Monday, June 05, 2006
BRISTOL 2006 REPORT... UNCUT
Current soundtrack: Beth Orton, Trailer Park, 'Tangent'
Righty. A few people have noticed, quite rightly, that my last post about BRistol was cut mid rant. Which it was. The computer died on me and I had to reboot, losing the post. I was so annoyed I couldn't be bothered going back to fix it. So several days later and in a better frame of mind to start again. With pictures.
So... The saga begins. Friday daytime, everything seemingly going to plan. Arrive at the train station after a heartening talk with the taxi driver about how he can't find any comics for his 7 year old lad to read (directed him to the nearest Travelling Man of course). Walking in to meet Leon, with a portfolio, cardboard tube, weekend bag and backpack, before realising something was wrong with this picture. It just felt.. too easy. Then I realised I left the sodding box of comics in the house. So another taxi ride and train ticket later, we're finally on our way down to Bristol (with actual SEATS!!) without further incident. Pop into the convention hall to drop stuff off, spent the next hour chatting away to those people that we only ever get a real chance of catching up with at conventions, Gary Spencer Millidge (http://www.millidge.com/), Shane Chebsey (http://www.smallzone.co.uk/), and The Malcolm Magic boys (http://www.studioblinktwice.com/) who had beer on hand as they painstakingly pieced together the latest massive display. Signed in and headed into town, before being stopped by a Greenpeace donations recruiter type girl, trying to get us to donate money to that fine organisation. She suggested a small amount like £5 a month, sacrificing a pint every month to help save the environment, and anyway, she said, beer contains estrogen and makes men infertile so I could just be, as she eloquently put it, "shooting blanks". Which was nice of her to say, since i have no intention of having kids. Good to know. Pint a day from now on. Well done. On the way back finally managed to get into a comic shop in Bristol for the first time, and what a lovely shop it was as well. Travelling Man in Bristol (http://www.travellingman.co.uk/) had some of those elusive indie books I've been after for ages, yet, being on a very tight budget for the weekend, had to resist temptation. It looks tiny from the outside but its cunning use of transcendental physics means it snakes back into the building. A entire raft of indie books which was good to see, an a counch in the back to sit back and relax at all these titles that really should be on my shelf at home. One thing that was strangely absent though, with Bristol being the premier comics event in the UK, was no advertising for it at all. No posters, no banners, no flyers, nothing. Nothing in the shop, outside the shop, on the way to the venue, nothing. The Trav Man staff said they were given some flyers and that was it. Shocking opportunity of snaring local passing trade completely missed there.
Headed back to the hotel and to the Weatherspoons round the corner from the hall, meeting up with Shane for some tea and a strange conversation about Slaine Mac Roths descendents and his warp spasm. Very very funny but really not something I can repeat here unfortunately.
Its around this time its gets a bit fuzzy... but I think we went back to the Ramada and stayed in the bar for a few hours... till about closing time at 2 or 3am. Something like that anyway.
The highlight of the saturday was finally meeting people who I'd only talked to by email, including klong standing Engine artist Ant Mercer, now organising a small press festival in Lancashire later this year, and Norris Burroughs, creator of Voodoo Macbeth, who had took the weekend off to fly all the way from California to sit at the Engine table and sign copies. I admit to feeling incredibly bitter on the day that the man had come all this way and had to put up with just a wall of unresponsive people in front of the table, instead of meeting the public, so I probably came across as being very negative that saturday, which i regret. The posters looked good though:
Anyway the saturday night was a good laugh, as Norris joined Leon, Joel Meadows, Andy Winters, David Baillie and myself at the traditional small press curry. Having found the curry house full (a better example of proof of the growing UK small press contingent you won't find) we headed into the busy town centre and ended up at a very nice back street chinese:
(Contrary to the photos we did have a good time).
After Norris headed off back to the hotel, the rest of us headed back to the Ramada bar, but not before I was entranced by a streetlight:
...Eventually I was dragged back to the hotel where all the action was, until, last men standing, the bar finally closed around 4ish, but not before doing a number of possibly lewd sketches.
Sunday was mellower and I finally had the chance to introduce Norris to the leading lights of UK comics, including Sean Michael Wilson and special guest Sakura Mizuki, artist on the hit manga adaptation of THE RING: SPIRAL, based on the novel by Koji Suzuki, who were strangely joined by the bloke from Nickleback in this photo:
Sean and Sakura had come over especially from Japan to promote the new book, Japanese Drawing Room (www.boychildproductions.co.uk), which looks like a lovely peice of work. And guess what, they weren't charging for sketches.
One of my main regrets is not getting more photos from that weekend, of the mad early morning sketching competition, cartoonists on a electric guitar at the Ramada bar, sunday night tagging along with Charlie Adlard, Sean Phillips, and Tommy Lee Edwards, Haroons' gleeful face as he showed me his cache of sketches from artists, the look of glee on my face when i got my hands on D'Israeli's War of the Worlds collection, Shane in his suit after the Eagle Awards ceremony...
Oh no, wait. I have got one of that:
Too good not to show.
So post Bristol, disappointing financially but the social side certaintly made up for it.
And yes, still last men standing on sunday night as well. We're comic book people after all.