Fantasy Basel: Notes on a Con

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A few of us- by LaNotte.ch

I went to my first ever convention this month (though it won’t be the last). The Wasteland Warriors were booked at Fantasy Basel– the Swiss Comic Con- and as usual I spent the night in the airport sewing things before flying at the crack of dawn and dragging my zombified sleepless self across the city.
I had a day to look around and go monster spotting (yes, really) and spent the next three days in the convention centre. As I spent much of the time striking scary poses, hefting a large axe and sitting on cars, I got to meet and get photos with a lot of very inspirational people… as well as completely geek out! There is a difference between working at an event and attending as a guest but we did all get some time to look around on our own so I took the time to explore. 😀

Here are some things you must do at your first convention:

1) Bring plenty of water.
I asked a friend who is a convention veteran in case there was something I may have missed. As we were well taken care of, this hadn’t occurred to me but food and water tends to be overpriced so make sure you bring a bottle you can refill. A few snacks are always a good idea in case the lines are long- and extra cash because you’ll definitely find something you absolutely definitely NEED.

2) Pick up a programme
There is SO much to see and do- especially at the bigger cons. You are definitely going to miss something but have a look through the schedule and highlight anything you really really want to see and do. Bear in mind that megafans at the huge cons will get in line hours in advance. Luckily for me, Fantasy Basel was busy but not uncomfortably crowded so I got to do the one thing I had planned on (get John Howe’s autograph again).
Leave time to explore as you’ll find something you didn’t expect. My advice here is the same as in this post: take time to let adventures happen.
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This was taken quite close to closing time- it was packed for most of the weekend!

3) Peoplewatch! 
The first few hours seem to move at breakneck pace as everyone’s rushing in like kids in a geeky sweet shop. The weekend days are usually more relaxed but much busier. Find yourself a spot and a drink, and just watch for a bit. You’ll see sooooo many costumes- even if you dont know the characters, the artistry and effort that goes into creating some of the best costumes is incredible. That said, I’ve noticed a wonderful trend for seriously goddawful costumes. I found what I thought was a Ninja Turtle outfit made of marker pen, sellotape and cardboard but I have been reliably informed that it was actually Bowser from Super Mario. 😛 Sadly my phone battery died and I didn’t get the chance to photograph Bowser. If any of you have photographs, please send them my way! <3
How often do you get to see a guy in a unicorn suit made of balloons, walking around with a shark??!
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4) Talk to someone
I know geek culture is generally very inclusive and accepting but I was really excited to see for myself the range of people walking past- people of many ethnicities, young to old and different levels of mobility (for which there were flat floors and huge lifts to each floor). It’s a very friendly environment and in general if you’re admiring an outfit or simply want to ask what character somebody is playing, go for it.

I kept seeing this gorgeous faun couple walking around but as I was sitting on a car, I couldn’t jump off and chase after them but as I was hanging out at one of the photobooths, there they were! So I ran up for a chat. The costumes/characters are their own design and there was just so much detail!

Here they are! <3
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These are the tops of their staffs!
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5) Fall in love
It doesn’t have to be romantic love but if (like my wise friend from Tip 1), you happen to meet a guy at a con and still be together three years later, go for it. 😛
Otherwise, embrace your friend-crushes or outfit-crushes! I met some amazing artists and inspiring people- including Star Lord (who nervously sat through my friend’s angry German rant at his character… before asking if she spoke English, after which she repeated the whole rant in English), the awesome Pirates of the Caribbean cosplay team (who were very friendly and stayed to hang out for a bit), the charming Snow White (Angie Cupcake- I accidentally deleted the picture I got! If you have one, I’ll post it), the very welcome new Wasteland Warriors cage fighters/wrestlers (who performed amazingly, multiple times!), the total legend who dressed as Molly Weasley (including THAT knitted jumper. I saw you. 😀 ) and Barbara, who talked to me about art and inspiration- and showed me her dragons.
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@taniadeandrade @captainblack_sparrow and who is the second Jack??

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Wasteland Warrior Cheshire and @johann_haas

6) Try something new
Cons are more than just a sea of people in costume and a hundred selfie sticks- as I found out! I expected actors and cult celebrities, comics and weapons for sale. I didn’t expect interesting food stalls, interactive exhibits and artists more than willing to draw you if you stood still long enough. Though we had our own ominous music, the sound of the arcade-style dancing games nearby still filtered through and I wish I’d dragged some friends over and had a go!

Trying something you’ve never done before is a mini-adventure, so find something that looks like fun.
Like this!!! My friend Cheshire (who MADE the awesome metal axe) found this 3D photo booth… so we had to get pictures. 😀

There were so many booths teaching skills and activities (like Quidditch team recruitment and martial arts), lots of beautiful food- especially Japanese- it should have occurred to me that a huge manga/anime fandom might also like Japanese food but it didn’t so finding the stall was a nice surprise! We had 3D photos taken and kept returning to the booth opposite ours for more photos- which got sillier and sillier. ;P
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7) Geek out
No matter how geeky you are, there will always be somebody whose geek factor tops yours. Embrace it!
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After we got this photo, one of the Swiss Ghostbusters team undid his overall to reveal a Jurassic Park t-shirt.

Talking of t-shirts… this one (belonging to @flossennacht) rocks! 
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I kept coming back for the perfect photo of the Xenomorph which had been borrowed from the HR Giger museum- because how often do you get to meet a Xenomorph?!
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And the best of the best? I met John Howe for the second time. He’s the concept artist for Lord of the Rings and I got a book signed years ago (possibly a decade) and then when he came to visit the Wasteland Warriors booth, he recognised me!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I’m still internally squee-ing.
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I actually have too many photos to post here so I’ve added a few extra highlights below and an extra video is coming to my Instagram!

Thankyou so, so much to all the lovely people I got to meet and spend time with. Holiday is over- back to climbing around abandoned buildings! 😉

Faith x

A few more highlights:
 
– The people who already follow me/the Wasteland Warriors and came to say hello! Especially Enie Alice (left- dressed as Corrupted Ysera from World of Warcraft) and Luxia Cosplay (right- dressed as Effie Trinket from The Hunger Games) <3
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– All the crazy characters I got to hang out with- exchanging life stories in just a few seconds!
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– Hearing sentences like “I just sang ‘Take On Me’ with Darth Vader”

p.s. preview image is by Micha Beckers

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