Saturday, April 13, 2013

In which an old dog learns new tricks...

Today I did something I had never done before: I went to an anime and manga convention - Doj Con, held at the student union in the University of Dundee. My daughter is a great fan of anime and manga but she is not quite old enough to be allowed to attend on her own - anyone aged 14 or under has to be accompanied by a responsible adult (that would be me). We also took along my daughter's friend, who was brave enough to attend in cosplay costume (ie. dressed up as an anime/manga character, in this case "L" from Death Note). I'm not quite as obsessed with the whole scene as the two of them, but you can't live in the same house as a manga fan without getting infected with it in the end. (My personal favourite is Black Butler - the drawings are simply beautiful and the storyline wonderfully gothic.) 


Doj Con was brilliant fun - very busy indeed (getting around the lower floor where the stalls were located required my best Aldi-on-special-offer-day elbows) and extremely friendly. I guess the life of a manga otaku is a bit lonely when 90% of the kids at school are into other stuff, and my daughter and her friend were simply thrilled to find themselves amongst like-minded people. They spent a lot of time suddenly pointing and squealing, "Look, it's Grell!" etc and the rest of it blowing months of carefully hoarded pocket money on posters, badges, DVDs and mugs. The day was proclaimed "awesome" on all sides. 


For me, the day was interesting for other reasons. It was wonderful to see the girls realising how glorious it is to get together with other enthusiasts, whether it is manga you are into, or rock-climbing, or gothic churches, or world music. The other thing was that nearly everyone was very, very much younger than I was. There was a smattering of other "responsible adults" but the majority were university students or their peers. Whilst we were standing in the (very long) queue to go in, we got chatting with a girl standing behind us, who was saying that, long though it was, this was not the longest queue she had ever been in. I said the longest queue I had ever been in was for the Tutankhamun exhibition in London in 1972. This remark got a blank (though not unfriendly) look in return. I guess the 1970s are such a long time ago (especially if you were born in the 1990s) that they are right off the radar. I might as well have said I remembered the queue to see Lenin lying in state in 1924. I suddenly felt old - but actually, not in a bad way. I thought, gosh, I can remember stuff from forty years ago. That is a long, long time. Think of all the stuff I have survived! And the stuff I have done! Although I'm not all that thrilled about getting wrinklier, I wouldn't go back to being 20 if it meant wiping the slate clean of all that. This thought was remarkably cheering. I hope I shall end up being a very jolly old lady of 95 and not one of those ones who grumbles about whippersnappers.

Anyway, although I didn't come home with quite as much plunder as the girls did, I did allow myself one small souvenir of Doj Con. I bought myself a badge. One of the disadvantages of being an old and *cough* wise person is that I cannot see things very well at close range without my reading glasses, so I had to choose this one without being able to see it properly at all! But I think it's rather lovely. 







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