Big Conventions vs Small Conventions

Last weekend I was at MCM London Comic Con, which was held in the Excel building. I’d been there before for a Star Trek Destination London con, but this time more people attended and more of the rooms were open. MCM was probably the biggest con (in terms of physical size) I’ve attended so far, and it got me thinking about big cons versus the smaller ones. So here are my thoughts… Enjoy!

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  • Small cons don’t attract well-known celebrities, but at big cons you can’t find the celebrities

I don’t know if it was just me being unobservant, but at MCM I didn’t see any signs or anything to show where the celebrities were being kept hidden. So many people and so much space to navigate meant that even if I knew I had to get to Autograph Room A, my lack of ever having been in Brownies or entry-level orienteering left me unable to find Autograph Room A.

It’s kind of a lie about small cons not attracting big names, by the way. My hometown con, held in the local leisure centre once boasted Chris Barrie and Danny John Jules from Red Dwarf. That was something of an exception, though.

Part of the steampunk section display

Part of the steampunk section display

  • Big cons have more stalls, but you can get more merch-buying done at small cons

MCM had at least two rooms selling merch that I could find, one of the rooms being bigger than my aforementioned hometown. The size of it meant that I couldn’t adopt my usual system of walking around the stalls, so I ended up wandering aimlessly. I saw some awesome merch, but most of the time I was too tightly packed in by the crowd to get in for a close look. At one point, it was just a solid non-moving human crush. At least it saved me a lot of money!

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  • You don’t necessarily have to buy a ticket to enjoy big cons, but small cons don’t cost that much to get into anyway

So much goes on outside at MCM that some people don’t bother to buy a ticket to get in. Fandom meet-ups, photo shoots, dancing and chase scenes took place outside. I probably spent more time out there than in. It was a really good opportunity to people watch and drool over all the amazing cosplays. I also felt that the atmosphere was friendlier and more party-like outside. Although you can get that atmosphere inside at smaller cons. Less chance of getting rained on, too. A storm was predicted for the day I was there, which would have looked great for the Supernatural meet-up photos, but we got no rain in the end.

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  • Cosplay!

Recently, cosplayers have become the highlight of my con experiences. They can be found at cons both big and small, although at small cons there’s usually less of them and the costumes aren’t as spectacular as some of the ones you see at big cons. MCM seemed to be almost all cosplayers, which was amazing to walk around.

The verdict: Can I wimp out of making any kind of decision and say that I prefer medium-sized cons? No? Then I’d choose the bigger ones. Although both have their good and bad points, there’s more going on and more to see and do at the big cons.


Let sleeping cats lie

Let sleeping cats lie

Been busy the past couple of weeks and I’ll have posts about what I’ve been up to soon, but meanwhile here’s a picture of my cat napping on some balls of yarn. Aww….


Half Past Danger #1 Review

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So standing in my local comic bookshop, looking at the pitiful amount of coins in my pocket, it came down to a choice between lunch or this comic book. I chose the comic book, of course. How could I resist a cover like that?

At $3.99 (that’s about £3.15 to me), it didn’t come cheap but it was worth it. Inside, it has Nazis, dinosaurs, dames and martial arts. Something for everyone! The art is just right – clean lines, bright colours and enough heavy shading to give it that noir-ish feel. I love the expressions that Mooney draws. The faces of his characters manage to be both stoic in that WW2 way and expressive.

The best panel for me is a bar fight going on in the background, whilst the beautiful Agent Elizabeth Huntington-Moss leans back on the bar, eyebrows raised, and asks “Pimms?” This is closely followed by the main character, Tommy Flynn, being thrown out of a bar window. He falls against a wall, bums a quick cigarette puff off a homeless man, hands the man back his smoke, and dives back in through the window. Pure awesomeness.

The issue left me really wanting to know who Agent Huntington-Moss was and what she wanted with Tommy and what was going on with the dinosaurs. So many questions that need answers. So I went nosing around the internet to try and find out when the next issue is out…

Turns out I’ve really missed the boat on this one. Issue one came out in May this year. Surely I would have noticed this wonderful piece of art before? I’m not sure why my LCS suddenly had issue 1 this late on (and I snapped up the last copy that was on the shelves), but I really hope they put the rest out. If not, the trade paperback is coming out early February, so I will have to wait until then to find out what’s going on!


Sneak Preview

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Mine and The Sister’s not-quite-finished cosplays for MCM London this weekend.
Can you guess who we’re going as?


Beyond the Sea Set

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There was a point when I thought the wristwarmers in this picture weren’t going to get made. I was following a pattern from a Simply Knitting magazine and had misunderstood it, so (very reluctantly) I ripped back what I had done. Only somehow, a giant tangle had happened in the wool I’d already knitted with. That pink section? It used to be a lot bigger, I had to cut most of it back. Not to be deterred, I asked the Simply Knitting team about the pattern on their Facebook page. These wristwarmers wouldn’t have gotten done without them! They got back to me the next day, clearly explaining where I had gone wrong. It gave me the confidence I needed to wade back in there and get the wristwarmer and its companion done.

But the wristwarmers needed something more. After all, they were intended to be sent to my friend in Canada. As much as I dislike sewing, I submitted myself to a few hours of stabbing myself in the fingertips, squinting and huffing in order to get some beads sewn on. So pleased was I with the results, and because I still had some of that beautiful King Cole Riot left over, I decided to make a matching hat. I followed the stitch pattern from the wristwarmers, adapting a tea-bag style hat pattern. I just love the colour changes in this yarn, I love watching them fade into one another. The yarn itself has a kind of fluffy, mohair-esque feel  to it. It’s good to work with, even if it does have a tendency to split. Best of all, it’s relatively cheap.

The hat sewn up, the last of my yarn used, I once again forced myself to get some sewing done. Fortunately, the hat beads were sewn on whilst an episode of The Walking Dead was showing, so I was able to keep myself distracted from the gory bits. Wanting to add an extra touch of cuteness to the hat, I made some pom-poms. I had none of my King Cole yarn left over, so I just chose (hopefully) complementing colours from my stash. I’m really pleased with how this set turned out, especially considering that at one stage I was convinced that it was a cursed project!

The hat is super-cute and I think it will look adorable on my Canadian friend. The Sister is kindly modelling it for me in the picture, she looks adorable too. I’m kind of tempted to make one of these hats for myself… Any excuse to get more yarn, I guess! The colour used for this set was The Deep, but there are loads of other colours for King Cole Riot that I would like to try out. Because the set is going across the ocean to my friend, and because of the name of the yarn, I’ve taken to referring to the hat and wristwarmers as my Beyond The Sea set. 🙂


Why I should always have my camera with me

I was out early-ish this morning and everything was so foggy! And the world seemed to have been taken over by spiders in the night, their webs were everywhere. But I wasn’t even thinking about photographs until I was crossing a railway bridge and saw the tracks disappearing off into mysterious fog. That was when I gave in and ran home to get my camera.

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By the time I got back, the fog was starting to disappear pretty rapidly, but I’m pleased with what I got. It’s definitely taught me to always carry my camera around with me, so that’s something. On the way back, I meandered, taking pictures of the amazing spiderwebs. That’s serious dedication to my art by the way, as I’m not too keen on spiders and I had to lean in close to get these pictures.

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I was worried when taking these that the detail wouldn’t come out as clearly as I wanted to. I’m working with a Kodak EasyShareM753. I don’t know much about cameras, but I know that I’ve had this one for a number of years and it doesn’t always give me the results I’m looking for. I’m actually really happy with the way that these photos turned out!

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By the time I was finished, I felt really itchy and prickly (did I mention I’m not keen on spiders?), but rather pleased with myself. A very productive walk for me! What do you guys think?

And apologies to anyone else who is creeped out by spiders!

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Jedward 29/09/13

“I’m John. I’m Edward. And together we’re Jedward!”

jedward

For those who don’t know, Jedward are Irish twins, John and Edward, who took part in the 2009 series of the talent show X Factor. They have also appeared on Celebrity Big Brother and represented Ireland in Eurovision. In England, it seems to be the ‘done’ thing to dislike them. But sister-of-mine is a dedicated fan, so when she went to see them play live in concert last weekend I was lucky enough to go with her.

On the way there, the sister and I were worried that we would be the oldest people there, save for the parents taking their ten year old girls to the concert. When we got there, we were pleasantly surprised to find quite a wide demographic. It was mainly young adult girls, but the middle-aged generation, men and children were also represented. What linked them all was a palpable sense of fun and sociability. And a love for Jedward, of course. There was a real sense of community.

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Jedward’s music isn’t what I typically enjoy, but as performers they are great fun to watch. They back flip, dip into their choreography when they feel like it, mock fight with each other and change their jackets almost every other song. Adding to the fun were back up dancers, and a screen that played graphics and sometimes their music videos behind them. Whilst they were off stage changing outfits, the screen would play pre-prepared videos of them talking. Their random banter in between songs was so funny.  Critics tend to say that they are talentless, but I disagree. John played the guitar well, both showed a versatility in their singing, also covering rapping and beatboxing, and anyone who can hold a note whilst jumping around and cartwheeling deserves credit. But even if they aren’t the best singers in the world, they are just amazing to watch and the atmosphere was great. They put on such a show!

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Not pointing fingers at any artists in particular, but some could stand to learn a lot from Jedward. The twins obviously love and respect their fans, and they enjoy what they are doing. Their message is one of optimism and fun. They aren’t over-sexualised. Although, someone in the crowd did shout at them to take their trousers off. John was good enough to explain that their jeans were so tight that it would take forever to take them off, so it wasn’t a good idea.

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What I admire most about Jedward though is that they haven’t let the haters change them. Despite the criticisms, they have carried on doing what they love, staying true to themselves. In a way it’s a good message for the younger fans – people are going to hate, put you down and maybe even bully you, but don’t give in to them, live your life.

So have a jepic day, everyone! 🙂


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