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I was in Melbourne this weekend for OzHorrorcon,which was organised by the dedicated and slightly crazy Steve Dillon and his wife Jackie. It's the first big horror convention I've been to in Australia; I think it is one of the first of its size held.

Friday afternoon I caught the train to the Young and Jackson pub to meet with a friend. On discovering they had a cider bar on the roof, I almost called my family to pack their bags and move, but I remembered there is more to life than cider.

Friday night began in the dungeons of the Donkey Wheel House. This room was possibly used to store the gold and had a massive wooden door you needed to arms and a helper to close. Drank champagne with Kirstyn McDermott, Lucy Sussex, Chris Sequeira and Jan Scherpenhuizen before an insane photo shoot where Kirstyn and I tried to look like horror writers, which apparently involved me pointing at people. Afterwards, we met up with Jason Nahrung and wandered the glorious streets and laneways of Melbourne City until we found the restaurant that had the most powerful scent of garlic and we ate there.

On Saturday, I arrived at the convention at around 1pm. The Australian Horror Writers' Association shared a bright corner with the inspiring people of LegumeMan Books, who have recently published books from Brett McBean and G.N. Braun. We spent half an hour or so looking at their amazing covers; wonderful stuff! Braun's book, Hammered, is a seriously harsh memoir of his time as an addict. It captures the repetitive boredom, the emptiness, of that time very well.

We worked through the catacombs under the building, which were full of artists, booksellers, special effects experts, vampires, zombies and all manner of terrifying creatures to reach the panel room. Mark Smith-Briggs, Brett McBean, Stephen Dedman, Jason Franks and I talked about the AHWA, horror writing, mentorships and more. I hope it was informative; certainly I enjoyed hearing what the others had to say.

Then it was drinks over the road, after which I escaped to the real world for dinner with family, which was very nice indeed and involved a restaurant toilet which was upstairs, across a room, down stairs, across another room, through a hallway, up two stairs and there it was.

Sunday involved two panels on horror writing, which were well-attended and which I greatly enjoyed. I also attended a comics panel run by Chris Sequeira, Jan Scherpenhuizen and Jason Franks. It was fascinating to hear about the creation of characters and how the creative process works. Hilarious was the high pitched screams coming from the catacombs throughout the panel, and the fact that none of us reacted! I loved being in a place where people dressed like demons and monsters and there were hysterical screams and we all just carried on. Zombies in panels, Freddie Kruger buying fast food; love it.

It was an excellent bringing together of disparate parts of the horror industry, which I loved. Comics, art, film, writing, costumes. I've heard a rumour that the next one will be held over Halloween, which will be even better.
  • Sounds most interesting and even atmospheric. Will have to attend the next one at this rate!
    • Kyla, I think you have enjoyed it greatly! Incredible costuming. I think a live performance of some kind (from you, I mean) would be perfect for next time.
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