These write-ups where I lay out my potential plans for the coming year are perhaps more for me than anyone else but I also like to think anyone who cares enough to read this can maybe learn something about me or even be a little inspired too.
Honestly, 2021 was a better year than previous. Sure, it may not have been “perfect” or “back to normal” but it definitely was a step up… at least in my part of the world and up until shit hit the fan again toward the end.
I didn’t get to do my usual “end of year rant” or “year in review” mainly because I didn’t set aside enough time to work on them but also I didn’t do any sort of “thoughtful” writing during 2021. I stuck with the reviews because they were easy to knock out and also because that’s where my head was mostly at, it was mostly about the media I’ve been consuming.
Despite all the goals I set for myself, my focus did narrow quite a bit, pruning the ideas and plans that just weren’t taking root. Not quite like 2020 though because I did get to continue and achieve a few things I had on my list, but the list is still unfinished. A lot of that had to do with the shitshow that is the pandemic and some of that was more closer to home.
Sadly, I haven’t been working on any new cosplays primarily because I haven’t had the space to work on such. I’ve built things (mainly display cabinets and an arcade lightbox) but my type of cosplays tend to require more room to lay my shit out and that’s just not happening inside my house. Slowly, but surely, I’ve been decluttering and reorganising my living spaces in the hopes I can resolve that as well as freshen my head space too.
Another ongoing problem over the previous 12 months is my weight. I actually became less active in 2021 despite the lack of lengthy lockdown in my part of the country. For a little while there things were on track, then they stalled, and then I just fell off the wagon for various reasons that mainly involve being lethargic.
Now there are two things to keep in mind about this: I’m probably one of the first to tell other people to not let their weight or physical appearance hinder the hobby so it does feel hypocritical of me to hit this wall for myself (in all fairness there are a few future projects that don’t require me to be smaller than I am now). Also people have this urge to shit on other’s goals and resolutions especially when it comes to health and fitness but if the overused “new year, new me” sentiment is going to help someone get a start then why be cynical about it? I’m getting older and I’m starting to feel it so I need to work on my health anyway.
Future plans have remained as they were previously, only minor progress from 2019 (because I ended up buying it). I hope to tick off a few more of these in 2022.
The lack of geeky conventions in Adelaide may have meant fewer public opportunities to cosplay but I’ve had a couple of moments to do so anyways.
Although I do miss cosplay and making cosplays, I never really missed conventions in the same manner so many other people express. Sure, I always look forward to these events, I almost always enjoy them but I’ve never relied on them to fulfil anything inside of me. Some of that has to do with the fact that I had other events that occupied my time such as the Mega Toy Fair and the Adelaide Comic & Toy Fair (there was also AnimeGO! but that wasn’t a convention per se and more a cultural festival). But also I never relied on conventions in any major capacity. I don’t need cons to show off my cosplays as I have social media to do that (and it’s not about showing them off anyway for me), I don’t require these events to meet up with mates because we do that anyway without the need of an excuse.
Two months ago I was a lot more confident about 2022 and the potential for the return of big conventions but the last few weeks have been botched so badly by every narrow-thinking government and politician that we’re not just up shit creek, we’ve capsized trying to stay afloat in this quagmire. However, let’s at least TRY to see where things might turn for the better…?
Return of Oz Comic-Con
When Oz Comic-Con was first announced as bought by another company, I was rather cautious. Sure they were a long-standing and experienced events company but nerds (to our very own detriment) can be fickle little shits and difficult to please sometimes and I was worried that a group better known for arts and crafts fairs may struggle to adjust.
Aside from one infamous hiccup, I’ve seen some positive strides over the last 12 months with the relaunched Oz Comic-Con. The new owners haven’t simply assumed that they know better, they’ve actually brought on folks who not only worked at such events but also those who used to work for former owners, ReedPOP. Of course it’s been a struggle with the pandemic but from what I’ve seen and heard first hand OzCC is in good hands.
There is a tiny twinge of worry as of late because their return to Adelaide is (for now) February 19, so very soon after shit has hit the fan again around the country. Ignoring that for a moment, that weekend is actually the start of the Adelaide Fringe Festival, which actually gives me something to be positive about because that time of year in Adelaide is full of a great and awesome energy that I always love leading into “Mad March” (some think it will detract from the event but consider for a moment how many people will be here for the Fringe anyway and may potentially stop into the con too because they also have money to spend at the same time).
I’m very much looking forward to getting back to OzCC, and only being next month doesn’t give me too much time to prepare.
Keeping AVCon afloat
It’s been unfortunate watching a local event such as AVCon struggle to find a footing in the last two years due to the pandemic, especially considering back in late 2019 it was revealed to me that things had gotten to such a point financially that “one more bad show” would spell the end of the festival, which was then publicly confirmed a few months later. From the outside it looks as though it’s still running on pure fumes and trying its hardest to do something in order to stay afloat.
And that’s mainly the reason I’ve not been vocal about anything I may have had issue with these last 18 or so months. I’m often seen as highly-critical of the event when in reality I’m observant. However, nothing I can add to the conversation would have overcome anything the pandemic has thrown at them.
Of course, I’m leaving a lot to when I do expand my thoughts on events, all events, a little later but for now I’m both curious and concerned about the implications of “mini-events” that are being planned for 2022.
Get fucked, Supanova
They certainly fucked up in 2021.
Supanova are not new to courting controversy (actually none of these events have been… one day I’ll take about “The Black List”) but in previous years there was usually an effort to course correct and make amends for each time they stepped in the shit. This time was one time too many.
I didn’t address this back in July because I wasn’t in the head space for a tirade (I will be very soon) but in the broad strokes: Supanova’s owner has been given so many chances over the last decade (more so than I was initially aware of) to change and be better. With each stumble followed by promises to do better and people coming in (people who are the targets of the associated bigotry from the owner) to try and make the event a more inclusive space, it seems there’s a moment where certain people become too complacent. Even I was finally getting comfortable with the event again in recent years as it was the only consistently good show.
Regardless of the token effort organisers have taken to resolve this recent clusterfuck, it’s far too little and far too weak sauce to let go by. Supanova can do so much more to correct what it has done but in the meantime, I’ve crossed this one off my to-do list for the foreseeable future.
The traditional convention is not the only way to indulge or let your geek flag fly, there are other occasions for that too.
Free Comic Book Day
Usually the first Saturday of May (last year it was moved to August for obvious reasons) I’ve missed out or deliberately given it a miss these last couple of years. It’s never been a huge, proper event in our part of the world as each comic book store does their own thing but in the past I’ve had fun hanging out either in cosplay or taking photos in the city of all the fun and geekiness. I’m hoping, restrictions permitting, to do that again this year.
My collecting has really spiralled these last few years and of course the various toy fairs have become signposts on my calendar.
This Is Not a Toy Scene
So after his show was cancelled last year due to COVID, my mate at Cube Boy Collectables is back on the horse and will be showcasing his unique and quirky figurines at the Adelaide Fringe along with other independent designers.
Other than boozing it up in the Gardens, I don’t often partake in Fringe activities and shows so this should be a cool exhibition to check out.
Mega Toy Fair
2021 saw the return of the Mega Toy Fair, which has been running for nearly three decades and despite the smaller space and fewer sellers (due to restrictions on interstate travel) it was still a great weekend of bargains and awesome pick ups and I look forward to it again this year.
Adelaide Comic & Toy Fair
Held twice a year (April and October) this is the younger slightly more fun and hip cousin to the Mega Toy Fair. It’s also the only show I set up shop at each year and always have so much fun doing so.
Although the focus is on the toys, this one is a little more cosplay-friendly even if there isn’t anything that specifically caters to such but still it’s worth a looksee even if you aren’t interested in the awesome stuff available to buy.
Hoping to do it again this year and in cosplay again too!
As I said previously, AnimeGo! Isn’t necessarily a huge geeky event but instead more of a niche cultural festival, which is much more suited to the “weebs” out there. And even though I don’t describe myself as such, I do have a fun arvo there.
There are probably a few events I’m forgetting in my heat exhausted state but this is at least a good base to launch off of.
Content is King
I am a lot more active on INSTAGRAM these last few years than I am on my Facebook so if you could see fit to head over there to keep up to date with my nonsense that would be great.
I also have a TIKTOK now too although honestly, most of it is just the same as the REELS I post to my Insta.
And of course there’s my YOUTUBE channel where I continue to make videos about various nerdy things. If you could head over there and subscribe to that too I would really appreciate it because I do intend to grow that part of what I do more and more.
It’s been a while since I’ve done anything strictly cosplay-related on that channel but I do have something coming up very soon.
I’m also a lot more active on TWITTER but I’m mostly shitposting and I’m slightly more political on there.
As for this very blog, I will continue to share my video links here as well as my various reviews on the media I’m consuming (definitely more mini-reviews as I get bored and stream stuff). Also, I think it’s time to return to the more thoughtful opinion-pieces and analysis that I used to do about the issues in the geek community. As I said, I haven’t been in the head space for those but I think its time I tackle a few important matters again.
As I type this I’m still recovering from heat exhaustion from over the New Year weekend so I may have missed a few more things on the calendar as well as other ideas I have on my to-do list (some I’m deliberately keeping to myself for now).
In the meantime, I’m under no illusions that 2022 will instantly become a better or more “normal” year. Ironically, there is no “normality” when conservatives are in charge and conspiracy-theorists continue to throw tantrums like children in a supermarket. But I like being hopeful and optimistic, and if not that I like having plans ahead of time and things to look forward to. I don’t rely on these external things I simply appreciate being prepared.
What I rely on more and have been doing all this time is expressing myself through making. Now that doesn’t have to be building anything, it can also mean just putting something out there in the world that allows me to share the shit I like. That’s what feeds my soul: that expression as well as the potential to connect through said expression. That’s what a lot of people get out of conventions but that doesn’t always have to happen in that exact manner, which is where people get confused. It’s transferrable.
And my hopes and plans to make, to create are not born from an urge to be “productive”. Again, it’s all about the expression and sharing what I enjoy out there in the aether. If it connects with someone that’s great. If it influences people that’s fantastic. If it leaves some sort of mark after I’m gone that’s special.
It’s difficult to encourage others to hustle when you yourself are still just able to survive, whether it be physically , mentally, financially, whatever. These two years have been tough and I’m glad I’m still here.
If you enjoyed this word spew or if you would like to help out then you can contribute to my tip jar at ko-fi.com/oldtrenchy.