In an attempt to cheer myself up I’m going to write about my weekend in Manchester with whiskyinmind
and all my amazing friends. This post won't have pics in it, but they will probably be up at the weekend.
I have a habit of rambling a lot in these things so please bear with me, I have a LOT to say, mostly not about the singers we were seeing.
After much procrastination, I booked for Manchester over Birmingham simply for Riley Smith! Birmingham was a little cheaper and I had to stay 2 nights in Manchester to get a decent price on a hotel (still too much for what it was!), but I was excited to be going to see Brian, Riley and Chris with whiskyinmind
My travel to the bus station was carefully planned out but, without going into detail, it got shot to hell by my gran going into hospital for a knee replacement and doing so amazingly well after she got out quicker than planned. Meant a very stressed me by the time I got to the bus station.
I had my first coffee since June, a Starbucks praline mocha with a bagel whiskyinmind
picked me up from Bagel Factory. An hour later we were safely on the bus and on the road. I don’t know if I was just relaxed for the first time in ages or hyper from the coffee but we talked pretty much the whole way there! The guy in front of us kept giving us dirty looks but I didn’t care, I was relaxed and having fun.
When we got to the hotel I immediately wished I’d booked somewhere a little more expensive (£86 for 1 night in Travelodge compared to the £73 for 2 nights in Ibis Budget I booked). There was no bathroom! There was a cupboard that had been turned into a toilet. You seriously had to back into this thing, NO turning room, even for skinny people of which I am not! The sink was in a corner of the main room and the shower was another cupboard off the main room with a glass door! It’s a damn good thing whiskyinmind
and I are very comfortable with each other! There was a double bed with a single bunk bed above it. The room was roasting! The mattress’ were hard and it seemed to have 1 power point (we did eventually find another one behind the TV).
We had plans for the Friday night though so we didn’t waste time moaning about the room.
Need to backtrack a little to explain the Friday plans.
In October 2002 I attended my first convention. In October 2003 I worked Tech Crew with Martin and Sarah for the first time. By October 2004 I had worked way too many events with them, we’d added Mark to the team and were all officially staff with the con organiser. We saw each other 3 or 4 times a year until 2009. Due to my bad financial situation I haven’t been able to afford to go to a Con since January 2009. That’s over 3 & ½ years since I’d seen Martin, Sarah or Mark.
Mark gave me into trouble last year for going to Con1 in Birmingham and not telling him. He lives about an hour’s drive away and would have come met up with me for dinner. When I was planning to go to this year’s gig in Birmingham I contacted Mark and talked about meeting up. When I changed the plans and went to Manchester I thought it was too far for him to travel (2+hrs) just to come see me for a few hours, even more so when I found out he had to work at 6.30am the following morning! But he insisted on coming anyway. He asked if he should invite Martin and Sarah and I said he could do but it was way too far for them to drive. I was looking forward to seeing Mark anyway.
Mark got us at the hotel, we walked to the restaurant and I knew he had someone else with him as his phone kept going. I assumed it might have been Piper or Jane who live about 30mins from him, but when we got to the restaurant (and I walked past him once!), there was Martin! He had driven about 3 hours to come see me! To be fair though, if he still lived where I thought he lived, he wouldn’t have come, but he moved this year and is now just an hour away from Mark. I was happy to see him but a little sad Sarah couldn’t be there.
We fell into our old rhythm very easily and it was so great to just hang out with them. I still knew exactly what they would order! We were noisy and annoying but our waitress was awesome! She came to take our order and had to go away and come back three times because we hadn’t even looked at the menu yet! The same thing happened with desert although I found out Martin was stalling as the “business” calls he’d taken that night had actually been Sarah! She had been caught in insane traffic on the motorway or she would have made it for dinner, as it was she made it for desert. She’d been on the road for 5 hours! (it would have been about 3 & ½ - 4 without the traffic problems)
Needless to say I was feeling very loved all Friday night. People spent money and travelled a long way just to see me, it still makes me smile!
They tried to get me to come back to an event, probably one of the smaller expo events as London is insane but I’m hoping to get a dealers stall with whiskyinmind
next year. Martin was full of helpful advice for us and it was amazing to see someone else so positive that we really have found a niche in the market. Makes me even more determined to make it work!
We ended up in the restaurant for about 4 & ½ hours! The time flew by way too quickly!
I couldn’t stop smiling as we went back to the hotel and even the crappy room didn’t dampen my good mood, although attempting to get a shower was interesting!
Neither of us slept much due to how bad the room was and we left early to meet up with Sarah for some breakfast (turned into just coffee) before she hit the road.whiskyinmind
and I had *brunch*
in the same place we had dinner the night before and just hoped the same staff weren’t working after the noise we caused the night before.
The hotel was so bad we sat in a pub across the road to charge our phones before heading into the city centre to meetbadfalcon
’s mum and someone else who was with them. I was very nervy about meeting them but they were very sweet.badfalcon
was having an issue finding a parking space so we rushed away to find her. She was outside the main carpark but there were no spaces so we planned to find another one when a space opened up in the main carpark. I went and stood in it! A mini-van and 2 cars came into the carpark in front ofbadfalcon
, one got another space and I was so waiting on the other two cars making me move and give up the space. They kinda stopped and looked like they were going to turn then drove on. I was killing myself laughing, I CANNOT believe that actually worked!
Another Starbucks, meeting up with the others and we headed to the venue. The girl in front of me in the queue was someone I met at a con in 2003 and see at almost every event I’ve been to since, but I don’t know her name. I also met a girl I first met at a con in 2006 and haven’t seen since. Fandom really is a small world.
We got in and were right at the front, the closest I've ever been at a gig and it was awesome!
Jenn Bostic has an amazing voice! She has this song called Jealous of the angels. It talks about her losing her dad and I swear she had the place in tears!
Riley was cute and sweet and I think I liked him more this year than last year.
Brian was just as amazing as last year, even if some of his patter was the same.
And Chris, he was amazing as always! He hurt his knee on Thursday and was struggling to stand, at various points he visibily winced and he said he hated us seeing him like that. He played different kind of knight and for the first time ever (apparently), he played fast car live! It was seriously awesome.....
....except for the fighting.
There were two girls who had birthdays and their friends wanted Chris to wish them happy birthday. He was sweet even though he couldn't hear them. One of the girls tried to get him to come to the barrier and he tried to say he couldn't but she was so drunk she wasn't going anywhere so down he came looking like he was going to fall over he was in so much pain! One of the women in the front row held out her hand and he was gripping it just to stay standing. The two birthday woman had been in the 5th or 6th row and we let the one asking him to come down to come forward, assuming she would be polite and move back when she got what she wanted.. We were where we were because we were with women who couldn't stand the whole time, 1 had a wheelchair, the other walking sticks and a camping chair and this woman had pushed in and was causing problems for our friends. When Chris went back and she wasn't moving we had to tell her to move out the way and she did.
Unfortunately, the other birthday woman wasn't moving. I was standing behind whiskyinmind
and had to hold onto the barrier to stop myself being pushed into her. The woman was trying to move forward and get Chris' attention and kept pushing and pushing. She was causing issues for the people around her and at one point she hit me on the shoulder when she was bringing her hand back down after waving it in the air then gave me a dirty look when I turned round expecting her to apologise for thumping me! She acted like she didn't know what she'd done. The people around her started asking her to move back and she flatly denied she'd pushed her way forward, that she'd been there the entire time. She was so drunk it was nuts. She was arguing with about 3 or 4 people, some of whom were behind her as they tried to get her to move back. I ended up turning round and told her to shut the fuck up, move and enjoy the concert. It got no better. So I did something I've never done before. I signalled the venue security guy who was standing at the side of the stage. I think she saw that as she moved quick smart! whiskyinmind
and I both thanked him at the end of the gig.
We hung out a little after the gig and whiskyinmind
got a signed CD of Jenn, but we had to get the tram back to the hotel so left reasonably quickly.
Whether we were both hyper from the gig or other things, we went to bed when we got in but didn't attempt to go to sleep till about 3.30am! I woke up at 6am to crowds of people shouting in the hallway, another black mark for the crappy hotel.
We got the tram back into town and caught the bus heading home. We got a seats with loads of legroom and it was a comfy ride back. The rest of my sunday didn't go to plan but you can read about that in previous posts.
All in all I had a great time. I'd do it again and stay in the same area, just not the same hotel. I had fun and I'll post pictures when I finish editing them.