David Cook (davidcook) wrote,
David Cook
davidcook

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Discworld Con Report 2004, Part II

First, bits of Thursday, Friday and Saturday.
The first thing I forgot from Part I was the quiz in the pub on the Thursday night. There was this quiz, you see, and our team (myself, rwrylsin, angua, Lynn and Seraph of Al-Khali (well, that was the name on his badge) ) managed to win it. I think rwrylsin and I managed half an answer between us, and we were all mystified that we'd won it, because the questions were rather fiendish (e.g. "Last DWCon, we asked you for the name of the Roman road which runs outside the hotel. Now we want to know the name of the Roman road which intersects it nearby"). Still, we were informed that we'd all get drink vouchers for it, and we just had to pick them up from Ops sometime.

Another amusing coincidence came in the opening ceremony - a tallish guy sat down next to me, and I heard voices somewhere calling out "Cookie". Since that had been my nickname all through primary and high schools, I looked around, but soon realised that they were aiming for the guy next to me - whose surname is "Cooke", of course. I said hello and pointed to my name badge and explained my nickname, and I think we were both suitably amused.

Continuing from Part I, after the Maskerade photo session, rwrylsin went to bed, and I went wandering. Passed through the bar, but didn't know anyone there, so wandered on to the Treacle Mines, and found the remains of the Hedgehog Party. There I joined in the balloon fight that was going on, then lurked around for a while and talked to people (Marlies, Kimberly, the_ladylark, Thomas Pratchett (Terry's cousin) and "Susan Sto-Helit" (another badge name that I never quite matched up to a real name ... wonder if there's a list somewhere ?), among others), until reasonably late. I got to recommend one of my favourite books, Voyage From Yesteryear , by James P Hogan, after an interesting discussion about utopias.


Onwards, to what we got up to on Sunday. We didn't get up early enough for the Church of Om - maybe next time. Did manage breakfast (just; surfacing before 10am is hard work, you know), then went to The Dysk (main room) and offered to help out with Tech Stuff. They didn't need us right away, so we sat in on a talk by Jack Cohen, "The Biology of Discworld" (which was, of course, mostly about Roundworld biology by comparison). I quite liked his "four 'f's", features which have evolved separately a number of times, and which we think would be reasonably likely to evolve elsewhere, given half a chance - fur, feathers, photosynthesis, and ... sex. After that, we did get to play with tech - Mandy(tech-winolj) and I fiddled with the lighting set-up for the two "game show" sessions coming up in the room, while the other techs worked out some problems they were having with the cameras. The lighting arrangement was quite simple, but it was rather fun to be in control of it all. I can definitely see myself doing more of that sort of thing.
After that, time passed again, and I'm not quite sure what we did with it. Probably another round of lunch, dealers room, and random wandering around. There was a juggling session, where I demonstrated juggling up to 5 balls, and giving advice on doing 4 and various tricks to people there, and taught someone simple passing.
After that, I went to part of the charity auction, watching surprisingly large amounts of money being spent - there are often similar auctions at Australian conventions, but they generally don't involve such enthusiastic bidding. I'm not sure if it's because the items for auction were more valuable (on eBay ?), or DW fans have more money to throw around, or just general enthusiasm. Fortunately, I only had £10 in my wallet at the time, so I was out of the bidding for just about everything in the first few seconds. (Later, it was announced that the auction had raised over £11,000 or so (!), all going to the Orangutan Foundation).
After the auction ran somewhat over time, rwrylsin and I headed off for dinner, where we joined Sean & Trish McMullen (another couple of Aussies, just along for the day), and chatted about the con and life in the UK. Next, we hung around in The Hub for a while, as people were standing around before heading to the Gala Dinner (not us; places were limited and had to be applied for long before the con, and I wasn't sure what the food would be like). The Guilds were led off one by one, with much humourous interplay between the announcer and the guilds and the spectators. We went off to the Toast and Jam for a little while, but found the music too loud (drumkits really don't need to be amplified in a room that size, and the other instruments were too loud for the space too), so we wandered away for a while (to the bar, I think). We braved T&J for a little while later, and found the balance a little better - we could hear the vocals, although sometimes wished we couldn't. rwrylsin headed off to bed soon afterwards, and I circulated between the bar, T&J while it was running, and the corridor outside the bar - there, Rachel Hayward was performing on the steel pan, and gathering an appreciative audience. Eventually I settled in the bar listening to people singing (various filks, amusing songs, and (of course) Bohemian Rhapsody), and finally headed to bed.



Monday was fairly quite, we saw a couple of panels, and "The Reduced Discworld" - a performance of all of the major Discworld novels so far, in under an hour (very amusing !). After this, there was some idle wandering around, a game of Go with Cookie while waiting for the closing ceremony (unfortunately it was a bit rushed, and we didn't get time to score it properly; I think he was winning by 10-20 points, though). Finally, it was time for the closing ceremony, and many thanks were read out, the committee all went up on stage (there were lots of them), Terry gave a closing speech, and finally, the Con was officially over.
The Tech crew called for volunteers to help take everything down, so rwrylsin and I joined in. Apparently the last time they took down one of their setups they did it in 74 minutes - we did this one in 75, which I thought was quite impressive for the amount of equipment that was around the place.
Again, there were quite a few Con-goers staying at the hotel that night, so again a buffet dinner was put on for us. This one had chocolate cake for dessert, so all was well :-)
And finally, there was the Dead Monkey Party (at Aussie cons the after-con party would be called a "dead dog party"; wonder if this is a Discworld thing or a UK thing ?), where people gathered in The Hub and talked. rwrylsin went to bed when it seemed quiet, but then more people appeared and things livened up again. A whole bunch of afp people were there (inhabitants of alt.fan.pratchett, that is),



Whew. All that remained was Tuesday, and driving back up to Glasgow. We detoured via Leicester, and looked for Leicester castle, which turned out to be more like small remaining bits of castle incorporated into later buildings and walls and things. Still interesting, though. After that, it was just driving, driving, and some more driving, with about equal amounts of rain and sunshine, and then some quick grocery shopping and home again.
(for the terminally curious, we ate very healthily while driving (not!) - two tins of Pringles, 200g of other crisps, around 300g of chocolate, two bottles of Coke, ice-cream ... ahhh, road trip food).

So, I've now run around finding Discworld people on LJ and popped into alt.fan.pratchett. Let's hope I can catch up with some of them before 2006 (August 2006, and see the discworld_2006 community to start talking about it). My overall impression, despite going there knowing no-one, is of a well-organised and fun convention, and it will be hard to stop us going in 2006.
Meanwhile, we've signed up for Redemption 05 (a Blake's 7, Babylon 5, and "other" con in Feburary or so), and the 2005 WorldCon (held in Glasgow, of course), and we're wondering whether we want to go to Novacon.
Now we just have to plan our fencing competition calendar, and we're all set.

(Edit: It was Leicester we stopped in, not Leeds)
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