From Brian Dominic, Wossname's
man on the scene, who writes:
(Straps into saddle)
RIGHT – let's go!
What follows is a very personal account of what was a fabulous weekend.................
THURSDAY (helping day)
I'd arrived at the Ramada hotel (the overflow hotel just down the road from the Grange) reasonably early in the morning, and having been able to check in before The Allotted Time I was able to go up to the Grange, find Ops and ask if there was anything that needed doing. Eyes lit up. I was duly handed a thick wad of posters and some Blu-tac, and sent forth to decorate the hotel. The walls of the hotel were dotted with fake adverts for things a Morporkian might want to buy – all tastefully produced and in various sizes. I caught up with (and lent a hand to) the Official Renaming Detail, who were erecting the large signs that said "UPPER BROADWAY" "LOWER BROADWAY" "CAVERN CLUB" "STO LAT", "L SPACE (1 & 2)" (when joined together they were an l-shaped place) so that people would know where they were.
After this, is was Goodie Bag Stuffing Time! Picture the scene: a long line of tables, stacked with Goodies – a "Mystery Envelope" packed with totally unknown goodies, the Posh Programme (which normally gets looked at by me after the event), the Read Me, which is a smaller and more convenient version of the Convention Programme – as suggested, this is the one you can use your highlighter and marker pen on to mark up those unmissable events you just HAVE to go to, plus a colouring sheet, a set of small coloured pencils to use on it, a commemorative medal and the all-important lanyard, pen and badge holder. One walked steadily down one side of the table, adding each article as one passed it, then left the full bags at the other end, picked up an empty bag and worked your way down the other side of the table, which had exactly the same things on it in the same order!
After dinner, the evening was taken up with The Incredibly Hard Pub Quiz (well, she DOES have two years to put it together) with an incredibly picky Judge of What Is Right (the only village in the UK with an exclamation mark in it's name is Westward Ho!, but miss the exclamation mark off and you get nil points).
That was about it for Thursday.................
FRIDAY (Registration Day)
This was the day I now normally give to the Convention: I was on duty just after 0900 in Registration, to unite Convention goers with their badge and goodie bag. Old hands knew what to do, but newcomers had to be told what to do with their badge (no sniggers at the back, there!) and to put their hotel key cards there as well, to save them getting deprogrammed by their mobile phone. It was also our job to suggest that Newbies went to Der Troll's Guide For Der Confused – a briefing intended for new visitors. We also had to tactfully enquire if there were any issues which would require the addition of a blue spot to a badge which gave priority in queues and lifts. As the registrations progressed, we found our selves with less and less boxes to look through as more and more people arrived and the contents of the boxes (one envelope for each attendee) disappeared. When we got to two boxes, we moved the Registration table across Upper Broadway to a more shady spot, as we had been under the Greenhouse Roof on the outer side and were starting to gently bake. I'd been off site for some reason and arrived back as Bernard Pearson was about to read "Where's My Cow" - an experience I would have liked to share in, but people were crammed into the space provided and there was no way I could get any way near.
I missed the Opening Ceremony, which actually finished before the scheduled time – something of a "first" – but got in for Terry Pratchett – a Memorial which were the highlights of the Memorial held earlier this year. I don't know how much of this may have leaked around to Oz, but I suspect it might get there sooner or later so I won't say to much about it. The only thing I WILL share is that the final item was "Always Look on the Bright Side of Life". I sat, I sang, I wept uncontrollably (and I wasn't the only one)...................
Next up was Bedtime Stories, for which I didn't follow the pyjamas dress code! There was some interesting material, including the outline of a section of a book that will never be published (and which was shredded in stage after it had been read). Finally, I went to the Karaoke Session, which was rubbishy in that it didn't contain any of the ninety-odd songs I sing.
SATURDAY (Costume Day)
This was the day I intended to wear my Auditor's costume all day and appear in the Masquerade. The first thing to do was to attend the Masquerade Rehearsal, to work out what things needed to happen in my piece, and get Pat Harkin to co-operate with what I wanted to do. After that, I costumed up and went a-wandering. I managed to drop in on a session or two – nobody stopped me.................... For lunch and dinner I dropped out of character – when I took off the mesh mask that effectively stopped people from seeing me I was quite surprised at how cool it was! It was very difficult to stay in character – stopping oneself from using "I" is very, very difficult! I dropped into the Stephen Briggs / Rob Watkins conversation but chickened out of How to fit a Corset and Sewing Cheats! After dinner, it was time to report backstage for the Masquerade. At least we could see each act as it went on but we couldn't unfortunately hear them, as we'd only got a monitor off the video system which was projecting images onto a large screen alongside the stage. Whilst the judges were deliberating, we all went for a photo shoot, then went back in to hear the results. After that, it was off to the late night Hedgehog Party, where everybody can bring food from their part of the country / world...............
SUNDAY (Lazy Day)
I started off late on Sunday – my first event was at 1100 and was entitled "Liner notes – Annotating the Discworld" which gave an interesting insight into the adding of footnotes and the building up to a punch line. I went to Juke Box Jury, where the idea was to sing one tune to the words of another. In the course of this workshop, we came across a previously unknown version of The Dwarf Song, sung to the tune of "Let it Go" from Frozen......... later, I took in the children's Masquerade, seeing as how I hadn't seen the adult one. As I wasn't attending the Gala Dinner, I took myself into Leamington Spa to meet up with a group of similarly-minded attendees. I went back to the Con in time for Toast & Jam, where anybody can get up to sing anything (more or less) but this was disturbed by some Gawd-awful rattling on the ceiling (which was in fact the floor under the stage in the main Con performing space). I went up to investigate and found a 4 piece rock band setting up to perform............ which they did for around 90 minutes, following which I headed off.
MONDAY (Wind Down Day)
I didn't do an awful lot today: I went to the feedback session which is always interesting, followed by The Day's Big Event "Witches Abroad – The Musical" which was excellent, given that there's very little time to rehearse. It inevitably over-ran so we all got booted out of the hall and got told to come back 30 minutes later than scheduled for the Closing Ceremony. The band I had supported was ushered into an area at the front, as we'd won the Battle of the Bands, one of the things which had run throughout the Convention but totally passed me by. Once all the rewards and presentations were completed, we went off to the Dead Monkey Party, which is a gentle winding-down party with loadsa food. I ended up playing my second game of Cards Against Humanity and actually won my first black card! (Authors' note: see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cards_Against_Humanity
if you have no idea what this is all about....)
Annnnnnnnnnnd – that was that!
I drove back into The Real WorldTM
the next morning – the temporary traffic lights near the hotel which slowed everybody up, roadworks on a critical junction which caused even more chaos but at least after that, traffic was flowing...................
And here, in all its sentient-life-hating-Auditor glory, is Brian's excellent costume:Editor's note:
We've been holding the August issue for this report. The full issue, email version, will go out in a few hours' time...