London MCM Expo October 2011

I spent this weekend at the Manga, Comics and Media Expo in London.  This is the second year running that I’ve attended, and I’ve got to say, I had a lot of fun.

We set off on Friday evening – took a coach up to London after everyone (there were four of us going) was finished with their classes. The journey up went all right – I think I slept for the first half of it. The downside to travelling up so late – we set off at about six thirty PM – was that it was after nine when we arrived in London. Not a huge deal, but navigating the tube and London buses is enough of a pain without it also being night-time.

The plus side of travelling up on Friday night was that it was much easier and less stressful to get to the convention on Saturday morning. For one thing, we were able to leave all our luggage etc. in our hotel room, rather than dragging it up and down the stairs to the cloakroom at the con like we did last year.

My friend and I spent the first day cosplaying as Nezumi and Sion from the anime No. 6. I feel like we could have made better costumes – something to remember for next year – but on the whole I think we did fairly well. People recognised who we were supposed to be, and we got a few compliments (and unsolicited hugs) which was nice. I enjoy cosplaying, but there’s a lot of stress involved – not only does it involve an absolutely HUGE amount of preparation time, but it makes getting ready on the day of the convention a lot more difficult than it would otherwise be, and you spend the day worrying about your wig falling off or sweating in ridiculously heavy clothes. (My costume involved about three or four layers, and my friend was wearing a leather jacket as part of hers – neither of these are good choices for a crowded dealer’s room.) Still, it’s pretty enjoyable, especially when people tell us they like our costumes. I’m hoping to do it again next year.

We spent a lot of time (not to mention a considerable amount of money!) in the dealer’s room and artist’s alley this year. One of my favourite parts of the convention is seeing people selling their work – not only do I get the chance to buy things I might not have found otherwise, I’m hoping to sell work there myself in future, so I get to do a bit of sneaky market research. One of the highlights for me this year was meeting Paul Duffield, who, among other things, did the (absolutely gorgeous) art for the webcomic FreakAngels. (I now own a signed copy of his recent comic, Signal.)

Because of how stressful it had been the first day, we didn’t bother cosplaying on the Sunday. We had enough to deal with – we had to be checked out of our hotel by ten-thirty AM, which meant – guess what? – lugging all of our bags to the convention centre. (Getting there, incidentally, involved taking the bus and then two different trains on the underground. Not a lot of fun when you’re carrying a heavy, awkward suitcase.) At least there was a cloakroom once we’d got there.

Getting home was, once again, a bit of a stressful matter. I don’t think we’d left ourselves enough time to get from the convention to the coach station, especially since we needed to stop and get food. But, as you can tell, we made it home safely, and overall the experience was a lot of fun and something I look forward to doing again next year.

Now I have to go and not spend any money for the rest of the term.

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