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ChillerCon 2022, 26th - 29th May.

Standard Operating Procedure: hangtime with my peers in the hotel bar, 2nd night of ChillerCon.

Originally to be StokerCon UK, ChillerCon has faced its challenges. Not only in part due to the pandemic, but also because a ceiling had collapsed in the desired venue. Of course, that leaves it no longer desirable, so the event was shifted from The Grand to The Royal. Both hotels in Scarborough, by the sea, and both within spitting distance of each other. I, for one, was actually looking forward to StokerCon being on these shores. If memory serves, it's historically been a North American thing, so it would be nice to have it - and that community - journey over here so we could meet the hell out of them. Oh, well. Just be it known that I'm looking to step to StokerCon in Pittsburgh next year. But that's a whole other story.

Back to the matter.

I'd not been to a convention since FantasyCon 2021 - that was in Birmingham last September. I'm aware that some of my peers haven't been to a convention since before then. But I'm going regardless.

So. Thursday morning, I'm up at Kings Cross, having already got my first train. For some strange reason, I can't get a direct train, which would have made things easier. Even when I fly - or, especially - I want the direct journey. None of this chopping and changing. But a local strike on the network that serves Scarborough meant a number of trains were cancelled. Which meant delay. And more people crowding onto the remaining trains. That part of the journey wasn't all bad though, since I got to travel the rest of the way with Sara Jayne Townsend, who I used to share a publisher with. Talk around productivity, the genre and such killed enough time until we got to the hotel. Of course, we already knew our hotel was changed, since we got the emails in advance.

View from the foyer. You wouldn't believe these creaky-ass floorboards though - seriously.

We finally get to the hotel - where I check in, and she dashes off to make her 3pm panel. I catch some of the usual suspects, such as Paul Kane and Marie O'Regan, husband and wife, and joint heads of the HWA's UK chapter. Throughout the day, more familiar faces turn up; the likes of Kit Power, Dave Watkins, Dave Jeffery, etc. Time in the hotel restaurant saw us murder some food, with me also inhaling as much chocolate cake in addition to a well-rounded meal. And getting the side eye from wait staff for asking for a picture. Not that I wanted to take their picture ...but that's what they seemed to think. This was also the time when I heard "ABBA" and "motion capture" in the same sentence, and damn near pissed myself laughing. This day was also the first time I finally met Gemma Amor. An absolute joy - this woman has bags of game. Standard operating procedure for a convention; to meet the usual suspects and make new connects. Every once in a while I get asked what I get out of going to a convention. I'll gladly tell you, but bear in mind - as per the U.S. expression - your mileage may vary:

1. I get to catch up with my peers. This includes, but isn't limited to: Phil Sloman, Dave Watkins, Georgina Bruce (who I've not seen in too damned long), Kit Power, Justin 'JR' Park, Duncan Bradshaw, Gareth Spark, Kelly White, Glynn James, etc.

2. I make new connections. This includes Lena, Alexa, Tom, Trevor, Kayleigh, etc.

3. I get to catch up on current affairs in the genre. Hell, I did that on the train journeying up.

4. I pick up new business. In this case, an invite to a new project - and I already have an idea in mind.

5. I get something else to talk about/new content for my audience. Just like I'm doing now.

I honestly don't know if we're coming or going... Time on the Making A Monster panel.

I was only on one panel this weekend, around Making A Monster. I don't mind doing a panel or two but for the most part, I go to the conventions as part of the crowd, not part of the programming. It's just cool to catch up with my peers. Four days of panels, discussion, Q&A, workshops. And food (man, I would've eaten my weight in fajitas from the hotel bar), cake, camaraderie, and shenanigans.

Job done.



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