Convention Season approaches.

How can I tell? The air this weekend has been full of the sound of swearing and sewing machine noise, and I’ve been asked to go on my day off to buy zips.

Meanwhile my social media feeds are full of people panicking as their latest deadline nears, and photographers have been publishing Google Doc spreadsheets to help arrange bookings.

I’m exhausted thinking about it, and I’ve not even started assembling the major components of my own cosplays, but there’s a month before the first one – that’s plenty of time, right?

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Valentine’s Week

Being the soppy people we are, it’s never a case of there being a special day to express our love – as more than one person puts it, it should be a 365 day per year effort and appreciation – but it does no harm to focus hearts and minds on giving a little boost.

This year, the redoubtable Lady P offered to do a romantic photoshoot in the woods for me and Lady M (Lady S having a prior engagement that weekend), so on Saturday we tripped over to Virginia Water to dodge the rainclouds. Lady P has a Crown Estates Photography Permit, so has been on a number of expeditions with her partner to find good locations, so we put ourselves in her hands for the afternoon.

Yesterday, while we snuggled on the sofa, the group chat we share with Lady P went berserk as she uploaded the selection of photos she had processed for us – with the aim of showing us how she perceives us and our love for each other. They’re beautiful – and I’ve been slowly putting them on Instagram and Facebook in small batches.

We may not be traditional, but we are geeks, and our love of life and play and each other shines through – feel free to go take a look as the collection expands.

We may not have had Lady S around, but at least we had messenger – and we’ll see her again soon enough. Valentine’s continues.

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Displays Everywhere

As it’s a new month, I’ve rotated round to another library in the area, and brought the buzzing excitement from reopening the previous one with me.

That’s manifested today in directing and encouraging staff to take ownership and control of two displays – one for Valentine’s Day, and the other for LGBT History Month.

Until I’d produced the various printed media created by other teams, the enthusiasm for this latter project was muted in some corners. Then they started to recognise books on the reading list as things we had on the shelves and before long I had people coming up to me with items for consideration.

I’m quietly proud of how they all came round, got invested, and pulled together.

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Cosplay Shoots

I’m not saying that Lady M is passionate about everything she turns her hand to, but we seem to have been booked up for photo shoots most weekends for the next few months, as well as booked in to a number of conventions.

This weekend saw Lady M, Lady S, and Lady P join forces at a photoshoot in the Leake Street Arches below Waterloo Station. They were there with Squad UK to do a Suicide Squad themed series of shoots.

Amanda Waller and Poison Ivy picture by Laura Garwood

I was working, so couldn’t join them until afterwards, but photos have been doing the rounds already. Quite coincidentally after the fun and shenanigans, Lady M was named as the Squad UK featured cosplay ER of the week.

There may have been more than a little bit of squeeing, jumping up and down, and clapping of hands in our household as a result. As Lady S says: Jo’s passionate nature is a little bit scary sometimes.

The thing is, Lady M is one of the cheeriest cosplayers most people have ever met, with a bubbly laugh and giggly enthusiasm that matches her work ethic and draws people to her.

She’s even got us featured in Comics And Cosplay as one of this month’s couples cosplays. I’m not sure whether to be excited or a bit terrified. For our next extravaganza, we’re working on representing the whole triad.

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Ko-Fi Time

As much out of curiosity as anything else, I’ve set up a account for anyone who wants to fling us a handful of change in return for anything they’ve liked seeing here. It’s purely voluntary of course, and I’ll be frankly amazed if anyone does – but the link is if you’d like to do a little bit towards supporting me in my odd little corner

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Library Refit Shenanigans

One of the libraries that I manage is having a much-delayed refit and redecoration this month. As a result my working days have been a little more varied this month.

If I haven’t been scurrying from place to place sorting out appraisals or getting a headstart on next month’s timetables, then I’ve been walking on rooftops inspecting drainage channels, watching workmen dodge flying books, and debating exactly when to tell someone his shelves aren’t straight.

It’s been that kind of month. On the plus side, the library has a new paint scheme and carpets, and a whole new layout that I think is going to draw people in.

We’re planning STEM events for the reopening, along with the more traditional Rhymetime and Story Time, and several staff have been pressed into service to wear an incredible penguin costume while leafletting.

Roll on this coming Saturday

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Strength and Presence

I should warn you, there’s a bit of navel gazing in this post, and I’m not sure where it’s going other than its partially inspired by recent conversations and a (very NSFW) blog by my girlfriend, Lady S.

Lady M recently commented that I was quite a dominant and commanding personality while I was venting about how the term “alpha male” irritates me. It’s generally used to excuse boorish and aggressive behaviour. It’s something of a pet peeve, especially when attached to a blokey set of micro and not-so-micro aggressions in social environments.

Lady M smiled and said it was likely because, being how I am, I push back at anyone assuming an authority over me. That’s as much a reaction to the institutions I grew up in and past trauma as anything else.

In my usual way of drawing threads together, this observation matched and complemented one by Lady S, who has said that she perceives my being a Dom as about who I am rather than it being something I do.

I’ve certainly remarked in therapy over the years that there does seem to be a pattern of my taking charge in situations, or of having people seem to look to me for advice. Maybe that’s just because I’m not afraid to make decisions and make things up as I go along: I’m a great believer in following my gut instincts in snap decisions.

So perhaps it isn’t so surprising to find that being a Dom to Lady S is something that has come quite easily as we’ve talked and explored boundaries and expectations. It’s an interesting journey that I hadn’t expected, but is proving intriguing and a huge boost for my self confidence. Perhaps all that examination of my shadow side in therapy has been more productive than anticipated.

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