Thought Bubble 2013: Ruminations of an ill man.

I have a weird relationship with the Thought Bubble conventions. Usually it’s an ungodly pain-in-the-ass to get to, and one of the Lou Scannon comics least-selling cons, but it’s a good laugh once I’m there.

TB13 tables sold out in a couple of nanoseconds this year, so it seems. Team Scannon missed out on nabbing a table, but I was offered some table space by Joe Glass, who’d be sharing a table with April Nash. So she would half a table, and Joe and I would split half a table. Less than ideal, but it meant that at least the book would have SOME presence in the con. Joe paid for the hotel, and I would drive him and the stock up to Leeds.

Then TB13 announced a third hall, and we all managed to secure tables of our own. My travel arrangements remained the same, while Dan and Jim sorted themselves out.

I was a bit worried that the addition of a third venue would be too much. Would we get footfall? Would people know where it is? Would there be too much competition? I was pretty unsure.

The weekend arrived, and Joe and I left for Leeds. The journey up was reasonably short (four and a half hours), because we left at 8pm. Still a fair trek, but we were fortunate enough to miss some of the traffic that Dan and Jim had been engulfed in.

Saturday set-up arrived. We moved Joe’s ‘Pride’ and ‘Stiffs’ stock in, and immediately I was a bit concerned about the venue. Very dark in spots, very cold, and very unfinished. There was no flooring or carpeting, and the layout was a bit of a weird one. The ‘Scannon’ half of the room WAS carpeted and therefore slightly more warm. A haze descended over the room over the course of the day – found out later it was plaster dust from the ceiling. Yikes!!

To make matters worse, I had a horrible cold all weekend, and was feeling headachey, stuffed up, and generally shitty. I’d lost my voice, so my sales-pitching was less then good.

Our first day sales were slow, but pretty much what I’d expected. On that downer, I went to the Vue in Leeds for what was to be the unadulterated highlight of my weekend – Doctor Who: The Day Of The Doctor. Joe and I then tried to get in to the Corn Exchange for the TB13 party, but with a 45 minute queue we decided ‘fuck that’, and went for food with Dan and the siblings Bampfield instead. There was still a huge queue after we got back, so with my voice screwed and my body all ached, I opted to go back to the hotel and grab an earlyish night.

Sunday was little different, I still felt utterly dreadful. My mood descended over the course of the day as business was INCREDIBLY slow, and we wound up selling a woeful 2 books. Laughable. I was livid. I’m there as a dealer, it was such a waste. Plus I was feeling super-ill,  so I didn’t see any point even using the down-time to check the other halls.

Defeated, I hit the sheets early, (only to experience broken sleep for the following 9 hours), ready for a long drive back on Monday. The drive back wasn’t beset with problems thank god – it was just slow and agonizing.

The weekend was worse than I expected, and my expectations were low to begin with. Given the time, effort and expense involved in getting to the con, I’m currently thinking of not even attending next year’s event. Guess we’ll see how it goes.



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