Iain Coleman's Report

 Short version: a great con, many thanks to all involved.

Long and roughly chronological version...

Friday Afternoon: Rachel and I arrived about 5ish. Rachel's not a fan - she was coming to stay at the hotel and go visit some old friends in Canterbury while I did wierd scifi things. After (eventually) locating our room we went to the bar and bumped into assorted reprobates from the mailing list. Neil remarked that he wouldn't have argued with me so much if he'd realised how tall I was. I suspect it would take more than that to cramp his style, though.

Friday evening: Several pints and a quick meal later, the opening ceremony. The scavenger-hunt thing was a good ice-breaker, though it says a lot about fandom that the hardest type of person to locate was the lager drinker. I got 26 points for being 26: If I'd realised the context, I'd have claimed to be 547. There followed a bar quiz (and more drink), then off to...

Friday Night: ...The Space City party, hosted by Una and Alison. I'd like to tell you more about this, but I'm afraid I was very, very drunk.

Saturday Morning: Mouth like a badger's jockstrap and eyes like pissholes in the snow.

Saturday Afternoon: Some really good discussions. The hotel has a couple of boardrooms, big enough for a couple of dozen people. These are the locations for some lively and interesting meetings. I enjoy them all, but particularly the one on whether or not "Animals" is the worst B7 story. We really must produce that ideal episode sometime, if we can find a quarry with a gasworks in it. Then off for a cabaret rehearsal. This is a technical rehearsal, and as such involves the performers sitting around doing bugger all for a couple of hours, then spending a few seconds standing on some marks. We repeatedly inform whoever is running the rehearsal that we'll need a table on stage for our performance.

Saturday Evening: Some B5 movie is shown, but I'm too busy getting stressed. I have no confidence that the table we need will be organised, and there are a million other things that could go wrong. After the movie there's a bit of a lull in the main hall while things are set up for the masquerade. Matthew and I go direct to the stage crew with our furniture requirements and they couldn't be more helpful, even giving us an opportunity for a proper run-through. My stress levels decrease to merely insane levels.

Saturday Night: The masquerade is great fun, with some really entertaining costumes. Jason and the Cyberpunk are particularly fun. Then it's the cabaret. We're first on, and to my pleasure and relief it all goes more or less according to plan. Matthew, Una and Alison perform splendidly. I then sit down, have the quickest pint in living memory and settle down for the rest of the acts. The cabaret as a whole is of a very high standard - even the filking, which I usually hate but Judith's solo and Steve, Jenni and Fi's piece are top notch. I even have the honour of a dance with the Supreme Commander. Finally, there's the disco. Loads of fun. The best thing about fandom is its spirit of uninhibited exuberance, and that is much in evidence.

Sunday Morning: Wisely, the organisers have scheduled nothing totally unmissable for this morning. I wander around the dealer's room, passing by the Dr Who vids (35 quid? Somebody is taking the piss.) but picking up a copy of Chris Boucher's "Star Cops" novel (which is very good, I'll post a wee review later).

Sunday Afternoon: A couple of discussions. I organise a small workshop on dodgy science in B7 which is good fun with thought-provoking contributions from all who join in. I even make an apology to Neil, but that's a matter for another time. Then there's a discussion on Fantasy and SF, which turns out to be a fascinating exploration, with everybody bringing in different perspectives. I certainly found a lot of food for thought there, and I think other people did as well.

Sunday Evening: Back home. Both Rachel and I have had a great weekend, and it's hard to take in the fact that what is conventionally referred to as real life has to begin again. Rachel in particular was somewhat apprehensive about sharing a hotel with a bunch of freaks and wierdos, but by now is a convert to fandom, describing you all as a great bunch of really cool, fun people. So there you go.

Thanks to everyone who organised and helped out at a terrific con. Special thanks to Judith for her assistance and advice before the con, and to Steve, who helped me organise various last-minute things quickly and without fuss.

I had a great time, I hope everyone else did too, and I look forward to seeing you all again soon.


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