And it was bloody great.
Let's start at the beginning. It is Sunday, the Day of Days, the dawn of Games Day UK 2012. Imagine, gentle reader, that you're standing in the foyer of the internationally famous and renowned* Hilton Metropole NEC after a boozy night and a great dinner with the BL staffers. Lo, The Writers begin to congregate. That's right, The Writers. Capital "T", capital "Writers". Up they shamble to join the walking bus over to the convention centre.
And who was first?
"HI DAN ABNETT"
Aaron? Really? First up? REALLY? I know I'm a clean living soul these days, up with the larks and fresh as a daisy dipped in prometheum, but I never thought ADB would be the first shambler to join me. Anyway, Aaron held forth while I took this photo of him in the hotel lobby, but he shut up when...
Get your hands off my woman, motherfether.
... Nik joined him. Then came...
Never ask the man on the right about bounty hunting. Or the arms trade.
Unless you want to hear Seriously Amazing Stories.
... our favourite demented cherub, Mr Joshua Reynolds, closely followed by...
Mr Swallow was amazingly good humoured despite losing
two fingers in a freak "sliding door" accident earlier that day.
... Jim Swallow, who was in charge of the bus, because he and only he knew where the convention centre ACTUALLY WAS in relation to us and the internationally famous and renowned** Hilton Metropole NEC. Then it only remained for us all to await the arrival of...
ADB: "Keep laughing and Graham won't hurt us!"
GM: "That's what you think."
...Graham McNeill, because who does anything or goes anywhere on GamesDay without the Mighty McNeill himself? That's right... no one!
Only minutes later, rain drenched and weary, we arrived at the NEC. Ah, my brethren. My comrades, my Fellow Writers, those who stood with me in the rain at Scrotal Gate and the Field Of Shite...
Anyhoo, we donned wrist-bands - well, see, some of us donned wrist-bands, others rebelled (okay, that may have been me. I apologise to the guy on door duty who had to deal with my refusenik moment) - collected backpacks, and headed for signing tables.
There awaited a sight to behold!
First there was the Abnett Maze (or "Dan's Labyrinth" as Nik calls it) where all the lovely people gathered to meet me.
Amazement in the Maze.
Then there were all the lovely people that couldn't fit into the Abnett Maze, which we simply called 'The Queue'.
Sometimes a euphemism is only a euphemism.
I was glad to be sitting at the head of it, although I did stand at the tail for a minute or two, just for the hell of it. Yes, I stood in my own queue and asked who we were queueing for. And people told me, bless 'em.
Then they did a double take.
I am such a rascal.
A rascal, earlier.
I'm not going to claim that my hand got as tired signing stuff as other people's feet got shuffling about in the Maze, but I did kill three Sharpies. Count them... THREE!
I also wore out a bit of shoe leather getting up and down to have my picture taken with some of you lovely folks. There is mucho evidence of this on FaceBook and Twitter.
Some of the time I wasn't allowed to stand. Some of the time, I was forced to remain seated.
Regan and her raygun.
I was, of course, more than happy to stand for the Tanith when they turned up, first one at a time,
And, finally, en masse.
Best Tanith ink of the day goes to this dude:
The Commissar kept everyone in line.
And, just like in the books, the Blood Pact are never far away.
So imbued with Chaos, he literally turned
the air around him red. Chaos... or photoshop.
So I'd like to thank you all, all of you, for coming along and making the day so memorable. I hope you had as good a time as I did. Til next winter...
*Yeah, maybe not that much, actually.
**The more I think about it, you know....