Once upon a time I used to blog a lot. Not just regularly but at great length on a wide range of subjects. Obviously recent events – dad’s death, my depression worsening a bit, work stress and the recent Asperger’s/ autism diagnosis – have made this a bit trickier than I remember it being. This bloody entry has taken almost a whole week to write, like chipping away at a constantly moving object to get it into some sort of shape I’m happy with. But it’s an important thing to write. I wouldn’t keep badgering away at it if it wasn’t. I’m talking about Thought Bubble.
Thought Bubble was an interesting proposition for me. For someone trying to take his comics/ zines more seriously it should be a no brainer to attend the biggest convention in the country which is also pretty much on my doorstep. But it wasn’t that easy. See, I’m not very good at taking part in things like this and never have been. I’ve had a track record of this since childhood – I think apart from a brief foray as a Seconder in the cubs, I’ve been pretty much on the outskirts of anything ever since. If I had my way I’d probably never turn up to anything – it’s only because I’d never hear the end of it if I didn’t go that I try. And when I try, I tend to make only the tiniest of efforts. The words self-fulfilling and prophecy spring to mind.
Case in point: my last couple of attempts to dabble into the world of mini comics and the comics’ scene have ended… not particularly well. I tend to assume the worst of a situation in advance, that in some way of course I’ll end up not talking to anyone (first attempt: mini comic thing in Preston) or barely selling a thing (second attempt: comics fair in Bradford). Never mind the fact that during the former I never bothered initiating any conversations with anyone or at the second I just dumped a couple of issues of the Common Swings on an anonymous looking group table and legged it to Waterstones to hide for the afternoon. It’s not really a surprise that I only sold two copies of the Common Swings.
That second attempt at Bradford has become something of a stick to beat my own back with. It turns up again and again in justifications as to why I shouldn’t bother doing anything, why I’ll only make a fool of myself again if I try and blah blah blah blah blah. I completely mean it when I say these things, and can conveniently forget such things as, oh, the fact I didn’t stay with my stock or promote it properly or anything. In the same way, I can get maudlin about this blog whilst usefully forgetting how little I have updated it or, you know, only sent out one copy for review of the first issue.
So yeah. Hollow excuses or something. For some reason the wife wasn’t happy with me using them for Thought Bubble so, regretfully, I decided to at least make an effort and go to thing. If nothing else, I’d deliberately set up in my more worrying moods meet ups with my fellow old Lincoln DVLA survivor Matthew and old Livejournal pal Andrew. I kind of had to go after saying I’d meet them. Plus I’d said I’d go to support my local comic shop, the highly esteemed 2Tone Comics of Hebden Bridge. Eventually I found myself in the rather odd position whereby I actually wanted to go to this thing. And then…. And then…
And then I was hit by a nasty bout of insomnia and hand pain the night before so feared I couldn’t go… but despite myself I managed to drag myself out of bed and to Leeds and, bless my hat, I had a grand old time. Seriously. You need to look at the above and realise how unlikely it being a grand old time was… I have a considerable track record of self-scuppering and now had an actual excuse not to go. Yet before I knew it, I was handing over my tenner whilst surrounded by more cosplay types than you could shape King Ottakar’s Sceptre at. I’ve no idea why.
Reasons why it was great… will follow in part two. (And yes, there is a part one to force me to write a part two!)