You’ll possibly be pleased to hear that a delightful – if occasionally rather “challenging” – weekend in Brighton was had by all. Millie was an absolute star throughout, especially loving her time in the Brighton Hilton (a very nice hotel indeed). She may actually have enjoyed it rather too much, because it’s not like we can afford to stay there very often. Still, it’s nice to go mad every now and again; and go mad we did, taking full advantage of room service and of the always useful “Oh-but-look-at-our-liddle-cute-baybeeeeee!” effect. 😉
Even discounting this powerful mind-altering effect, the people at the Hilton were very very helpful with Millie, and the walls were thick enough that nobody heard her on the odd occasion when she cried for more than a few seconds.
It all started rather badly though.
London at 8 o’clock Saturday morning was bitterly cold; looking beautiful, but bitterly cold. Still we buried Millie under a pile of blankets in her pram, put the Doris hat on her, and some gloves, and set off.
The train to Victoria was (almost) on time, but as I tilted the pram’s front wheels up to get it on board then – calamity! – the expensive “coolbag” containing bottles with Millie’s next four feeds dropped out the back of her pram and down the gap between the train and the platform.
Now, bless the Lovely Melanie and everything, but she can, frankly, be a bit of a non-starter in a “crisis” sometimes.
“What are we going to do? You’ll have to get it!” she cried.
One, we couldn’t miss this train to Victoria or we’d miss our connection to Brighton, and two, how am I supposed to get down onto the tracks in the first place to retrieve the coolbag and milks?
I manage to hustle a fretting Lovely Melanie onto the train, but she’s obviously not at all happy about this whole business – you can almost see what she’s thinking – “We’ve lost Millie’s coolbag with her milk in it! This means Millie’s feed could be late! Which could lead to her being undernourished! That means her brain might not develop exactly as it should! Then she might not get to study at Oxbridge! So she might not become the world’s most famous scientist! And mght never develop an equation for everlasting world peace! And so the whole world will be destroyed! And we’ll all die! Oh, no!!!!”
Or something similar.
Anyway, common sense (i.e. me) eventually prevails, and once at Victoria we buy some new bottles, plus some sterilisation bags. End result: Millie’s none the wiser, or hungrier. And nobody dies.
Having settled his family into their spacious room at the Hilton, your intrepid reporter dons his “Press” pass and special coloured wristband and goes to report on the Brighton Comics Expo 2005 – conveniently located a 45-second walk away in the capacious conference/event facilities of the aforementioned Hilton. 🙂
And jolly good fun it was, too. Lots of famous (well, famous to some – you might not recognise any names) people, plus loys of interesting stalls too. Not to mention some genuinely fascinating (and not-so-fascinating) panels, interviews and talks by writers and artists of all ages. I even got to see a new UK film called Soul Searcher, made for just £26,000. It wasn’t the best film I’ve ever seen, but considering it had no major backing and was made for such a tiny amount of money it was a goddamn masterpiece. I’ve seen a couple of no-budget films being made and I happen to know that it’s a lot harder than it looks.
Anyway, I’ve got to write up my experience at the Expo for Emerald City so I’d better not give too much away.
The two things I will say are this: I am crap at meeting new people – I really really hate being on my own somewhere that’s full of people I don’t know; it’s one of my worst things, and I can’t “network” to save my life; so that stopped me having quite as much fun at the Expo as I might have had, sadly, and I didn’t make any new friends there. But it was a much friendlier event than I’d (for some reason) expected…which leads me on to the second thing – the lack of people with very bad BO at the Expo.
Sf and/or comic fandom seems to have a much higher ratio of people with rather poor personal hygiene relative to a standard sample of the population. It’s a terrible generalisation to make of “my people” (as the Lovely Melanie calls them), I know, but it is something I’ve noticed – and one of the reasons I stopped going to Forbidden Planet for my comics, and switched to Gosh Comics, because the air at the latter was that bit fresher. It wasn’t the only – or even the main reason (that would be the incompetence of the old reservation service at Forbidden Planet) – but it was a factor.
At the Expo I caught of a whiff of unbathedness just once, and that was around a computer game stand, so it doesn’t really count. This is a small and certainly rather petty observation, I know, but it was surprisingly important to me. It definitely raised the Expo in particular, and comics fans in general, in my estimation (except the ones in Forbidden Planet – and the staff in Forbidden Planet, actually – the last time I was in the London store there were some tills with noticeably shorter queues than others…)
As for the rest of the weekend, we took Millie for a pleasant walk along the prom very early on Sunday morning, after a mighty fine all-you-can eat Hilton breakfast (which, because they’re classy, they don’t call “all-you-can-eat”, but it so was!).
We got some great photos using my phone and had an all-round nice time. This idyllic ambience was somewhat spoilt by the journey home, when engineering works forced us to take a replacement bus service part of the way, and I had to stand up all the way, and the bus was late anyway so we missed our connection to Hayward’s Heath and had to stand in the cold at East Croydon for 20 minutes, but, hey, you can’t have everything.