I have just had two days of complete and utter chaos and have spent the last hour staring blankly at my computer screen. I’m hardly able to function on any sort of normal level through a combination of lack of sleep, over-excitement and general adrenaline crashing. Thought I’d better put some of this stuff down for posterity.
- Left home about 12.30pm to drive down to the sunny climes of Birminghamshire. Stopped off on the way and arranged a small mortgage in order to buy coffee.
- Arrived, much poorer, at the hotel. It was about 3.30pm by this time. Chucked stuff in the room and coordinated with Katie as to where we could find her and Aaron in order to help her finish off her Titan Menial costume for the costume posse. We headed over the Pavillion at the NEC where Aaron, Dan, Jim, Graham and several others were all imprisoned by the slavers at Black Library making them pre-sign things.
- Small Son was immediately pounced on for having the audacity to be a child. He and Dearly Beloved thus waited outside whilst I staged an incredible rescue of Aaron and Katie.
- We headed to the bar for drinks and talking. Matt (Farrer) and his family arrived and they’re so lovely. Had a great chat with Donna about life, the universe and everything. Had a wonderful conversation with Nik about my son and his education and was generally subjected to torment and abuse from most of the authors. In an entirely affectionate way. I think.
- We headed to the pub for dinner. There was no way the twenty gajillion of us were going to fit in one space, so we dispersed throughout the pub. We sat with Chris Wraight, who is perhaps the nicest man ever to exist. Small Son sat with Dan, Nik, Aaron and Katie and I believe subjected poor Dan to a detailed description of his Space Marine legion. I’m so, so sorry.
- Food took forever to come, but was reasonably tasty. Although we’d eaten most of Chris’s chips by the time ours turned up.
- We headed back to the hotel bar where some of us stayed until 2.30am talking complete rubbish. It was highly amusing. I was really rather drunk by this time. I vaguely recall Dearly Beloved, Jim and Graham comparing childhood injuries.
- Dearly Beloved’s alarm on his phone went off. Now my alarm gently tries to rouse you. It starts out softly, nudging your consciousness towards full awareness, getting gradually louder. This allows you the luxury of a gentle wake up. Dearly Beloved’s phone is the equivalent of someone grabbing you by the shoulders and roughly shaking you until your teeth fall out. Or you wake up, whichever comes first. This was at seven o’clock. My immediate thought wasn’t ‘GAMES DAY!’ or even ‘I WANT TO GO BACK TO SLEEP!’ No. It was ‘why haven’t I got a hangover?’ I’m glad I wasn’t driving until much, much later. I think I was still drunk.
- We had breakfast. Or DB and SS had breakfast. I stared at a piece of toast with a sad expression on my face and drank half a cappucino.
- DB got into his full Titan Menial regalia – and he looked the business. I was so proud. All the effort he’d put in… it was great.
- We joined the guys in slipping into Games Day through the side door – which was something of a relief when you saw the ravening hordes waiting to be let in. I also suspect this was the highlight of SS’s day, as he’d been whinging about the need to queue. He remembered it from last year.
- Things revved up when the doors open and people poured in. This is the point at which I start to lose specific memories, because the rest of the day went over in a mega-blur. There are some super-specific moments though which were so personal to me that it’s hard to convey the sheer sense of achievement I felt. I’ll get to that high point in a moment. Meanwhile, here are some other outstanding moments.
- The moment I saw my short story, Primary Instinct on one of the iPads at the BL Digital stand. It was just a fantastic moment.
- Junior Jim – Small Son standing in for Jim Swallow when he went to lunch. You can see more at Dan’s blog over here.
- The moment when the costume posse gathered together for their photo at lunchtime. Nine of them who had worked so hard to look brilliant and it was wonderful. I genuinely teared up. Then Nickleback’s ‘Rock Star’ came on the sound system and all of us sang it at top volume. Bloody amazing. And Nik’s corseted boiler suit was genius.
- The life size orc. I never got to see the Space Marine, I was gutted.
- All the ultra-amazing dioramas and painted figures. People are so damned talented.
- The Black Library signing queues never got any smaller and the Black Library shop tills never seemed to stop.
- The ‘Writing for the Black Library’ seminar at 2.00pm. We went along with the intention of heckling Christian, but he won. Before it started, he made me come and sit at the top table with him, Steve Lyons and Gav Thorpe as a panellist. I thought to myself ‘I will never be more embarrassed than I am this very moment.’
- I was wrong. More on this in a moment.
- I think I managed to hold my own during the panel and even felt quite confident. I was asked questions and I answered them, anyway. Then Christian told the guys there that I’ve got my novel commission – I will be writing a Space Marines Battles novel. Gildar Rift is a battle that’s only mentioned as a couple of lines in the Space Marines codex, but had the scope for awesomeness… and features the Silver Skulls. I am both excited and terrifed by this.
- Remember that earlier thought about never being more embarrassed?
- I was cornered by the Lovely Laurie of ShroudFilms, the guys who make the BLTV stuff. And interviewed. And can’t remember anything I said, other than I suspect I said it at a rate of 8,000,000 words a second. Oh god. I hope it’s not too terrible.
- Games Day eventually finished and we headed back to Nottingham to claim our beer and fish and chips at Bugmans Bar. We stuck around for a while and listened to some very worrying karaoke before driving back and falling into bed practically still fully clad at 11.30pm last night.
There’s more. There’s SO much more. So many people, so much fun, such a fantastic couple of days. And possibly some of the highest points of my entire life.
Anyway, I have no time to blog. I have a novel to write.
I like that so much, I’m saying it again.
I have a novel to write.