So Nine Worlds was - and is, as they're running for definite in 2014 - a massive, multifandom mult-track multi-everything fan-run con in London, only not London, actually, but Heathrow, and it was wonderful, but I am so tired I am falling over so please have some edited highlights:
-Night Vale cosplay! such_heights
did a wonderful Cecil with a bowtie and stuck-on third eye, and I suppose I could've done Carlos if I'd thought of it earlier but I went to the fancy-dress shop near work and bought a hooded cape and practised looming at people, and then on Friday afternoon I made a sign reading: "DOGS ARE NOT ALLOWED IN THE DOG PARK PEOPLE ARE NOT ALLOWED IN THE DOG PARK say nothing and drink to forget
" and we went round the con like that. And it was amazing! We got there on Friday and got ourselves registered and went up to the queer high-tea drop-in (there was a queer track, a fanfic track, a geek feminism track, inter lots of alia, I was totally spoiled for choice), and people kept on recognising us and coming to talk to us, and then they did a fanfic cupcake drop-in also and the organisers had got Night Vale tea
from Adagio. (It tastes nice, but I refuse to know what's in it. It's Night Vale tea, come on.) such_heights
and I made super-excited simultaneous noises. We met another Cecil over the weekend - T., the organiser of the queer track, who had fab purple headphones - and I'm almost sure I saw a third at one of my panels, but couldn't catch up with them in time to make happy noises.
(Also, you know why I could've done Carlos happily and comfortably, if I'd got myself a lab coat and a confused expression? Because he's brown. I love that and I love writing him and I love everything about this.)
-Fanvidding panel and show were awesome, but getting home on Friday night afterwards was a nightmare - the Piccadilly Line was part-closed, and we had to make this stop-motion journey being thrown off the train every few stops and getting on another one, and we got back round about half one and left the house again at half eight, which was not so much of a highlight but actually it was kind of fun? A lot of the weekend felt like a school field trip, like grabbing your friends and going on an adventure. And here is a small thing I find relaxing - sitting outside, getting some fresh air, and watching a sequence of 747s landing in front of me.
(Actually, the venue was basically the only bum note of the whole con for me - the two con hotels were great, but in kind of a food desert and really difficult to access by public transport or by driving. Part of me did wonder if it would've been easier to take the car, but by this afternoon I was very far from fit to drive so perhaps not.)
-Saturday, I went to some great panels ("Heroes v. villains" on the literature track was surprisingly witty and delightful) and one very disappointing one; hung around lobbyconning for hours and hours, which was just fab, drank expensive airport-prices coffee, used the word "transformative" a lot; hung out with such_heights
some more and had thoughtful conversations about life, then hung out with her and silly_cleo
planning our femslash panel in the late-evening sunlight at an outdoor table at McDonald's. It was ridiculous and wonderful. I had a free hotel room for Saturday night courtesy of the Doctor Who track, and we all piled in there for some of the afternoon, and someone, I forget who, noted that you do feel guilty, paying your con membership and then hanging around with your friends and not going to panels - but, I dunno, I think room parties and lobbycon are as important, if not more so, than structured con programming. I guess I think all that talking, and laughing, and continuing panel discussions, and lying sleepily on top of the bedcovers talking about your wedding with someone who loves you enough to fly 8000 miles roundtrip to attend, and giggling about Tumblr memes in a deserted Piccadilly Line carriage at 1am, and love, and overpriced coffee, are - wait for it - transformative. And also, formative - constitutive of self, and the metaphorical ground from which you do the less fun stuff you have to do, in life.
(I really love the word "transformative".)
-Lashings of Ginger Beer Time did a short set, which I loved, and then it was queer rock geek disco time. (The first song they played was "20th Century Boy" - that made me happy. I'm told someone, when I left the dancefloor to find a drink and a bathroom, asked my friends if I was on something
I leave this without comment.)
-Today was the day of ALL THE PANELS. Somehow, I don't know how, I got scheduled to be on five panels between 9.30am and 4.30pm. (This is where I sit still and am grateful for happydork
, who between them got me checked out, got me coffee, got me painkillers, and walked blithely into an afternoon panel to give me a pasty, among myriad other small kindnesses) Of the panels, the first one was "What makes a fandom?" for the books track and it wasn't quite worth missing out on giving the lovely hotel breakfast its due - everyone concerned was hungover.
The second panel was the Chicks Unravel Time
panel, with shinyjenni
and Una, and it was wonderful wonderful wonderful. It was so nice to read, and speak, in front of an audience just brimming with love and enthusiasm and insightful critique of Doctor Who and women in sci-fi and feminism generally and just, awesome things. It was like going somewhere you've never been and finding all your friends there waiting for you. And that was followed by the femslash panel for the fanfic track, which I'm still not sure I was the most logical choice for, but being on that panel was just a total joy, also: more insightful thoughts and productive discussion and people just being really happy and excited and passionate about queer female visibility, sexuality and lives. I loved it.
My third panel of the day was entitled "Is Doctor Who thunderingly racist?" and I was the only non-white person on the panel. I had been vaguely, then definitely, upset about this for quite some time. happydork
offered very generously to sit in the front row and ask encouraging questions. I sat down with trepidation.
....and then it was awesome? I just... I still can't quite believe it, but it was awesome! The audience were sharp as whips, incisive, angry then productive, thoughtful and celebratory. They wanted to talk about Doctor Who as a colonialist narrative. They wanted to talk about Martha's story and its intersections with race and class. They wanted to break down Doctor Who in its historical contexts, and built it up again as a constitutive myth of Britishness. They wanted to take about its responsibilities in interrogating racism. I sat there and talked a lot and listened a lot and thought for a while I might cry from relief, then got over it. When I went out such_heights
was waiting for me with the margarita I had demanded she bring me so I could weep into it; instead I drank it in happy celebration and wove my way upstairs.
(The last panel of the day was "Is fanfic literature?" which was good, and had a fluid exchange of ideas, but aaargh, I was so tired by then, with my empty martini glass and my bacon pasty.)
-At the end of the panel, I went back down to the dealers' room and went to speak to one of the artists selling her art at one of the long tables; I'd enjoyed speaking to her so much on Friday that I popped in when I could to keep her company, as she couldn't leave her stall to attend much of the programming. I bought a print off her, because she's a beautiful artist, and I'm a sucker for haunting line-art of corvids fluttering into paper distance. And as a kind of final benediction from a wonderful weekend, she gave me this
I am very pleased with the world, and the small spaces I fit into in it, tonight.