Valentine’s Day, which means only one thing. Half my friends are on the other side of the world at the Gallifrey One Doctor Who convention. And I’m not.
Why not? It’s a question of logistics, tethering together a sufficient number of wild horses to drag me there, basically. I can think of nowhere else I’d rather not be.
My friends adore it. They look forward to the event with anticipation, have a great time with friends old and new, and come away with a renewed sense of joie de vivre. Good for them. It wouldn’t work for me. I’m a miserable git and would spend the whole weekend ensconced within a cloud of my own gloom.
I used to go to conventions in the early 90s. Although I must’ve enjoyed them, what I remember most of all is that they were largely passive experiences. As an attendee, you’d sit and watch interviews, videos, queue for autographs. There wasn’t really a sense of community, of people having fun. Though, in retrospect, I see that was due to my cloud of gloom.
I appreciate that the Gallifrey Ones aren’t like that. They’re not about herding ridiculously large numbers of nerds into vast soulless hotel rooms so they can hear John Levene opining about the UNIT family. They’re about discussions, panels, the to-and-fro of ideas. I can’t help feeling Americans do conventions better – they, after all, invented them – and that the UK ones missed the point somewhere along the way.
I understand why my writer friends go. It’s nice to pretend to be famous for a weekend – I’ve done signings, I’ve had my ego inflated, count me in – but for all the time Gallifrey One’s been running, almost every Valentine’s Day has coincided with me having a girlfriend. That’s the real reason.