My First Con

Following our trend of referencing the Belfast Titan Con 2013 I thought it only suitable that I, myself, should also share my run down of the, now hallowed, day. You may have noticed that a trend has emerged within my articles, namely the number 52… So please bear with me as I attempt to write a few words without referencing any flying rodent men…

To me, the day started the night before… Batteries were charged, schedules were scrutinized and cupcakes, yes cupcakes, were baked. Before we knew it the early hours had already approached, and bed, like the three- eyed crow, beckoned us. A few hours later the alarm sounded, informing us that the day had finally arrived. Now as the title instructs, this was my first Con, so like a giddy child on Christmas morning I jumped, and I literally mean jumped, out of my bed. Cue a moment of euphoria, quickly followed by the slight dizziness of sleep deprivation and the twinge of a long felt injury. After a moment to settle myself I readied myself for round two of our preparations. Equipment was packed, clothes were donned and these, now famous, cupcakes were iced. The troops gathered and like an odd little family, we all crammed into the car, each with our own expectations of the day.

Upon arrival I had to remind myself, not for the first time, that I was a press member for this event, and therefore had to have an air of professionalism about myself. So, with the urge to skip through the door chanting ‘The Rains of Castamere’ well and truly quelled, I readied my tripod and marched through the door, with what I can only hope, was an air of decorum. After a time to get our wits about us we made our way to the main hall, aptly dubbed ‘Kings Landing’ and set up all that was needed to capture some of the opening ceremony.

Only as the cast members, illustrators and writers took their place on stage did it finally dawn on me. Here, right in front of my eyes, were people I admired, rejoiced for, heckled and, in the case of Ron Donachie (aka Rodrick), mourned for. It was a surreal experience, one which was to continue for the rest of the day. Once the opening ceremony was complete we glanced at our schedules and delegated the day’s activities amongst ourselves.

Being a comic book fiend I thought it only appropriate that I cover the ‘Comic Book Factory’. In this class I met and chatted with a number of illustrators and writers from our Northern Shores.  The workshop was headed by the talented Andy Luke, with whom we all formed a fast friendship (one which we more than hope to continue). I’ve been told that our work should appear on the Titan Con website at some point so keep an eye out for that! Though I will warn you my offering was a little short of inspired, to say the least.

Workshop over, I thought it only appropriate that I experienced my first panel. I’d been advised that this is often the best part of a convention and was keen to see if this was the case. There was a number of panels on offer, though as I was yet to see Season Three of Game of Thrones (though I have caught up now), I was kindly advised to miss out a couple. Now I will admit that I was only scheduled in for two panels, in our ‘NG Plan of Attack’, but after the first one I was hooked. It was an amazing experience to see people you admired having a conversation, and sometimes debate in front of your very eyes. Laughs were had, probing questions answered and both audience and cast interacted in a friendly and extremely jovial manner.

At this point in the day I was nearly coming to grips with the idea of being in such close proximity to all these celebrities, I’d even managed to let Kristian Nairn pass by me without bellowing ‘HODOR’ at him. However, in a flurry of action I found myself face to face with Luke Barnes (aka Rast) and once again had to fight any impulse that may tarnish the NG name.  Now, in case you’re wondering this meeting was in fact a planned interview as opposed to some, less than convincing, stalking on my part. Though, however planned it may have been, the prospect was terrifying. It’s clear to see, however, that Luke put me at ease very quickly and was an absolute pleasure to talk to. Once the interview was complete he even took the time to have a friendly chat off record. (The interview itself can be found on the NG page, or one of our many other platforms). Once the interview was complete the schedule informed me it was now time to queue up for the autograph session and, yet another opportunity to disgrace myself… Thankfully I once again walked away with all dignity intact and a bunch of autographs on top of that!

The closing ceremony and the charity ballot heralded that that the day was at an end. However there was still fun to be had in the form of a Masquerade and an after party for anyone with the energy to continue. At this point, having barely slept a wink the night before, I admitted defeat but I did manage to witness one of the best winner’s speeches ever in the form of Daenerys’ handmaiden jokingly translating that ‘we should buy the Khaleesi drinks’, namely ‘Jaggerbombs’.

In all, I am pleased to report that ‘My First Con’ was a raving success. The day was jam packed with surprises, and celebrities, round every corner. All at the con interacted brilliantly. The volunteers were always on hand for any query and dealers were more than happy to take time out and share and explain their work. It goes without saying that the real stars of the con were the stars themselves. All guests were pleasant and didn’t shy away from any who approached them, even stopping to thank our team member Jenny for her wonderful cupcakes (had to get them in one more time). So it goes without saying that I have been well and truly initiated into the con experience and, without a doubt, this won’t be my last!

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