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The Waffle - Thought Bubble 2022 special

It's been a long time since we had a Wednesday Waffle, and it isn't Wednesday in any case. The Waffle died because we didn't have enough to say, and what we did have to say went into the Geeking Show on Harrogate Community Radio and a podcast feed near you.

Outside Thought Bubble on Saturday Morning
Outside Thought Bubble on Saturday Morning

And though Thought Bubble will be a major part of this week's Geeking show, I'm currently sitting at my dining room table, late on a Sunday night still floating on a fluffy cloud of Thought Bubble joy and I feel the need to share it all while it is still fresh in my mind.


It's a running joke amongst the amazing people who make up "Team Desties" that since taking over the shop in 2016 I have been perennially unprepared for Thought Bubble. This year was no exception. Hopefully nobody noticed, but there were a lot of things I had intended to do for the Convention Weekend that I simply didn't have time to get done. Hopefully next year.

Regie with the set up table two minutes before the doors opened on Saturday
Regie with the set up table two minutes before the doors opened on Saturday

But we got there, and we had an amazing weekend, because we always do, because Thought Bubble is special. In terms of sales, just to get the grubby finances out of the way, this has once again been our best weekend of the year - helped in part by the generosity of writer Paul Cornell, who got a big chunk of the stock for his table from us and refused to take a cut of the profits. But Thought Bubble isn't really about making money. It's about making (and meeting) friends, finding new work and generally revelling in the glory of comics.


And we did that in spades.


So where do we start?


Well, we'll start with thanks. Hugely grateful to Steve "Geek Pub Quiz" Dempster, who gave up a massive chunk of his Saturday to help staff our table, and to Alice "From the Shop" Murphy who did the same on Sunday. Then there were the organisers, the exhibitors, the security, the attendees and the Redshirts.


Especially the Redshirts. It's always struck us as odd that an event that is so much a part of geek culture would name its valued and much loved volunteer army of ultra helpful people after the blokes in Star Trek with the most limited life expectancy, but then again red is a colour that makes them easy to identify in the hall so we get the practicality of it.


It's hard to explain how wonderful the Redshirts are, but they really are the beating heart of Thought Bubble. A friendly, tight knit team of people who are giving up their weekend so that we can enjoy ours even more the Redshirts spend their weekend fetching coffee and food for people who can't get away from their table, making sure panel guests get to their panels on time, giving people directions, clearing up litter or a thousand other things that make the event run seamlessly. It would be a different, and less enjoyable event without them. They are the absolute best.


But then that is true of everyone at Thought Bubble. In a conversation with somebody during the weekend we decided that once you are inside Thought Bubble, you are in the safest and most accepting of safe spaces. However you choose to dress. However you identify. Whatever your creed, ethnicity, gender, lack of gender, level of physical ability or state of mental health. Everyone is welcome at Thought Bubble, and everyone is free to be exactly who they are.


It's genuinely refreshing.


Then there is the intense creativity that pervades the atmosphere like a rich perfume. There are so many artists, print makers, writers, designers, t-shirt printers and all round auteurs in such a small space it begins to rub off - and with the creativity comes positivity. We simply refuse to believe that it is possible to be miserable at Thought Bubble.


And of course everyone is accessible. There are many "Rock Star" comics creators who come to Thought Bubble. Many wear badges proclaiming them to be "VIP". But none of them act like it. We've never met a Thought Bubble guest who was stand offish or self important. This year we spoke to Gail "Batgirl writer" Simone. G. Willow "I created Ms Marvel" Wilson", James "One of the hottest writers in the World" Tynion, Ram "Possibly even hotter than James Tynion" V and many others. All are rock stars to us. All were friendly, keen to engage and happy to discuss their work.