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dwcon2010 write-up

tech bear
A long weekend on the outskirts of Birmingham, where a strange cohesive force brought together some nine hundred Discworld fans...

In keeping with previous cons I seemed to prefer to do stuff as opposed to hanging out. However, I didn't make it easy for myself with a number of prior commitments: running a panel (for the first time), entering the Maskerade (for the first time), helping with the Rat Race (which turned into an evening's gentle teching) and an unofficial meeting of a subset of next Eastercon's staff and committee. All that was arranged beforehand; then, on Saturday, shevek approached me to ask if I would be prepared to help run the sound for the play. (I was honoured, but nevertheless eek!)

I always find it difficult to socialise in (say) the bar or the hedgehog party, because I don't know all that many people and it's hard to break the ice. (Somehow, communal meal tables are no problem; perhaps this is because there's a purpose there. Similarly, in spare moments on or near the tech tower I seem to get talking with fellow techies quite easily.) So, in a sense, having less time to hang out suited me - yet I've still come away from the con with new and renewed friendships.

My panel, Desert Island Books, went well - notes on what we talked about have been passed to the Chronicle team, as requested - and I was pleasantly surprised by the turnout; chatting with natural20 afterwards, he reminded me that a fair proportion of the attendees had arrived on the Thursday so would be looking for con activities before the opening ceremony. I masqueraded as planned, accidentally walked too fast and dropped a line on the floor (not that anybody noticed), and while I didn't win any prizes I squeed quietly when several people came up to me later to say they had enjoyed my act. Money was spent in the dealers room, the hotel food was its usual disappointing mass-produced self (and expensive for what it was), and the atmosphere was generally fabulous.

The highlight of the con, without any vestige of a shadow of a doubt, was the Rocky Horror Discworld Show. It was simultaneously inspired, mad and brilliant. Pic of some of the cast, along with the author/director (pic from Keith_Art, as I missed the photo opportunity). I was reminded that this is 2010 when a number of members of the audience waved various illuminated gadgets in the air - makes a change from times past!

It was just a little bit hectic, even with three of us doing sound: there were seventeen mics to fade, music/fx cues to run and the usual sound quality/feedback stomping you have to do with a big room. It wasn't a perfect job - does anything ever go fully to plan? - but the audience didn't seem to mind, instead demonstrating that they were suitably rocked. During Don't Dream It - the finale - I looked around and noticed that the entire house was on its feet.

I wish I could have somehow captured that moment. To be one of the lucky few with a commanding view of the whole room; to feel the buzz of the larger fraction of 900 people, most of whom I would categorise as "friends I haven't met yet" (the rest being friends I have met!); to feel united in kinship and admiration with them; to know that I helped make this happen. I'm still buzzing from it, over 48 hours later. It was an honour to be invited to take part in such a mad, yet magnificent, production.

@Uitlander tweeted:

#DWCon "Are any of these people your friends?" - waiter at breakfast, indicating seating choices. "All of them!" said Sir Terry Pratchett
- this is what I love about dwcon. We may all be loonies, in Terry's own words, but there is something particularly magical about the people which I've never experienced to quite the same depth at any other con.

At some point, a groat was pressed into my hand. The design is inspired; I quickly decided that I was not going to spend it as it would make a cracking souvenir. It takes the form of a Grand Trunk clacks telegram, reading:


As a con, we collectively pushed the boat out this year, and the result was well beyond "squee", past "epic" and firmly into "legendary". I think this one is going to be remembered for a long time.


( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
Sep. 2nd, 2010 08:56 am (UTC)
Many thanks for helping with the Rat Race.
Sep. 2nd, 2010 11:35 am (UTC)
I think you've become one of the 'faces to look out for even though I don't know them' (apart from seeing you on friends' Livejournals). I hope you'll come to the Hedgehog Party next time :-)
Sep. 2nd, 2010 08:14 pm (UTC)
I went to the Hedgehog Party in '08 ... and ended up lurking near shevek and his DJ kit because I Didn't Know Anyone :-/
Sep. 3rd, 2010 06:27 pm (UTC)
I wish I could have seen your entry!
You looked spectacular - I wish I had had the chance to so more than smile and nod :(

Well done on the tech tower too :-)
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )

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