It was a bright and busy weekend. I loved every minute of it apart from one horrible night when, begging for sleep, I discovered I'd been given a room right above the music.
Friday night I was privileged to host a literature night with readings from most of the Con's guest writers. We had two well-known authors from the fields of SF and Horror -- Ian McDonald and Adam Nevill -- reading from their latest and greatest. We complemented these with the fresh and locally-grown talents of Ken Gregory, Lawrence Donaghy, Lesley Richardson and the pesticide-free Andy Luke. None of these light-weights lasted more than ten minutes in front of a bearded crowd, so I had a chance to do a bit of reading of my own.
Was it fun?
Oh, yes. Especially when the musicians of the Hardbitten Fleabottom Swingtime Band added some naughty tunes.
And then, it was Saturday. I spent the day moderating panels of superstars. Apart from the authors name-checked above, I got to share the stage with another writer, C.S. Kane, and several thousand cast and crew of A Game of Thrones, including: Emma Andrews of the Drapes department; storyboard artist and ex-2000AD artist, William Simpson: Aimee Richardson, Ian McElhinney, Luke Barnes and Laura Pradelska.
Lots of other actors were wandering about randomly asking attendees for autographs...
Speaking of autographs... I sold some books after the panels and bought some too. I'm very much enjoying Adam Nevill's The Ritual, which he sold to me on a panel. On the very same panel, Ian McDonald (who must be getting some kind of commission) recommended a writing tool called Scrivener that, after working through the tutorial, has totally blown my mind. But more of that another time.
Night-time brought the masquerade. Only four groups entered, but the costumes were so good that three of them tied for first place on 19 votes each and a tie-breaker had to be employed.
Sunday was the tour. The weather held -- a beautiful Autumn day. I spent most of it chatting with Adam Nevill on a dung covered seat at the back of the bus. Later, I defeated Art Parkinson at a variety of sports, such as "foot measuring", "who-can-reach-highest" and so on. He only won the archery.
At the banquet, the food was lovely, the conversation sparkled and the water had no little bits bobbing along the bottom of the glass. Just how I like it... Afterwards, Art joined the bad boys down the back of the bus along with his acting coach mum who told us an intriguing story from Moville where they live.
Finally, it was back to the hotel and more chat...
You're probably noticing that while I've name-dropped some of the guests, I haven't mentioned any of my many friends or the incredible volunteers or the super-human committee who laid their very lives on the line for the entertainment of the likes of me. I can't remember everybody I spoke to. Yes, there were hugs from Pebble and chocolate from Claudia and ear-plugs from Jackie. Snacks were shared by all and people foolishly bought me drinks and made me laugh by eating burritos larger than a human head. These folk all made me feel happy and at home. I hope I get to see them all again next year.
And here are the committee. God bless them every one:
Phil Lowles ~ Chairperson ~ Programming Director
Silverjaime ~ Treasurer ~ Operations Director
Ian Lawther ~ Secretary ~ Technical Director
Jackie MacPherson ~ Guest Liaison Supervisor
Lis Beasley ~ Administration
Finally, I apologise for rambling. I don't feel too coherent right now!