Vowing never to do it again after last year's trip, I foolishly repeated my journey down to London on the 00:12 National Express coach for the first London Small Press Expo. So once again, I was knackered for the show but I managed to make it through the day.
Goldsmith's College was the venue for this convention, which replaces the now defunct and stupidly-named UK Web & Mini Comix Thing. But it was a shame to see that con end and people seemed chuffed to have a replacement.
Slightly more difficult to get to (depending on where you're coming from, obviously - The Fleece Station Studio is nearby so some familiar faces from there had no trouble), I had to make a couple of tube changes and wait for an overground to New Cross Gate. I was there almost an hourly early so I waited patiently outside, brushed my teeth in the street and even changed clothes. It was warm enough, thankfully.
@shug_comics - Early at The #SPExpo Waiting patiently outside. Just brushed my teeth in the street...
@olivereast - @shug_comics classy.
The layout of tables is almost identical to that of The Thing so it felt familiar enough.
My table-mate was Philip Ninja Bunny Spence, sporting a new moustache.
We set up and were joined to our left by my convention pals Al Maceachern and Joe Decie and to our right was Douglas Noble.
(Al enjoys his morning banana.)
My table cloth has an Australian-shaped stain on it:
Here I am, waiting for the massive rush:
@shug_comics - All set up at London SPX! With @philipsence @joedecie @douglasnoble and Al Maceachern! #SPExpo
And so began a very slow day. A very slow day indeed. All in all, the event was poorly attended and a lot of us were moaning our heads off about it.
On reflection though, I think the main fault was that the venue was slightly out of the way for some people. There are a number of other factors but I hope the organisers will take note and tidy up.
Maybe I jinxed it by sticking out two index fingers and declaring, 'let's make some cash!'
Sales were low but the amount of downtime meant a lot of us were coming out from behind our tables and mingling, which I struggle to do if I'm too busy.
@shug_comics - Where the CHUFF is everyone?! #SPExpo
@shug_comics - Hang on... Is it picking up in here? #SPExpo
@shug_comics - Oh, wait... Maybe that was the peak! #SPExpo
Phil and I tried out a flirtatious sales technique but he's much better at it than I am and Joe reminded me I'm married. Spoil sport.
The day can best be summed up by Dr. Simpo's friend, D:
I had my trusty bottle of Asda Surge antiperspirant on hand as usual:
@shug_comics - @joedecie and Al have just had a hit of Asda SURGE! Smelling sweet at #SPExpo
I picked up a few comics. In fact, I had four or five in mind and I managed to bag them all.
Firstly, I got David O'Connel's A Corner of Paradise which I've been looking forward to since he started it for the 100 Days Project. And since it's identical in format to my next book (including the use of the printers, Inky Little Fingers), it also doubles as a little bit of inspiration as I'm working on it.
One of the best-looking comics I've seen recently is Phil's Ninja Bunny comic. All coloured up and glossy, like. I was eager to get my mits on that, too. Plus he was sat next to me, so it was easy to arrange!
(Photo nabbed off Phil's website.)
Sarah McIntyre's Morris The Mankiest Monster was a steal at a fiver (signed and with a sketch) so I snaffled one up with a view to giving it to one of
my mate's kids for a birthday or Christmas. That's if I decide to give it up.
Tim Harries' Seldom Seen Blog collection was a firm favourite of mine last year so I was pleased to see volume 2 on sale at his first convention! I can't remember what happened at the end of the day so sorry if I didn't say goodbye, Timbles!
(Photo nicked off Tim.)
And finally, I always like a good Claude T.C. mini comic, which are always crammed full of energy and fun. Get thee to his website now.
(Photo shamelessly stolen from Claude's website. Not the one I actually bought on the day but one I own and read in the departure lounge to Iceland for my honeymoon!)
@shug_comics - Coming to an end. Sales have been okay... Barely. Onwards and for this event! #SPExpo
And that was that. As usual, we all piled into the pub (the most friendly, attractive girl in London gave us directions to the Amersham Arms where there were burgers and booze.
There were a couple of interesting developments, work-wise but we'll see.
The pens eventually came out and it got personal:
(My drawing of Joe Decie. Sorry, Joe.)
A lady called Alison knocked this one out of me - I really like it:
Lando and I spoke Japanese with this guy:
And the night ended with Dickon Harris looking like this: