So … the plan for this week was to post a little something about my weekend at the wonderful Yorkshire Cosplay Con 2017, and yes, that’s still the plan, but if you’ll be kind enough to indulge me, I wanted to post this first, a kind of … prelude? I don’t know what to call it, except that I’m allowing myself to be side-tracked briefly here, as I was at YCC this time last year and I can’t record the latest one without acknowledging the cultural shift between the two events.
Owing to the recent horror of the terrorist attack on the Ariana Grande concert in Manchester (and of course, there was another attack in London the weekend of the Con), security was tight this year. The new rules were clear, no realistic prop weapons, only rucksacks of a specified size, the removal of cosplay masks prior to entering the event etc, so whatever, we had a few unarmed Winter Soldiers and crossbow-less Daryl Dixons, but no matter.
As usual, there were Imperial Stormtroopers and Jedi Knights on patrol outside the arena, and mixed in with the cosplayers there were real people there to protect us, armed police navigating between Ewoks and Pokémon. There were bag searches and body scanners, and the time involved with this basically rendered anyone’s Early Bird ticket (access to the venue an hour before the regular ticket holders) completely useless. It was a beautifully sunny day, unseasonably warm for an English June, and we all waited in an ever-extending line to get in, the Doctors in winter scarves, the She-Hulks with their green body paint melting, the Iron Men more or less cooking in their armour …
We all waited with smiles and patient excitement, there to enjoy the day, there to have fun with our geek brothers and sisters. I’ve never been more proud to be Geek, and if you’ll permit me a little patriotism, rarely been more proud to be British.
When the news of the attack on the Ariana Grande concert broke, and Twitter filled with the photos of children who’d attended and now weren’t answering their phones, I’ll admit my thoughts turned to conventions I’ve been to, big events full of excited children getting a tiny glimpse of the glamour of their heroes and heroines, be they Captain America or Wonder Woman, or in the case of the attack, a young and successful pop star who’s as good a role model as anyone in the pages of a comic.
Of course, as more details of the tragedy emerged, it became obvious that those lost were a spectrum of ages. Those explosions happened in the Manchester Arena. They could have just as easily happened in the Sheffield Arena, or the Liverpool Exhibition Centre, or the Magna Centre. The lives that were cut short could have been gathered together for any reason.
My YCC 2017 blog post is about a frivolous and fun weekend, and so I want to be careful with my emphasis here. I’m as angry as the next human being about the attacks (terror-mongers are subhuman, and thus discounted) but I think I’ve probably peeled back enough layers of my physical and mental self on social media (no more 8 stone jabe842 pity parties about hobbling around on crutches pretending to be an AT-AT, and everybody cheers haha!). Also, I’m keen not to politicise fun, as such a thing is the province of the very, very clever and the very, very stupid, and hopefully I’m neither.
But … I am a bit clever, and I am a bit stupid, so I will say this.
The day I returned from YCC, there was another event, the One Love Manchester concert, held as a benefit gig for the victims of the terrorist attack at the Ariana Grande concert. One of the first acts on stage was the band Take That, who as anyone with an ear for popular, shamelessly ebullient music will know, are awesome. They sang one of their hits from 2007, a song entitled Rule The World, and I felt that the context of this performance lent the lyrics a significance that bears mentioning:
Yeah, you and me, we can ride on a star
If you stay with me, girl
We can rule the world
Yeah, you and me, we can light up the sky
If you stay by my side
We can rule the world
So, to the cowards who maim and kill without remorse, who steal the lives of the innocent for reasons that are an abomination to the rest of us, I’m happy to restate the facts.
YOU don’t rule the world. WE fucking do.
The geeks and the artists and the children and those with or without gods, the fans of music or football or poetry or whatever inspires love in their hearts, the good people of this planet who you’ll never break. If there is ever a day where there’s a billion of YOU and only one of US left, you’ll still lose.
We stand with Manchester. We stand with London.
And wherever these cowards seek to inspire fear and keep us from the music or cosplay or sports that we love, we will stand together.
Okay, that said, you probably dropped in here expecting to see me titting about in a Star Wars t-shirt with a sexy Harley Quinn cosplayer or something, so who am I to disappoint you? If you’ve seen even ONE of my photos on Twitter or Instagram you’ll know I had an ACE time, but you’re welcome to return tomorrow and see me and my nerdy nonsense (I even had my Tarot Cards read!!!)
Until then, please stay safe and remember, someone loves you.
Someone always loves you.