I had a stall next to Sky Nash, an illustrator, and I enjoyed asking her all about her work and approaches. I don't mind admitting that nerves were a bit all-pervasive, especially at the start. For anyone who has never tabled at a zine event - that moment when you have set everything up, and you sit down and wait for things to start, is pure blissful relief! A stash of Cherry Drops and Starburst came in handy.
I had a little look round a few stalls, but only felt clear-headed enough to go round and buy things at various later points in the day. It is not really so easy as it looks to table - you are not just sitting behind a table, accepting money for your wares. I made sure people who approached the stall got the chance to pick from the range of flyers, hear what my selection of zines were about, and I was recommending zines, distros, libraries, shops, and all sorts of things on and on. It was also a chance to socialise with people, ending up describing Mark E Smith to someone who had not heard of The Fall, discussing favourite bands in common, getting advice about distribution/distributors, offering advice to new writers/zine writers, swapping emails and flyers, arranging to meet up in the future, and so on and on.... ! It really takes it out of you doing all that talking. I felt so humbled and heartened to hear someone tell their friend my zine was 'awesome!', and quite simply just felt so glad and grateful when people liked the zines enough to buy them.
I did not interact with as many stall holders as I might've, mainly due to nerves, and needing to woman the stall. I really loved seeing a young teen zine-maker I remembered from the last London zine fair. She makes Peach Melba, this cute colour sheet zine, which is full of excitable proclamations, humourous lists, and lovely enthusiasm - and she is so clever. I gladly swapped my zine with her. I swapped with a few people that day. The arrival of Alex Wrekk was quite an event, with people flocking around her. And I enjoyed talking to her, swapping zines, and recommending an ale house for her (she loves good continental beer!). Sad to miss hers and others' talks, and the live band, because of needing to watch the table of stuff and the events all being upstairs. I hope anyone who made it up there really enjoyed themselves.
It surprises me when people don't buy/look at all the zines on offer when they are selling their own. I can never resist: