BiCon First Timer’s Diary

Issue 81

This originally appeared in BCN issue 81, Sept 2006

Tuesday, July 11th. 11.00
Apprehensive. No. Apprehensive doesn’t even begin to cover it. Petrified is more like it. Filled with an unholy terror. Curious, intrigued, restive and excited too, But mainly just petrified.

It’s two days before BiCon, and I’m feeling all of the above and then some. There’s the usual travel related panic, of course, which is centered largely around my fondness for highly impractical luggage, but mainly my worries are fairly BiCon-centric. What, exactly, should I expect? What if I just don’t get it? Will I clam up, not daring to utter a word the entire time? Will I (more likely) let my mouth run away with me, issuing forth a torrent of variously offensive gin-fueled bile? On the first night?

Wednesday, July 12th 15.40
Preparing for BiCon is rather like preparing for a first date. There are legs to be shaved, eyebrows to be groomed, nails to be painted and a good book to be chosen for the boring bits. As my manager never tires of telling me, you don’t get a second chance to make a first impression, and I want to give the right one. I’m aware that I’ll be meeting new people; this doesn’t bother me to much _ I have my no-you-don’t-intimidate-me-at-all look down to a tee. I’m much more aware that I’ll be meeting people with whom I’ve had an online and/or telephonic relationship, but never actually encountered in the flesh before. Suddenly all that flirting seems like a mistake. And my roots need doing.

Thursday, July 13th. 12.30
Right. Flight is at 17:30 so no need to panic. Plenty of time. Am sitting in front of daytime TV, failing to relax. Shall set off in plenty of time, picking up gin, tonic and lemons on the way to the train station. Excellent idea. Check case again _ haven’t packed much, for fear of exceeding allowance at check-in. Situation also presents opportunity to go shopping in Glasgow, so it’s win-win.

20.00
Had been here less than 20 minutes before some one is saying ‘oh you’re Libby!’  Huh. Becoming a BCN writer before going to bicon clearly has its benefits.  Met up with friends on the way to the airport, all of whom have contributed to quashing my wibbles, so I’m feeling a little better, if still slightly intimidated. Heading out to the bar now. Apparently there’s karaoke, but I’m not going to let that spoil my fun.

Friday, July 14th, stupid o’clock.
Up early for opening plenary, then off to first-timers workshop.

10.00
Or I could have coffee and gossip instead.

13.00
Out of first workshop, and feeling great. Suddenly the feeling that I actually belong here creeps over me. Have a wander into Glasgow to see what there is to see.

Every one is wearing a name tag covered in stickers, each sticker signifying a different thing, poly, available, first timer, SM-er, tea-drinker, etc. The problem is, I have no idea what each one means. May have to devise a portable key, rather than referring to the list in reception. Looking down at my own tag, I have a lilac heart, a blue star and a blue and an orange dot. Meaningless. The laminating machine was a lot of fun though.

22.25
Am surrounded by cute Goth girls in corsets. It’s a hard life.

Saturday, 15th July. 12.00
Crashed at seven this morning after all night partying. Feeling fine though, so off to grab some lunch, then intend to head for a workshop or two. Finding that all my worries have slipped away and I’m really enjoying myself. There’s such a sense of community here, and so much acceptance. I’ve got an awful feeling that I’m not going to want this weekend to end.

21.15
Spent most of the day lounging around on the grass being a social butterfly. I’ve never felt so at home chatting with people I don’t know. It’s fair to assume that I have something in common with most people here, and that’s such a weight off. I’m referring to partners and exes as ‘she’ (obviously, only when they are) without flinching at all. It’s been a while, and it feels good. The purchase of new shoes yesterday (pinstripe, 5 inch heel, measuring tape motif) has inspired me to dress up and I’ve tracked down a corset. I’m dressed and ready to go and for once I feel kind of sexy. This is down entirely to my new footwear purchase, and I intend to milk it for all it’s worth. Toes are crippled mind. Certain it will be worth it.

Sunday 16th July. 10.00
Not been to bed yet, and there’s a workshop I want to make in an hour.

14.20
Hmm. Missed workshop, but begged notes from the girl running it, so will have a look when I get back home. Am slightly sunburned and very tired, so will have disco nap before heading out again tonight.

19.30
Overslept. Think I’ve been overdoing it a bit and now my head is broken. Toy with the idea of staying in tonight but then is outside chance that I might miss something and we can’t have that. Will definitely get early night though.

Monday , July 17th. 05.00
Or not.

10.00
Alarm is going off. Last night was fantastic, with everyone converging on the lawn outside the flats we’re all staying in. There was 100-plus people easily, most with the last of the food and wine they has bought. Such a wonderfully chilled end to the weekend, and a chance to wind down without letting go. Now, though, I’m going to take in the final plenary, then finish up packing.

12.30
Finished packing, done some light tidying up, and I’m ready to go. I’ve said some sad goodbyes in the last hour and I’m feeling a little down. It’s been an awesome long weekend and I’m not ready for it to end just yet, though I’m looking forward to taking a bath and climbing into my own bed.

I’ve met some great people, some brand new, and some simply in 3D for the first time. Right now I fully intend to keep in touch with a number of them. It’s a little to early to wax nostalgic and anyway a taxi has been called, taking me back to life, work and grim reality. Roll on BiCon 07.