On Friday the 8th of July, the Confessions die hards (me), boarded a train to sunny Rotherham to attend their first ever Horror Con UK. This was a weekend that I had been looking forward to for a long time. I was going to meet authors I have spoken to on social media for a long time. Most in a professional capacity, and also a lot of them in a personal capacity. Either way, I was looking forward to having some interesting conversations and a few beers and also picking up some lovely new books.
It didn’t start the best. My train was cancelled and I had to jump on an earlier one. Problem was, there were three train loads of people on one train. Standing the whole journey for two and a half hours was not my idea of fun.
Then I got to Rotherham. Oh dear. No offence meant to anyone who lives there but you really need to do something with that town centre.
I decided to walk up to my hotel because my Google Maps told me it was less than a mile away. It didn’t tell me it was up the highest gradient hill in Rotherham. I know I’m on a diet, but losing three stone in sweat in that one walk was not something I had planned for that weekend.
Then I got to the hotel. Oh dear. It was worse than the town centre. I decided to bite the bullet and just go with it because at the end of the day, I was only going to be sleeping there. Oh dear. My room was like an old people’s home. I probably shouldn’t do this but I’m not naming it so here is a picture of the beautiful interior.
THE CRAP HOTEL
Anyway enough of my problems. The rest of my Friday turned into a fun filled afternoon / evening of friends and drinking and more drinking and eventual fast food eating and the obligatory collapsing into bed in a drunken stupor. I met up with author Andy Lennon for the first time and we very easily slipped into a routine of chatting and drinking and smoking and drinking and chatting.
The only problem was, we forgot the eating bit.
We were joined later that evening by Mr Stuart Keane and his wife Leisyen. They remembered the eating bit but to be honest, they made up for the wasted drinking time very well.
Back to the old people’s home for some sleep and off to the event on Saturday. I was intending to take a load of pictures of the event itself to help tell this story but alas, I didn’t, so I can’t really show you what the event was like, or the people. One thing that stuck in my mind was the sheer effort a lot of people had put into their costumes for the day. Some had quite obviously been planning this for a very long time and should be applauded for their efforts.
The downside of the main hall was the fact that it stank. Not exactly sure what the smell was but I have an idea. It was rank.
Both days were more or less the same. It was spent wandering around chatting to authors, new and old. The first people I made a point of visiting were Duncan Bradshaw and Justin Park, manning the Sinister Horror Company stand. And what a beautiful site that stand was! It probably would have looked a bit better if they had moved to the side a bit but that is another matter. Loads of lovely books all on display and some of them finding their way into my possession. Dunk and Justin were exactly as I had thought they would be from chatting to them via message, and email over this past year. Very welcoming fellas who are a true credit to everything they do with SHC.
Plus Dunk liked my moobs!
DUNK AND JUSTIN
A lot of time was also spent with Jack Rollins and his brother Chris, manning the Dark Chapter Press stand. As normal, all of the DCP books were on display and also the new wares of Jack’s latest venture, Carsun’s Bazaar. If you see it at one of these events you really must pay him a visit. He has some wonderful figures, keyrings and curiosities on sale at very reasonable prices.
JACK AND CHRIS
Beside the DCP lot as usual was Stuart Keane, This time accompanied on the same table by Ian Noakes. As I type this I have just realised that I didn’t get my picture taken with Stuart or Ian. In fact I don’t even think I was properly introduced to Ian. I apologise for this guys and promise to make it up to you in the future. You definitely need to pop by Stuart’s stand at a con. His books are beautiful and I guarantee you will pick some up.
Another stand we spent a lot of time at was the one belonging to Mark Cassell. I met Mark at Emcon a few months ago and thought then that he was a really decent chap. After being able to spend a little bit more time in his company this time around I have to say that he is one of the nicest guys I think I have ever met. A really genuine bloke that works his nuts off at these events to make the most of the time he has there. He even let me take over his stand for a while when he needed a well-deserved pee. I can say that right? I made him money as well, selling a magazine and a flash drive! Never got my cut though.
Andy Lennon is another man I must apologise to because I did not get a picture of me and him at his stand. I felt a bit sorry for Andy because he was in a smaller hall by himself, but as far as I can gather, he did OK for himself on the Saturday. He certainly had one of the best views with all the snakes and spiders that were surrounding him on the Saturday.
The highlight for most of us horror book lovers though was probably our individual sightings and meetings with the legend that is, Shaun Hutson. Facebook on the Saturday was saturated with exuberant fangirls and fanboys repeatedly posting their pictures with Mr Hutson and I really cannot blame them. What an absolute gentleman he was. Not in the true sense of the word because as anyone will tell you, his use of language is certainly not that of a refined gentleman. More the fella next door. He was an absolute gem none the less and it was a pleasure for all of us to meet him. He didn’t turn anyone away and was always willing to stand and chat no matter where you met him.
I was lucky enough to get to chat to him and his publisher from a Confessions point of view as well and got some rather exciting news that I will share with you at a later date so watch this space.
THE LEGEND SHAUN HUTSON
All in all I enjoyed Horror Con UK. I reckon I would go back OK. I don’t reckon I would stay in the same hotel though. I'm sorry my report isn't as fun as others to read but to be honest, it is something that is quite hard to describe. You need to be there. It is certainly an event where you can get up close and personal with your favourite authors and some of the film stars and has some wonderful stands selling some crackin horror merchandise. Some of the t-shirts especially were fantastic. I need to take a bigger budget next year!
So here is to next year. May it roll round very quickly! To all of you going to Edge Lit at the weekend, be safe and enjoy. I will unfortunately not be there this year but with a bit of forward planning, there is always next year.
Thanks again for visiting Confessions of a Reviewer!