lupestripe: (Default)
lupestripe ([personal profile] lupestripe) wrote2017-04-25 09:49 pm


Over the Easter weekend - so the weekend before last - Wolfie and I headed down to Bristol for our first JFTW. It was the second 'Jefty' as it is erroneously and irritatingly called but resigning ourselves to staying in Britain at the turn of the year, we decided that we might as well try and reconnect with the British furs, having dropped out of the scene significantly of late. One of the main reasons for this was only going to Leeds Meets, which of course we run, and this is why we have been spreading our wings at places such as Birmingham over the last four months. Considering a large number of our Yorkshire friends were going to JFTW, we thought there was little point running our regular monthly gathering and decided to head to Bristol instead. It turned out to be a good decision.

JFTW is a rather small con, but has doubled in size over the last year. This saw over 300 furs descend on the Holiday Inn Bristol Filton, a nice if slightly dated establishment on the outskirts of the city. I always think cons of around 250-400 people are an ideal size as you tend to bump into the same people over and over, and so it proved here, with us making new friends quite easily and seeing many old friends into the bargain. This was particularly the case with the Irish furs who we had met at Furrnion, many of whom had come to JFTW and it was great to get reacquainted. Indeed most of the Saturday night was spent with them outside and I feel a lot more relaxed about our potential permanent move to Ireland as we now have a large number of great friends there.

Gothicat was the first person we spoke to, firstly because she had created an excellent doorsign and badges for us but also because she had been messaging me on Telegram most of the day asking when we would arrive. We were a little late due to our night out at Hop City at Northern Monk the night before, which saw us return home a little worse for wear and having to patch up an argument the next morning. We saw an awful lot of Gothi, which was much needed as we hadn't seen much of her over the last few years, and it was brilliant to see her pink kitty fursuit too which of course was adorable.

The con itself was billed as a social con and indeed there weren't a large amount of events to do. Consequently, the Saturday dragged somewhat, particularly during the day although the fursuit walk that morning was one of the highlights of the convention. Having arrived quite late on the Friday, we didn't get chance to register for the coach, which was going to get us from the hotel to the Clifton Suspension Bridge for photos and then the city centre for the walk. Cue a lot of faffing about as by the time we registered, we had to get the tickets from ConOps, which was 'mobile' i.e. closed. Eventually I did manage to get a ticket though and I am glad I did as Wolfie preferred snoozing due to the difficuly 9:45am start. I have never been able to fursuit at this time of day and would have preferred at least an hour later, but it was what it was and by 10am we had piled on to one of the two bright yellow buses and were bimbling down the road. The opening minutes were quite lonely as aside from a few Sheffield furs (Saleck, Cub and Lucas) I knew no-one but the atmosphere eased and soon we were talking to a large number of people along the back few rows. It was a shame that the Clifton Suspension Bridge was only really a photo opportunity in front of it rather than arsing about upon it, but the walk along the marina in Bristol was great fun, with plenty of interaction. At least three sets of people stopped to ask me what it was all about, with me holding the walk up as a result, while tormenting a scared mobile cafe worker was definitely a highlight.

With breakfast AND lunch included, the con was quite good value for money, but with few events, a lot of our time was centered around the bar. This was a pleasant place to be, but during Jackbox games it did become a little cliquey. The range of beer was good and reasonably priced considering, while the pizza on Saturday evening was great if slightly bloating. Earlier, we had popped to the snack exchange but there was a paucity of things available, largely because nearly everyone at the con was from the UK. Still, we grabbed a strawberry filled Oreo and went on our way.

We didn't see many people from Yorkshire throughout the con as they seemed to be busy doing something else, but one of the highlights of the weekend was seeing Redmoor again, someone we hadn't seen in over eight years since the time he moved from York. He is living in Somerset now and drove up for the afternoon, which we spent in the hotel bar before heading out to Frankie and Bennie's at a local retail park with Enteirah to catch up. He hasn't changed much, and it was a very pleasant afternoon reminiscing. I discovered him sat at the bar at around 2:30pm while in fursuit, having decided to clamber into Lupe at the request of the Irish furs, who were leaving later that evening and wanted selfies. This saw me oblige before going to the closing ceremony in suit, which was fantastically brief and done within fifteen minutes. Kosmik's piano playing was a highlight, after which I consented to a request from the con's ferret charity for pictures for their fundraising literature. This involved having a ferret climb all over me, which made my hand paws stink, particularly as she was a lively little bugger. It was great fun though and it was interesting to learn more about all of the work they do.

The problem with a two day con of course is that people leave before it really began and this was certainly the case with the Irish furs, who had done early arrival as opposed to our late. It was the same with a number of others too, but it was still a good way to catch up with people. This was certainly the case with Lapres, to whom I spoke at the Motorfurs meet on Sunday morning, at which Wolfie impressed with his Mazda. The range of cars here was actually quite impressive, with few Skoda Octavias or Renault 406s while Arc was in her element posing on all of the vehicles. I also spoke to Garnett too, the other guest of honour, on the Saturday evening and we made plans to run a furry event in Newcastle in the autumn. It was brilliant catching up with her again too, someone I haven't seen regularly since I was running the Newcastle meets eight or nine years ago.

Of course one of the highlights of the con was the fire alarm going off just after 11pm on Saturday, with a number of naughty furs being caught with their pants down quite literally. The evacuation was quite quick though and we congregated at the far end of the car park, beyond the first fire assembly point sign which for some reason must have been a decoy as we were moved on. Some people were told off for singing while I was more concerned about my gin and tonic, which was just in the process of being poured at the time the alarm was sounded.

Aside from this, the Sunday turned out to be a day of great liberation for me as I posted my first ever penis picture on my Twitter AD stream. This may not be a big deal for some, but for someone who has had self-esteem issues about this for the best part of twenty years, it took a lot of courage. The problem was I was seeing a fair amount of NSFW activity going on at the con and I felt I wasn't really included. This saw me wake up on the Sunday morning determined to change things, which is the point at which I did it. The feedback I received was positive and it did boost my confidence, so much so that I achieved an important kinky milestone later that evening. I do feel more liberated and confident in partaking in more fetish related events at cons now and I hope I can pursue a few of these at forthcoming conventions I will attend.

So all in all then JFTW was a great little con, albeit one which needs a few more events to sustain interest. It was great metting loads of old friends - particularly the aforementioned along with Doveux, Tungro, Washu, Nall and Ferret - and although it was a little disappointing we didn't hang with our usual crew it was ultimately a brilliant weekend. Whether we go back next year is up for debate - it's good for Wolfie as he doesn't have to take two days off but I still have to - but certainly we went home with many happy memories.