Somehow Judith and Steve had persuaded me to join them at Nexus in Bristol, so late on Friday night I found myself staggering out of Bristol station, which is opposite a pub apparently named in honour of Blake, The Reckless Engineer. There didn't seem to be much point in going to the con hotel at that advanced hour, especially if most known contacts were at the Rocky Horror Show, so I went straight to the City Inn and settled down on the sofa to finish reading some cricket scores until Judith came in.
Next morning, I arrived at the Jarvis and located various suspects, including Emma, cunningly disguised by the use of her real name on her badge, before we went into the Main Hall to hear the guest speakers. This was probably my only real complaint about scheduling - three guest speakers, speaking for an hour at a time and lined up one after the other, meant an awfully long time sitting still and listening if you happened to be interested in all three.
Paul did his usual repartee for about three quarters of an hour, and then, while he was in the middle of a remark about kissing guest stars, a familiar voice drawled "Well, having kissed you myself, darling..." and Jackie Pearce strolled on to the stage to great applause, and looking very fetching with her hair cropped very close to the skull. So they did the last session together, which was good fun. Next up was Nicholas Courtenay, one of those fortunate people who grow steadily better-looking as they age and, if they reach their century, will probably be beautiful beyond our wildest imaginings. But I didn't take in all that much of what he said, as I was unable to resist browsing my newly-purchased copy of Zenith any longer, especially the interview with the delectable Peter Miles, whose remarks about aftershave merely confirmed what I knew already, viz that this is a man after my own heart. And yes, Penny, you have to see the photo of Brian Croucher on page 42. I did come round when Walter Koenig came on, probably because of all the flashing. That's cameras, not underwear, if you're still thinking of page 42. Koenig impressed me a great deal. Despite jet lag, he provided interesting conversation for an hour, and I came out with a better idea of his career and personality. On whether he preferred playing Chekhov or Bester, he was as diplomatic as Courtenay had been on his favourite doctor, though the warmth of his comments on Bester left me with a definite view. He explained that he'd been rather disappointed when Crusade was dropped after 13 episodes, as Bester was due to appear in No. 15, so I went and signed the petition for the return of Crusade, and so, apparently, did he. And he loves Galaxy Quest.
My afternoon was dominated by the Centauri party, for which I was transformed by the amazing trichological skills of Anne Wells plus the loan of Lord Refa's spare coat. Thus Lord Hari Monachi came to enter the Couro Prido, and for some reason became Hereditary High Priest of the God of the Underworld as well. I await Steve's photos with interest.
The three Centauri Emperors entered the fancy dress competition together and, had there been an award for performance, should have been neck and neck with Vila's Royal Virgin Mounties, aka Emma and Rita in red fur. And had there been an award for concept, it would have gone to Trillion of Nine, the first Borg-assimilated Tribble, a sort of tent cube which wandered about the stage chucking out smaller cubes. But as it was a more conventional, though beautifully assimilated, Borg came runner-up to Delenn and Sheridan, who will apparently grace Redemption too. Actually, why were the Borg drones competing against each other... doesn't sound very collective.
Once this was over, we headed for the bar and got down to the serious business of wobblevision. Judith persuaded us that reshooting Rumours of Death was the only possibility, and Emma had a script ready in ten minutes. Now it can be revealed: Anna Grant was really from Centauri Prime, Servalan wrote Dr Who novels in her spare time, and Orac used to hold packets of crisps. And Avon really is a computer geek. The tragic results will apparently be up on Emma's page in about a week.
I remembered to have a proper breakfast on Sunday, and then spent a while on Judith's stall pretending to know what zines cost and talking to a girl who was taught French by Patrick Troughton's son, before catching the end of a talk on data crystals. Then I went to listen to the end of Walter Koenig's second talk, before a discussion on special effects v script, in which we managed to forget about the special effects pretty quickly. As the dealers packed up, I caught the dramatic collapse of a table which had been covered in Star Trek painted plates only minutes earlier - fortunately, only the plastic stands were left when it decided to fold itself up - before heading for the station and a magical mystery tour of England and Wales as we tried to avoid engineering works and landslides.
Thanks to Steve and Judith for persuading me to come, the Couro Prido for admitting me and especially Anne for doing the hair, to Emma for probably my only chance to play a romantic lead not to mention a revolutionary heroine, and to everyone else for being there.
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