We were delighted to attend last year's inaugural SFX Weekender (see the full write-up here and lots of photos here). With that experience in mind, here are a few things you'll want to bring with you if you're heading out to this year's fun...
- Vegetables. The food on-site at Pontin's consists of a) meatball sandwiches, b) pizza, c) crisps, d) the combo meal (meatball sandwich and/or pizza plus crisps). You have been warned. By Saturday afternoon, most people would've traded a leg for a couple of apples. There's a semi-pricy little store on-site, but it really doesn't hurt to shove a bit of greenery in a plastic bag before getting on the train. Don't feel silly; your mum would be proud.
- Paracetamol. Or whatever you need to feel human the next morning. If you let it, the Weekender really will encompass the entire weekend. Even the wee hours of the morning.
- Basic travel gear. You are going away for the weekend, right? Tickets. Camera. Phone. Charger. Toothbrush.
- A spare bag. Last year's dealer room was... well... it wasn't. But even then, there were a few stalls worth hitting up. Chuck an extra cloth bag into your backpack. You may not use it, but better safe than sorry...
- An exit plan. The most complicated leg of the journey is getting from the Weekender to the train station on Sunday morning. Everyone else is going exactly the same direction and all four local cabs are as busy as they can be. Sort it out early - like, Thursday - and be thankful (and smug) later.
- Banter. The ratio of talent to fan is well in your favor. Loads of stars, writers and publishers (plus exceptionally talented & attractive bloggers). Ready or not, you may be face to face with some of your heroes.
- Dish soap. You'll probably want a cup of tea or two. If you're staying on-site, the bungalow accommodation will include dishes, cups and kettles. It will not include any Fairy Liquid. (And leaving behind dirty dishes for the staff to clean up is definitely not proper geek etiquette.)
- Bath soap. While we're on the subject of soap: the accommodations do include tiny slivers of soap. These will absolutely not be adequate to your needs. Bring a bar from home.
- Socks. The "smelly convention geek" is a nasty cliche, and, thankfully, most people have sorted out things like deodorant and daily showers. But there's always that weird temptation to re-use socks. Bring 'em. Bring too many!
What'd we forget? Tell us in the comments, lest we leave without it.