MCM ComicCon May 2018

I’m exhausted. There’s no two ways about it. Across the blazing hot Bank Holiday weekend we just had, I’ve sweltered and socialised with fellow cosplayers, geeks, nerds, and friends at MCM ComicCon. It was brilliant.

Three days, three costumes, many photos, and best of all our first proper group cosplay as a triad, recreating the Black Sails partnership of Jack Rackham, Anne Bonney, and Max. We even managed to get in to see Jessica Parker Kennedy, who played Max in the show, for a photo opportunity.

We’d mildly squee’d when we saw her announced, and then I’d had a number of conversations around whether the three of us could see her at once. Negotiations and financial considerations sorted, we then waited until the Saturday to tell Lady S in case she got into a complete panic meltdown.

As it turned out, we were instantly recognised as our respective characters (more than a small relief), and then for the rest of the day found ourselves being approached by a surprising number of people who either loved the show or who themselves also cosplay characters from it.

I think it was a first for all three of us, to find ourselves being stopped by people so enthusiastically, and it’s just made the whole weekend that much more special.

Photos from various photographers are starting to filter through, and we made it into at least two videos that I’ll post links to as they get published.

I’m tired now. What a brilliant weekend.

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Little Victories

One of the things of which I am most proud this weekend has been how well Lady M has done with all the crowds at MCM. Its been a long hard struggle for her, and being able to engage and flourish in the heat and confusion of such a big and busy Con has been joyous to watch. It has also been a little bit scary as she dived in and organised photographers with verve, charm and a little cheek to maximise the day.

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Lord and Lady M in pirate garb with Kisasa Cosplay as Kaylee from Firefly

Its been a huge leap forward, even as she’s found it exhausting. What has been even more of a blessing has been how the people who have been along on this journey with us through posts here, on social media, and in keeping in touch let her know how pleased they were to see her there – without overloading her with excessive schmaltz. Thank you all, especially our friends in UKCC and Squad UK, for being amazing and supportive.

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Dealing with the “What Ifs”

Just like everyone else I have a critical voice that lurks at the back of my mind and picks apart every decision and choice that I make. Its sole function seems to be to remind me that I am not good enough by some unseen yardstick that keeps moving.

So how do I function? How do I keep from paralysis in the face of this clamour and self doubt? This was the question asked in last night’s counselling session.

My only marginally flippant reply was that whatever choice or decision I make will be seized on by my brain so I might as well keep choosing and making decisions and be a similarly moving target.

History tells me that by and large everything works out and that my gut instincts are generally good. So I keep moving forward, and occasionally I outpace the voice of “what if” and “should have”

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Long Distance Growling

About the only thing that consistently sucks about our throuple dynamic is the distance. It’s not huge – an hour and a quarter down the A3 if the traffic behaves on the M25 and around Guildford – but still enough to give pause when it’s late in the evening and I just want to reach out.

It’s something that anyone who has had some distance in their relationships will identify with, I’m sure. It isn’t as easy to read nuance on a screen, or have the simple companionship and intimacy of touch, support, shared meals, or just those looks you can give each other in response to a truly awful pun.

But it does mean that I appreciate the time I have with each of my partners even more. The time and effort made to travel makes the visits at either end more precious; as well as highlighting what I have when I’m home.

Lady M is my wife, and to use a phrase bandied around at the moment, is my nesting partner with whom I intend to live out my days.

Lady S is my girlfriend, partner, and sub – and I also intend to live out my days with her in my life. We may even down the line all end up nesting together, but who knows what the future holds.

For now then, every so often, I just have to occasionally growl under my breath when I consider the physical distance between us.

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Throuple Moments: Dining

One of the best things about having the weekend together last week was having the time to hang out and all go get a meal together without clock-watching. The hour or so drive between us doesn’t sound too bad in theory but as it’s mostly motorway-style driving it can be quite draining. Being able to retire to the hotel and eat at the restaurant therefore was a wonderful luxury.

We’re lucky enough to look relatively young – good genes as we call it – and normally this isn’t anything more than a nice bonus when people tell me I don’t look old enough to have a daughter at university.

On our first evening though, Lady S was asked to prove her age under the Premier Inn’s 25 age check policy as we’d ordered wine with our meal. She was mortified to find she hadn’t brought anything suitable with her but was reassured by the manager that it was alright as we were eating. The query had been raised by our trainee waitress in passing so it was a good training moment for her.

Then Lady S asked how old the waitress thought she was, and was somewhat flabbergasted to hear the age 17 quoted back to her. Flabbergasted and amused enough to threaten to show her C-section scar for her seven year old son.

The teasing continued through the evening from there, and fortunately the manager had a robust sense of humour when Lady S started saying things like “Mum, Dad, can I have some more wine?” as any staff came near.

The meal was good though, and it has at least given us teasing material on all fronts.

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Portsmouth Comic Con

IMG_20180509_123418_839 (4)Last weekend, the three of us descended on the inaugural Portsmouth Comic Con for a weekend of cosplay, comic book geekery, and board games. Nearly a week later, we’re all still exhausted, which is why it has taken me so long to write it up.

The two-day event was held at the Portsmouth Guild Hall – an impressive building just outside the city centre next to the station with a large open square in front of it across from the Council offices.

Lady M and I opted to stay at the Premier Inn just across the road – while Lady S was on dog-watching duties at her home in the evening with most of her family away. We approached the weekend with a mixture of excitement and trepidation as it was the first convention we’d gone to as a throuple (I guess that’s a word now). Everyone has their own way of engaging with conventions, so part of it was a concern that we’d be pulled in too many different directions – and there was also a small fear about how we might find any stress about being out and about in public together. As it turned out: none at all. We did, admittedly, confuse some people in restaurants and local pubs, but that was more to do with our being in costume rather than anything else.

IMG_20180509_123418_831We were very pleasantly surprised at how well the event was run. First-time conventions have a reputation of suffering from problems as part of a steep learning curve. We were happy to findĀ instead efficient and courteous security and ticket management staff – and a well laid-out floor plan that was accessible and made good use of the wonderful building it was housed in. Food and drink was reasonably priced – though on the first day there were huge numbers of crowds which made for long queues.

Even so, everyone we spoke to agreed that it was really well done and great fun to be at. What differentiated it from some of the bigger Cons, like MCM, was the focus remaining on comics and creators. There were loads of big name artists and writers, with a strong focus on independent creators. In many ways it reminded me of conventions I went to in the early nineties – in a good way. It was friendly and felt a celebration of pop culture rather than just an opportunity for big names to show off merchandise and upcoming features. That, as much as anything else, made it memorable and fresh – and we were overjoyed to hear on the Sunday that the event had been so successful that it would have a follow-up next year.

IMG_20180509_123418_837 (3)We all went in cosplay on each day. Saturday I took the work in progress that is my Captain Jack Rackham (based on the pirate featured in Black Sails), Lady M went as Rizzo of the Pink Ladies from Grease, and Lady S went as Kitty Owens – a gender-bend play on a WWE wrestler called Kevin Owens. With the addition of a set of kitten ears, gloves, and a tail bought from one of the stalls inside, this cosplay became Kitten Owens.

Sunday saw a switch around. I reprised my old favourite: Harley Quinn; Lady M brought her work in progress Mad Hatter; and Lady S donned a wig and gown to grace the stage as Lady Sansa Stark from Game of Thrones.

On the Saturday we’d discovered the free games tent in the grounds of the Guild Hall, but Sunday we settled ourselves there for a good portion of the afternoon as we were all pretty tired from our wanderings and exertions on the first day. Joined by Lady B (a friend of Lady S), we played the Plague Inc board game and spent perhaps a smidgen too much money on new board and card games to share with friends and family in future visits.

I won’t go into how much we spent, but let’s just say that Lady M didn’t have to haggle hard to get a discount each day we were there.

IMG_20180509_123418_830 (3)As if that wasn’t enough excitement, Lady M and I took leave of our senses and entered the Cosplay Masquerade competition. This involved getting up on stage in front of a hefty proportion of the Con while we were in costume and talking about ourselves and why we cosplay. We didn’t win, but we did have fun, and that’s absolutely the whole point of the exercise.

The Masquerade was run by Go Geek, and all credit has to go to their Master of Ceremonies forĀ  running a smooth operation of getting upward of thirty people up on stage, interviewed briefly, and then off stage again to make room for the next with a seemingly unending stream of patter and humour that made it a delight both to engage in and to observe.

IMG_20180509_123418_834 (4)It was a blazing hot weekend – the first May Bank Holiday – and those wearing wigs or hats (most of us at one point or another) were very glad to find well ventilated and shaded areas through the day. From our conversations with various guests and fellow convention-goers we were not alone in this. Paradoxically the only place that didn’t have shelter was either side of the main stage where we queued for the Masquerade.

It made the decision to slip out of the event and retire to the nearby Wetherspoons pub very easy. There, we engaged in the traditional cosplay activity of confusing everyone by not acknowledging that we were dressed any differently from anyone else. Its a tough job, but somebody has to do it…

So – a successful weekend with plenty of laughter and fun. Now the focus is on getting ready for MCM London at the end of the month. In particular we’re working on our group cosplay based on Black Sails – the poly triad of Jack Rackham, Anne Bonney, and Max. Its going to be great.

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Gatherings and Meanderings

My first draft of this entry started with a meandering mutter about how busy April has been, but that then led to a slightly maudlin piece about how I’m not writing at the moment, despite my best intentions. So I’ve scrapped that.

Lady M is still not doing well, but is improving – so much so that we were able to get to a big family gathering to celebrate significant birthdays for my parents this month – there’s good days and less good days, but pills and therapy seem to be helping.

In other news, work is work; cosplay prop-making is happening; and yeah, still here.

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