Where do I start with this one?
It’s a bit long winded and very heavy on photos but as conventions have played a huge part in my life then they deserve I nice big blog.
I suppose I had better go all the way back to 1990.
I was earning my own money after college. Pretty good money too for a first full time job!.
Star Trek the Next Generation had just made it to our screens and I had a revelation.
I was a Star Trek fan.
I was in fact a Sci-Fi fan and had kept it very much to myself because my family weren’t interested and my friends weren’t interested.
Now that I was earning money and as it was also the 25th Anniversary of Star Trek I decided to attend my first convention. Silvercon in Glasgow.
What an eye opener that was. It was also a lot of fun.
It was a fan run convention so it ran continuously from the Friday afternoon until the closing ceremony on the Sunday evening. Even after that we partied until late.
The only way of keeping up to date with what the Americans had seen was to get dodgy video tape recordings from the US and then get them copied over and over again and sent around the country to various conventions.
I can remember finding one of the video rooms that was running back to back episodes throughout the night. Episodes that I hadn’t seen and then camping out in the room with a few other people just so we could catch up.
I also decided to join a local Star Trek club that alternated their monthly meetings between Bedford and Leicester.
This is where I met Ian.
These meetings were small but it was a great group of people and we actually organised a couple of sponsored events that raised money for the Boy Scouts whose hut we used for our meetings in Bedford.
Yes, we actually got people to sponsor us to watch Star Trek!!
The trial of Captain James T Kirk was a hoot. We kept a running body count of all the crew that died during their 5 year mission! I can’t remember the final count but it was in the hundreds and a dog!
Over the next 10+ years we spent our free time and money attending conventions and eventually selling my artwork at them.
We watched them grow into more organised events that were profit run rather than charity fan run and that’s when they stopped being as much fun.
The early fan run events were a lot more relaxed.
There were usually only a few hundred attendees and you could quite literally party with the guests. You could walk up to them in the bar and just chat.
When the big organisers got involved this all stopped.
The guests were escorted everywhere by security. Their time was planned so that photo shoots and signings could take place. Nothing ran through the night.
The fun had gone.
Conventions I can remember………
This convention marked a turning point for us. I was talked into selling my artwork. I had also become a little obsessed with Peter Wingfield who, at the time, was playing Methos the 5000 year old immortal in Highlander the Series. I actually got to run the UK side of his fan club for a short while and I got to interview him at this convention which was then followed by a club meeting.
Artwork sales were suddenly doing really well but were more multi media based, so we continued to sell at collector fairs rather than conventions.
We also expanded to collect and sell retro toys.
I quickly became known as ‘The Care Bear Lady!’ and people would attend the fairs specifically to find me and see what I had found that they could buy.
Sadly, after only a couple of years of doing this, Ebay began to take over.
People could get what they wanted without trawling the collector fairs.
By now I had three kids at home and didn’t have the time to commit to setting up the artwork sales so we made the painful decision to stop doing the shows and concentrate on Ebay sales.
But that didn’t last long either.
By now my most popular artwork was Dr who.
I was careful not to show trademarks in my pictures. I just did portraits. But because I ‘labelled’ them as ‘Dr Who’ artwork I was jumped on by the BBC.
I had to stop selling the Dr Who artwork and this killed my sales at that time.
So, as my Mum was coming up to retirement, it seemed the right time to get back out to the real world and a real job.
There you have it.
I can’t say I won’t be attending conventions again in my future.
In fact I can see me and Ian enjoying our retirement by returning to the convention circuit.
I would ‘LOVE’ to attend the San Diego Comic Con!
In fact, if we won the lottery now, me and Ian and all 3kids would be ‘Cosplayed’ to the extreme and head right for the next one.
We are going to be geeky and cool pentioners!!