I have just returned with mixed emotions from the London Small Press Expo, a new event held at Goldsmiths College in our glittering capital.
Firstly, thank you to everyone who came down to see me! It is always a pleasure to meet people who enjoy my work, or who just take an interest in my varied luxury items on the day.
LSPE has in effect replaced the now-defunct, bizarrely named UK Web And Mini Comix Thing, an odd event at Queen Mary University that drew a large crowd every year but had begun to show signs of fatigue. Hopes were high that it would correct some of the faults of that event.
The venue (Goldsmiths' art deco Great Hall) was certainly far nicer, and the organisation on the day far superior. So it was disappointing that, with the doors opening at 10am, I didn't make my first sale until 90 minutes later. There were almost no punters for the first half of the show.
The situation began to improve after two o'clock, but this was in stark contrast to the Thing, where there tended to be a steady stream of people throughout the day. It was difficult to tell whether this was down to a lack of promotion, a poorly signposted, difficult to find venue, "New Cross fear", transportation difficulties or simply an ever-increasing number of similar events in the capital and further afield.
It may just have been the fault of the show's poorly-designed website, which featured ample information but made it very hard to dig out. I would be interested to hear people's opinions.
For all my reservations, it was hard to feel that the event cannot return, lessons learned, stronger next year. I still believe that there is a gap in the calendar for an alternative comics event in the UK (in the vein of Mocca or SPX) that draws talent by reputation rather than proximity. Rightly or wrongly, London is probably the place for that. But I'm still waiting.