I can write about this now its been announced: I’m trialling being a moderator for the UKCC Facebook group for a few months to see how it goes and how it fits with my other commitments.
The UKCC is the UK Cosplay Community group, and I’ve been involved with them over the last five years or so as a positive and family friendly bunch of folks. I’ve made good friends both at conventions and just generally during the lockdown as online support has become more prominent and helpful.
Purely by coincidence I turned down an invitation to become an administrator for Squad UK about the same time because I knew I wouldn’t be able to give it the attention it really needed. By even bigger coincidence one of the UKCC admins has just taken on that role with Squad, further proving how small the cosplay world really is.
One of the things I am taking encouragement from is that large numbers of my fellow geeks and cosplayers aren’t letting the lockdown get in the way of community, support, or even common sense. There are increasing numbers of videos doing the rounds of showing people’s makeup, or cosplays, and even stuntwork – and so we decided to pick up on it and combine all three. Its by no means a unique challenge – as of the time of writing I know of at least one other group who have released on – but with 46 different cosplayers presenting 51 different costumes, we think this is the biggest one so far. The original facebook post by TJC Cosplays can be found here, but I’ve uploaded a high definition copy here too:
Hope you enjoy, if only for the sight of me getting punched in the face to start it all off.
The full list of cosplayers and their instagram pages is at the end of the video – and here’s a copy to save you scrolling through – go have fun looking these people up as they’re an amazing bunch of people and I’m very proud to have been able to join in on all this together with them:
Today’s weather has been all over the place between rain and sunshine, and as a result my sinuses have been sore and irritated as the air pressure and pollen have combined.
Most of my messaging stream is full of chatter for the various video projects I’ve chipped into at the moment, and its probably no surprise to hear that it then prompted me to do some extra cosplay silliness. To that end I enlisted Lady M to variously hold props, camera, or pose while I grabbed a mask to do a casual lockdown Michael Myers on our balcony.
Our neighbours on the estate seemed only moderately bemused as they walked by; but no one called the police so I can only assume they were just shrugging their shoulders and hoping we’d tidy up after ourselves.
Now the only problem is that my head and hands still smell of the latex of the mask four hours later, so Im off to have a shower now.
I’ve been quite productive today but I’ve noticed a growing sense of anxiety and exhaustion around the work I’ve been doing – so I’ve opted to take some leave. This may seem odd given there’s a worldwide lockdown in place, but for my own wellbeing I feel I need to commit to not dialling in to work remotely for a few days next week.
Lady M has also booked some time off from her work for similar reasons. We would have been going to Portsmouth Comiccon and possibly looking at next week off to recover anyway, so in the grand scheme of things its not too different from what we would have been planning.
Its thoughts like that which remind me just how the convention and cosplay circuit has been hit, and by extension our little hobby and our connections with the friends we’ve made there.
Its why I’m continuing to get involved with daft cosplay collaborations – yes its fun to dress up and be silly, but the conversations and planning behind the scenes have been wonderful for keeping in touch and celebrating the creativity and oddness of us all.
If it raises smiles and lightens people’s days during lockdown then all the better, and I can take heart from that.
I’ve been thinking about doing a version of Wolverine based on the film Logan, possibly crossing over with the comicbook Old Man Logan – after all I’ve got the grey coming through in the beard and am nery twice the age if some of the cosplayers around me.
So I bit the bullet this week and after asking around for recommendations bought a set of claws that would be Con safe as they’re made of plastic. A couple of days later, they arrived:
I think I’m going to have fun with these… oh, the bruising is makeup rather than Lady M attacking me for making her jump with moving so quietly around the place. I quickly threw this test together after filming for the Nerd OD project. Not pictured: the grey tracksuit bottoms I was wearing to slob around the flat…
Yesterday I got my backside into gear and dressed back up as Captain Boomerang for the next Nerd OD video, singing some lines for a rendition of We’re All In This Together from High School Musical. I toned down the blood and gore for a more nuanced healing black eye and duly prance around for the camera for a few minutes to try and do a one-shot grab of footage.
That mostly worked, but there is an outtake and blooper or two included in the footage I’ve uploaded to the guy compositing it all, so we’ll see what ends up in the final version.
Included in all that was the following addition material thats gone towards the fight video:
All in all, not a bad diversion, and I’ll link in the finished result when it gets completed in the next few days!
Wait, what, how? I’m not quite sure how the week has managed to drag and and yet zoom through at breakneck speed, but here we are and I’m two glasses of gin down with Great British Menu on the TV.
So I really can’t complain, and I even have some spoons rattling in my mental drawer.
I still need to do the singing cosplay filming, but the plan is to do that tomorrow. What I have done though is taken steps to assemble a version of Wolverine as per the film Logan. I just need to find a suitable wig.
I think we may do some online nattering tonight, draw the DDC together to talk nonsense and possibly play some Cards Against Humanity. Here’s to relaxing for the weekend.
That said, I’m not too worried about not blogging on the day about it as so many schools have decided to do things on the Friday before the weekend rather than have dress-down days. Only this morning I had a number of Harry Potters appear for Rhymetime, making me wish I’d brought in one of my replica wands with which to join in the fun and practice some spells with them.
Yesterday was the day itself though, and as libraries we did our best to fit it in with our general mission of getting interesting books in front of variously interested people of all ages. I was unable to convince any of the staff working with me to actually dress up as anything, so I was left to fly the flag and adopt most of my Harley Quinn cosplay while still remaining professional and unscary to the majority of our customers. In other words: no weapons, no facepaint, no fake tattoos, or blood (fake, or otherwise).
In practice this meant a white shirt, the red and black waistcoat made by Lady M, and the old red and black nail varnish. This was fine, and bemused a number of elderly customers who didn’t dare ask what was going on. My staff are used to it, so all was well. We just didn’t get any children older than two and a half in all day. You might think therefore that this was a waste of time, but I say any excuse to wear cosplay at work and be paid for it is no bad thing. Then again, I am famous for having no shame over these things.
I couldn’t be bothered to remove the nail varnish last night, so I’m still wearing it today, along with my more general casually smart library manager attire. So far I’ve had ten people admire and compliment my nails while I’ve been serving them. I’ll take that.
I probably spend far too much playing around with the silly filters on social media – mostly as we send updates to each other to put a smile on each others faces.
What I find interesting is to see how much fun I can have to produce the more unusual poses rather than just the stereotypical straight to camera glares. It appeals to me on an aesthetic level, and can be a fun way of practicing for the cosplay photos.
While that may seem of limited use – it a) is something that makes me happy and b) means I have more confidence when more official photos are taken. I recently had a shot taken at a work event to go on an ID card, and was able to pose enough within the limits that I actually appear to be full of life rather than sapped of the will to live.
Being able to have confidence in my own appearance is a relatively new development. My weight gains due to disordered eating while depressed were huge – at one point I weighed over twenty-one stone (135kg) which played no small part in my developing type two diabetes. I came to loathe images of me, especially when I compared them to the slim and athletic appearance I had when I was younger.
It has only really been the last couple of years since I’ve started cosplaying that I’ve begun to be comfortable with having my photo taken. Dressing up and putting myself in the hands of photographers keen to help me make the best images has both boosted my confidence and given me practical guidance in how to hold myself in healthier and more flattering ways – and to stop caring about looking silly along the way.
Discarding the voice that cares and frets about not looking ridiculous has been a freeing experience and helped me feel more comfortable in my own skin. It has helped me in my own journeys to know myself, and it has helped reduce my retention of stress.
And that’s why I love playing the Fool for selfies. I can let go, laugh at myself and with others. I can welcome the silliness and feel both childlike and more adult in my appreciation of using my body with at least a little less shame.