“You have got to be kidding!”
“Why? You did Chobits last year.”
“Well Tenshi isn't any different.” Mad stated.
I had to concede that. The Chobits costume last year was if anything more revealing, dare I say sexy, than the outfit Mad had on the screen. Tenshi No Koromo was a new manga story and Mad wanted to ‘do' it before anyone else. That's the thing with the anime cons, although a lot of peeps are happy to go with popular characterisations others want to be at the cutting edge and my cousin was one of them. But why do I get the cute girl costume?
There's no point in arguing with Mad – especially two days before we are due to go.
“So like what're you wearing?”
“I knew you'd do it, here,” she hit return and another picture popped up, “mines not that different.”
Hmm, I guess I'll let her off; her outfit isn't that much different apart from the colour.
“So how far have you got with the costumes?”
“Just need you to try yours on, unless there're any alterations they're done.”
“You did them quick.”
“Well mum helped out, she's quicker with the Singer * and I had already started on them.” She admitted.
“Lets get it over with then.” I sighed.
Aunt Carol sat opposite me on the Trans Pennine Express reading her book while Mad and me played pontoon. Seems that the rents thought we should have an adult with us in Manchester to stop us getting up to mischief. As if! Anyway we're coming over tonight on the train as Aunt Carol is sans car at the moment so we get a night in the Ibis in Salford.
I turned the card – bum!
“He he – that's a pound you owe me.” Mad crowed.
“Calm down Mad.” Aunt Carol instructed her daughter.
“‘Nuther round Drew?”
“Nah I've had enough and we'll be in Manchester soon.”
“Hey cool, can we go to the evening sesh mum?”
“I guess we could go straight there from the station, that okay with you Drew?”
“I ‘spose so.”
Ten minutes later we were waiting outside the station for a taxi.
Oh did I forget to tell you about that? Yup, I got talked into being Gaby for the weekend – ‘just for old times sake' – yeah right! Why I couldn't wear jeans though is beyond me and I shoulda known better than let Sylv ‘tidy up' my hair at lunchtime I'll never know. I mean just look at it, this fringe will take forever to grow out!
“Come on girls, he won't wait forever.”
“Shake a leg Gabs.” Mad encouraged, hmm at least she didn't make me wear something like that!
“Coming.” I sighed grabbing my bag.
It wasn't far to the venue – the student union building at Salford Uni – but too far to walk. We passed our hotel on the way; we'd be able to walk back later. Having been to a couple of these things now I knew what to expect and Salcon 2004 didn't look like it was going to disappoint.
We joined the queue to register and I felt somewhat under dressed! The big guest for the weekend is Terry Pratchett, which is well cool, so there were quite a few Discworld cosies mixed in with the usual Sailor Moons and Bleach outfits. They were well organised with the registration and fifteen minutes after arriving we had our ID cards.
“Right you two, I'm going to take the bags to the hotel and get us checked in, I shouldn't be too long, I'll come straight back and then we'll find somewhere to eat ok?”
“Sounds like a plan mum.”
“Well I'll give you a ring when I get back.”
“Best ring Gabs, my phone needs charging.”
“Okay, see you in a bit.”
“Laters!” Mad waved to her Mum.
“Come on little Miss Glum, let's go check the hall out.” Mad enthused.
“Yeah okay, toilet first?”
“Good idea, I saw a sign somewhere.”
It being the first session, there weren't any ‘proper' events tonight but it was a good opportunity to mingle and get a feel for the place. Most of the sales stands would set up in the morning so the couple already open were getting a lot of attention. With the move coming up I'm on a tight budget this weekend so I'm not really looking for anything.
Aunt Carol rang, I was surprised that it was already after nine but I guess our train only got to Manchester at five past seven!
“Come on you pair, I've got a table booked at that Indian over the road from the hotel.”
“Kewl!” Mad allowed.
Well I'm quite partial myself.
“So Gabs, are you packed yet?” Aunt C enquired over the popadoms.
“I've started.” I replied carefully loading some lime pickle onto a piece of popadom.
“You're leaving it a bit late, you go in a fortnight.”
“There's a lot I can't pack yet but we've been sorting the garage an that.”
“You looking forward to going?”
“Sort of yes and no, I want to go but I don't want to leave all my friends.”
“Like me?” Mad grinned.
“Nah, I shall be glad to be rid of you.” I deadpanned.
“Just kidding, ooh here comes the food!”
“Wow Gab, do you look cute.” Aunt C gasped when I emerged from the bathroom.
To be truthful I felt like a right Charlie. The Chobits costume might have been revealing an' that but this made me feel more ‘exposed'. I mean just look at it, its like a pink maids outfit, all frills and flounces – and these prissy stockings! At least I don't have to wear heels with it all, that would be like total porn!
“Its come out better than I thought it would.”
Of course I've had to go full ‘Gaby' to wear this get-up, hey maybe this'll be the last time I have to be Gaby – ever! That was a cheery thought, my mood lifted immediately.
“Come on Mad, time's a wastin'!”
Salcon was a different beast today, a lot busier, I guess Mr Pratchett is quite a draw. Of course two cute ‘girls' attracted a lot of attention, so much so that the organisers arranged an impromptu photo shoot to stop us clogging the place up! We caught a session on drawing Manga and I bought a ‘How To' book – not that I'm ever likely to. Oh I forgot to tell you, Aunt C was in costume too, she'd gone for a more ‘mature' outfit, Rei Ayanami from NGE** wearing a party outfit. I know I shouldn't really say it but she looked pretty hot!
I did spot something I wanted to get on one of the stalls but the Pratchett session was starting imminently so we went to commandeer some seating. It was a really great session, TP did a reading from one of his books that's not out yet, Going Postal or something like that. The way he read it had everyone in hysterics. Of course they had a costume competition, no repeat of Dunstable as we weren't exactly part of the Discworld crew.
The big bummer was that when I got back to the stand I wanted to buy from they had sold the figures I wanted. The guy reckoned he could get more of them so I left my details and a deposit.
We caught another session – well a showing actually. It was a sort of premier of an Anime called I think Kashimashi – Girl Meets Girl , it's a bit weird and I found myself squirming a bit. This sort of loner kid gets killed by an alien spaceship and then gets resurrected but as a girl! It was all a bit weird really. Afterwards we grabbed a snack before the evenings festivities started.
I hadn't really thought about what I wasn't wearing since this morning but now it had come to show time I was nervous as hell. There were a hell of a lot of photographers, we'd be online before the night is out if previous experience is anything to go by!
“First prize – goes to the Tenshi girls, come on up girls.”
Oh heck, not on the stage again! Mr Pratchett was dishing the prizes and he insisted on kissing us both – yeuk and that beard – gross! We posed for yet more pictures then retired back to where Aunt C was waiting with our stuff.
“Well done kids.”
“I didn't do anything.” I pointed out.
“You wore it didn't you?”
“Yeah.” I admitted.
“So you did something Gabs. Look I'm not bothered about the party so if you like I'll take your stuff back to the room.”
“Kewl mum!” Mad bounced.
Looks like I was partying whether I wanted to or not. I guess this might well be the last Con I go to so I might as well make the most of it.
“Shush!” I held my finger to my lips, “you'll wake her up.”
Mad was having a giggling fit as I tried to get the key in the lock.
“That lad in the Bleach outfit!” and Mad was off again.
I finally got the key in and turned and carefully eased the door open. Mad however pushed straight in.
“Shush, I'm watching this.”
Aunt Carol was sprawled on the bed watching telly still in her Rei outfit. Boy does she look a fox!
“Hmm, what time is it?” she enquired.
“Just after twelve Mumsie.” Mad advised bouncing onto the bed.
(In case you were wondering, Mad and Aunt C are sharing the double bed and I've got a foldout thing to sleep on.)
Uncle John collected us Sunday morning; he was on his way back from a trip to Canada so dropping into Manchester wasn't difficult from the airport.
We took the slow route back across the Pennines, which, after I tuned Mad out, gave me a chance to reflect on stuff. Would I ever get to ride here again? Will we even come back to visit? I wonder if they have Cons in Germany? Hmm it was kewl winning the costume comp mind you I'm glad I won't be wearing that again! I guess Mad'll just have to ‘Con' someone else to go with her.
* Sewing machine
** Neon Genesis Evangelion
Maddy Bell 01.01.08 © 2008
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