Monday, 22 October 2007

Too Old For This Shit...

Lulled into a deeply false sense of security by the Birmingham convention, and seeing as how I'm pretty local, I went to the London MCM Expo on Saturday. Nic and I travelled in on the Docklands Light Railway, which is basically the world's most boring rollercoaster. Nic likes to sit at the very end of the last carriage, so she can pretend she's driving from the back.

To be fair, the event was primarily a manga/anime/cosplay thing with a few token nods to movies etc. Not necessarily a bad thing, by any means - but not exactly my crowd, either. Markosia had an impressive stand there, and both Nic and I got free entry passes from them, which was unexpected and extremely cool.

Got off to a slightly shaky start while standing in line at a noodle vendor. I found myself directly behind a pink-haired zombie kitten creature of some sort. My knowledge of zombie kitten literature is patchy at best, but its costume basically consisted of a white shirt and some elasticated bandage. This, as it turned out, was pretty fortunate for the creature, given the fact that it appeared to be bleeding slightly from the leg. It didn't seem unduly bothered, but the tone for the day was already set in my mind.

Spent the better part of the first hour devising collective nouns for convention attendants. Came up with an "epileptic spasm" of Power Rangers and a "self-delusion" of Streetfighter characters.

The "free hugs" thing was a new one on me, which pretty much shows how out of touch I am. Loads of that going on but, fortunately for all concerned, I just don't attract that kind of attention. Whatever the "hug me" vibe is, I radiate the exact opposite - and so was able to go about my business largely unmolested.

The manga schoolgirl mafia was out in full force, naturally - although I can't help feeling that the point is being fundamentally missed when the costumes are being worn by actual schoolgirls or old men. Added a "superdeformity" of anime cosplayers to my collective nouns list and avoided them like the plague they are.

Anyway, things started looking up when Nic and I got talking to Cherie from Orang Utan Comics. She's got a lot of energy and a great love for the medium. I hope things go well for her. Also got a chance to talk to Ian Sharman, who seems like a hugely multi-skilled guy with a good handle on what he's aiming to accomplish.

Finally got an opportunity to talk to the extraordinary Dan Boultwood, who's got some really strong comics artwork to his name. Dan and I have narrowly failed to meet on a number of occasions, so when I saw him pinned down under a bewildering flurry of conversational gambits from a nearby writer, I seized the opportunity and introduced myself. Now, I just need to find some way of tricking him into working with me...

Can't round this off without a quick mention of the guy dressed as future WWE Hall of Famer, The Undertaker - who had apparently drawn the wrestler's characteristic "SARA" neck tattoo in the mirror, since it read "ARAS". Also worth noting was the guy giving away free wine gums from his stand, under a sign reading "No-Poison Candy". Funny stuff.

An unexpectedly great thing happened on the way home. Standing on a platform at Tower Hill, I caught sight of a guy across the tracks. He was smartly dressed, and wore a large wire pyramid on his head. I imagine he was either enhancing his brain power or fending off aliens. In any case, he wasn't associated with the convention, and a quick Google search reveals that I'm not the only person who has seen him and found him noteworthy. I stared politely for the best part of a minute, which I felt was the least I could do given the effort he'd gone to. I then went home for an exciting evening of shifting furniture around in preparation for the carpet fitters coming this morning. We've got a lot of stuff, so the whole operation took a little over seven hours.

As I type this on Monday morning, the guy's just rung to say he can't come until Friday. I feel slightly sick.




  1. Heh, from your descriptions, Cy, it certainly sounds as though the convention was full of some colourful and......exotic, shall I say, creatures :) :) :)

    It sounded like a good excuse to put the furniture relocation off for just that bit longer anyway :)

    Free Hugs :) WTF !!!

  2. Yeah...
    just read Mr. Lee's account of the same... Oh

    And as for 'not-quite-pyramid-head' what interesting people you keep finding :)


  3. Yeah, it's very much like Tony says - these people really understand the concept of "fandom".

    As for the pyramid guy, I don't know what his deal was. As you know, I'm an (occasionally outspoken) advocate of critical thinking and scepticism, but he wasn't bothering anyone so, whatever he's looking for, I hope he finds it.


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