Monday, 15 October 2012

Cult Publishers' Expo Fun

What a brilliant weekend in London! Staying with lovely friends in East Dulwich - where, as you can see, the Hallowe'en pumpkins are already in evidence. And attending the Cult Publishers' Expo at the Cinema Museum in Kennington - which turns out to be this amazing, atmospheric place, stuffed with all kinds of memorabilia - and, all through Saturday, all kinds of folks buying and selling fab books and stuff. I was there with the Cosmic Hobo boys, Simon and Paul, at their stall and on the same panel as they talked about the Scarifyers - but also as we talked about and launched VINCE COSMOS - GLAM ROCK DETECTIVE. And we sold masses of the advance copies of the things! People really seem to like the sound of Vince!

Also, I had a whole bunch of Brenda fans turning up - which was fantastic. People coming with their entire collection of Brendas to get signed. Some of them not even knowing yet that 'Brenda and Effie Forever!' is out and published and in the shops! (I've seen a whole load of tweets from people who've laid their hands on copies - and tweeted pictures! As I sat there in Kennington, someone was tweeting about getting their hands on their copy in the Whitby bookshop at that very moment!) I also got a visit from members of the Dracula Society - who were lovely - and very pleased that I've just accepted their invitation to be Guest of Honour at their 40th Anniversary celebrations in Whitby next September!

It was one of those events where I saw lots of old friends and colleagues - as well as meeting new people - like Marc Platt, whose writing I've been a fan of for so long. He turned out to be delightful - and quite likes my stuff, too, he said. We were going on like this at the Big Finish stall, all enthusiastically about each others' stuff, only to be interrupted by the legendary Paul Darrow who laughingly told us off for being outrageous luvvies. Told off by an *actor*! He was very funny. Great, too, to see Joe Lidster again - who went off at the end of the day to score all the awards for his stage play at the Off Cut Festival!

What I loved about the whole thing was the good-natured banter and fun - as ever at a Fantom Films event (seeing Jo and Ian and Dex again!) - and the brilliant mix of people, and meeting wonderful, dedicated, enthusiastic fans - but also all the energy and evidence of people doing *stuff*. Creating stuff, selling it, and putting it out there - because they really want to. I met people writing and publishing Sherlock Holmes stories and episode guides to beloved TV shows, and audio books about all kinds of characters and in many different genres. And - this was really special - I met Charles Chilton - who wrote and produced the SF radio series, 'Journey in Space' in the 1950s. Fantom have reprinted gorgeous hardback editions of his novels based on the series, and it felt a real privilege to buy and get one signed by him. All of this in the middle of this colourful whirligig of activity - right next to Servalan signing her memoirs and the stall where they were brewing hot coffee and everyone was milling around talking about comics and TV and productions old and new. It was all great fun.

And then we were off - into central London - for drinks and pub food - catching David Benson between shows at the Haymarket, and meeting up with Ms Wildthyme herself, Katy Manning - for what turned out to be a lovely, long chatty evening, talking up a storm. Sausage and chips and pints of a beer called something like Screeching Owl - and gossippy talk. What could be nicer?

I was dragging around a bag filled with stuff i'd bought at the Expo - and been given! The marvellous Ian Gregory gave me a signed copy of the new anthology of Mary Danby stories he picked up for me at FantasyCon. (It seems amazing that a whole volume of Mary Danby stories exists at last - her stories used to appear so modestly at the end of the old horror anthologies she once edited.) All of this stuff I struggled back with, on the late bus to East Dulwich. Where, happily, Sunday was slow and relaxed - and filled with more chat with different old friends - and home made squash and parsnip soup.

Cheers to everyone who made it such a great weekend!

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