So AA 2012.
Well my journey began on Wednesday as I hopped over to Falkirk to meet up with Karl. We both stay about the same distance from Edinburgh (our train to Brum departing there) but he's on the Glasgow side, I am on the Fife side. Guess which one has a decent train service? So we chatted and blethered and had a relaxing night. Sadly, I couldn't sleep...too excited. Sleep deprivation before the event. Damn! So we hit Edinburgh at 8am and waited for Nick and Ralph to arrived before boarding the train.
This was met with trepidation as travel chaos often ensues when Nick is abroad but we had an easy journey down. Rocked up to the Hotel and before checking in had to press the flesh with Messrs Millman and Wallace amongst others. Trip into town for food started off with a procession of about twenty and dwindled down to me, Aimee, Dave and Robert Rodgers as the lazy people grabbed a subway. On the train Dave gave us an elegant idea about a plot point on MTME before Aimee crushed it by telling him it wasn't the case. Chinese buffet consumed we made our way back to the hotel to see people.
Back to the hotel and the bar. Grabbed my goodie bag from Simon, Trish and Hannah. Love the print quality of Cybertronian Times. Very chuffed with that, but immediately spotted some things I wanted to change. Got to trade obsecenities with Marc Graham as is traditional, blethered with Hde, Sprite, Janne, Andy Kiernan and the Pirries, my favourite Ben and Ed and far too many people to mention. Adam White drops off a Scorponok for Toy Fu. Aimee went round with livestream on, and I dare say my profanity-laced musings entertained/terrified anyone who saw (delete as applicable).
Headed to bed fairly early for me as tomorrow was a big day.
Friday - set up and AV, not as much hassle as previously and Adam Slater and Laura Breakspear were lifesavers, relegating me to third most qualified. Best moments of the day, reciting the dialogue with Dave and Billy, before breaking off to skip around the hall when no-one was looking. We are surprisingly dainty! Then when everyone left we (Billy, Dave, Steven & David Mapes and myself) did some tests on the desk mics and the entrances and there was much filth, innuendo, nakedness and physical injury. Brilliant, brilliant stuff. Entrance vids were done by Adam Slater and were absolutely cracking - the first one especially. Stealing Dave's catchphrase.
Then it was back to the bar - where bizarrely most of my best convention moments tend to take place.
Saturday - fantastic stuff, running about like a blue arsed flea but nowhere near as much as last year. Despite asking Nick Roche to slow down his entrance, I am pretty sure the cheeky scamp broke the sound barrier with his egress from back of the hall to the stage. Sat in on Livio Ramondelli's panel in the alternate suite and it was really enjoyable. the lack of projector didn't hold it up too much. He worked the crowd like a pro, and managed the questions from one over-eager kid very well. And to the couple of people who sighed when he was asking questions. WE ALL WOULD HAVE DONE THE SAME IF WE WENT TO CON'S AT THAT AGE!
The evening programme was subject to some av snafu's but rest assured fixed for 2013. Cosplay gets better and better, I had the joy of wrangling them out in the hall and it was quite fun. I loved trading dirty looks with Transformers: Prime Soundwave - who stayed in character. Bang up job. Ian, the horde of scraplets was a genius costume, but Tori should have won as Deathsanrus. Sorry Tori, I watched the Star-dubs years ago, he will always be Deathsanrus! Then the traditional karaoke set kicked off, at that point John-Paul Bove asked if they could find somewhere to catch up on the sketches so I found myself sitting with JP, James Roberts, Kris Carter, Kat Nicholson, Liam Shalloo, Nick Roche, Jason Cardy, Lee Bradley and Livio Raimondelli, and at one point hiding under the table from Livio with everyone else, that went on till 4 in the morning.
Sunday - flowed quite smoothly in terms of things throughout the day and was great fun. When Toy-Fu announced half price on everything the massive throng of fans in search of a bargain was terrifying to behold. The physical endurance required for the event was starting to show, my feet were in absolute agony. Next year I shall get ugg boots filled with cotton wool. Fantastic stuff, and despite not winning the Toy Fu Tat Roulette it was a good day.
Closedown involves a lot of humping and dumping of things and as usual fell to a few brave souls to do. You know who you are - thanks very much for your help. Then back to the bar to catch up with everyone. Stardub after Dark was recorded. Listen now at [link] - be aware it is very, very sweary. I was ambushed by Mr KhaosEnvy himself to answer five random questions, which I did in typically dark fashion, I do believe I broke minds. Then came the moment of imfany when JP nearly killed me, a stupid game got so far that I could not breathe I was on the floor, tears down my face and laughing so hard I was in agony. Bravo, sir. I kept wandering round trying to catch up with everyone and apologies to anybody I didn't get to speak to, and apologies to those I did speak to that I didn't have more time.
The last men standing at AA this year were myself and the legendary Kris Carter and we were both aiming to get breakfast, but we were both having trouble seeing at the time so bed was in order. Honourable mention to Ed who took the title of Favourite Pirrie from his brother by staying up late with us. James Roberts spotted us when he was checking out early in the AM and took a splendid photo of us. I like to think he was proud of us, but the look on his face wasn't quite pride!
Allegedly there was a test of the fire alarm at the hotel on Monday at 0830. I have no recollection of this, but my roommate Ralph said I sat bolt upright like Frankenstein's Monster screamed out "FUCK!" and then went back to sleep.
Monday was shuffling around until checkout trying to catch everyone and make plans. Train journey was pleasant enough, but we were so exhausted by that point it was just far too slow. We wanted to be at home sleeping. Utterly spent, but by god it was worth it. The new venue was splendid, a lot of new faces this year, and sadly a few familiar ones couldn't make it - but we shall get them back in 2013. Record attendance levels, record amount raised for Toy-Fu as well.
Sterling effort from everyone involved, dealers, volunteers, the committee, the guests and everybody who attended - it was all an absolute blast.
Hero of the weekend - John-Paul Bove
Villain of the weekend - Andy Kiernan - simply because he won the G2 Party Supplies in the Toy Fu Tat Roulette Raffle and I wanted them.
Too anyone I haven't name-checked I am sorry, biggest regret of the weekend, Geoff and I couldn't pick up the van planning from 2011. Next year!!