Vanessa Thompsett

Nine Worlds 2017


Well, hello there, dear reader. Are – are you still there? Hello?

Proper update soon. Bloody hell, dear reader, a proper old update. However, for now, Nine Worlds has just happened and I want to write about it! Because it was fabulous! Whee!

In some ways, I did a lot at this year’s Nine Worlds. In other ways, I might’ve slept through at least half of the convention. But, as I tweeted early on Saturday morning, elated on endorphins and shadowcasting, that’s the wonderful thing about Nine Worlds in particular: I didn’t feel up to a lot of stuff, but what I did manage was marvellous.

I’ve been stupidly ill since last November (more on that in another post) and, unforunately, had to cancel the talk I was going to give this year a couple of days before Nine Worlds started. That was heartwrenching, but everyone was so lovely about it that I didn’t feel as terrible as I could’ve done. I was still signed up to quite a few other things, too – two story-telling sessions, one of which meant I could wear my excellent dinosaur hat on Friday. The other session was on Sunday… I know it happened, but it turns out that dancing the night away at Bifrost and then partying until dawn will have a mildly detrimental effect on one’s memory. I went from my dinosaur storytelling into a talk/discussion about sex in teen magazines, which was fascinating – I ended up reminiscing over Bliss and Just Seventeen, as well as a copy of Cosmopolitan that I’d somehow been allowed to buy on a school trip when I was fourteen. Crikey. There were a lot of interesting points raised, including issues of consent, minority representation and the representation of teenage boys. I would’ve liked to have discussed things further, which is the sign of a good talk! I had a wander around the market, chatted to some lovely people, caught up with old friends, helped a friend with last-minute cosplay sewing and eventually wandered back to my room for a rest before it was time for Doctor Magnethands.

I’m not quite sure what I was expecting, but it wasn’t to be flirting with a bicycle pump as Major Satisfaction while a near-Oedipal tragedy was carried out to my left. It was bloody good fun and I laughed so hard I cried. I think we failed to save the Queen of England, but to be honest what with the amount of booze and ridiculous accents it was hard to tell. If you’re at Nine Worlds next year and it’s on again (fingers very much crossed), I urge you to go to Magnethands. It is Very Silly.

After Magnethands, I had an hour to whizz up to my room, shower and get ready for Doc Oughton’s Rocky Horror Lecture Show. I single-handedly laced myself into a corset, sang and shadowcasted – it was a bloody brilliant time. Another one that I’m hoping will be repeated next year, especially if I can shout out more NSFW callbacks. I ended up having a drink in the bar at 2am, then bimbling out to the outside seating and talking about religion, gender and cats with some lovely people. I was glad of my feather boa, I must admit.

Saturday dawned. I mourned the absence of bacon until a kind friend found some for me. I was given a cosplay token for my Rocky Horror costume. Slowly, dear reader, I became human. A friend and I went to Queer Coding in Disney, which was a talk I’d wanted to go to last year, but arrived too late in time to get a space. I’m now watching my way through the Disney canon and spotting queer-coded characters all over the place. It’s lovely! It was particularly interesting to discuss the recent live-action adaptations of some Disney films and note how same-sex co-parenting in The Jungle Book and the suggested Lumière-Cogsworth relationship in Beauty and the Beast had been removed in their new versions. I started feeling a bit tired again during the talk, so I went to have some more sleep and relax for the rest of the afternoon. I caught up with another friend and then, bugger, was reminded I was supposed to be at the technical rehearsal for Bifrost, the Saturday evening cabaret. I arrived feeling extremely sheepish and baa’ed out a few lines of poetry before going back to shower and get ready for the cabaret.

I think the Bifrost audience was the biggest one I’ve read poetry to yet. It went very well and I’m going to go to more poetry events in London and just start putting myself out there more. Insert your own jokes here… It was also lovely to meet other awesome performers and squee at the ones I already knew! I surprised myself by managing to stay up and dance at the disco, including a double-time macarena, then having an excellent little after party until dawn.

On Sunday, unsurprisingly, I was broken. Very broken. So broken that my recurring self-description was ‘a bag of lemmings held together by rusty springs’. I found bacon. And eggs. Those were good. I slowly remembered that I was indeed a human being and was going to read The Gruffalo’s Child to small children, with the help of a squeaky mouse toy called Pinky. Despite still feeling very tired, I enjoyed the reading and got to meet some very small cosplayers! The rest of my day was spent drinking tea, catching up more with friends and taking a walk down to Hammersmith Broadway. I caught my friend’s talk on Representation in Monster High, which was again really interesting – even though I didn’t manage to get to many talks, the ones I did get to were great.

I changed into something a bit more fabulous for the final evening of Nine Worlds, and again spent time with some friends before heading to Rock Club. This year’s Nine Worlds, for me, was a lot about socialising and catching up with good people, and I’m glad I got to do that.

The End of the Con Quiz had overrun, which meant I got to witness the unveiling of the cosplayer behind the beautiful No-Face! Then a night of singing, more friends and ending up playing Cards Against Humanity until it really was very definitely time to go to bed.

The week since Nine Worlds has been mostly good. Con-crash took both physical and psychological form, neither of which was nice, but on the more optimistic side it looks like I’ll be doing another talk soon, CaBiret is coming up, and I’m fizzing with ideas for all sorts of things. Nine Worlds, despite the amount of rest I needed, also lit a fire under me and I intend to use it. But now, dear reader, rest, and preparation for a Big and Slightly Unpleasant Something. Will be doing my best to return to semi-regular Sunday blogging; I’ve missed this.

Thanks for reading.