I love Bristol
If I’m married to Cardiff then my geographical mistress would have to be Bristol, my second favourite city in the UK. I’ve worked there, I had my stag do there, I nearly went to Uni there, I’ve got some good friends who live there and it always seems to be sunny whenever I visit. I love the city for its buildings and its atmosphere, its got a laid back, independent arts vibe to it and it’s a real creative media hub too.
And it’s got comics…in less than one month, I’ll be one of thousands of creators and fans who descend on the jewel in the West Country’s crown for BICSPE (Bristol International Comic & Small Press Expo).
That one weekend in the middle of May is one of my favourite weekends of the year every year (being the weekend before my birthday just makes it even better). I have some brilliant memories of Bristol related over the years, my first pre convention mini show where I got advice from Paul Grist and Andy Diggle, my first con proper where I met Joe Quesada, my first writer’s pitching session where I was terrible and my second which I won (although I never did finish the book). Orang Utan Comics was formed there, when I finally got to meet Ian Sharman in person having become friends on message boards. A year later we launched an ashcan of our first (delayed) book, well Ian did as I missed Bristol as I was being best man for my cousin in Ireland. Bristol was my first convention as a fan, I went to my first panels in Bristol and appeared on my first panels in Bristol. Even away from the con itself Bristol is also where I used to meet up with Rob Williams for a coffee and some advice. Usually near St Nicholas Market (as seen in “The Interactives”).
I’m really looking forward to this year as I get to see lots of friends that I only see at conventions, but if I’m honest BICSPE 2012 has already got my interest even more. It’s a return to the Railway Shed, the spiritual home of the con and hopefully a return to the sun burning the top of your head, the sandwich bar in the corner, Hypotheticals, drunk Jamie Boardman and all the other things that make Bristol cons so memorable. Here’s hoping.