Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Malta Comics Convention 2009

Part 1 of the first Maltese Convention Blogs…

Hi Guys,

A little later than I had planned on publishing this Blog, because my wife, Margaret was in a pretty bad car accident late Monday afternoon, as I was setting things up here. Luckily she seems fine, although shook up about it. I am hoping the coming days see her through without any further aches and pains. The car is a write off sadly, as it was her pride and joy, but like I said to her, at least she is okay.

Well it seems incredible to me now that over a full week has elapsed since I was preparing to fly to Malta for their very first comics convention, but as they say time does indeed fly by when you are having fun!

Well, as I said the other day it was an enormous success, which was down to the hard work of the convention organisers and for me personally it was the best convention I have been to for the hospitality of all the people there, including the fans.

For me the run up to the trip was an extremely rushed affair, finding me creating a new Malta exclusive poster and sketch sheet, which I had to have printed. I was also anxiously awaiting the flight details, so I could arrange the final leg of the trip. For the organisers this proved to be a bit of a nightmare, as Airmalta sorted out the flights for the five of us that attended in the end.

I had spoken to pretty much every UK comics creator I know, before Ian Gibson was found, as a replacement for Brian Bolland. Unfortunately at the last minute Ian had to back out due to flu, which I hope he has now recovered from.

The week on the run up saw me trying to tie up loose ends for the trip and working on the Worlds End graphic novel at the same time. I have never put stuff in a suitcase and taken it out again so many times before a trip in all my travels before this one.

Taking merchandise over to Malta proved to be hard to sort out and had I had more time to do so I would have shipped out the products prior to my arriving there, something I will certainly be doing next year.

Two of the organisers, Chris Le Galle and Mike Quinton were very quick to respond to emails and very easy to work with to organise the trip.

The day before the flight saw me visit my printers for the umpteenth time to weight the baggage and my portfolio to ensure I was going to get on the flight without any problems. This caused quite a few laughs as the guys there saw me try several times to adjust the weight just right.

This continued for a while back home, as I weighed stuff out on a set of small digital scales. Eventually I was packed and ready to go, the posters and sketch sheets all safely tucked away.

Now I could feel excited...

The day of the trip came and my best friend Paul called to pick me up and take me to Manchester airport. Once there, I stood in the queue, awaiting checking in my baggage and saw up on the screen the weight limit for hand luggage (my portfolio) was 5 Kilos, which was three over the weight of the portfolio. Now luckily I had spoken to Air Malta to confirm the details concerning the weights etc explaining that 8 Kilos was fine and had received an email to that effect.

So sweating, but with a printout of the email with me, I went to check-in. My worries were unfounded as I went through to the main departures lounge without any messing and soon found myself much more relaxed and awaiting my flight with a cappuccino in front of me and my portfolio by my side.

I soon found myself on the plane bound for Malta and seated next to a very nice couple who chatted with me for the three plus hours trip, which passed as though it was half an hour. Joan and Derek were a joy to sit with and told me all about Malta, as they were frequent visitors and I really enjoyed their company.

We had been talking for a while and they asked why I was going to Malta. When they heard what I did they became fascinated by my choice of career. Flights can seem overly long when travelling alone, so their company and conversations were a much-needed relief for me. It also helped me to clear customs quickly at Malta too.

Once we touched down, we walked the short way across the runway towards the airport itself and the first thing I noticed, as it was now around 01:05 a.m., was that it was warm and still. The guys had said to pack something warm and a small jacket, something I would not use until I was at Heathrow on the trip back home.

Derek laughing told the organisers Mike and Fabio who were waiting for me to arrive to look after me, to which we all laughed. But he needn’t have worried because all of the guys did just that.

We went over to the café where Mike, David, Warren and Sean were already seated, having arrives a short time earlier. Mike and Fabio got me a drink and Chris introduced himself and the fun began. We all chatted and laughed for a while before being taken to the Hotel Santana, in Qawra, St. Paul's Bay, in which we where staying. It was now about two thirty or so and we all checked in and went our separate ways to our rooms, as we had an early start in the morning.

I have to admit to being a little surprised at the size of room I was given, which, as there was only me had plenty of room with its twin beds. I unpacked all my gear and was going to get ready for bed when I decided to get a bottle of water from reception.
I went downstairs to get it and then went back to my room, had a wash, brushed my teeth and lay down on the bed to sleep.

I set the alarm clock on my mobile phone for 06:30a.m., which would give me an hour to get myself shaved, showered and dressed ready for breakfast, which we had arranged to do at 07:30 a.m.

I tried for a while to get to sleep, but to no avail. I checked my stuff I was taking to the convention in the morning and readied it for the journey to the venue.

I read the hotel information booklet.

I read the first menu.

I read the second menu.

I turned on the TV and listened to CNN.

I turned the TV off and tried to go to sleep again.

I stood on the balcony and listened to the crickets.

I listened to CNN some more.

I turned off the TV.

I tried to sleep.

I checked my alarm on my mobile.

I tried to sleep.

I checked my watch and phone several times to see the time between, but couldn’t get to sleep, so I dozed for a while.

It was warm, but my mind was working overtime, as I was now in a position to think about the convention, something up that point I had not had chance to do properly with the rush to complete my work at the studio and the arrangements for the trip, whilst back home.

Just as I was about to fall asleep the alarm went off, but rather then thinking I wanted to sleep I got up and got ready listening to CNN in the background and went downstairs to the reception area to await the others for breakfast.

I sent a text to Mike, who appeared about five or so minutes later. In the meantime I had spent the time waiting, texting the folks back home again.

The organisers were staying for the Friday and Saturday evenings at the same hotel and we all ate breakfast together, which was the full works of fruit juices, cereal, fruit, full English, Danishes and tea and coffee and which is just what you need to face a comics convention. The organisers still had a lot to do and was the reason for the early start and so once breakfast was over we were all ready for the off.

Collecting our belongings for the convention we were then driven to the Saint James Cavalier, in the capital city of Valletta, which is a part of the wonderful fortifications on Malta and an absolutely wonderful choice of venue, most unlike any UK or US ones I have ever attended. The fort has been transformed inside with a modern looking interior ideal for this kind of event. It is now a cross between an arts/media centre and a gallery, something here in the UK we could learn from.

As you came into the event past the temporary reception desk you were greeted by a huge Robot that had been created by the guys organising it all, based on one of their own characters. It was the centre of attention for folks walking in off the sunny streets

I set up my table and readied myself for the coming convention. I had been asked to do one of my tutorial sessions with the children attending on the Sunday there at the venue and then I was asked to do the Saturday too and had suggested that Mike Collins help out too.

So it was that we were due to do three fifty minute sessions on Saturday morning and early afternoon and one on the Sunday.

But I will leave that for the next Blog.

Until next time have fun!

Tim Perkins…
November 11th 2009


Unknown said...

Thanks for the report. Sorry to hear that your wife was in an accident. I hope she stays well and that she gets over the ordeal.



Peter Richardson said...

Really enjoyed the description of your first night in Malta Tim.

Building up the suspense...

Tim Perkins said...

Hi Magnus,
Thanks for your kind words regarding Margaret.
I will be sure to pass on your thoughts.
Glad you like the first Malta Blog.

Tim Perkins said...

Hi Peter,
Thanks for the kind words.
Glad you enjoyed the build up to this series of three Blogs.
Lots more photos to come tomorrow morning at 00:01 a.m. and again at the same time Friday morning.
Hopefully they will convey just how well we were treated at this very historic event.

Unknown said...

Hey Tim,

Thanks a million for your massive blog about our little show. I really enjoyed reading it. Very well written and it brought back all those lovely emotions we (as a group) shared during your stay. MMM hope this doesn't conevy the worng message. I just want to say that it was a massive experience for all concerned and that your blog captured that spirit superbly. Can't wait for the World's End.

Tim Perkins said...

Hi Chris,

Thanks for the very kind words.

Also for dropping by.

Great to see you here.

Glad you enjoyed the Blogs.

I can't wait to finish "Worlds End" either.

I'll let you know the second I do.

Best Wishes,