Does whatever a Badgerguy does
Can he spin from a web?
No he can’t because he’s a 'guy
He's a Badgerguy...
I could make this sound like a Cradle of Filth video. Or I could just say you could see the ominous shape of the hotel perched atop a windswept German mountain from about thirty miles away. It was surrounded by a ghostly forest and as we made our way towards it, it felt more and more like a creepy vampire lair from a poor 1970s B-Movie. It was the fuzzy tail that broke me out of this vision.
We arrived at 10pm, not realising that Suhl was a full three and a half hours away from Nürnberg. Tired, we were instantly awoken to images of fursuiters and tails. Paradise? You bet! And in a German accent too :-)
We quickly dropped our stuff upstairs and checked to see if my fursuit had made it intact. Thankfully it had. But it’d been a struggle. My German’s not the strongest so emphasising to two sets of baggage handling staff that the contents inside were fragile was not the easiest thing to do. The subsequent question of “what is it?” hardly helped matters. Indeed it was somewhat hard to explain what precisely was in the box and why the hell I was flying to Germany with it. What compounded matters was that I couldn’t remember the German words for cartoon (Zeichnentrick) or charity (Wohlfahrt) so I just had to mumble something about liking to dress up as a husky. Their response of “have fun – whatever makes you happy!” is up there with some of the most disturbing comments I have ever heard from customs officials and to be honest I’m surprised they let such a nutter on the plane. But thankfully they did. Just.
After tentatively watching proceedings for an hour or so (we particularly enjoyed the bemused reactions of the random Japanese couple who were sitting next to us) we were hugged by JagerFox and badgerguy. This was our gateway into proceedings and after they had terrorised the poor couple we decided to “come on down” (to coin a phrase from an extremely poor game show) and meet some peeps.
Mingling was then the order of the day as we headed downstairs to survey the territory. Being a wolf, I was tempted to pee on it but found that someone had already beaten me to it, having done it in the barrel of the first beer that I had. I was nervous I admit that but after a couple of Pilsner we settled into things. Yet everything was so disorientating – there were fursuiters suiting with intent, hugging all and sundry and having as good a time as we were watching them. I was too tired to get in on the action but I vowed the next day to be out in force. Or at least out in a full-body suit getting hotter than Paris Hilton/Johnny Depp* in a suana in the Dubai desert.
My first new friendship came with xaiano who taught me how to play Fluxx. What started off as a pleasant conversation between the two of us swiftly developed into a full eight-man game although I still don’t know the rules or indeed the purpose of the game to this day. Still great fun was had and many a beer was imbibed (some imbibing more than others – I’m looking in your direction Kryo :-P) as the anticipation slowly started to build. It was a relaxed start to proceedings but if Tuesday was anything to go by the rest of the confurence would be amazing.
*delete as appropriate or insert your own beau(x) of choice.
My second major friendship came through the blurry eyes of the next morning when I caught up with foxcubbold, someone I had spoken to briefly the night before. Wolfie, foxcubbold and I shared breakfast together - a sumptuous array of cold meats, cheese, bread and sminge masquerading as yoghurt. I do love continental breakfasts and it was the perfect way start to the day. None of this Kelloggs propaganda with Coco the bleeding Monkey and Frostie “these lumps of chewy sweetened cardboard taste grrrrreat” the Tiger.
Wednesday was fursuiting day but it took me until 4pm to pluck up the courage to do it. Before then we largely caught up with the UK fur contingent, sitting around the bar and drinking yet more beer. kenno_fox and Greskil were in particularly good form and I met Cerebus for the first time, which was a real pleasure. During this time Greskil also kindly drew me my first ever con-badge and indeed my first ever piece of artwork. It is something I treasure as it’s so adorably cute :-)I think I was in suit for six hours that day. In the interim we had the opening ceremony where cheetah_spotty, the chairman of Eurofurence, welcomed us to the Ringberg Hotel and declared proceedings officially open. Afterwards we all went down and had a barbeque that can only be described as a vegetarian’s nightmare. Where there were tasty looking sausages and burgers we were left with a baked potato with a bit of sminge on it and some cold salad stuff. I was very tempted to repent my vegetarianism there and then (I’m sure my stomach would have been doing some repenting of his own later in the evening had I done that mind) but stuck with it – largely because the ice-cream was so good.
As the afternoon drifted away from us kenno_fox and I were enviously looking over at the fursuiters having fun, wondering whether we should go and get changed. As 2pm drifted to 3 and then 4 we realised that this was getting stupid so (and call it Dutch courage if you will) we decided that we’d suit together for moral support. So I dragged my fursuit down to his room, we suited up and we headed out for hi-jinks and jollity. It was the best decision of the day.
I think my suit went down well. At least I hope it did. The feedback generally ranged from “woah that’s pink” to “look at that bright pink” to “that bright pink really shows well on my camera” but hey I guess I’m just a one dimensional wuff hehe. I must admit the potential reaction to the suit was one of the reasons that had initially stopped me from wearing it but I needn’t have worried. All the suiters were very supportive of each other and although I accept that my suit needs one major modification on the stripe (to make it look more continuous with the head – a little too much flesh was being revealed) I was happily embraced amidst cuddly furry arms (before being blinded by the flash of camera lenses). I felt like Pete Doherty minus the heroin (and useless girlfriend) as countless pictures were taken of me and hundreds of glomps gratefully received. The communal atmosphere was strong. It was during suiting that I met two more furs who were to become close friends of mine during the confurence – Shinsuh and Hiru. The three of us spent a lot of time messing about in suit together – particularly in the hotel foyer and car park (the car park itself was a bit dull for suiting to be honest – there was only a post box and a van to really amuse us – although the van did have an adorable picture of Holli the Fox – the mascot of the Ringberg Hotel. Apparently Holli wünscht “Guten Appetit”. So there :-P). Hours passed effortlessly and I must say that in my opinion, these were the best two suits at the con. It also helped that they belonged to two of the nicest people at the con too. At one point Wolfie got annoyed when I dommed Shinsuh in suit – making him sit, beg, play dead and roll over – but it was all in good jest.
The day ended with an hour long crash with Greskil and Cerebus where we watched Uncle Kage’s hilarious performance at a past EF on EFTV. Diary entries were promptly rewritten to ensure we wouldn’t miss his Friday evening appearance on the Main Stage – we simply had to be there. After changing out of suit we all decided to head to the campfire (well it would have been a silly idea in suit – flames and fur tend not to mix). More beer was drunk too (you’ll notice that beer was quite a strong theme throughout the weekend). Indeed the beer was going like the Crunchy Nut Corn Flakes did at breakfast time but then it was “ludicrously tasty” (and probably equally as nutty). Watching the shimmering flames in the glowing embers we tried desperately to avoid falling in to the fire by equally avoiding a drunk Frenchman. Bed for all seemed a fitting idea.
Thursday was the first full day of events and my anticipation was high - so high that my hyperactivity would have kept the Ritalin manufacturer in business for many a year to come. But in the darkest depths of an East German hotel there were no drugs only over-priced chips. So we grabbed some of those instead as we decided to forgo the €15 brunch due to the expense. The mayonnaise only made me worse.
The day had started however in suit. Not in any kinky way but I had to go and get my photo taken for my fursuit badge. Because of Wednesday’s procrastinations I didn’t get down to the photo desk in time (I was literally two minutes too late). I was told be back between 9-11am on Thursday so I went down to check at 9.30am and no one was there. This ebbed until 11 when I discovered that a late night practicing for the PawPet show meant a little delay. Not a problem and I got my badge around 11.45. It’s one of my most prized possessions.
Noon saw the opening of the Dealer’s Den and I was determined to grab some commissioned artwork. Having spoken to furs the previous two nights, they were surprised that I had commissioned a fursuit before having any artwork created – apparently most people do it the other way around. I was determined to change that and with an image in mind I approached a few artists to see what they could do. The result was two con badges (one is turning up later in the post) and a gorgeously yiffy pic of lupestripe. I would like to get the latter framed but I daren’t take it to the framing shop for obvious reasons. I also have a further three images (two of them yiff) I would like to commission too and I am glad I have met some excellent artists who may be able to do this for me. I also bought some other bits and pieces in the Den too, including a mousemat and some prints although, as is so often the way, I could have spent so much more. The only shame was the lack of good ears and tails – perhaps this could be worked on for next year – but then as these are items I am looking to purchase at the moment I am likely to notice this more.
The intention had been to go to a lot of SIGs but as with most conventions – you only get round to doing a small fraction of what you had intended. 1.30pm saw the Fursuit Gameshow – something I had been thinking of participating in myself but I hadn’t the courage to do (nor the guarantee I could even take my suit until the preceding Saturday). The games themselves would have been easy out of suit but cumbersome paws and narrowed vision make games like Jenga, Cherades and construction tasks far harder and more hilarious to perform. A big muzzles-up to all who participated – it was amongst the funniest hour and a half I have ever witnessed – particularly as the suiters were acting up and taking the piss. We were all rooting for Cerebus but he and his partner got knocked out in the semi-finals. I’m pleased to say that the cutest suits won (so beauty and brains CAN co-exist) and Aetobatus was an inspired host that grasped the show astutely and ran with it. The balloon balancing between muzzles was delightfully cute whilst the unicorns vs bunnies plush game with fursuits was so gooey it came straight from a marshmallow factory (or a government Foot and Mouth laboratory in Sussex).
I had intended to go to some of the fursuit construction SIGs but due to the Fursuit Gameshow significantly overrunning, I couldn’t. Greskil did the right thing here in missing the show to allow him to attend the SIG. Ah well. I was still having an amazing time and this gap allowed a few of us to go into town to purchase some food, a task that, due to the distance of the hotel from anywhere, took a taxi ride and a fair amount of time.
That evening saw the obligatory beer and then the Fursuit Dance, which I participated in to my fullest. It was about half an hour into this that I realised the absurdity of it all – a group of people in animal suits dancing to hardcore industrial techno in the middle of a hotel in Germany. It was bloody fantastic! It was also bloody boiling and at one point I lost all vision for about five minutes due to an influx of sweat into my eyes. During this time I just kept dancing, hoping my cumbersome 3ft tail (and that did cause a few problems – the metal bar in it almost makes it a lethal weapon for Christ’s sake) wouldn’t hit anyone. I couldn’t leave the floor as I couldn’t see where I was going so I just had to stick at it. Thankfully it sorted itself out and I was limboing, congaing and dancing with any fursuiter who cared to hold my paw. Badgerguy and I did a slow sexy dance and I got to know Devilwuff through the power of dance too – before going backstage to chat to him properly. Indeed I ended up spending most of the evening like Mary Queen of Scots – headless in the Fursuit Lounge. I learnt a lot about fursuits here – particularly from Scritch who talked to me for over an hour about suiting. Indeed that was one of the major positives of the con – the amount I learnt about the fandom – both in general and also the things in which I am personally interested. Everyone was having a good laugh (at one point we all took the piss out of the music, expecting Aqua’s Doctor Jones to come on. Ten minutes later it did and we all groaned a response. I simultaneously pretended to cry). In all honesty I do wish the music had been a little more diverse (or at least a little less techno and a little more cheese) but dancing to hard pounding beats, in fursuit, with smoke everywhere was one of the enduring experiences of the con :-)
Afterwards we all got de-suited and drank some more. I met up with some new UK furs including Pinky, Foxxtail, Sweek and Nathia - all great guys - whilst I also caught up with Redmoor, Richie and Blue amongst others. Things were starting to kick off nicely.
As the nights were getting later and later, so were the mornings. So much so that there wasn’t really a morning any more as we got slowly accustomed to getting up closer and closer to lunchtime.
After snarfling some really stinky German cheese I got suited once more and Wolfie gave my fur a jolly good comb. I had to look good y’see as 12.30pm was the time of the esteemed Fursuit Parade and as it was going to be my first I wanted to look my best. My pink fur was nicely coiffeured and my belly softly rubbed. I felt like Kate Moss in a Rimmel commercial, only with a more extreme form of hiding your face. I also looked far more attractive but I was worried that being size 34 may send the wrong impression out to the kids. But as there was to be no kids at the Parade anyway I thought meh and bounded clumsily down the hallway and into the lift for what must have been the thousandth time. And still the randomness of it all was amusing me. My tail swaying heavily against my buttocks reminding me of what I was doing and to be honest I was loving every minute. This was immense.
The behind-the-scenes wait for the Parade was less immense. Indeed torture may have been the best word for it. As the temperature inside the suit rose higher than a chav’s erection over a Christina Aguilera video a multitude of different scenarios started to infect my brain. What if the head fell off? What if I would trip over? What if I got mobbed by that evil dog out of Balto in some husky based identity fraud? The possibilities were endless.Backstage I spent my time with shep_shepherd – the one fur above all others I truly got to know at EF. We had first met back in Manchester in May but we did but we didn’t really talk to each other that much. At EF we spent a lot of time together (particularly in suit – see the scritching we did at the Fursuit Photoshoot on the Saturday) and it was great to get to know a genuinely funny guy. I also loved his suit, which I am sure I told him on numerous occasions. A genuinely great down-to-earth guy and a really good friend. And he also didn’t like the wait either – getting damper than a used teabag in a teabagger’s mouth.
Still, we were soon off to the glare of the media spotlight. I felt like the England Football Team but without the failure. As I walked closer and closer towards the door and out into the glare of publicity I was like some sort of film star, or perhaps the best in breed at Crufts. Either way, I waved, I danced, I arsed about and most importantly I didn’t fall over. Miraculously. Comments of “God that’s pink” could be audibly heard so at least I was getting a positive reaction. My confidence grew.
The slightly soggy walk through the grounds of the hotel was one of those all to brief periods in your life where you feel you are walking on air. 45 minutes of pure bliss. We explored the campus, stopped for many photos and ended up on some steps in a massive group photo. Will I do it next year? Damn right I will!
The Fursuit Parade hadn’t sapped all of my energy but I decided I couldn’t really be bothered with Fur Wants To Be A Millionaire? so I decided to just grab a beer and relax. Greskill, Kenno, Shep, Cerebus and I also swapped stories of our Fursuit Parade experiences and I realised I was lucky not to have something go slightly awry during the middle of it. It was all good-natured fun and my initial feelings of insecurity and overwhelming about being in a place with over 600 furries were dissipating with each passing minute. And with each drop of alcohol…
The tiredness didn’t stop me later in the day however when I went to my first SIG – the Writer’s Workshop. I have been interested in writing since the age of about 8 and I have always wanted to find an outlet for that creativity. I am hoping the Fandom can provide me with that outlet. I learnt many a good tip from ANTICarrot, the fur who led the seminar, and I also found out how to get more involved in the creative writing side of the Furry Fandom. I am hoping I can start to put this into practice in the next few months as seeing the vast array of talent on show at EF (not just writing but drawing, scripting, fursuit building etc) I really want to have a go myself. I guess only time will tell but if the brief creative writing exercise we did in the SIG is anything to go by I may already have a strong usable idea. I just need the confidence to take that forward. And the time.Having discussed the idea with kenno_fox the day before, Wolfie and I decided to host a small gathering to all UK furs in room 536. We managed to gather about 15 furs in total which, considering it was advertised a mere three hours beforehand, wasn’t too bad. Here we just chatted, ate nibbles, drank the obligatory beer and listened to tuneless noise that kenno_fox calls music. Only joking hun hehe. I also spent a lot of time getting to know Cerebus here – having an in-depth conversation for over an hour. He’s a fascinating guy and I really liked getting to know him.
We consulted our diaries and realised that Uncle Kage’s unique brand of comedy was going to get underway at 9pm so we cleared up and cleared out before the gig was about to start. We needn’t have worried as the Art Auction was still in progress when we entered the Main Stage arena. Indeed the Auction overran by an hour but it was fascinating to see the high quality of work on show. Some of the artists were those who had done commissions for me so it was really warming to see a pieces of their work be sold for up to €1000. It was also amazing admiring such wonderful talent – my only regret being that I did not have enough money to snap up such high quality artwork.
Uncle Kage reminds me a lot of my brother. He too is a comedian who likes to tell stories, almost to the point of monologue. They also have a similar acerbic sense of humour – a humour that is peppered with just the right amount of charm. His stories are deepened in their power by their being true and he tells them in a way that keeps you hooked. Like me, he also has a strong penchant for wine – I wonder if he’s the same when he’s sober? His forthright honesty and recognition of his friends and family makes Kage’s act unique. He is also, most importantly, extremely funny and his show felt more like twenty minutes than an hour set. It was a shame it had to end but there was no better replacement than the act which followed him.
2 “The Ranting” Gryphon had a lot to live up to but by God did he live up to it. Relying less on stories, he was a more natural comedian and like Kage you could see he really enjoyed being on stage. His take on the world was typical of that of the furry ethos and I found his performance moving, largely because it proved to me that my own outlook was also compatible with the Fandom. For the first time I felt I fit in. He was also hilarious too, and in going straight for the jugular in his rant against Furry Haters he quickly and effortlessly won the audience. He was also quite a lot bluer than Kage and this I liked, largely because I am a bit of a sick little puppy from time to time.
The final hour saw the entertainment provided by Kage, Gryphon and two members of the American Pawpet Show in an act that was different to that of the previous two hours. Of course there was more interaction on stage as there was now four furs sharing it but equally there was an introduction of props and banter which had not been seen in the previous two hours. The blowing up of condoms and bouncing them around the audience was the climax to what had been a most surreal day – with even Kage and Gryphon in disbelief at the scene they had created. The audience meanwhile loved it and they got the standing ovation that they deserved at the end of it.
The audience stumbled out of the Main Hall amidst tears of joy at a little after one o’clock – hoping to improve their sight through the consumption of delicious German alcohol (is this right? – Ed). The night was about to get even better for me however. I was sat with Wolfie and a few others, sipping a beer and minding my own business when I spied a familiar red shape out of the corner of my eye. Even though I was at a Furry Convention I did a double take – I couldn’t quite believe who was standing there – my absolute idol – YappyFox.
For a bit of background – if it hadn’t been for YappyFox I wouldn’t be a fur. It’s as simple as that. We had never met before Friday and he had no idea who I was. I knew who he was however as back in 2001 I discovered his website. This was the site through which I first discovered Furry. Back in the day I kept going back to it – I was fascinated. I couldn’t believe that such a group existed and I felt an immediate empathy with Yappy. I studied his site religiously and even to this day I still follow the fursuiting tips he wrote on his site. I know it took me five years to get the confidence to join the Fandom but it was through the power of this fox that I eventually did it.
So to see the fox standing there, in full suit, was like a dream come true for me. I was ridiculously shy and I slunk back into my chair, not knowing what to do or say. For the first time in a long time I was genuinely confuzzled. Had it not been for Wolfie I probably would have been still sat there. He said to me that either I approach him or he would do it for me. This left me little option – I had to approach him. And this I did – and gave him the biggest glomp I have ever given anybody ever. I told him how much he meant to me but to be honest I don’t know if he heard through the suit. Afterwards, like most people do when they meet their heroes, you fear you have made an arse of yourself, but equally I was on cloud nine for the rest of the night. I remember going back upstairs with Shinsuh to get suited once more and I kept bouncing up and down screaming “I can’t believe I’ve just met YappyFox – he is my hero”. I know I went a bit fanboy but it really did mean that much. Memories like that can never be erased – and I have so many similar memories from the weekend.
I woke up feeling down. I don’t know why particularly but I sometimes felt strong emotions about my lack of fitting in at EF. I don’t really know why as there was no evidence to suggest this but then my mind has always been unnecessarily harsh on me. By-the-by I was feeling sad for whatever reason and as I stared up at the ceiling I felt lost within its dulled contours.A knock at the door broke that and indeed it snapped me out of my sadness too. It was wally_wolf – a furiend of mine from the States who I knew through LJ. We had never met but I had discovered that he was at the con and I had slipped a note under his door on the Thursday asking if he wanted to meet up. We had missed each other for two days excepting random hugs in suits so it was really sweet that he came round on the Saturday morning. The only shame was that I was wearing nothing but a towel (and Wolfie had just gone in the shower) but these things were soon sorted and we settled down to have a nice chat about the American Fandom and about our respective EF experiences. He told me a lot about suiting and his experiences in the US and I must admit it only made me more determined to go out to there and sample them for myself. It was also great to finally catch up with Wally – he is a really nice down-to-earth guy and it was an absolute pleasure meeting him. I also felt we clicked and I hope one day, when I visit AnthroCon (or indeed the Eastern Seaboard), we can meet up. It is such meetings and experiences that made my EF particularly magical.
Now on a high, not even the cancellation of The Origin of the Fandom SIG could get me down. I felt I wanted to find out a little more about how the Fandom started, its ethos and the influential people behind its foundation but alas this year it wasn’t to be. Maybe next. And by-the-by it allowed us some time to buy some plushies for furs back home so all was not lost.
Before this however Wolfie, Greskil, Shaman and I had gone to the Furry Theater Improv Workshop SIG and for me this was a particular highlight of the con. Before the age of 18 I had always lacked the confidence to perform in public but now this is something I get a buzz out of doing so I thought this workshop would aid me in my aspirations. And indeed it did. We played a lot of improvisation games and learnt how to adapt to scenarios at a mere second’s notice. Being thrown off-track and having to recover quickly was challenging and great fun and I also found out that I have good ideas but sometimes I am not good at putting them into practice. We all bounced off each other really well and it was a SIG of much laughter. Many of the games were straight out of Whose Line Is It Anyway? and were games that I have always wanted to play. Particular favourites of mine were the game where you were given two random lines and you had to immediately work them into the scene in which you were performing and the game where you had to act out a scene in the style of movie genres suggested at the whim of the audience. All I can do is apologise to Wolfie and Shaman for going with World War Two movie in the middle of Germany. Sorry guys.
Next came another highlight of the con – the Fursuit Photo Shoot. The hope had been we could do this outside but the weather had taken a turn for the worse so we had to do it inside in one of the main foyers. No matter though and we all had fun frolicking about in fursuit and again playing up to the adoring public hehe. I started towards the back of the shoot but I soon migrated towards the front, scritching shep_shepherd at one point before playing with Wally’s tambourine. There was also a squeaky toy on show which I got to play with and I also tried using a spoon but being a husky it was doomed to failure :-(
The evening’s entertainment was going to be the round-off that the con deserved. The Pawpet Show: The Unlucky 13 was, without doubt, the best thing I have ever seen. This was the first time that I had ever seen the Pawpet Show and I am now hooked. It truly was amazing and pressed every button for me – from the spiritual to the sexual to the cute – it had it all. The storyline was strong, had lots of humour, sizzled and built-up perfectly and the acting was second-to-none. You could tell that everyone involved had put a lot of effort into the production and it showed. There is a reason why it got the biggest standing ovation of the whole convention – it was the best thing of the whole convention. And that was no mean feat when it is to be considered that everything else was so damn good. The emotional element of Monty’s death, the spiritual angle of pagan totemic familiars and the satirical dimension of American materialist culture all moulded into one to create a powerful anthropomorphic story that was such a rollercoaster that it was an honour just to view it. Plus they had a nod to Rammstein in the radio clips that accompanied the show – amazing! The convention ended with the Big Blue Dance but to be honest I got distracted. There was just too much randomness going on. First of all kenno_fox utilised an idea that his group had devised during a tedious 15 hour wait at Frankfurt Airport. This started the Cult of Vorderman and saw me go back to Pinky’s room to write the below slogan forty times on small bits of paper:
There are no furs
There is no outside
There is only
That being done, I left kenno_fox and Pinky to attach a slip to every door on the first floor. They also created larger A4-sized banners to stick above the lifts on the first, third and fifth floors. Little did we know what was about to be born.
Meanwhile I had gone back downstairs to grab the most disappointing cheese sandwich of my life. Dry bread, smingey salad cream and crisps smothered in prawn cocktail (useless for a veggie) meant that my €4 was not well-spent at all.
Afterwards, I again got to experience the power of sticking notes under the doors of random people, as I got talking to Hiru, first in suit, then out of it. If you hadn’t fallen asleep when you read the round-up for Wednesday – Hiru was the guy with the rainbow-haired wolf-suit that I particularly liked. He was initially shy but a really nice guy and he told me a lot about himself and also his suit. We also popped up to his room for an hour to chat further, where we also bumped into some of his friends. Having wowed them with my two words of Finnish (geetos (thank you) and gipis (cheers)), they taught me a long words beginning with “k” that I have since forgotten. I think it was a name of an old god of theirs but it can also mean “damn”. I’m not sure. Either way I spent a lot of time with the Finns last night – so much so that I increased my Finn count from zero to seven. This represents the greatest increase (percentage wise) of any nationality I met at EF. I’ve never been to Finland so I am hoping I can go and meet them sometime soon. Either way, it was nice to catch up with Hiru.
We went downstairs at around 1am to find that the Vorderman thing had exploded. Kenno was delirious. He had told Uncle Kage about it and he was now on board, as were his parents. I was greeted to people standing in the middle of the bar, shouting “VORDERMAN” and gesturing a new call-sign involving the connection of elbows. I started to sing some football terrace songs about Vorderman and everyone joined in. Kenno was still delirious. None of us could really believe it. Uncle Kage, arguably the biggest Fur in the world, came up to us and I said the only word I have ever said to him in my life – “Vorderman?”. He screamed the word “VORDERMAN” at me like we had been doing all evening, turned round and disappeared. It was one of those excellent moments. The joke ran all night.
It was at around 4am that I got my one and only Fanboy experience of the con. It came from a girl called Pinky – a sweet lady who Wolfie had spoken to during the parade after she had remarked about the pinkness of my husky suit. That pinkness was what made my suit unique – indeed I did not see one suit during the con with that colouration. Well, as befits her name, Pinky loved it and at 4am Sunday morning I finally introduced myself to her. She went insane, hugging me and saying how much she loved my suit and how happy she was to meet me. It was insane. It was also fantastic.
I had gotten to bed very late the previous night (well, okay it was closer to six in the morning) and due to the horror that is check-out, we had to be up before eleven. This meant I was still drunk when I woke up. Not good. So as I stumbled ungracefully around the room, trying to cram all my crap into an already bulging bag I couldn’t help but slightly regret the night before. Until I remembered everything that had happened and a weary yet joyful smile spread across my face. It was also the night that I felt relaxed in the Fandom – that I felt I had completely arrived. I know I shouldn’t have felt this after nine months but my self-belief does take some convincing. Saturday night did that for me J
Shinsuh kindly let us use his room to store our luggage in – that’s the danger of needing to check-out by 11am but not leaving until 5pm. I desperately needed food so once I had wrestled my fursuit box away from Kenno (thanks for letting me keep it in your room for the entire con hun, I’ll pay ya floor space or something :-P) we decided to order pizza. That was a mistake. First of all it took over an hour to come and when it did it looked like the driver had stamped all over it. He let us have the sloppy remains for half price but even despite this I still felt ripped-off. It was the worst pizza I ever had in my life. It was atrocious. The base was all thin, the topping (what little there was) was baked on and it had the miraculous affect of making me feel even worse after I had eaten it than when I did before. It sucked as when xaiano had gone there on the Friday night it looked nice. But this looked horrible. Add to this the poor milkshake I had from the bar and it was a disaster really. Nevermind.
At the bar the waiter looked at me perplexed. He clearly remembered the night before. "What is this Vorderman of which you speak?" he inquired. I told him abour Carol Vorderman - the erstwhile tolerater of Richard Whiteley's God-awful puns. He still looked bemused. "I looked on the Internet last night and saw Vorderman" he said, quite pleased himself. "Why Vorderman?". I tried to explain the concept of six young lads bored at an airport, one thing leads to another and instead of yiff they come up with a cult. He didn't understand. I tried again. He still didn't understand. I gave up. He smiled. I took my shitty milkshake.
We (me and some furs, not me and the waiter) spent the next five hours talking. It was great talking to people about their general con experiences, what they thought and whether they would do another con sometime. The consensus was yes they would and we all can’t wait for EF14 to come around. In the meantime however we have ConFuzzled (I’m so glad I’m going) and when I got back last night I immediately booked and paid for a place at RBW in December - EF was that good. If I had the money I would go to Further Confusion in California in January but alas I don’t think I can this year. That’s definitely one for 2009.
Amidst our talks we also swapped email addresses and contact details and pledged we would speak to each other in the very near future. As I have said, it was a great week for making friends – friends from across the UK, Europe and even the World. It was sad leaving at 5pm, just like it was sad saying goodbye to those who had to leave earlier than we did. But the friendships formed at EF will carry us through to EF14 and beyond.
And it is that, above everything, that proves that Uncle Kage is right. Furs do care about each other.