As promised, ages ago, here’s a round-up of my recent travels to assorted Transformers conventions, starting with C.O.N.S. in Willich, Germany, over the weekend of July 23rd & 24th. Nothing to do with the convention itself, but getting there on the Saturday was a nightmare. Stansted to Dusseldorf – hour and a quarter, hour and half. Normally. But the inbound flight had developed a technical problem, leading to an epic seven-hour delay. Have you ever tried to kill seven (extra) hours at Stansted? Not easy. Note to self: avoid Air Berlin. Clearly, their fleet of aircraft is so miniscule that one technical problem results in that scale of delay. So, instead of getting to Dusseldorf airport at a very reasonable 2.30PM, I arrived at 9.45PM, to be met by a weary looking Tobias and Alex, who — as well as organizing a convention — had been back and to to the airport several times. Went direct to a much delayed meal that had been arranged for me, and got to meet a bunch of the other fans and organizers. A good end to a frustrating day! The next day (Sunday), after breakfast, I was whisked to the venue. Wasn’t sure what to expect. But it was a nice large space, with plenty of dealers and a stage set up for a full rock band (the amazing Rampage – more on them later). Weather was atrocious — I think it rained all day — so the lack of the promised lunchtime barbecue wasn’t too disastrous. But inside the hall spirits were un-dampened. I was set up with my scripts and comics to sell at a table facing the stage, watching as the fans piled in. Lots of fans! Things kicked off in earnest with a brief performance by Rampage, who woke everyone up with their Transformers-themed song, ‘Letz Go Transform,’ which I’d heard briefly the night before as we drove to Willich from the airport. I’m not a huge fan of ‘heavy’ rock, but I was pleasantly surprised how quickly I warmed to Rampage. There was a great sense of Meatloaf-style rock-operatics about their performance and ‘Letz Go Transform’ is a pretty catchy tune. Well worth checking out their website here, which has videos from C.O.N.S to view. For the morning, I pretty much signed and chatted and watched as amazing Cosplayers clanked past my table. A steady stream of people stopped and said hello, and Tobias, Alex and Lucy were always on hand to make sure I had whatever I needed. Lunchtime (and a hot dog) was punctuated by another (longer) performance by Rampage (again, high marks on the sheer entertainment factor – lead singer Smookey and backup vocalist Ines really perform their songs). In the afternoon, I had a Q&A session, which had to be simul-translated into German by Tobias, who was also asking the questions. He did amazingly well, and everyone seemed to grasp what I was saying. Though I have a feeling Tobias cut out a lot of my waffle and got to the heart of the answer when he did it in German. Either that or we use a lot more words. Things wrapped up with another performance (a full hour or so set) by Rampage, who seemed to just get better and better. Most impressed! Then it was food and wind-down, and a toast to the end of a great day. Overall, it was a really well put together and thought out convention, with a dedicated and good-sized attendance for a one-day event. This is definitely one to watch, as I have a feeling things can only get bigger and better. Big thanks to Tobias, Alex and Lucy for bringing me over and making it such a fun and friendly couple of days. Oh, and the flight home was on time/schedule. Hurrah!
Back soon with my thoughts on TFCon Toronto!