As a cosplayer, artist, and ICT and Media Technician, coming to grips
with my new condition, rheumatoid arthritis (RA), has been challenging.
Predominantly affecting my hands and neck, it has limited the projects
I can work on successfully and so I have focused mainly on my cosplay
(costume-play) as the parts are larger and less fiddly than trying to
manoeuvre a pencil on paper.
I would usually pack my ‘Ecto-Van’ with multiple costumes and head
over to the UK to compete in competitions as my alter ego, ‘Dax79’.
I would escape reality and become someone or something else for a
few days, competing for trophies and making new friends on the way.
However, this year, as a consequence of the pandemic, physical venues
are closed. But this has not stopped myself or fellow cosplayers. Our
community has moved online, into the cyber world, which in some
respects seems entirely appropriate when considering the themes of
I managed to compete in London and New York with the same cosplay
on the same day, something that would never have been possible
before COVID. Cosplayers still meet for masquerades, trading the
stage and lights for a screen and camera. The audience, now the world
rather than a few thousand con-goers, clutching onto their ‘Mystery’
boxes and wearing Pikachu ears, observe and participate from their
lounges and bedrooms. Welcome to the Couch Con!
Once the masquerade is over, the judge’s votes are in, and the public has
hash tagged my work, I turn the computer off and return to my normal
life: husband, father, friend, technician. Knowing that conventions may
not be seen for some time, I have turned to my laptop, writing short
films that involve my cosplay and filmmaking skills, bringing pop culture
characters to life, even if it is just for a few views clicks on YouTube.
Thanks to my RA, I shielded at home with my wife and little girl for much
of the year. We were unable to leave and had deliveries dropped off to
the house. I became closer to some friends and began losing contact
As an ICT technician at a primary school, I was still on the frontline.
Putting the teachers into the homes of pupils, whilst working from their
respective homes. My house became a bank, school, and a server
room. In its way it also became a cosplayer of sorts!
Each day I look to my hands that are ever changing with RA. I am
hoping that a combination of synthetic and tetrahydrocannabinol
drugs can slow the process and give me some extra time to enjoy my
arts that are so much a part of my identity.