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It didn't bode well. The girl who had sniffed when I plonked my fat arse next to her skinny pigtails on the bus snapped over Midfield General and asked me to turn it down. Rather than suffer the sequel, I turned it off while she confirmed my initial delicate flower assessment by every five minutes nibbling at some food, adjusting the aircon or deciding that she actually did/didn't need that cardigan after all. So I put the music back in the bag and instead pulled out my coloured pencils and set to colouring in the covers on the 20 comics I had brought along not to do anything with. I was in a snit, but there's something about defiantly false-colouring a gigantic dog bright blue that makes for cheerful. Even if that bloody green pencil was presumably back home on my floor somewhere ...

Look at the pictures instead, beat the heck out of me wittering onThe tubes were kind enough to us otherwise; the venue simultaneously very easy and quite difficult to find. The third door we tried took us in to where above the groundling scuffle of the variably scruffy comiceers a grand octagonal space shot up three stories tall, each storey banded with a lethally narrow gallery, closed and sealed for health and safety reasons, lined with shelf upon shelf of slump-spined old books, looking like the obsolete media leavings of our new pixellacious world. Above the top gallery, busts of important poets stared down with serious plaster scowls, impotently deriding the rising tide of seedy, canteeny scruffiness, while above them the names of philosophers (Far Too Serious for busts) engraved into unadorned plaster, gleamed dustily in the barely-bright grey winter light filtering in through the window at the apex of the cupolla.

Architecture and happy people!It should be intimidating, but instead it just has the friendly antiquity of a much-loved library ... and wouldn't this make a great venue for a big-scale wire-fu showdown? Dramatic leaps, improbable perches, fast-patter of flying books as they improvise missiles ... those weirdly science-fiction chandeliers/air conditioning units could probably impale a bad guy ...

Richard selling DuskBack to earth, name-badge collected for the first event on the comics calendar this year; more like luggage tags, really, I felt like baggage waiting to be taken away. But I expect all the little enthusiastic webcomiceers with their well-maintained grins and eager-beaver colour-printer wild and wack zine-comic-things promoting all their kindamanga.com web comics didn't feel like that at all. No, it's just me, old comics aunt that I am.

Mardou selling tiny AntoinettesAuntie ran into collaborator #1 almost at once, though, selling Fimo dolls of her characters. I'm such a sucker for small, cute things (probably because they don't remind me of me). She had good news about the deadline, glammy colour covers, a shiny smile ... one quick circuit and hi-to-friends and brief consider on talking to new people before looking for a bolthole. I only get waylaid a few times on the way before the Naked boys persuade me behind the abandoned corner of a table belonging to theregoestokyo. Actually, I didn't take a lot of persuading.

Stars of her own comicAnd for the day, what to say? There was a panel, which was good, not so many punters which was less good. People got prizes, I sold a few comics, and had a long conversation with a guy called Wilbur (a pro looking to diversify) who wanted to make money out of it. I'd seen his work before ... collaborator #2 dithered through the social ramifications of my last bit of bad behaviour but I eventually steered him onto better topics like his latest comic and his baby daughter. Lots of people seemed to be talking about their kids; I'm getting more graceful at playing the neutral observer.

I also avoided any further bad behaviour which made me wonder if the dryness of the venue hadn't been a blessing in (very good) disguise. I did, however, get mouth ulcers from drinking too much 7up.

Down the pub we have no facesFor the afterparty, we found an upmarket gastropub with swanky pie and mash and sat around drinking cider and taking weird photos of each other until everyone started to flicker and go out to catch trains buses bikes back to Birmingham Oxford Camden, following after the people from the North and further who'd not made it to convention closing time before having to dash off into the vagaries of weekend transport.

?We left after three pints; Dave the Anarchist was going to Magical Americaland to start a new life as a Linux guru and I really did fancy getting to his party (in Oxford) in time to say "bye", which we did. And to say, "pagan moot, really?", "Mike Myers will never be the true cat in the hat!" and "wow, pisco really does go well with champagne, who knew?"

Well, I'm always been on at people to run more small-press comics events and this sort of thing is exactly why. Yay to Patrick Findlay for scoring a such fantastic venue and running a super-cool event. Again! Again!

Um, yeah. New camera.

Comments

( 11 worms — Feed the birds )
motodraconis
23rd Mar, 2004 00:23 (UTC)
It's been so long.....
Ahhh, I've been away from comics too long, lost in the corporate world. It's been years since I last did any comic stuff (though I am attempting to do summat about this.) If there's any events on the calendar for Oup North give us a shout. I'll try and make a foray down south for Caption too.
Dave the Anarchist off to the seat of Capitalism? Shockin'! I wish him all the best.
cleanskies
23rd Mar, 2004 02:50 (UTC)
Dave the Anarchist off to the seat of Capitalism
Hm, yes, he dyed his hair brown for the interviews (about three of them, I think) but back to blonde spikes for the party. I think he may be about to get frighteningly rich ...

Not sure I know of any Cons of the North at the moment -- there's a gamer con run out of a shop in ?Aberdeen (way up in Scotland, anyway) which has a fat comics thread, that's about it

> It's been years since I last did any comic stuff
What about the comics on your site? Don't they count?
motodraconis
23rd Mar, 2004 03:35 (UTC)
Ten Years in the wilderness...
Perhaps it's just as well there's no immediate Cons, since I am about to get frighteningly skint :-) Anything in the Manchester or Liverpool area would be ideal, eventually anyway.
The website stuff counts, but it's pretty new and experimental,(for me anyway) and it's the first comic stuff I've done in 10 years. 10 years! I counted and I still can't quite believe it. I'm not sure if it's the 10 years of not doing any non-work related art that gets me or the fact that I must be getting old if I can count things in terms of decades...
cleanskies
23rd Mar, 2004 05:27 (UTC)
the moments that get me
are when I say "ten years" then realise it's been longer than that ...

(wanders off for a moment)

Hey, new toon since I last looked. Cool!
satansjellycat
23rd Mar, 2004 01:50 (UTC)
hurrah, an interesting entry to start my working day :)

Hi, I'm Lauren, Daniel's friend (Dan3, I believe). He showed me some of your comics and I decided to add you. Hope you don't mind...
cleanskies
23rd Mar, 2004 02:52 (UTC)
not at all
cute icon!
crazycrone
23rd Mar, 2004 08:41 (UTC)
Grump...
I'm really peeved that I got myself in the position of 'having' to go to Brentwood, and spend most of the day gawping at aromatherapy, reflexology, rolfing stalls, etc. Seen it & done it too many times, and having no money is marginally less galling at a comic event. This MindBodySpirit beano was all full of Essex Stepford Wives looking for no-surgery facelifts, and stuff, and displaying frightening 'Tanya' talons.Lots of 4-wheel drives about, too. Bah.
This Web and Mini Thing sounds like it was definitely coolish, though.
cleanskies
23rd Mar, 2004 09:09 (UTC)
hope you got some
decent freebies, anyway? At the Thing, there was at least one stall giving away free copies of their comic on CD, no less -- and free badges from almost everyone (probably not, it just seemed ...) so I decided to give away the minis free with the midis, partly provoked by seeing several of them prominently on the top of the pile of guess-the-number-of-pages-in-the-pile-of-minicomics competition ... (sigh)

But, to put it in context, it was somewhat mart-like --- a bit of a lack of laze-around seating and soothing refreshments (no tea!) which made it a bit hard just to hang out. Damian networked so constantly his legs were killing him the next day ...

crazycrone
23rd Mar, 2004 12:39 (UTC)
Re: hope you got some
Ewww, mart-like not a good feature. I got zilch freebies. I was just a hanger on with actual stallholders. The tea and organic sarnies action was reasonable, though. (;oD), and I didn't have to pay for pitches-er- demonstation lectures, etc.
(Anonymous)
24th Mar, 2004 18:01 (UTC)
Re: hope you got some
Hehe, sorry for busting in on the thread, just thought I'd mention that we were probably the comic in question, got rid of all of the 50 CD's I put together (mainly by hand), unsurprisingly, was a great way to get people into the comic, mainly because being such newcomers and having a very gag-based comic (niche), I didn't think we'd get many to go for buying (and I was fairly right, although 17 copies I still consider a fair amount of sales for our first time).
Hope anyone who picked the CD's up like them. ;)

Wes @ GFB (http://gfbowl.com/).
cleanskies
25th Mar, 2004 02:42 (UTC)
hello goldfishies!
... nice of you to drop by. I thought you summed it all much better:

"....we're at a con, wheeeeeeeeee!"
( 11 worms — Feed the birds )