Thursday, 21 August 2014

LonCon 3: Thursday First Contact!

Brian Aldiss on the right with Steve Lawson at the closing ceremony.
Not going to rift on The Clash's London Calling, or allude to Paul Cornell's London Falling and make comments about The Severed Streets around ExCel over the weekend.  No, not doing anything like that, or any shouts outs, or mixed metaphors either *cough*, or mention that ExCel is down by the river.  No sirree Bob, short for Kate BTW, none of that here.

Cue Lost in Space Warning. The narrative is now going to go a bit wibbly-wobbly-timey-wimey, as I travel forward to Monday.

LonCon 3 was not my first WorldCon that honour goes to SeaCon '79, which was held in Brighton where they had Brian Aldiss and Fritz Lieber as their Guests of Honour.  I mention this because Brian celebrated his 89th birthday on the 18th.  As a result he had a hall full of fans sing him Happy Birthday at LonCon 3.  And that as they say is what fandom is all about; a community of fans who appreciate the authors that write the books we like to read.

Cue Tardis Sound Effects.  It's now Thursday again.

We had a plan of what we wanted to see at WorldCon, but no plan survives contact with what goes on at a convention.  The things that come up daily to defeat the best laid plans are: eating, drinking and sleeping, with a large side order of meeting old friends, and making new ones.  I wouldn't have it any other way.

Oh, and just in this case I forget to mention it in passing, lots of walking.

We arrived at ExCel around 11.30, and went on the first of the many long walks down the central boulevard of the convention.  On reaching the end, where the registration desk sat majestically back lit by the morning sun, we found ourselves in a queue where we stood for 90 minutes before getting our badges.  During which time I went off to find us something to eat.  With both of us now being representatives of an ethnic minority,  I went and bought Cornish Pasties, and black coffees.

Voice Over, "The coffee kicks back the fatigue from a sleepless night."

Susan hadn't slept well, because she was nervous about attending such a large convention, and me, me I was over excited.

Cue What Excitement Sounds Like to Me.

This meant neither of us got enough sleep.  Not a good way to start a convention.  However, we passed the time, by chatting to the people around us, and were entertained by a roving guitar player singing filk songs as well.

Due to the time it took to get our badges we missed going to the Opening Ceremony, and the Learn How to Swing Dance item, which resulted in us skipping the Swing Dance event we had originally planned on attending.  So much for our well laid out plans.

Cue A-Team Theme. So we went to Plan B; have fun.

Right to left: Roz Kaveney, Carrie Vaughn, Martin McGrath, Laurie Penny and Takayuki Tatsumi.
Our first event was watching the Occupy SF: Inequality on Screen panel, which had Roz Kaveney contributing cutting insights into shows like Continuum, and Alan Moore's V for Vendetta.  She is one of the smartest people I know, and a lovely person.

Then we went to The Fermi Paradox in Light of the Kepler Mission panel because Charlie Stross was a speaker on it.  He always has something interesting and erudite to say, which makes panels with him on worth going to see.  It also had Gerry Webb of Commercial Space Technologies Ltd., as the moderator, who was very good.  Interesting topic, even though nothing really new about the existence of aliens arose out of the discussion.

We missed The 1939 Retro-Hugo Awards Ceremony, our desire to see the results of the vote were trumped by the need to eat; so as to prevent us turning into ravenous hungry monsters.  We had steak, and it was delicious.

Cue Clever Girl.  Impromptu Jurrassic Park re-enactment averted.

On the way back from the restaurant we dropped in to see a play some friends were presenting called The Cancellation and Re-Imagining of Captain Tartan.  It explored the complex processes behind the production of a successful series, and the importance of the writer in the creative process when re-imagining a much loved classic show *cough*.  Afterwards we went to sit down in the fan village area, and had a drink from the bar with a few more friends, before starting the long walk back to our hotel to retire for the night.

To be continued...

NB: *cough* indicates irony.  This has been a public service announcement *cough*.

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