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Monday, 5 October 2015

I Went To The BCZF And I Did NOT Become Violent!

I am going to make this brief.  For obvious reasons as you'll note.

Last Saturday was the Bristol 'Comic' and Zine Fair at the Station in Central Bristol. I've written about my last experience at this event, in 2014, and you can find the link here:

Now, as I was told I wouldn't get a table I was not going to bother but -lo! and Behold!- there was a spare one that was taken by Bristol's own zine luvvie, Mr Paul Ashley Brown -who, to be fair, WAS recovering from reading the new, uh, 'novel' by Morrissey.  So, if it's in Bristol I will travel specifically to at least offer moral support to the old one.

I enter the venue and hear "Excuse me!  Hell -excuse me!" and turn to see I am being hailed from the lobby desk.  A confused look at me was followed by "uh, this is the comic and zine event-?"  I pointed out that I knew this and carried on.

I got to the first table and said "hello" -and I even smiled. It may have been that but the gits turned away as though I wasn't there.  I'm quite sure that I was though.  Shrugged and moved on and said "hello" again but kept the smile very low key. There was a grunt and almost a bemused look but though I tried a follow-up line I was ignored.

In fact, I even said "Hello then -how's it going?" to one of the organisers and I was two feet (60cms) away from him but he, uh, didn't seem to hear me.

So I looked around.  The conversations were interesting amongst the punters: one girl to another, with giggles, "You'll have to show me her table so I can buy a book and then go!"  and another small group in which it was agreed "We'll go in say "Hi" mebbe buy a book and then leave or he'll moan forever!" And these were not isolated incidents.  In decades of going to events I have never heard so many people just talking about turning up to "show their faces" and buy something to keep in with someone. The entrance hall was THE place for these conversations.

I looked at what was on offer but the styles and looks were nothing original -I have seen it all over and over again.  I'd say that 98% of the publishers there would be out of zines by next year.  But do not worry, folks, Mr Brown had one young lady approach him who had just left art college (?) and was looking to do some zine work.  EVERY event I've been to some young flower turns up with that line but how many follow through?

Every table seemed to have its own little "clique".  Mr Brown being the "Morrissey of Zines" was just happy that he was slightly tucked away (not his stomach!) in a corner.  Some mad twitcher seemed to be focussing in on will that end???

There were, again, no comics or comic dealers present which is not a surprise since the event organisers are only interested in small press publishers so the "comics" tag in that title is misleading at best.

Before I left I looked around and it all just left me feeling totally empty.  There was nothing there (though Mr Brown's books looked tempting). I felt like a pro wrestler dropped into the middle of a kids ballet class (that court case is still pending so I can't write any more).


  1. This sounds like an episode of the Twilight Zone. Are you sure this was a comic book event ? Doesn´t sound like it.

  2. Sadly, Subzero, apart from Mr Brown, I did not come across anyone who was friendly. It was all "young things" and as has been pointed out before, if you are NOT their age group WHAT are you doing there? No comics at all. Unlike Europe where pop stars can have careers STILL after 30-50 years (look at Gitte, Karel Gott, Ilka Balik) they are absent in the UK in any real presence. You get comic creators in Europe (look at Hansrudi Wascher) that carry on until they basically die of old age -in the UK only comic enthusiasts knew who Moebius was. Old men. The late Don Lawrence quit the UK to live in the Netherlands and his career flourished. It's just bleak.

  3. And I thought the cult the media makes about youth culture here in Germany is bad. But it looks like in England I would have been sent to a mental institution decades ago. " He still reads them comics instead of looking at child porn like any normal man his age ..... I mean, not that I know about that sort of thing. Hey, what´s that ? Isn´t that a guy shaking his stevens ? Gotta go. "

    You know how it is.