In the early 1990s, we used to save up for months to go to EasterCon.
A pack of us, crammed in the back of a van, laden with re-enactment gear and scrounged-together dressing-up kit (the word ‘cosplay’ hadn’t been invented). We’d rent a room between us, two in the bed and six on the floor; we’d sneak out to the local corner shop and come back laden with cheap food and salty snackage and two-litre bottles of bad white cider.
And it was awesome.
I remember attending Writers’ Workshops, wide-eyed and wanting to learn everything, participating in the Masquerade (the immortal comment, ‘S&M rubbish, 8/10’ has stuck in my mind ever since) and falling flat on my face when a picture of my mate and I in full (brief?) costume appeared in centre spread of Starburst magazine. I think it was Issue 5.
This year’s EasterCon, then, was rather a landmark event.
I’ve grown out of my costumes (sadly sideways) and these days the van is packed with books and not people. I’m still not quite over the novelty of having a room to myself, never mind the engorging breakfast… and the use of swimming pool, jacuzzi, sauna and steam was verging on surreal.
Not as surreal, though, as the deluge of congratulations and questions that followed the announcement of my deal with Titan Books.
The wide-eyed twenty-something that attended those Writers’ Workshops is not really that far in the past – and the realisation that sometimes these things do come true is still a little overwhelming. It’s magical, it’s scary, it’s not quite solid. There’s a part of me that still expects to wake up with my mates all snoring round me.
Slotted in with all of this were other moments of bizarre comedy – moderating a panel with the Guest of Hono(u)r and a line up of fantastic authors, being asked to attend a Con event as an author in my own right (which I didn’t) and seeing my name in print for the first time… it all added up to blow my little mind.
Though that might’ve been the (cringe) Johnnie Walker…
Back to the point though. Thanks to the ludicrous overpricing of the hotel, Alex and I resorted to sneaking carrier bags of provisions into the building. Between gasping in horror at the bar prices, and counting out our pocket-change like skint and errant kids, the irony of this wasn’t lost on either of us.
While ‘Illustrious’ could well have been renamed ‘RandomCon’, the humour of it all did reveal one core truth. Seems time goes in a circle – no matter who you are, where you go, or how your life changes, it’s all comes back to where it started.
And to who you started it with.