Tuesday, 18 November 2008


Last Friday, Nic and I trekked up to Leeds for the Thought Bubble convention. We'd never been to this event before (and I gather this is only its second year), so we didn't know exactly what to expect. As it turned out, it was a lot of fun - and potentially a very good place to do some business.

We got off to an admittedly slightly shaky start by forgetting to print out the directions from the station to our hotel, which we'd worked out was about a fifteen minute walk. Luckily, a passing Communist happened to spot us and decided to help us out. As it happened, he was involved in the Leeds International Film Festival and so was on the way to the venue at that very moment. It was a pretty weird coincidence, but we went with it. I neglected to get the Communist's name, but he has our gratitude.

So, fifteen minutes and a pleasant stroll along the canal later, we found ourselves at Savilles Hall, which was right next door to our hotel. Bonus! After checking in, we dumped off our stuff and cased the place out in preparation for the Saturday...

...and then it was Saturday.

Arriving at the venue, Nic and I picked out our major points of interest early. Harry Markos and Ian Sharman were setting up the Markosia stand, so I bolted over there to hand off Harry's copy of the Harlan Falk contract and a pitch I'd worked up. That done, we hit the Insomnia table, where Aladsair Duncan was working solo. I made a mental note of where Neil Edwards was stationed so I could hit him up about a possible collaboration when he got a free moment.

While Nic was talking to Alasdair, I got unexpectedly interviewed (my first video interview, as it happens). Not sure what that was about, but I'll let you know if I hear anything more about it.

Dave and Barry of the Geek Syndicate podcast were milling around. They've got to the stage where pretty much everyone working the conventions knows who they are and wants to speak to them, so they were still on their first circuit of the convention hall well over an hour after the doors opened and already looked pretty exhausted. The price of fame, I guess...

We broke away early for lunch, pausing only to quickly check out one of the local toy/gadget shops. We actually managed to disgrace ourselves quite spectacularly on the way out, as Nic brushed past a stack of novelty cushions shaped like breasts and caused some kind of apocalyptic boobalanche. A hasty retreat was beaten.

Getting back into work mode, I spotted an opening and headed over to Neil Edwards' table. Had a great chat and things are looking hopeful for a new Insomnia book. More on that if/when anything comes of it.

Speaking of Insomnia, Nic has been looking into Barry Nugent's Fallen Heroes novel with an eye to a comic adaptation. She had a long chat with him at the nearby Starbucks (I tagged along as an interested by-stander) and it pretty much looks like it's on. Expect Nic to publish more details on the Insomnia blog in the not-too-distant future.

I'd have to say that Thought Bubble seems to have a much higher proportion of creators and aspiring talent than the other conventions I've attended. Pretty much everyone there seemed to have at least a couple of work samples with them, or were otherwise involved in the industry in some way. It was an interesting crowd. Nic and I met the people behind the forum names "TubbyHamster", "Little Witch" and "WedgeDoc", and had an interesting chat about Gail Simone, internet pundit arseholery and the many and varied uses of "the c-word". Good times! Nic also hijacked TubbyHamster a bit later to talk about a possible (now very likely) Insomnia book.

We rounded off a pretty exhausting day with a meal at the nearest and dearest restaurant, dragging Alasdair along for the ride as the poor guy had been stuck on the Insomnia stand all day. Small amounts of high-quality food were served.

We couldn't head back to London without taking a look at the Royal Armouries (Nic had been very clear on that point). They were running a Weta exhibition, featuring weapons and armour from the Lord of the Rings films, along with some pieces from the Chronicles of Narnia flicks and Hellboy's Samaritan revolver. Everyone, without exception, loves weapons and the excessive perpetration of violence (Nic and I more than most, probably), so this was a particular joy for us.

We eventually dragged ourselves back to London, and then I wrote this post - which pretty much brings you up to date. Thanks to Tamsin Isles (both for her skill and determination as an organiser of the event and for caring who we were when we showed up) and to everyone we met, missed, avoided or bought things from. Sign us up for the next one.


  1. It was a great weekend. I would also like to say thanks to Shane Chebsey for introducing me to the wonderful Owly books. Now I will have to track down the other three.

  2. It was good to meet you properly mate, Nic says you must have had your best friendly convention face on because you aren't as scary as you look. :)

    Hope me and Rich didn't babble on too much with our sometimes inane questions. We're still both just getting used to approaching people and talking to them at cons. :)

    Look forward to seeing you at whatever future shindig we both attend.

    Chris (TubbyHamster)

  3. Heh - you want scary, you should watch me pitch a four-issue miniseries...

    Nice to meet you and Rich - good luck with the stories you both pitched to Nic. From what I saw, they seemed like strong contenders.


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