Today I’m going to be sharing two things with you lovely people – one is my experience at EM-Con yesterday, and the other is the invitations to Hairy’s and my wedding!
Invitations first. I was having a look at Viking themed tree pictures on the internet when my eye was caught by this amazing piece of art:
It’s from a chap who does freelance illustration and graphic design. Here a couple of his websites: http://duende14.deviantart.com/art/Yggdrasil-The-World-Tree-59953621, and http://cargocollective.com/danielhobbit – do go and check out his other work, he’s pretty incredible. I got in touch with him and asked for his permission to use the art for our invitations and we were lucky enough that he said yes. Then began the arduous process of sketching his work and trying to simplify it enough so that I could turn it into a stencil! The first picture is what I ended up with, although that is definitely not one of the best versions of it.
I have awful handwriting, but it’s still better than Hairy’s! We wanted something more than just “We’re getting married, it’s at this time. Do be there, pretty please” so after a bit of trawling we found something that suited us.
My stencil! It actually changed shape and the holes got smaller because of the amount of paint that built up on the edges. I sketched the tree from my screen onto a pad, then traced that onto a sheet of acetate and cut it out using a craft knife. It was intricate enough even with the simplified image, I can’t imagine the pain I would have had trying to do the original tree!
Finished products! I bought four bottles of paint; purple, huntsman green, Christmas green and black. The purple alone was too bright, so I ended up mixing it with the black until I had a colour I was happy with. The greens were used kind of indiscriminately when I got bored.
The whole thing probably took me about a week and cost about £30 for all the materials. I think we did pretty well overall!
So. Onto EM-Con.
Hairy and I bought our tickets a good few months back and decided to treat ourselves to the Early-bird tickets for a grand total of about £25 for the day. I know, pushing the boat out! It was the first convention that either of us had been to so we were a bit nervous and didn’t really know what to expect.
It was in the Albert Hall in Nottingham, where I’ve sung as part of the Ginormous Choir with Guides and it really only has a capacity of about 900 people. Five THOUSAND people bought tickets in advance, and then more than that turned up on the day hoping to get in. As I’ve said before, I’m lucky and we managed to get in and spend the day there. Let’s do this pretty much from the beginning!
Hairy and I got there pretty much as the doors were due to open to the early birds but didn’t because of celebrity guest problems. We queued like true Brits which was made infinitely more entertaining by the people in cosplay. There was a lot of Star Wars cosplay outside – jawas were totally adorable, particularly as one was clearly a small child! There was a wise cracking Storm trooper, who got in line behind us to shake the Stig’s hand!
Jawas – little death things in robes.
Unfortunately there was a lack of communication between the patrons and the helpers who seemed a bit out of their depth – Hairy and I were given the wrong information as to where we were supposed to be queuing but we grumbled passive aggressively to our fellow queue-ees and got to the front quickly enough. Once inside we were given wrist bands that showed us as people of good standing who paid extra for an hour unsullied by the general public.
We were pretty intimidated. It had only just started and the place was heaving with people. There was a main conference room downstairs that held the celebrity guests and most of the vendors. Hairy and I ambled along looking at all the pretty things to sell and gawking at the famous people – Ben Miller! David Warner! Kristian Nairn! Eve Myles! It was a little bit insane and I totally got a cheesy grin from Ben Miller. I was too nervous to talk to anyone and I couldn’t afford to buy any of the autographs but for me it was a big enough deal just being in the same room as them.
Hairy is Super!
I am not super. I do have different coloured hair though – I realised that not many people actually know about this.
Ghost Busters! Storm trooper! Swat team!
LOTS of people were dressed as the Doctor in varying incarnations. There was a chap who looked pretty identical to 10, although there were probably more 11s running around.
Also – TARDIS AND DALEKS. WOOT.
Hairy in charge of the camera. I also got to wear my Frank Turner t-shirt which was awesome.
Just with the Tardis. I never thought it would be quite that big!
My purchase (one of them anyway). Pair of lovely earrings, and as we all know the leaves of Lorien do not lightly fall. Hairy and I popped out (possibly not very sensibly as apparently it wasn’t guaranteed that you could get back in) and got ourselves some lunch as we were getting slightly fed up of the sheer mass of humanity contained in the Albert Hall. We also got to see just how many people were queuing which was pretty amazing.
“Liquid lunch” at the nearest Spoons. Don’t worry, that’s not vodka. I had lemonade 😀 And still have glittery green nails which works for today as it’s St Paddy’s and I need to wear green for Guides tonight!
Hairy pulls funny faces. About the only thing we were privileged to as E-B ticket people – seats on the floor instead of in the stands for the Q&A panels.
Actually a pretty splendid view.
The panel for Doctor Who and Torchwood! The chap on the right end plays Strax, the potato headed alien. He was really funny and a good public speaker. The chap next to him was Dorium Maldovar in Doctor Who and again was a good speaker. Eve Myles, the actress who plays Gwen Cooper in Torchwood, was funny, and you could definitely tell that the young Amelia Pond was incredibly nervous about being there. She was sweet though and it was nice to hear the audience appreciating her when she spoke. David Warner is the chap on the far left and is an astounding actor with a stupendous track record. The track record only includes one episode of Doctor Who though, and it was an animated one…
Game of Thrones panel!
And a close up of Hodor, because I love him. The GoT panel wasn’t as good in my opinion, but it was interesting and has me all excited for the fourth series so I guess that fulfills their purpose!
I think you could tell that it was the Em-Con’s first year. Things were poorly organised, subject to last minute changes and it was incredibly busy. The organisers clearly didn’t have enough clout to get the stars of the shows – Hodor, Barristan Selmy and Renly as opposed to some of the larger characters in GoT. For me, being the lucky sod that I am, it was good. We got in and had time to look around and buy the things we wanted. We got to see the Q&As we wanted to, saw a few friends and didn’t have to queue for more than an hour for anything.
Would I go again? Definitely. I’ve seen some horrendously scathing reviews which are completely understandable bearing in mind some of the difficulties that other geeks ran into trying to get into the con. I know it was badly organised, but it was its first year and I would like to go again. Next year hopefully the organisers will have learned from the problems they had this year – they’ve already booked a larger venue, and maybe they’ll be able to get some bigger guests to come and speak to us.
Finally, it was nice to go and geek out for a day with Hairy. The day was tiring, awkward in places and full of way too many bodies but we had time to wander around and talk about silly geek things. Some of the stalls were amazing – Tardis pants! Tardis earrings! Crochet cuddly Daleks! Evenstars and One Ring galore! I would recommend EM-Con with a pinch of caution. I had a good day, but hundreds and hundreds of people were left to stand for hours and now have to try to get a refund.