I've had time, since the news broke yesterday, to digest all the fall out, and the thing that is clearest to me in all this, is that Rogue have gone down in the manner they always existed, in utter chaos. Their ignominious end is entirely self-inflicted.
Although the news became public knowledge yesterday, this has apparently been expected for weeks. Those on the business side of the convention circuit, such a guests and organisers, knew that the writing was on the wall long ago, hence the disregard of Asylum 19 when planning the dates for JIB.
In truth, I think many of us suspected that Rogue was reaching the end of the road. The first sign for me was the move from the relative comfort of the Birmingham Hilton venue to the poverty-stricken sinkhole of Blackpool. As cost-cutting measures go, they don't get much more swingeing than that.
Since then, there have been numerous stories of guests allegedly jumping ship because their contracts hadn't been fulfilled (ie: they hadn't been paid), equipment running out and breaking down and now finally - this. The only logical conclusion.
Now sadly, anyone who bought a ticket for Asylum 19 is out of pocket, and has almost certainly lost their money. I don't know much about the processes when a company goes into administration, but I do know that creditors are paid out of whatever funds are available in a certain order, and as with every other walk of life, the 'little guy' is right at the bottom of the pile. So I will keep all my paperwork, and would urge anyone else in my position to do the same because, well, you never know.
Some good that has come out of this is that other convention companies and guests are stepping up to the plate to help fans caught up in this mess. Starfury, who may have taken over the mantle for UK Supernatural conventions, are offering a free photo op and autograph to anyone who had an A19 ticket and who books with them, another company that I have never heard of are offering free tickets to their convention. Mark Sheppard, the only booked guest for A19 at point of Rogue's demise, has publicly called out Rogue for 'using his name to solicit fans for a convention that was never going to happen', and when Mr Sheppard talks like that, you stand well back - I don't think we've heard the last of him on this subject. Theo Devaney (Gavin) has tweeted about arranging a get together for fans caught up in the mayhem.
So yes, out of crap, pretty flowers can grow!
From a personal point of view, I'm angry. Not so much that I've lost my money, because I'd already - albeit reluctantly - made that decision consciously when the JIB dates were released and they clashed with A19, and I chose to go to JIB even though I already had a ticket for A19. What I'm angry about is that fans were still being sold tickets even though by then, it was obvious that the convention was never going to take place.
I never rated Rogue as an organisation. Their processes and procedures were dire, You could hand over £100's of pounds and not see any proof that they'd received it for months. I paid for my ticket to Asylum 18 in March 2016. I got my e-ticket two days before the event in May 2017. In between times, I didn't receive a single communication of any description acknowledging receipt of my money.
There was no phone number, and emails were never answered, so communication with Rogue was forever one-sided, and woebetide if you complained or questioned their methods. You were barred.
Ultimately, we all put up with this crap because our love of a certain TV show and its actors overrode our misgivings about Rogue as a company, and if I'm honest, for all the crappy administration, I personally never had a problem receiving my e-ticket or photo pre-orders in time for the event, even if I did have to wait forever for them.
But, mostly I'm sad because Rogue gave me my entry into the convention world. My first Asylum convention was 7, and I attended every one through to 18. It's thanks to Rogue that I met many of my online friends in person for the first time, together with many other 'strangers' who have since gone on to be friends, and that alone was worth all the hassle in dealing with them ten times over.
So yes, the demise of Rogue is a kaleidoscope of emotions, but ultimately, Rogue for all their faults, have been responsible for giving me some of the most special and wonderful moments of my life. I'm sad about the whole mess, angry with Rogue, and finding it tough to have a shred of sympathy for them, but in a funny, slightly masochistic kind of way, I'm going to miss them!