The Geek in Me

On Saturday I went to the Bristol International Comic Expo. This was quite a trip for a number of reasons, not the least of which is the fact that exorbitant rail prices meant I had to go with my brother. I’m finding that going to comic conventions is expensive if one lives in Sheffield as they are invariably far away. Bristol, for those who don’t know and can’t be arsed to check Google Earth, is even further away than London being almost as far south but also over in the west (it’s about 170 miles away instead of 150).

Going down it was nice up here in Yorkshire so I just wore a t-shirt, as normal. As we progressed south the weather got worse upto the point where on the M5 it was completely chuckin’ it down and visibility was poor. Thankfully this didn’t last too long and things brightened up as we approached Bristol. Unfortunately another thing that happened was that the car ran out of oil (the oil had been checked the day before because of the possibility of this trip and was almost full). This meant we had to pull into the first petrol station we came to (a supermarket would have been a welcome sight). This particular station took full advantage of its prime location by charging a king’s ransom for a bottle of oil. I’m sure a barrel of crude can be bought for as much.

Once the car was back on its feet we ventured into Bristol itself and promptly found ourselves driving aimlessly looking for signs to the train station (the expo was next to the station). We decided we don’t like Bristol at this point. What kind of place has so few signs to the train station? I can only assume they think if people knew where they go in order to leave, they would. We finally spotted a sign and headed off towards the venue, where we then proceeded to search for parking. Opposite the location there is a sign which reads something along the lines of ‘Parking 30 yards’, immediately after which is a left turn to the car park in question (it was full anyway – despite its sign claiming otherwise). We finally foung a spot on a street where we could park for free. This is worth mentioning for being one of two things all day that saved me money.

Having found our way towards the British Empire and Commonwealth Museum we spotted a group of very strange-looking people. It was clear we had found our destination.  I was charged a pound less than the published entry price (each), this is the second thing that saved me money.

First port of call was Willie Hewes’ stand. I tried to avoid rushing, but I did head down the manga aisle first as this is where she said she was located. I don’t believe I asked Willie why, of all the places in this God-forsaken county she decided to live in Bristol, but I should have. I did buy a mug.*

After that we wanded round in a fairly orderly fashion until we found ourselves at the table of the Erudite Baboon himself, Mr James Turner. He was even gracious enough to let me photograph him in his fez and pipe. A man of some taste he was enjoying Coke and chocolate Hobnobs – a fine choice (although I think the Hobnobs were a gift from a kind fan).

James drew a nice picture of the sun (complete with hat) and sold me some B&S badges. At last year’s London Thing he had t-shirts but this time he did not. I was in the market for a t-shirt but it was not to be.

The badges are too shiny for this kind of amateurish photography.

There was plenty of stuff to look at and I bought a few comics that I’d never heard of before (including some incredibly crude ones I might have to try flogging on ebay). The people all seemed nice enough and it was opined that there were more weird** people there than at the big Games Workshop event, ‘Games Day’. Games Day has many more people and these include Games Workshop staff and the most hardcore gamers, so is quite something. I thought it would have been bigger and I wish I’d taken more pictures. I can’t get into the hang of actually taking pictures even when I have my camera with me. There was a young woman with really good hair – blue dreadlocks tied back with the sides of her head shaved.

After leaving we got:

  • rained on (“You’re not getting in my car soggy.”)
  • asked for directions (“No  idea mate.”)
  • lost, looking for somewhere to eat

All in all it was a pretty good, if a little pricey, day out. I think the worst aspect was having to listen to Avril Lavigne’s whiny new album both ways in the car.

*When I got home I found a piece of paper in the mug explaining, amongst other things that the mug is best used for tea, not “the Devil’s beverage” coffee. I couldn’t agree more.

**This was explained to mean both that they were more weird and that there were more of them.

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~ by yorksdevil on May 14, 2007.

6 Responses to “The Geek in Me”

  1. Just looked at the guest list for the Con’ & there were some artists I’d love to have seen. Dave Gibbons, Ian Gibson, GILBERT SHELTON! ‘Watchmen’, ‘Halo Jones’ & ‘The Freak Brothers’ What a line up.

  2. …& of course The Erudite Baboon.

  3. Something I have been contemplating for a while is trying to organise some kind of Blog conference type thing in the country as there doesn’t appear to be one. And put it somewhere cheap but central.
    I love comic conventions, well geek conventions of any kind… They are just so non judgemental and elitist at the same time.

  4. Bec – Do you think people would go? I know they have things like ‘BlogHer’ in America.

  5. I would hope they would. It could be one of those things where 5 show up the first year and then its 500 the next. I’m seriously considering BlogHer nxt year assuming I can get the money together.

  6. I don’t think I’d go to such an event. I’m not good at meeting people. It scares me.

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