Saturday, 6 September 2014

BUCK report: Saturday

(L) Welcome sign outside; (R) Those pony convention essentials, cider and muffin!
At long last, I have time to post this!  Saturday dawned chilly (especially for August) and rather drizzly, which was a bit of a pain. I got the train into Manchester and walked the few hundred yards to Manchester Central at almost spot-on nine o'clock. Registration was already in full swing, so despite having to wait for the priority-ticket holders to be processed, I wasn't really in the queue for very long. I noticed one or two friends, which made a change from last year and settled my nerves a bit.

Once inside, there was a bit of a wait until the opening ceremony at 10.00, so (like most people) I busied myself with talking to friends, browsing the merch stalls and wrestling the venue's free wifi into submission. I felt immediately at home this year, which was lovely: in fact, every time I walked through that front door all weekend, there was a feeling of "Yes, I belong here." The atmosphere was wonderful: busy and cheerful, but without the crush and overheating of BUCK 2013.

The opening ceremony passed off without much incident, so after a few minutes' more shopping (and some My Little Karaoke, naturally) I headed off to one of the side rooms for the "Word Crimes" Fanfic panel. This was well attended and had an interesting line-up, headed by FIMFiction top man Knighty and prominent author (and occasional Worcester meet attendee!) Blueshift. The hour passed by very quickly, and other than maybe giving the panellists a dais so we could actually see them, I don't think I'd have changed a thing.

(L) Button Mashes karaoke-ing "Don't Mine at Night"; (R) Fursuiters and, er, Space Marine
Next up was the first of the VIP panels, from G. M. Berrow on "The Magic of Creativity". After a slightly shaky start (she told us she was a Powerpoint novice, and it showed!) she gave a really interesting presentation on how she approached writing the successful MLP chapter books. For example, the very first one (Twilight's) was written in a deliberately more juvenile way than those that came afterwards, and she uses a three-act format to mimic the show's own episodes.

It was about 1.30 by the time Berrow's panel finished, and Manc Central's catering options were... limited (though they had a superb range of muffins!) so I linked up with Hawthorn (who some of you will know via furry) to get some food. Well, the nearby McDonald's, anyway, where we gorged on Big Mac meals, in my case making Twilight's table manners look good. The place was packed with bronies, and we got into a very interesting chat with a Hungarian guy who had some trenchant opinions on just about everything!

Back at Manc Central, it was charity auction time! You know how these things go, I'm sure, though having Mic the Microphone on MC duties may not have been the best idea given that he has (by his own admission) terrible eyesight! I bid on a couple of items but didn't win any: a nice Flutterbat print started at £20... then someone shouted out "£300!" and every single other person folded! Still, it was good fun all round and we raised over £11,000 for JDRF. Top item: a custom Chrysalis plushie, £1,100.

(L) Mic the Microphone at the charity auction; (R) G. M. Berrow's autograph
Then it was autograph time! I got into the queue 45 minutes early, and had to listen to a rather boring argument about Scottish independence between fellow waiters a few feet away, but hey ho. The actual signing session was extremely well organised, with all three VIPs (the others being Dave Polsky and Heather Breckel) doing their stuff in one big room. £10 per signing, and I had Berrow sign my copy of Rarity and the Curious Case of Charity, which she did with a lovely message (see photo above).

Having got that done quickly, I did catch the last part of the cosplay competition, and then (for some utterly insane reason) Bridle Timeout, VCGriffin and I decided to have a bit of an impromptu public singalong. We picked up a couple of others during our dodgy performances, at least one of whom joined the UK of E forums as a result, so it can't have been all bad! Actually, it was a huge amount of fun, and something else that I would never have done in most circumstances.

Finally, there was the Lunar Eclipse concert. This wasn't as much to my taste as 2013's iteration, with more hardcore noise (Davhors!, JackTHerbert, Teithepony and Cavi) and less orchestral and vocal stuff. Even so, I was very glad to be there for a brilliant set from RainbowCrash88 that rocked the whole venue. By a bit after nine, it was a repeat of Friday night, ie I'd stopped understanding the music, so it was time to get back to Bolton. Once again, Northern Rail were hopeless, but I made it in the end.

(L) Guiding Breeze cosplaying as Daring Do; (R) Adorable sleepy Flutterplush


  1. I haven't found a video of us singing yet :P
    But here is one of 'Button Mash'!

    1. Possibly those videos have been buried in the desert somewhere? ;)

      Thanks for the Button link, though!