Before I get into this, I want to make a couple of things clear.

Eroticon 2013 logo.
I mean, I am, so…

Up until a few days ago I wasn’t entirely sure whether or not I would be attending Eroticon at all this year, or indeed any other year after this. Financially, I am in no position to be doing so; I also felt completely inadequate during the last one I attended and perhaps even more so during the aborted 2020 replacement. I also submitted a session idea that didn’t get taken up (which would have helped with the money… also, I was sort of planning it in my head already).

I’m not even sure I have the faith in the community that I used to, or if I do, it’s not to the same degree. There are always going to be the few that I trust and adore – and there’s one person coming this year who I know I’m going to be spending a lot of time with – but there are always those undertones that I’m not comfortable with. Specifically, there’s a streak of élitism detectable throughout the upper echelons, and that’s what makes me feel uncomfortable.

And yet here I am.

I’m coming for a number of reasons:

one, I’ve been to every ‘con since the first one back in 2012 and I really ought to keep doing so;
two: I made promises to various people and I intend to keep them;
three: my dear friend Robyn made a generous donation to aid my attendance and I owe her a lot;
four: my therapist told me to go.

I will type that again: my therapist. told me. to go.

five: as you may have noticed, I’ve sucked at blogging this year. The intent is there, but the flesh is weak. I’m really wrestling with a creative block. Whatever else Eroticon may be, I’m hoping for it to be a way out of this.

And so here I stand in front of the annual Meet & Greet, wondering if I will get what I want out of Eroticon, if anything unexpected will happen, or even if I am still welcome. I am, as always tentatively excited about this, so I cautiously dip my toe into the waters. Here’s hoping I find them clear, to some extent.

The Meet & Greet

Name (and Twitter)?

Innocent Loverboy, but usually referred to as ILB (pronounced “I’ll be” /aɪel’bi:/, not “illb” /ɪlb/). I have other names too; a few of you know my real name and I’ll answer to that. Frankly, I’m still amazed anyone talks to me at all so I’ll probably answer to anything.

I’m on Twitter as @innocentlb, but I’m not on any other social media platforms. Oh, and please don’t refer to Mastodon as “Masto”. That sounds like a supervillain.

Tell us 3 things you are most looking forward to at Eroticon 2023?

(i) I stole this from Molly wholesale, but it is “it’s finally happening”. Yes, I was a bit dubious of the whole affair as above, but I can’t deny that I am both relieved and excited that ‘con is back.

(ii) The social aspect. I’ve mentioned Robyn above, but I’m sure there will be a few there who I hadn’t realised were coming that I’ll know. There are always new people at ‘con (maybe too many, if I’m being honest, at the last one) and that might be fun. (I’ll also buy GOTN a drink. I don’t genuinely owe her one, but I always pretend I do and she hasn’t clocked this yet.)

(iii) I’m sure some of the sessions? Having looked through the running order, there are very few that move me so far, so I’ll make a choice at the time, but let’s be honest, I’ll end up at all the ones run by my mates. I am genuinely intending to rejuvenate my blog at ‘con, though, and I hope at least some of them help.

If there’s a session I’m not going to and I have no alternative I may well be in the coffee / break room, available for chats and hugs. I’m also willing to talk blogs if you struggle; I genuinely have decades of experience.

And I can do sex talk. Always can do sex talk.

Sadly with a change of venue this year for the Friday night Meet & Greet we won’t be compiling a playlist, but I know that everyone enjoys that bit, so… what is a song that always has you turning the volume up?

I actually don’t know where the Friday night is, but I’ll be going along whatever, so yeah.

At work recently we have been playing a lot of dance music (there’s a reason for that; it’s not just random) so, even though I don’t dance as well as I used to due to my increasing disability, I’ve been enjoying the rhythms. How about Don’t Stop Movin’ by S Club 7?

Don’t laugh; you like it too, don’t you?

At my wedding last year, the final dance was to SHUM by Go_A, so maybe that’s an option.

What’s the first career you dreamed of having as a kid?

As I told my educational psychologist during my genius diagnosis (yes, really), I wanted to be a film director. Throughout my childhood and adolescence, I wanted to be a cartoonist, a magazine editor, a computer programmer, a journalist, a peace campaigner, an English teacher, a campaign organiser based in Japan, a rock star and a comedian.

I am none of those.

What does your joy look like today?

A Vine compilation. I didn’t really catch the zeitgeist when Vine was a thing, but people are still making compilations on YouTube and they never fail to make me smile.

What is your favourite musical?

As anyone who’s paid attention knows, I am a massive fan of musical theatre, and it’s one of my greatest loves. It’s an unfulfilled ambition to end up on a West End stage (or any stage) and sing in a musical… and I have a fantasy about it, if that’s your sort of thing.

In any case, my favourite musical is Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat – it always has been – but I know all the words to Jesus Christ Superstar, Evita, The Producers and several others. I’m still working on Hamilton, but I almost have that too.

If you were the captain of a pirate ship, what would be the name of your ship?

The Sea Cucumber. Yes, that’s a Monkey Island reference, but I’d steal adapt it for my ship too. At school, we once had a challenge to build a seaworthy craft out of paper, and my group’s went through several changes before we named it #4.

As soon as you have finished writing answering these questions, what are you going to do?

Oh, boy. It’s been a very long and difficult week full of unexpected challenges. This is written with the very last of my energy. I think the appropriate verb is “collapse”.

Complete the sentence:

I need… £2,500 in order to clear all my debts and have some money left over. Or, if that’s too much, maybe some cake.