Caption 2008 – Exhaustathon!

Last week was a week of lots of travelling around and not sleeping enough, so by the time it culminated in an early start and a lift to Oxford for this year’s Caption Small Press Convention, I was already knackered.

This probably explains why the only photos I took were this:

Caption 2008 - David Baillie and Dan Lester Prize Bananas

And this:
Caption 2008 - David Baillie's Prize Banana

It’s a peculiar con for me, where I don’t have anything to sell, or even in the works mini-comic wise, but where everybody I know there does. As such, it becomes more of a social event then anything else – the main hall is small, and after one circuit I was pretty much ready to go to the bar.

And sadly the bar was a bit un-bar-like, with beer in cans and bottles, and pop in big Tesco’s bottles, so flat and warm before it had made it into your glass.

All that said, I had a lot of fun, and thanks to the organisapeeps (of whom I only actually know Jay and Selina) for doing such good work with the raw materials available to them – after all, one of the main strengths of mini-comics in the first place.

Things of note, and key moments:

There are no attractive women in Eastleigh on a Saturday morning.

Oxford has shitty areas too! And they’re actually a little more depressing than their equivalent here in Southampton!

David Baillie is still about the nicest man I have ever met, and Dan Lester isn’t as unnerving as my initial exposure to him might have suggested he would be. Talked sick and recent dreams with the former – he now knows more about my subconscious mind than any one man should.

I have now used a self-service till. It was weird, and easy. How do they stop people just stealing loads of stuff, though?

It’s always good to see Peet Clack and Paul Rainey.

I apparently know a lot more about apes in comics than I thought. Which is to say, I guessed right enough in the Apes In Comics quiz to win.

I haven’t won anything in years, so this was a peculiar experience, made all the odder for my by this point delirious tiredness. I found myself wondering aloud, alongside the presentation that made up part of the quiz, whether comics had always been this retarded, and I just hadn’t realised it before.

Mr Cheverton and I psychologically tortured a heavily pregnant woman – It was lovely meeting you, Elaine and Steve!

I was psychologically tortured by a heavily pregnant woman – although she did lead me to the perhaps obvious conclusion that the male orgasm is more important to the future of the human race then the female one, and for that I am thankful to her.

Dave! Dave! Dave! Dave! No … He can’t hear me… DAVE!

(Though of course, I later discovered his name was Dan)

Quizmaster and ape fanatic Tony Hitchman, along with the other two chaps that I shared a conversation with in the bar while my fellows were in the auction room, are damn nice people. That I’ve forgotten their names is solely down to a lack of memory aids here with me – the bananas were enough to remind me of Tony.

I failed once again to talk to Mr Matt Brooker, a wonderful comics professional who I always managed to have a chat with in years gone by, but who for some reason I’ve been nervous about approaching since returning to comic life this year. Maybe I’m shyer in my old age, or maybe I’m even more in awe of his work now then I was before.

Still, lovely to see his gorgeous work on the new Timulo strip.

Would have liked to catch the Deadline talk, but just felt like my attention-span wouldn’t be good enough.

Almost fell asleep in the bar area while the West boys and everybody else was in the State Of The Nation talk.

Ate KFC chicken for the first time in ages… it was disgustayummy!

Felt quite happy and comfortable to be in a place where most of the people I talked to had some idea of Elephant Words, or at least didn’t look at me blankly when the subject came up.

Had a brief chat with Daniel Merlin Goodbrey again, but didn’t see him after reading the second Necessary Monsters book, so couldn’t tell him how much I was enjoying it.

Oh, and spoke briefly to Karrie Fransman, who has recently seen some success with her weekly comics in the G2 Guardian supplement. I met her for the first time at Bristol, the same year that I ended up crashing out of comic fandom. I vaguely remember the mini-comic thing being quite new for her at the time, and also her whole family being present for moral support, although I may be misremembering this. And I doubt she remembered me. But it was nice talking to her briefly.

Talked computer games with Oliver Lambden, and once again find myself wanting to pick up Portal on the recommendation of an enthusiastic fan. It’s cheap at the moment, so may well do that thing.

Plus, uh, as if there were any doubt that the surreality of the ape quiz was just in my head, did you know that Wonder Woman once trained an ape to win the World Series? Mr Hitchman followed this revelation with the comment “So if you’ve ever wondered what the Amazonians do on that island, it’s play sports.” To which my only response is, I never wondered – I just always assumed that they had loads of girl-on-girl sex to pass the time.

Also, the weirdest thing about this Jimmy Olsen comic isn’t actually the cover: