It would appear that I have somewhat of a curse hanging over my head when it comes to Destructoid meet ups.
For PAX 09, I bailed on the last day due to falling terribly ill, I still feel I made the right call but I still wonder what it would have been like if I had just went anyway. For Eurogamer 09 I couldn’t get the time off work due to compulsory training that I didn’t need and as it turned out, I never got anyway (gotta love working for a government department). So when I set my mind on FINALLY attending a Destructoid meet up, Eurogamer 10 would be the one and I would be there come hell or high water.
So it is the night before I make my way down to London. It’s about 1 am and I’m lying in bed pretty nervous about meeting a bunch of people off the internet all the way down in London, when suddenly the house phone goes. That’s never a good sign.
It was my Uncle phoning to say that my Gran, who had been very ill for a long time, seemed to be at the end. My Dad went up to the care home to be with her in her final moment whilst I lay wide awake in bed, contemplating what the fuck I was going to do now. I felt selfish for still wanting to go to Eurogamer, but I didn’t want to bail out of yet another meet up. I was pretty conflicted and it felt like no matter choice I made, I was being a prick to someone.
At around 5 in the morning, my Dad came home and told me my Gran had passed away peacefully in her sleep surrounded by loved ones. It was both comforting and sad at the same time. After a talk with my family, we all agreed that my Gran would have wanted me to still go to Eurogamer and have fun, plus the funeral wouldn’t be till Monday at the earliest, so I’d be back in plenty of time. So, still slightly unsure I was doing the right thing, I made my way to London.
Fucking hell did I ever make the right choice.
As I imagine is the same for most people who join Destructoid, I’m easily the geekiest out of my group of friends. I can sometimes feel pretty out of place when most of the culture here involves getting cripplingly drunk and yelling about football. It was wonderful to hang out with an amazing group of people who I have so much in common with. I loved the fact that when one of the incredibly sharply dressed queue Nazis yelled “HALT!” and I proceeded to yell “HAMMERZITE!” I knew nearly everyone would get the reference.
One of the oddest things about meeting people from Dtoid UK, was now normal it felt. After a brief introduction, everyone just sort of fell into a rhythm with each other as if we had known each other for years, even the people who had just joined prior to the meet up. Everyone was so warm, friendly and inviting that you couldn’t help but feel like you belonged. As clichéd as it sounds, it felt like home.
I apologize now if I was somewhat distant or sometimes quiet, as I obviously had things on my mind, I tried my best not to let things get in the way of having the best time I could, but obviously emotions are tricky things.
I’d like to thank a few people now, in reality I’d like to thank everyone personally for just being awesome and helping me to have one of the best times of my life during what would have been a rather low point, but this blog is long enough so know I love you all!
Dan Gale: You Sir, are a legend. You waited in line everyday for us hostel guys to get our wristbands and never once complained. You are amazing, thank you so very, very much.
The Hostel Crew (Straight outta brompton): You guys were amazing. That walk thought London after the party was an adventure and a half. You made everything fun, even all the walking/queuing we had to do. It was all fun thanks to how awesome you guys are.
Hollie & Seto: You guys are awesome for having everyone over to your flat on the Friday night. One of my fondest memories (and one I’ll probably never forget) is at one point randomly in the night, I was standing in the kitchen looking out into the living room, just watching all of these amazing people just laugh and have an amazing time. I remember thinking to myself with a HUGE goofy smile on my face “This is it. I’m actually here. I did it”. It nearly broke my heart when it was time to leave the party. I honestly think I could have stayed there forever.
I'd like to thank everyone for the kind words they've said in the e-mailer/texts about my Gran, It's helped and been a source of strength for me during the funeral and stuff, for the record I hope that none of you ever have to be a coffin bearer, or at the very least you don't have to do it for a long, long time.
I’d like to specifically thank Hollie again, just because she did such an amazing job at organizing everything (and just being fantastic in general). Perhaps “Job” is the wrong word for it though. To me, “Job” implies something you do for money, and it’s fairly obvious Hollie does this, and everything she does at Destructoid, out of sheer passion. You are an amazing person and I’m privileged to have met you.
I’m privileged to have met all of you, I’m honoured to call you all my friends.