Eroticon 2012 – Part 1 – Bristol, Hotels, and Apprehension

I found out about Eroticon 2012 via twitter. Of course, really, where else does one get information from these days? 😉 Rudy Kiddell posted that she was going to run a sex bloggers and erotica writers conference in March 2012 in Bristol, and almost on a whim, I bought a ticket. Almost, because it was going to be on the same weekend as the Inter-Varsity Folk Dancing Festival, which I had gone to in 2011 and enjoyed. Ironically, that was held in Bristol where Eroticon took place. Ultimately I thought I’d choose the new over the familiar (though Aberdeen did sound like fun), and also it seemed a good place to go and see if this really was a world I was happy to be part of. Online interactions are one thing, but meeting people in real life, having face to face conversations, gives everything a weight that the every-changing internet lacks.

So ticket bought, train tickets sorted, and a hotel booked, I waited for the day. Or rather, days – Bristol is a small trek from Cambridge. Left on Friday morning, and got to the Washington Hotel in the early afternoon. Have to say, I liked the hotel. Communal bathroom for the cheaper rated room, but it was a good size, clean, and a comfortable bed. What’s more, they gave you a bowl of fruit, and not just a kettle and instant coffee and tea bags, but a plunger and coffee granules and loose leaf tea. A little pot of powered hot chocolate too. They also added a 20% discount card for Racks, the pub kitchen only metres up the road, and internet was 4 pounds for 40 hours (they say 24 hours, but there was definitely more), and that was by usage, rather than 40 continuous hours. Cooked breakfast on both days with variety if so desired (me? I had the full English both days, only varying the egg from poached on Saturday to fried on Sunday), with lots of continental options too. The staff where all very nice – helpful receptionists and wait staff keen to be sure you were enjoying breakfast without being obtrusive (though I did almost have my plate snatched away while fork was still in hand for the last bite one morning, more amusing than annoying though. 😉 )

Spent the afternoon in the room and got a few things done. I commented on twitter and Facebook I seemed to be far more productive in hotel rooms than I am at home – it says something about the many associated distractions that home brings. Were I rolling in cash I would definitely invest in office space and be as minimalist as possible about it – already the clutter that sits about me is embarrassing enough.

At Racks I had such a tasty pot of Cornish mussels, steamed with white wine and shallots, in a garlic and parsley cream sauce. So very tasty. One pub goer, on passing my table as he left, looked between the pot and the discarded shells and me and said while shaking his head ‘a whole kilo,’ not sure if he was impressed or amused. I perhaps made a small error in diving in and drinking down the rest of the sauce (I didn’t hold the bowl up though, I showed enough restraint and used a spoon – tempting as it was to do otherwise!) Error, I say, as I was so engorged with liquid I practically rolled back to the hotel room and had to lie down for a while to recover. So worth it though, so worth it.

I also took this daggy little photo as I realised the mussel shell looks like a love heart when opened up…

Mussel shell on bread in shape of a love heart, white wine behind it

So that was Friday. I slept well, woke up with the alarm Saturday morning, and got myself ready. It was a 20 minute walk to Armada House, though all down hill, and after finding myself in an alleyway behind the Radisson Blu, thinking that I may have taken a very wrong turn indeed, the entrance way to the venue appeared to my right…

I have to admit, I was excited and intrigued, but I was also apprehensive. The ever-present question of ‘will I fit in?’ The fear of being social inept. Will I be disappointed, with the experience and/or with myself? How will meeting people I’ve only been aware of as online entities feel like – strange, awkward? I questioned more than once if I would really have a place there, and if that was the case, would I ever really have a place within erotica?

Find out how it all went in the next part (spoilers – happy ending!)