Smiths Convention 97 stories
Stories by: Scott / Despair / Michael / Torr / Melinda / scottyeddie / Chris / Emily / U of Washington online daily
Pictures by: Angela / Torr

This is my convention story complete with pictures. Imagine these are my foggy memories of the convention (actually I'm trying out Photoshop 4.0's cool features).

With ticket in hand, I arrived at 2:00 pm. The doors were supposed to open at 12:15 pm but I forgot. I found out later they didn't open until about 1:30 pm anyway. I was amazed at how many people there were. It was very crowded. According to the flyer Mike and Andy were supposed to be coming on stage now for a question and answer session.
The convention was in 3 areas. The main area with the stage was where I came in. Another part of that room had catering and seating. Two rooms were off the main area, one with a lot of merchandise and the other was showing a film of old concert and backstage footage. Since nothing was happening on stage I went to the vendor room and found the ask table. I casually wandered up to the table but was quickly recognized by Mel.
I tried 3 times to buy some stuff but it was too busy to get the guy's attention. But luckily at 3:15 pm Mike and Andy came on stage which cleared out the vendor room a bit. Mike looked pretty much the same but Andy was sporting long hair and small sun glasses. I didn't recognize him at first. They answered questions from cards that had been collected earlier.
Uhh, where are they? A zoom lens would help.

T-shirt ($15), CD clock ($10), bumper sticker ($3), "Two Lumps Please" mug with 'This Charming Man Sticker' ($10), convention key chain ($3), and 'Property of Strangeways Prison' ID band (free!).
There was a lot of neat stuff there. I managed to restrain myself and not buy too much. I had always wanted a CD clock. The mug was a limited edition of 150 (the rest had been destroyed). No Morrissey/Smiths event is complete without a T-shirt.

I started bumping into people on the ask list every so often. They were easy to spot thanks to our T-shirts (thanks Pam!). It was nice to put some faces with names or email addresses. About this time, around 4:00 pm, I got a coke and sat down along the wall for a drink.

Mike was very cheery and talkative.
Also at this time Mike and Andy finished with the question and answer session and it was announced they would start signing autographs. People were to line up against the wall, the wall where I was sitting. This mad rush of people came at me and a line eventually formed. Luckily I was towards the front but not at the front. They didn't begin signing until about 4:45 pm. While people waited the DJ played a demo version of Rubber Ring, unmixed and unproduced. The wait was endless. I moved 2 steps in 30 minutes! We were informed that they could sign 1 item only and they could not pose with you for pictures. Maybe this is why it initially was so slow. They took a break at 5:30 pm and the line had seemed to hardly move. They came right back at 5:45 pm and the line picked up speed.
At about 6:15 pm I got up to them and they signed my "The Smiths" CD sleeve. They were very nice and friendly. They gladly shook my hand. Again I was lucky in that I was the last person to get something signed before they went on break again.

About this time the cover band "Sweet and Tender Hooligans" took the stage. They were surprisingly good. I was weary of a 'Smiths cover band' but found them very good. The lead singer sounded a lot like Morrissey at times. About this time I ran into Cohen in the vendor room. Cohen had been on ask before and had seen my website too. We chatted for a while and wound up hanging out for the rest of the convention. This made it much more fun. Take it from me, don't go to one of these without a buddy.
Is this a Smiths concert?

The auction of items from Mike and Andy's personal collections was next. This was rather lame. Many of the items were too expensive for the young crowd and most people had spent most of their money in the vendor room. Cohen jotted down some of the items and their final bids.

2 pairs of Mike's drumsticks (sold at different times) $100
4 Meat Is Murder records signed by the whole band (sold at different times) From $160 to $200
A letter signed by Morrissey  
"The Smiths" gold record from UK $510
2 snare drums signed by Mike (sold at different times) $360 and $410
2 "The Queen Is Dead" platinum records signed by Andy, one US one UK (sold at different times) $480
Cymbal singed by Mike $275
2 high hats signed by Mike (sold at different times)  
Concert set list written by Morrissey $260
"The Queen Is Dead" gold record, UK, Andy will sign it right then $510
Total: About $3625

What I remember most about the auction is the "auctioneer" saying, "Come on people, its rare!"

The raffle was soon after. Neither I nor Cohen won, but a guy standing near us won a dinner.
We checked out that movie in the adjacent room. I saw the film that contained the shots in the "How Soon Is Now" video of Morrissey trying the guitar.
Oh yeah, Mike and Andy were still signing things all this time but would take breaks every once in a while. They had to take the stairs out in the open to get to and from the table. We decided we needed to get a picture of Cohen shaking hands with Mike or Andy. Our first attempt failed but our second was successful.
Cohen noticed Andy's handshake was weak after all that signing.
The convention wound down with a Smiths dance party in the main area. As 11:00 pm neared a group of askers collected in one area. I caught a ride to the hotel for the Ask After Party.
The party took place in 3 rooms with one room showing videos and the other two had food.

One of the food rooms

The same room. Check out that cheesecake. Are those teeth marks?

The other food room.

The video room.

It was a great party but I wish it was the night before rather than the night of the convention. I was dead tired by this time.

Updated: 10/18/98 Contents Copyright (c) Scott Krajewski, 1998