World Horror Convention 2010

WHC2010 passA personal recollection by Johnny Mains

Well, WHC2010 was a roaring success. Of that there can be no doubt. It is a convention that will be whispered about in awed tones for years to come. Many people I talked to over the course said it was the best convention that they had ever been to. For that, we must owe a great deal of thanks towards Stephen Jones, Amanda Fourbister, Michael Marshall Smith, Marie O' Regan and Paul Kane. Not to forget the red shirts. Nothing was a problem for them, they coped with 500 egos magnificently. No complaints - the team worked as a team, and worked their arses off to make sure we all had the best time ever.

World Horror Convention 2010 - the Back From The Dead panel
top row - Craig Herbertson, David Case, Melvyn Grant, Tony Richards, Harry E Turner
middle row: Steve Crisp, Nicholas Royle, Johnny Mains, Christopher Fowler
bottom row: David A Riley, Tanith Lee, Samantha Lee, Basil Copper

The Hotel. I think if Kubrick could have picked this hotel up and plonked it in the middle of nowhere, he would have used it for The Shining. Labyrinthine, never-ending, even a bit spooky. Apart from the slowest and tiniest lift on the planet - there are no complaints. A goof convention hotel - and each room was buzzing with activity and excitement.

World Horror Convention 2010 - Johnny Mains hosting his first panelMy first convention, and I had to host my first panel. An hour before it, I was telling everyone that this was going to be my first and last convention. The pressure was getting to me, I threw up. Twice. Then before I knew it - I was on the same stage as Pan Horror legends Basil Copper, David Case, Sam Lee, Nicholas Royle, Christopher Fowler, Tanith Lee, Craig Herbertson, David A Riley, Tony Richards and the incomparable Harry E Turner - and also two of the incredible Pan Horror artists - Melvyn Grant and Steve Crisp, both who were brilliant to speak to at length over a few lunches!

And it was fun! There was a lot of laughter, I managed to get my questions out as coherently as I could - and they were answered with wit, insight and passion. The hour raced by - and before I knew it - it was over. Pete Colburn took a group photo of us - and I cannot WAIT to see it!

Waiting to see James Herbert was another high point - couldn't make the interview, but waited patiently in line to get my books signed, and came away with 'The Spear' for myself and 'Domain' for Gary McMahon as he couldn't find his copy and was no skin off my nose to get my own copy done for him.

Sunday - another panel, and this time it was with Stephen Jones, David Sutton, Ian Alexander Martin (the funniest man at WHC) and C Black. We were chatting about what came after the Pan Horrors. It went well, with Steve giving us a lengthy masterclass in how publishers are all cocks. It was great to have Basil Copper, his wife Annie and Ramsey Campbell sitting in the audience! Though didn't help my nerves any.

Then it came to the signing for 'Back From The Dead'. Basil, Chris, Nicholas, Tony, David, Craig and the cover artist Led Edwards did me proud, signing books for everyone who came - we sold a lot of books (get yours NOW as there's only a few remaining!), everyone has been pleased so far with the stories and the van Thal essay. A HUGE weight off my shoulders, and again, thanks to everyone who has made it possible!!The Back From The Dead signing
The 'Back From The Dead' signing: (back row l to r) Craig Herbertson, Christopher Fowler, Johnny Mains, Tony Richards, David A Riley, (front row l to r) David A Sutton, Annie Copper, Basil Copper, Nicholas Royle, Les Edwards.

Then before we knew it - it was over. Amanda hosted the closing ceremony, and it was very emotional. Afterwards she and Steve both thanked me for my help - minimal - in bringing 5 names to the convention. I raced down the stairs to take down the artwork I had put up on behalf of the artist John Holmes (can I say that the Art Show was history in the making - all of those book covers as actual paintings!!) and then it was off for a bite to eat - and then to Stephen Jone's 100 book party (though really 109) - where I spent three hours chatting away to Pan Horror ubermeister David Case and his lovely wife. And then after that it was the Dead Dog party - where things got very messy very quickly and Rob Shearman nearly made everyone die of laughter.

John Probert, Reggie Oliver and Johnny Mains with copies of Back From The DeadJohn Probert, Reggie Oliver and Johnny Mains with 'Back From The Dead'Good people I've made have been many - and acquaintances previously met have now been cemented into friendship. Books I took with me have now all been signed. A few books I bought had already been signed, and took more than a few quid out my pocket. But I now had a signed August Derleth anthology!

There are way too many people to thank for the laughs - but the main of it goes to Tony Masero, his son Ricky and rick's girl Rusty, Steve Crisp and Harry E Turner. Lunch every day was warm, funny - though Saturday was just amazing.

Johnny with Ramsey Campbell Johnny with Tony Masero and Guy N Smith
left - Johnny with Ramsey Campbell; right - Johnny with Tony Masero and Guy N Smith

I'm sure there's a lot that I've missed. Seeing Hugh Lamb, Mark Morris and Sarah Pinborough again - meeting the lovely Anne Billson, Barbie Wilde, Michel Parry, Con Williams and MMS, Guy N Smith, Steve and Melanie Ransic Tem - Richard Dalby... too many others to name.....

But - special mention has to go to my wife Loulou. She steadied my nerves, got me through a stressfull time, soothed my ego and laughed at me when I was being a diva. I love that woman so much!

World Horror Convention 2010, get thee to bed. World Horror Convention 2011, I'm saving up already...


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