Last weekend was DevCon Exe (the local convention formerly known as ExeCon), this was a two day event held, this time, in the Great Hall at the University of Exeter. The University was a great venue: well lit and with some interesting backdrops for photographs, plus much more spacious than this event’s previous home at St George’s Hall in the city centre, so although it felt like the place was nicely buzzing on the Saturday at least, things never got too cramped and as someone in a costume with wings I was grateful for that!
B had to work on the Saturday and couldn’t make it along, so our original plan had been that I’d go as Slipstream on the first day with some of our friends to lend me a hand getting in to the costume, and then both halves of AddAltMode would make an appearance in our Borderlands gear on the Sunday. For various reasons, the Sunday plans went awry so Tannis and Salvador didn’t get an airing, but Slipstream had a fantastic time there on the Saturday. I’m still slightly awed by how popular Slipstream is and how much love there is for my costume, both from people encountering her for the first time and from folk who were happy to see my Decepticon alt-mode again.
Read on for my highlights of the day and a few great sites and people for you to check out….
Lazarus Pit Pod
One of the nicest things about attending a convention is the chance to meet up with like-minded folk and talk nerdy. One group of folk who do an awful lot of talking nerdy and do it with flair are the guys from the Lazarus Pit Pod. I recommend their highly listenable podcasts where they discuss geek news, the latest movie releases and more. Check out their site and join their #nerdsquad here.
At Execon, the Lazarus Pit Pod had a stall right by the entrance and they did a great job welcoming arrivals as well as capturing the buzzy spirit of the event. They also flitted round the hall interviewing guests and attendees. I got interviewed which was great fun – and highly flattering for me to appear on the same reel as the events’ celebrity guests including the legendary Sophie Aldred (Doctor Who‘s Ace, still my favourite companion) and Femi Taylor (Oola from Star Wars).
You can check out the pod and hear all these interviews and more here.
Does anyone like the sound of their own voice played back to them? I’m certainly not a fan! It’s a bizarre experience to hear my voice not reverberated through my own skull and, to me, recordings of my voice sound nothing like how I sound in my head! So I’ll confess it was about 4 days after the pod went live before I could even bring myself to listen to it, but actually it’s OK since Ben from the Lazarus Pit Pod was very easy and encouraging to chat to! If you do want to hear my not-especially dulcet tones then tune in to the above link at about 35.20. Tara Strong sadly I am not.
For a fairly small scale, local event DevCon Exe secured a decent calibre of signers with Sophie Aldred, Femi Taylor and Trevor Butterfield in attendance. It was such a pleasure for me to watch one of my friends, who is a huge Ace fan, get an autograph and a chat from Sophie who is an extremely friendly and gracious guest. But the main man I wanted meet at Devcon Exe was John Paul-Bove, the comics writer and colourist who has worked on – among many other good things – surprise, surprise a dinky little franchise called Transformers! John-Paul was at Auto Assembly too (he was awesome in the script reading) but that convention was so overwhelming that I didn’t get the chance to talk to everyone there and he was one of the guests on whom I missed out. So it was great to have a really good chat with him at an event that was a little less intense.
Turns out he remembered Slipstream from AA, and it amused me when he said he was “bad at names but good at remembering faces, though [with the helmet] you are providing an extra challenge in that respect!” So I even took my helmet off for John-Paul Bove, which also helped me better to admire the many lovely prints he was selling. Inevitably that resulted in the spending of money, but who could resist these beauties?
Curliques handmade jewelry
Another great thing about events like this one is the chance to buy lovely, quirky handmade craft items and to connect with the people who make them. It’s thanks to attending previous local conventions that I first met MJ of Mary-Jane’s Originals who made me my amazing G1 Transformers Dress a garment that still causes a bit of a sensation every time I wear it (which is as often as possible!) Another local lady who makes lovely things is Chrys of Curliques who makes and sells handmade jewelry, often with a geeky twist. Muppets fan? Deadpool? Batman? MLP? Curliques probably have a lovely brooch, magnet, some earrings or a pin badge for you, do check out the shop!
Predictably, the product that helped me part ways with my cash was robot shaped. I’d bought a glittery green 50s sci-fi style robot from Curliques in the past. But now the same mold is available in an amazing glow-in-the-dark resin, so I couldn’t resist one of those too! These can be bought as magnets or brooches. I sometimes wear mine as a statement piece on my coat but currently they’re both on the fridge. It’s Robo Love ❤ ❤
We Shoot First Photography
I also had the pleasure of doing some shots for We Shoot First Photography. I’m really happy with how these came out. Slipstream isn’t the easiest costume to photograph due to the width and all the shiny surfaces so I’ve often been disappointed with blurred pics of me after an event, but Matt from Angelophile Cosplay who was behind the camera and did the digital editing here did a great job, don’t you think?
Check out the rest of my album along with other great cosplay shoots by Matt and Co. over on Facebook.
Slipstream’s Last Stand?
I was particularly glad to get some good shots of my costume at this event as I’d rather planned it to be Slipstream’s Last Stand. It was the 5th time I’d worn the costume and much as I love it, and much as Slipstream is still proving extremely popular at events, I don’t want to become a one-trick cosplay pony so I had been planning on retiring her. It’s hard to do though! It must be like trying to give up smoking or something (I’ve never smoked, so I wouldn’t know, but I do struggle to get through the morning without multiple cups of coffee, so maybe I should liken costume withdrawal to caffeine withdrawal). The fact is, I just adore being Slipstream and the thought of never wearing the costume again fills me with sadness, so I’m afraid I’ve been weak and downgraded “this is the last time I’m going to wear the costume” to ”I’m going to be storing this costume, I’ve no official plans to wear it again at the moment but never say never.” I feel happier about this less drastic decision.
The thing is, my TF costumes are big and I’ve got plans – big plans – for 2016, with one brand new big rig and 2 smaller-scale costumes currently on the drawing board (more on these in another post) and I simply don’t have space to store a the 3rd big cosplay. So if Slipstream is staying, my Arcee costume is going to have to go…. I’m fiercely proud of what I achieved with Arcee, especially as she was my first foam-based build but I think I’ve learned a lot since I made that one and could do better now. Unlike Slipstream I don’t think I’d wear Arcee again, I’ve got some great memories and photos of that cosplay but I think the time has come to start recycling some of the parts and clearing away the rest. Sad times, yes, but I’m excited about the next build. IT NEVER ENDS! Watch this space!