When awarrington first suggested to me that we do a UK con, I was worried that we would struggle to top last year, but amazingly I actually enjoyed this one even more than last year's. I guess being on the same continent made it a bit less stressful to run, but most of all the venue was so much more cooperative than the Kyoto was, so this time I was actually able to relax a bit and even made it to a panel or two!
I arrived on Thursday night, my poor car, Gaila, so laden that I almost had to forgo my own suitcase! I managed to escape the North just as the apocalypse hit (check out the #newcastleendofdays tag on Twitter!) but the trip was still a bit of a nightmare, partly because people drive like idiots in heavy rain, and I guess the hay bales spilled over the fast lane of the A1 didn't help! It took me six and a half hours to drive down, so by the time I arrived at Lane End I simply couldn't face unloading all those boxes in the dark, so I went straight to bed.
When I got up for breakfast, soral179 and Fugitive (who travelled all the way from Australia just for the con!!!) were already there, and very kindly helped me with the unpacking. I then went out to collect tracionn and dreaming_k from the station, and then it was all hands on deck to get everything set up.
All too soon, 3pm came around and it was time to open up registration, along with my happy helper the lovely Fi, and this is when the first tribble made its appearance:
We did warn people not to feed the tribble, but...well...
First up was the opening ceremony:
(That's me over there, in the Starfleet uniform I butchered from one available on eBay)
As requested, I've put the vid I made for the opening ceremony online:
After the opening ceremony we broke for dinner, and then got into the competitive quiz. I don't know what it was like to compete in that quiz, but watching it was hilarious. One question involved teams being given a common trope each (Aliens Made Them Do It, etc.) and having Kirk and Spock stranded on a planet where their shuttlecraft has broken down and a trusty ion storm has rendered their communicators and transporter beam inoperable (I'm sure no one's ever read a fic like that). Each team then had to come up with a story summary that used their trope and met a set of criteria. I hope the summaries end up online (and maybe even written as fics??) because they were fantastic. I remember something about sentient aphrodisiac moss, and another about chocolate as a weapon of mass destruction. K/S fans are incredibly creative!
Speaking of which, I have to mention the art show, which was incredibly diverse for such a small convention. It was put together by tracionn, who is honestly one of the sweetest and kindest people I have ever met, and also happens to create beautiful photomanips (which adorn most of the walls in my house). The work she did on the art show was stunning:
The art show was aided by the incredible generosity of artists in the fandom, especially Shelley Butler who sent us fifteen pieces and donated the proceeds to the con, raising over £300.
I didn't make it to most of the panels during the con as I always seemed to be setting something up or picking competition winners with awarrington, but this certainly made a pleasant change from last year when I didn't get to any panels because I was chasing up the hotel or trying to keep wedding guests out of our art show!
Of the three panels I did attend (or two and a half really), the first was about the end of the five-year mission. I was really surprised by how many theories there are as to when and why Spock went to Gol, as my headcanon is so well ingrained that I forget how little information we actually have. I was amused to see that no one doubts Kirk and Spock are married by the start of TWOK, though. I have to admit I struggle to read first times set any later than this as it seems so implausible that they're not already together.
I also gave a talk, which I called The Science of Planet-Building. It was partly about the latest results in exoplanet research and partly frivolous speculation about what other planets might be like:
As part of this, I showed some videos demonstrating how the constellations change if you're looking from Vulcan instead of Earth, and because I'm a hopeless romantic, what Spock would have seen when he was looking back towards Sol and thinking of Jim while on Gol. I might put these online if anyone's interested?
The Saturday evening was the Babel Banquet, which was unfortunately invaded by tribbles:
Sadly I didn't get a picture of the amazing menus and DVD covers made by the lovely trekkingal so I hope someone else did!
There were some amazing costumes, which unfortunately I can't post pics of as I haven't asked around to find out who's okay with their pictures being online. But if they ever post their own pics, tydomin was a fantastic Argelian dancer, eimeo had brilliant Vulcan robes, ashkitty, chimera_ally, beederiffic, dracavia and corcalamus had really nice Starfleet uniforms, and larabernstein was an absolutely stunning Isis.
For my own costume, I decided to go as a K/S art gallery. I spent many arduous hours scouring the Internet for K/S artwork (the things we do for fandom!) and asking the artists' permission to use their work in a dress, and then spent a hilarious day exchanging emails with a designer at a fabric printing company laying them out (I've always wondered what he made of it - he was nice enough not to say anything!). I then adapted the pattern from one of my old Elvish dresses, and this was the result (pics courtesy of tracionn):
The centrepiece of the banquet was the beautiful cake, featuring artwork by Lorraine Brevig:
Apart from the artwork on top, the cake was entirely designed and made by Flutterby Cupcakes in High Wycombe, so I have to give a shout out to them.
After dinner came the vid show, which was put together by darlapr0duction, who did an absolutely fabulous job. I was so thrilled to get to meet her, it turns out she's lovely and she's another one who came all the way from Australia!
The is the intro vid I made for the show:
And my actual entry for the vidshow:
And then all too soon it was Sunday!
The panel I was able to attend half of was ashkitty's one on mission fic. I love mission fic, but I always worry when writing it that people are bored by the plot and just skimming through to get to the K/S. Turns out that's a bit true, but a lot of people seem to like episode-style plot too, so that made me happy :-)
I was able to get to one more panel, the one I couldn't possibly miss, the recs panel! It was run by weebeanie and tangawarra and provided oodles of new reading material that I shall be working through for some time :-)
The art auction was brilliantly run by trekkingal with angel_grace01 as her glamorous assistant, and it went incredibly well. I was shocked by how much the cushions I made from my leftover dress fabric went for (all of which I donated to charity). There were several bidding wars, and I came away with the piece I really wanted (a Shelley Butler sex scene in which Spock's wearing a wedding ring ♥ ). I still need to put through the last few payments to artists and some shipping costs before I can say how much we made, but I can say that we exceeded last year, despite having a third fewer people! Amazing.
The only thing I remember about setting up for the closing ceremony is thinking that it felt more like we ought to be preparing for the opening, it had gone so quickly!
One thing I LOVED about this con was getting to meet everyone, which isn't possible at larger cons. Of those I haven't mentioned yet, gallicka was lovely, and it was also great to see so many people from last year who had crossed the Atlantic to come and see us again: cjmasters, blackbird_song and her other half and trekkingal. And one especially amazing thing was seeing aruna_sharat again, for the first time in five years, and completely unexpectedly. The odds can't have been high that at such a small con there would be someone who came to my Harry Potter con five years ago, so that was an amazing surprise. And we got to go to Wicked again a few days later, which was amazing!
I know there are people here I've neglected to mention, as I don't know their LJ names and don't want to use their real names without permission, so please prod me if I've missed you!
I'm so grateful to everyone for letting us do this con, and to awarrington for putting up with my anal control-freakery for another year. Sadly I have had to take the decision not to do this again next year due to the fact that this completely took over my life this year, but I'm hoping that blackbird_song will pick up the baton and that KiScon will continue for many years to come.
I'll just leave you with a picture that sums up the weekend:
And the (rather long) vid I made for the closing ceremony, as a reminder of why we all travelled to Buckinghamshire to hang out for a weekend:
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