I went to my first ever Bristolcon this weekend, which I’m pleased to report was brilliant. Good times were had, dodgy food was eaten, minds were expanded.
At this stage I’m not a massive con veteran and I’m just starting to find my feet with these things, but what struck me about Bristolcon was how cosy it was - cosy friendly rather than cosy tiny, I mean. There were two conference rooms where the talks took place, spaces for the dealers and artists, and a huge bar, and I very much enjoyed walking back and forth across the hotel because inevitably you would bump into someone you knew almost immediately.
I met up with possibly too many people to name, but I'll chuck a few up here - saw Fran Terminiello for the first time, who shared a bottle of wine with me and undoubtedly has better taste in booze; finally said hello to Lou Morgan, who I have spectacularly failed to meet previously despite attending many of the same events; discussed a Watership Down roleplaying game with the mighty Dave Moore; caught up with Anne Lyle, who saved me from awkwardness when I turned up hideously early (I was very paranoid about missing the train and consequently got up at 4am); admired Emma Newman’s spectacular coat; Mhairi Simpson prompted a vividly memorable conversation about, uh, green dragongs; saw Gareth L. Powell receive a monkey dressed as a fighter pilot... as you can probably guess, I had a lot of fun. And thanks to Guy Haley, who got the same train back for a little while and ensured that at least 20 minutes of my journey was filled with amusing chat (the rest of it was spectacularly hideous. There is nothing quite like 20 boozed up football fans all trying to vomit into the same train toilet).
The panels! Also, the panels were great. I particularly enjoyed the Women in Sensible Armour talk, where the sense of “we’re not putting up with this bullshit anymore” was palpable, and Danie Ware brought up a particular bug bear of mine (namely: strong women having to have massive personality problems or issues). The steampunk panel was great too, headed by the fabulous Philip Reeve – there were lots of opinions on show, all articulated wonderfully. Plus Nimue Brown had an excellent hat.
All in all, I had an excellent experience and felt very welcomed and included. I am a reasonably introverted person, as I may have mentioned before, and a decade or so ago the idea of travelling to a place by myself and actually, you know, talking to people I’ve never met before would have been totally unthinkable; now I’m pleased to say I can do it, with bells on, and that is partly due to the awesome and friendly writing community. Good show, I say, good show!