I have mentioned in the past that I do not Cosplay, and I made mention of it as part of my panel on confidence building, that I have accepted that it is something I am not tempted by, and that there is nothing wrong with that. I suppose now i have to rephrase that, I have a selection of options on how to update my status, all of which are true:
I don’t cosplay very often
I don’t cosplay very well
I don’t usually cosplay, but every now and then, with the right fandom, and the right crowd to tempt me in, I’ll throw something quick together.
In the build up to Amecon I’d spotted a couple of folks planning on putting together a Critical Role cosplay, and a group-meet planned for the Saturday. It was short notice, but one quick glance around my room and I realise that… actually, I had the pieces to put together a rather hasty Caleb Widogast. (more…)
Oh man am I tired. Well done Amecon, I am mentally and bodily drained. What a wonderful and weird weekend, and surprisingly well managed in the face of the adverse conditions.
I am not a hot-weather person, so the forecast of overwhelming heat was daunting in its own right, especially as I’d already resolved to cosplay (more on that later in the week) the concept of layering up beyond the basics of shorts and t-shirt was nightmarish, but I’d already made my decision. A lot of construction being done at Warwick meant some chronic reshuffling of the venue to allow space for all of the events taking place throughout the con, which meant a few insufficiently air-conditioned rooms. In many ways the weather turning on Sunday was a blessing, but I’m already getting ahead of myself.
I’m getting used to arriving on a Thursday to a convention. It usually offers an opportunity to socialise but this year, perhaps because we were not staying on-site (due in no small part to this year’s accommodation issues) we encountered very few people. We instead resolved to return to the hotel early, get a nice meal at the hotel, and kill the evening with some Magic.
Friday! The queue for registration was long and warm, we got a head start on making new friends (hello queue-friend, see you some other time) while the big monitor over the circle gave us an exciting countdown to an animated dance routine by AmeChan that made several reappearances during the weekend – why not, if you’ve put the effort into something like that then get your worth out of it. There were some organisational issues, not so much with managing reg itself, but managing the queue itself, but everyone managed to get through with little enough fuss before opening ceremonies.
Two complaints of my own for the day, apparently as a VIP (or premiere member, whichever) I did not get the traditional box of Pocky in my con-bag, does put a crimp in the start of ones convention, but I was more upset that I was barely boo’d at as I walked past the rest of the queue! Last year was such a delight, I was vilified, hated! None of that this year, shame on all of you.
I attended a handful of panels during the day, starting with an intro to Bunkazilla: a geek culture radio channel hosted online and created by Iain Boulton, his post-convention retirement project. A mech panel with a particularly dirty minded slant that proved as enlightening as it was entertaining, I suddenly understand far more of the jokes in Gurren Lagann. Then onwards to take, what would be a regular post in the traditional games room to prepare for the evening.
Now, Tim may have more pictures than I, but the end of my Friday was the GM’s Round Table panel, and I know I’ve said this to you both already but Chris and Lynsey, thank you both so much for making that panel what it was. While I enjoy hosting panels on my own, it was a much warmer affair to have you both on hand to answer those questions I could not, to really keep the conversation flowing, and turn the hour into an hour and a half.
In the panel we swapped stories, many of which not safe for this website, but tales of character ingenuity turned games master’s despair, conversations on the matters of player management, inter-personal disputes at the table, and some of our proudest and most embarrassing role-play moments. You – the audience – were fantastic, thank you all for the feedback, both positive and negative, it all helps make us better. See you in the future with something bigger and better than before.
There’s a lot of my Saturday I’ll need to circle around to in a day or two, suffice to say that I got an early peek into the dealers room and landed a harvest of dice and materials for a project that’s been in the works for some time. A panel about coffee in anime and gaming proved interesting, delving into how coffee has taken hold as a culture in Japan, although walking in to the gentle smell of a fresh brew was both tantalising, and a cheap trick to buy my affections, bravo. Thank you to those of you who joined the game of Dungeons & Dragons that evening, I shall say nothing about what took place, but those of you who played or witnessed were fantastic, and to you, my table is always open.
It is currently two in the morning, you’ll pardon me if I do not go overly in-depth on the subject of Sunday. I attended a variety of panels, saw some more friends, attempted to actually spend some time catching up with them, all of which felt inadequate, and so many of you I never even got to talk to beyond a quick “Hi, how was your weekend?” Let’s address some of the serious news of the day…
ChairChan is back.
It’s a convention meme that predates my time being involved with conventions, a chair, a magnificent chair, made wondrous by the adoration of its hoard of adoring fans, and the props that get left on it….
Y’know what, that’s not it.
My first convention was at Ayacon Apocalypse in 2013, and in the five years that followed I have learned and done a great deal, and consider myself to be experienced enough to know that I was spoiled, and that the venue may very well be the single greatest venue for an event of this kind, with rooms for panels and events, an enormous live-stage, party rooms, amenities, and on-site accommodation at reasonable rates, the Warwick Art Centre has it all. So the renovations taking place there now can only improve matters, right?
For now, they are a hindrance, an impediment that has caused something of a pall to be cast over next year’s Kitacon, and its bearers are the titans of the committee vacating their posts, and passing the baton down to a new generation of inveterate con-goers, event managers, and dyed-in-the-wool nerds. Their rest is well earned, but the duty of finding a new venue, even a temporary one for Kita 2019 is an uphill battle for anyone. Just don’t take us back to Nottingham guys.
Ame, we will see you again in 2020.
So Monday was a bit mad.
For Amecon attendees it was something of a farce, and perhaps we’ve grown accustomed to a slightly easier ride when it comes to the Warwick Art’s Centre, especially when held against the obstinacy and awkwardness of “other” venues when it comes to handling the convention crowd. We may be used to the tense dash for registration, the gone-in-a-flash stock of tickets and the terse F5 mashing, but this year’s Amecon we suffered the same fate when it came to booking rooms, and far worse besides.
The grievances thusfar have been a slow performance from the accommodation site, maddeningly ambiguous emails, slow responses from all parties, and one hell of a scarcity problem. Those few who managed to land the cheaper student rooms were lucky, and even then some were uncertain as to whether or not they’d actually done it, the rooms in the on-site hotel were expensive to say the least, and many panic-booked hotels off site. Some rooms have been released in batches, but by the time they began the social groups were already awash with combined panic and despondency.
A quick note before I go any further, I am in no way attempting to partition blame, in fact I get the feeling that this has been something of a failed experiment; this is the first time I’ve seen accommodation staggered several months from convention registration, and perhaps it allowed the attendees to have sufficient breather, organisationally and financially. I also find myself wandering what kind of allotment of rooms the committee were given, although I feel like it would be foolish of Warwick to short-change them, and us in the process?
Perhaps the scene is victim to its own popularity. Kita and Ame have soaked up the Ayacon crowd like bicarb in vinegar, and the metaphorical bottle may have burst. A paid team of event organisers would struggle to manage the leviathan nature of the conventions they run, the fact that these guys are volunteers makes the end result nothing short of impressive – nay incredible. Since I joined the throngs about five years ago, even I have noticed how much harder it’s become to grab tickets and how fast they can vanish, even amongst smaller cons, or professionally run expos and events around the country.
The Ame committee have been juggling handling our issues on social media and passing on information from Warwick, who have been slow to deal with their besieged website but are answering emails and calling attendees to handle the matter. While I understand some of those people who have openly considered cancelling their tickets for financial reasons, to a lesser extent I think I understand cancelling on the basis of disappointment, but their seems to have been more than necessary, or maybe it’s that those who’d council patience have been generally quiet.
I will be staying in a Premiere Inn twelve minutes down the road, Tim has opted for Scarman – the hotel accommodation, we’ve each made compromises that don’t entirely satisfy, and might sour our experience but the only way to know for sure is to attend, and to enjoy as best we can. Certainly neither one of us could claim to be entirely satisfied, but we’re far from deterred.
See you at Amecon.
Kitacon Quest was a blast; from excellent panels to great friends – and oh so much to drink! But still, as always, we didn’t go there just to have a good time. We wanted to make sure you guys all got to see something great from the event – With the tickets selling out so fast, I thought I’d focus on the things I enjoyed the most out of the event. Brace yourselves, because this is going to be another big post; as well as two videos!
Dammit Kitacon, you’ve destroyed me again. I got back a few hours ago, washed away a few days of hard work and high energy, and collapsed in my chair from whence I have not moved and will be going no further than my own bed – the one in Jack Martin wasn’t bad but the pillows tried to kill me.
There’s a lot of work to be done now that I’m back, but we’ll get to that later. For now I have time enough to briefly discuss the activities of the long weekend at Warwick Arts Centre. (more…)
As fun as Kitacon was, truth be told there’s one convention that I’m looking forward to far more this year, and mercifully I do not have much longer to wait. We spoke about Amecon way back in September when all there really was to discuss was a date and a venue, well as of Sunday there’s a hell of a lot more to talk about, the committee gave us a big update about the current state of affairs. So let’s have a look at the shape of things to come. (more…)