We spoke to Helen Grounds who, at the time of this interview being conducted, was chairperson of Alcon.  Helen has since left the committee but this has not altered the dates or events at Alcon and her answers still remain relevant. 

Q. How long has Alcon been running?

3 days starting on the 7th September and final day will be 9th September.

Q. What were the reasons for setting up Alcon?

A. On the main site, AnimeLeague, I became the head moderator of the convention and cosplay section. As the forum grew so did our British meetings which I organised twice a year in May and October for the London MCM Expo and before Expo we had meetings just in cities once a year for shopping, gaming and meeting up. Myself and the founder of AnimeLeague (Mike Towers) decided to take our meetings and push them up a gear. This new gear turned into Alcon, a convention for people to meet new friends, have a good laugh, play some games, roleplay 'til their hearts are content and buy from our dealers room.

Q. What will be the focus of Alcon? For example, will it be more focused on events then dealers?

A. We are focusing on the community side of it. We want to try and be close to our attendees, get them to have a great time, make new friends and perhaps have a few drinks (of course only if they are 18 or above). Of course we will still have our events, dealers, artist ally, anime screening and video gaming! No convention is worth while without a splash of anime viewing, throw some cash around in the dealers room, doodle and meet other British artists in the artist ally, battle it out on some games and have a fun time be it a cosplay or non-cosplay related event.


Al-chan & Al-kun - the twin mascots of Alcon by Hel Ewart
(click for larger image)

Q. What events will you be holding at Alcon and which are you most looking forward to?

A. We are still working on our events but confirmed currently are for the cosplayers we have Cosplay Masquerade and Cosplay Chess. Other events are Pub Quiz (with prizes to win!, AMV Night, J-Party, Otaku Picnic (will depend on weather conditions) and more to be announced.

Q. What is your favourite anime?

A. My anime fanship is rather odd. I love Full Metal Alchemist, I fangirl over Death Note and I laugh to Ranma 1/2.

Q. If you could have anime/manga character as a guest at Alcon, who would it be and why?

A. Oh gosh now that is a tricky one as I have so many characters I would love to meet if it was possible. I'd say Ranma from Ranma 1/2. Surely you could see the fun in throwing cold water on a man and finding a woman with rather large and perky breasts standing there cold and wet. ;)

 Q. What are the names of the Alcon mascots and who designed them?

A. Alice and Alex, also known as Al-chan and Al-kun. They are twins and they represent our site as well as being much like most anime characters. Al-chan is very hyperactive, bubbly and loves to cosplay and annoy her twin brother. Al-kun is more relaxed, mature and a total bishie! As for who designed them it was mixture of people. I decided to have twins and their personalities. I always think my artwork is awful so I asked Sam Cullum, also known as Spoonerman, to draw them. Originally I said to use a uniform a bit like Fruits Basket. So there's the reason behind why they appear to be going to the same school as Tohru, Yuki and Kyo. Other artwork was done for the site by Hel Ewart, also known as Tigerangel and part of Team Makenai, and I can't thank her enough for being so friendly and doing so much work for us. So it is a mixture of people really as to who designed the two twins.


Q. What are your plans for the future of Alcon?

A. Very good question. We are somewhat unsure. We do want to try another Alcon in 2008, perhaps. However it is possible we may move location, dates, or something. I can't really say but I'll simply tell you that we are looking into another convention.

Q. In ten words say why people should attend Alcon!

A. Free Pocky, awesome anime, great events, cosplay fun and booze! (phew that wasn't so bad!)

Al-chan & Al-kun fan art by Sarah Fletcher (click for larger image)

Q. What makes Alcon so different to every other convention?

A. A lot of conventions that are run by the fans for the fans are based around anime clubs. Alcon is not like that at all. We are based on a worldwide website. The committee are all based here in the UK, but we are not all in the same area. I myself live in Leicester but our Co-Chairman is in Cheltenham, Secretary in Bradford and we even have our Cosplay Co-ordinator in Wales! We do meet up and we have great times (and stressful times) doing Alcon together as a team. It certainly is different having everyone in a different city but we find it very useful and a great way to bring new people into the convention world.

Q. Will you be having a conbook?

A. Yes, for it wouldn't be a true con without a conbag and conbook! People can send us their articles and artwork to us at alconenq@googlemail.com or go to out website and use out Contact Us page.

For further information on Alcon visit the official site at www.alcon.org.uk

To view the AnimeLeague forums click here

Visit the Alcon MySpace page at www.myspace.com/alconuk

To see more of Hel Ewart's artwork visit here DeviantArt page - http://tigerangel.deviant.com

Visit the Team Makenai website - www.makenai.co.uk