Posts Tagged ‘cons’

It’s not often that I write anything that escapes beyond the confines of the venue in which I wrote it. This is one such thing.

It was originally written a few years ago for a column I wrote, and then reposted in my blog.

I’m rather proud of it, and since I’m about to be off to Leeds for Thought Bubble, and almost certainly won’t have time to write a full con report, I’ve returned to the option of reposting The Last Con Report You’ll Ever Need:


So it’s [insert con name] again and I’m [really looking forward to it/quite looking forward to it/obliged to go, really]. Got my gear together and [shut the empty flat/said goodbye to my loved ones/dropped off the cat at neighbours].

I got ready to leave and found that [to my surprise/inevitably/unexpectedly] I was leaving home [earlier/later/the same time] as I had anticipated leaving.

I knew how to get there because I [had been to the venue before/spoken to the hotel/looked it up in advance] and as I hit the road, the traffic was [heavy/light/non-existent].

Although I [hit some traffic later/stopped off for a coffee/broke down], I eventually made it into [insert town in which convention is held], and thought it was [nice/a relief/depressing] to be back. I was staying at [a different/the same/the convention] hotel and when I drove into the car park found a space [immediately/after some time/eventually].

Checking in was [easy/a pain/interminable] and I nodded at [name dropped in the hope that it’ll make me seem more important]. He nodded back, [pleased to see me/sympathising/wondering who the hell I was]. We promise to [catch up later/ignore each other/pick on the French]. So that was [nice/cool/unpleasant].

I got to the room and [had a shower/lit up a the first of many cigarettes/changed rooms immediately].

I [grabbed some sleep/went for a swim/started drinking] and all too soon, it was dinner time. I’d decided to eat [at the hotel/out/to get some food inside me before the heavy drinking] and I returned to the bar to find [a pro you’ve never heard of, so don’t sweat it, but maybe if I mention him, I’ll get a sketch off of him next year].

Arriving [a day before most people/with so many others/at a pub] gives me the opportunity to [grab some fresh air/get my bearings/drink lots]. There are [only a few/some/many] people milling around and although I realise that they’re there for the comics festival, they’re [professionals, chatting about work they’re doing/hangers on/members of message boards].

The [launch party/seminars/drinkup] swings into gear and various comics [pros/wannabes/pundits] arrive. I see a familiar face and [want to punch it/scrounge a drink/exchange gossip]. The evening [passes speedily/drags/becomes mildly interesting] as I grab the opportunity to [talk comic books/strip/get drunk] without feeling the slightest bit embarrassed. It’s a [strange/nice/usual] feeling.

Besides which, embarrassment is impossible to maintain when [three people on stilts enter the room, dressed in leather with bat-wings… /that bloody T-shirt is doing the rounds/people are sniffing dandruff through straws].

Later, I see [name drop] talking to [name drop] and [name drop] and wander over [to introduce myself/ask for an autograph/embarrass myself]. We stand around, [chatting/feeling stupid/watching everyone else] and [name drop, but this time I use his first name, so I really do know him, ok?] [tells me to go away/lets me buy him a drink/tells a story that could be an amusing anecdote if he didn’t kill the last line]. He introduces me to the other [fellas/strange people/comics professionals] he was talking to… [name you’ve never heard of and another name you’ve never heard of] of [comic book company that is attending The convention just to say ‘please like me’].

Around 1:20 the hotel staff start to [shut the bar/beat up the stragglers/give up] and I head for bed…

As I wake up, I’m [disoriented/wide awake/not alone] and it’s a second before I realise [where I am/that I’m conscious/who she is]. I have a quick [shower/shave/…] when it suddenly occurs to me that I have no idea [whether the cost of the room covers breakfast/if I ordered a newspaper/who she is].

I’m wearing [the item of clothing with a logo that I think everyone recognises, but in reality no one has a clue about] deliberately so that when I get to the [publisher] table, I can see their reactions… [insert smiley icon in the hope that a cringe-worthy moment will be transformed into a hugely amusing item].

So what are my plans for today? Well, obviously [you don’t give a damn/I have a panel to attend/I wish to buy enough comics to fill the grand canyon]. As always at [insert insiders’ nickname for con, so it makes me sound like I’m an insider], it’s best to [get drunk early/get drunk even earlier/take a trek around the dealers’ rooms]. I walk into the main dealing room. The first thing I notice is [a huge piece of artwork/the noise/the smell]. I see artwork for [current huge comics related movie] and think that I’d love that piece. Then I look at the price. It’s unbelievable that it’s that [cheap/expensive/price] and I [buy it/pass on it/shrug] before moving on.

The next thing I see is a desk with [current hot comic] and a man standing behind the desk with an [engaging grin/outstretched palm/elephantine nose]. I introduce myself to [creator who really wishes he was working on X-Men] and we [shake hands/ask each other who else we’ve seen/agree to get drunk later]. I notice the [famous publisher] table and walk over to it only to see [famous creator/a crowd/the background artist for one issue on a title that didn’t make it past issue #6].

I say hello to them and although [name drop] remembers me, there’s [only a faint air of recognition/contempt/joy and strewning of petals] from his companion.

The [famous publisher] crowd all look at the [item of clothing] and then studiously ignore it.

I continue around the dealing room, still hoping against hope that I’m going to find some of this week’s or even this month’s books on display. I’m disappointed. Not one dealer has recent books out. I’m more than disappointed; I’m staggered, but not staggered enough not to pick up a couple of [cult title that I got into six months after the cool kids had left it] trade paperbacks.

I wonder back around the room and see that [famous artist] is doing some sketches. I’d already seen some of his work in the black-and-white photocopy of [let’s be honest, it doesn’t matter what the title is – I got sent a preview copy and you didn’t, ha ha ha ha], so ask him to do me a sketch. He’s [surprised/more than happy to do so/sketching before I can finish the question].

I wander in and out of [a few panels/the bar/who the hell is she? It’s beginning to bug me now] and see nothing that grabs my attention and the [morning/hour/rest of the day] passes with me saying hi to [people who have no idea who I am].

[Someone who’s a legend in his own lunchtime] and I literally bump into each other as I’m saying goodbye to [name drop] and we remember that we’ve agreed never to discuss [controversial comic book title] with each other, since our views differ so much on it…

The awards dinner is [just starting/tonight/over] but I’m not attending. I know there’s nothing more [rewarding/humiliating/excruciating] than watching [friends/enemies/both] getting awards and receiving [boos/bows/booze] but I just can’t [deal with that/be bothered/stand up straight] right now.

The bar shuts around [1/2/6]-ish and once again I head for [my bed/someone else’s bed/another bar] before the dawn comes.

I wake up [early/late/again]. I look at [my watch/the television/the remains of the packet of 200 cigarettes I brought with me] and [smile/wince/try to remember who I am].

I realise that I’ve got two and a half minutes to get [downstairs for breakfast/dressed/sober].

There are a couple of people from last night still around downstairs and it looks like they’re [barely human/still drinking/both] and I wish I felt as good as they looked.

After breakfast, I don’t even bother to look at the panels I might be missing. I don’t care – I’m too tired and I go upstairs for another hour’s sleep.

As I’m walking to the convention proper, I see [the organiser of the convention]. We get to talk for five minutes when I realise that [he hates me/he really hates me/he hates me with a passion that can only have come from me having murdered his pet]. So that’s nice.

I drop [another tab/my bag/by another couple of panels], but nothing memorable happens.

I go back to the dealer room and see some [regulars/old hands/convenient name drops] there. [Insert feeble in joke which maybe six people might get, and only then if they know in advance that I’m doing it.]

Oh looks like I’ve [said all I have to say/run out of time/couldn’t give a damn any more, what time’s Simpsons on?].

More next [time/post/week] if I can [remember what I did when I was drunk/be bothered/get the blackmail negatives back].

There, that should do it.