Take a long drive via the scenic route, the rising slopes and rearing rocks of Snowdonia, the sheep in the road, the tumbledown stone cots and the villages on the edge of nowhere.
Take a holiday caravan with a choice of old VHS tapes. Take giant deckchairs and cawing rooks and strange chainsaw-carved creatures that looked like something out of Spirited Away. Something waiting.
Take twelve-hour days on our feet, selling copies of Avengers Vs. X-Men and Assassin’s Creed cosplay stealth blades (so was there that game of Dancefloor Hitman in the end?). Take many friends, old and new; take a very different kind of stock, and a very different kind of fan.
Take a plethora of authors at the Forbidden Planet table. Take notes on how appearing on a panel can affect a subsequent signing. Take nineteen copies of Ecko signed and sold – and take an interesting lesson in authordom from, at various points, David Moody, Stacia Kane and Peter V Brett. Take time to wonder: just how much of an author’s persona is donned?
Take costumes (of course) – take a cardboard Blood Angel and five fans dressed as a game of Pac-Man. Take every kind cleavage, every pattern of waistcoat, every steampunk cog and goggle; take every lightsaber, every sword and bow and zap-gun. Take every plastic and pointy ear.
Take a breath, and go outside.
And finally, take a walk in the early morning, down to a beautiful little beach and great shadows of mountains – take a moment of tranquillity that makes the high energy madness of the Con all wonderfully surreal.
And take a consensus?
A subtly different event – very much a con for cosplayers. In some ways, it felt more like Expo than EasterCon. The facilities were better than previous years and the business was very good, but perhaps a little bit warmer, next year?