chatting XD Haven't seen Mark in a couple of years, so there was lots of catching up to do. He congratulated me on both my engagement and my business ^^ He also doodled Death for me ^^
We swapped University Horror Stories, talked about how hard it is to get into comics, how fun it is to Freelance and how much we hated our fuddy-duddy, anti-comic tutors.
Promised to buy him a drink some time in the future, because he had to hurry away (and really, ALL the artists, writers and editors et al were looking frazzled and worn about by this time - after 6) so we collected our stuff and went and sat in the Ramada Bar for an hour or so.
Waved 'Hi' to Tony, smiled at a few familiar faces and basically flopped in one of the comfy chairs and tried not to fall asleep - I know it doesn't sound like we did much, but the heat all day just sort of sapped all our strength - that coupled with there basically not being ANY seating in the main convention hall - sorta made for an hours worth of FLOP.
Eventually went back to the train station, found the right train and was picked up in Chippenham by Mom. Dad was cooking various meat-products on the BBQ when we got there. Many hugs all round, ages spent sitting on the garden chairs in the back-garden, talking about the con, Becca's new hair, Iron Man, comics in general so on so forth ad infinitum...
AJ and Matt went for a walk, Dad went to bed and I sat and watched The Andromeda Strain P1 with mum (WHOOBOY that's a good program! AND Tom McBeath's in it! XD Thoroughly enjoying himself and over-acting - apparently he'd been telling people for MONTHS that he was working on a new secret project - and then Andremeda Strain appeared! TOTALLY WORTH the wait.)
Clambered into bed around 01:00 >>
Slept in, in blissfull silence (so miss living in Wiltshire, really, you honestly don't know how much) until 09:00 and then spent the morning slowly getting things together and discussing when we're moving down. It's loosely set on 5 weeks from now - Matt wants to be in Wolves for his birthday and we plan on a BBQ and inviting friends over for it as a birthday/leaving party.
So we got to the train station for 11:20and the damn thing was delayed >> Didn't get to the Con until 12:15 or so. We had planned on spending some time wandering again, but ended up not having time.
I got talking to .. uh... Ilya? I didn't get his name and feel real bad for it c.c But talked to him for ages and he looked at my port-folio's and was impressed and gave me advice (and actually wrote names down for me! XD He gets SO MANY POINTS for doing that, I have a crap memory) and said I should totally keep at it and then go talk to Yishan Li just round the corner.
While talking to him, Becca et al - including Thalia! - turned up and we had a quick chat, though we had to turn down their offer of joining them at Weatherspoons again. Said g'bye and went to talk to Yishan after swapping cards with Really Helpful Dude. Swapped cards with Yishan as well and she basically told me all the same stuff and that I should talk to YAOI Press XD The company I already know about (apparently Yishan works for YAOI Press.)
We then tried our best to find Booker et al - but it was sorta fruitless c.c Instead we found Keith! So we spent ages chatting with Keith XD and promised to meet up with him again in the Ramada for a drink. So Matt and I headed off to the Ramada so I could go to the Gay Comics panel in the Boardroom.
I left Matt and our stuff in the Ramada bar and went upstairs and spent ages sitting in the lobby of the first floor with Gambit and Ghost (they were cosplaying on Saturday but not today XD) chatting away and swapping stories waiting for someone to open the door. Before long however, the lift broke! We spent about twenty minutes trying to figure out how to help a group of people stuck in the lift (I'll never forget Ghost asking the lift-people if anyone was pregnant and a male voice shouting back I AM! XD)
Eventually, the lift was pried open and we stuck notes all over it to inform any potential users that it was broken c.c
The door was finally opened when the Panel Leader arrived - and it turned out one of the blokes who had been chatting with us was on the panel (David Shenton!) Yishan Li was another Panelist and the other two were Alex Fitch who had extreme problems trying to pronounce Paul Gravett's name XD
I was a thoroughly interesting panel - if a bit small. There were about fifteen people there, so it was small and close and allowed for much better interaction - but as it was pointed out, there were no press in general and specifically no gay-press.
We had a good long discussion about the different representative types of gay characters and the comics/literature that features them and we also discussed the problems that the gay community in general is facing when it comes to PROPER representation in comicdom.
All in all, it was an interesting discussion - covering everything from YAOI, to Marvel and DCs forays into gaydom as well as the actual lit you can find. I learned some things and taught some things - it was fun ^^
When done I went back down to the bar and found Keith sitting with Matt. We had a good half hour reminicing and joking XD It was nice to spend time with Kieth again! But we had to run off to catch our train, so hugs aplenty and promises of keeping in contact ^^
On the way to the station, we found the Storm Troopers all hanging around outside the entrance to the Con and Matt stopped to get some photos - I ended up taking a shot of him apparently under arest with five guns pointed at him XD Quite fun, and he's VERY pleased to have got that shot ^^
The train ride home was bllaaaahhhh >> I HATE leaving Wiltshire - I always feel grumpy and depressed watching as the landscape turns from pretty-wiltshire into crap-dingy-industrial-midlands x____x
However, the cats were very pleased to see us when we got back XD
I spent most of this evening sitting out in the garden reading the various free-comics and things I got in the goody-bag. I first had to remove the damn washing that belongs to wasserface next door from my line x___x
Chatted with Olga a bit, let her know we'll be moving soon and she was quite put-out - apparently she likes having white people living here XD By which I am very amused, because she's from one of the ex-Russian countries herself.
Anyway - I've now spent faaaarr too much time writing all this up and am going to go to bed c.c