Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Moments in Glasgow!

Well that was a blast! I don't get to Glasgow very often let alone get a chance to combine two of my most favourite things, football and comics but the other weekend it somehow all came together. I was unusually accompanied by my younger son Adam, (after whizzing up to Aberdeen where he's shortly starting uni), who would not normally embrace either football or comics culture, (unlike older son Scott of course!) but I think even he enjoyed what turned out to be a very special weekend together.

The football came about thanks to comics writer, Jim Alexander's top tip at the recent Carlisle show, realising that the match was the night before the planned MCM Scotland comic and that was that, booked our tickets and on a stormy overcast Friday night in Glasgow, Adam and I made our way to Hampden Park to watch the World Cup qualifying game between Scotland and Belgium!

A group of Belgian fans - photo taken from our 18th floor hotel window - really!

We decided to go early to get a bit of atmosphere but in reality the atmosphere started as soon as we arrived at our hotel as reception was chaotically crammed with colourful, singing Belgian fans and so it continued all round Glasgow, through central station, bouncing on the train and then of course making the walk down the fabled Hampden concourse where it got busier and busier with the equally colourful Tartan Army hordes competing with their Flemish counterparts, all good humoured banter which sadly I missed capturing, not bringing my camera with me - Duh!

The build up inside the ground was equally breathtaking as some 36,000 fans filled the stadium and Adam and I couldn't help but be swept along with the infectious fervour and I have to say that standing side by side with my son, singing Flower of Scotland along with the Tartan Army is a memory I will long treasure. The atmosphere brought back many happy memories of being a wee boy growing up and following the ups and downs of Scotland's previous World Cup dreams watching the likes of Dalglish, Miller, McLeish, Strachan (now manager of course), Gemmill, Mason, Jordan, McQueen and more!

There used to be so many talented Scottish players, sadly not now as reflected in the matches result, a not unexpected 2-0 loss . In fairness Scotland performed better than I'd hoped and Belgium were not as strong as they may have been, probably not helped by the weather with the rain teeming down before kick-off and not stopping during the weary walk and long, long, queue for a train afterwards.

Despite this I wouldn't trade the match for anything and Adam and I took great delight in recounting our experiences when we later met Dave in the hotel bar (who had himself had a torturous drive up through the elements). We may have been tired, drenched and shoeless but we had been a small part of Scotland's Tartan Army and that was enough.


Up early the next day, collecting Dave and Jemma, Adam drove us to the SECC where already things were starting to fill up with many cos players in attendance. Dave as always has beaten me to it with our Accent UK report of the show which is here and it was indeed a crazily busy show, especially considering it was the first one, with reports suggesting some 20,000 came and stories of 3 hour queues to get in - absolutely amazing!
We were able to catch up with a few familiar faces not least of which was Jim Alexander who we were able to talk footy with and hear about the great reception his new comic Savant is receiving, also caught up with Sha Nazir of Black Hearted Press,and old friends Jenika Ioffreda, Genki Gear, Sumyra of Lucky Target Comics and a few others but only briefly, as everyone was just so busy with customers, what a wonderful feeling!

Dave and Colin make sure that Adam can't escape the Accent UK table!

We had record sales for a one day show (MCM have announced it will be a full weekend next year!) selling to mainly new customers, many who had not come across our work before so it was a great event for finding a new audience and well worth the long haul North.
As for Adam? I think he enjoyed himself, he may not be a total convert quite yet but even he was beaming when he met a familiar face, whispering in a very Scottish drawl, "It's a Trap!"

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