April 4th, 2010

breaking bad

Posting from Eastercon

I had a slightly wobbly start to Eastercon, and I'm afraid I wibbled at pennski and then snowking (plus their partners). What an idiot I am, and I apologise to all. I am not used to big cons, and it took me a few hours to get into the groove as it were. However, things then went very well and I realised that my disparate groups of friends, whom I had feared were coming from different directions, were actually all expressing the same thoughts, and wishes, but perhaps in different language, which I misunderstood at first. And the feedback I got from those people I wibbled at helped me to get my head on right - so thanks very much, you might not have realised at the time how helpful you were being, because it took me a while to process. Hope that all makes sense.

I was running a workshop on translating Chinese poetry at 10am on Saturday morning. I genuinely expected nobody to turn up at such a time for such a topic. altariel and glitterboy came, and pleased I was to see them, and then about a dozen other people turned up, one or two of them actually with a background in studying Classical Chinese poetry! Plus professional poets and singers! The workshop was therefore a great success, and I loved it. It just shows what a massive and disparate convention Eastercon is.

The Birmingham Poet Laureate turned up to the workshop, and it turns out he knows my dad, and he actually said to me 'He's a better poet than I am'. I think he may be exaggerating, but it made me feel very warm and happy. I had to give him a kiss (on the forehead I mean, not a big snog).

I'll post this in chunks. Thanks all who helped me get through my wobbly and then made yesterday such a rewarding day.
breaking bad

Some other things I did yesterday

I was supposed to be running a performance workshop, but when I turned up, that was really not what the people there needed or wanted. There was a second presenter there, who was offering practical tips, and his help was much more aligned to what the people there needed, so I had a quiet word with him and agreed that I would just sit in as a friendly face, and not do anything active. I think sometimes the best thing you can do is not do anything.

I was also helping to judge the masquerade. I am not involved in any way in the side of SF Fandom which makes and wears costumes, but I was happy to visit that world. The presentations of the gear were short and punchy, which I think makes the whole thing lively and easy on the audience.

I don't know if I will wish I could un-say this, but I thought the cabaret which followed was too variable in quality to be a complete success. I think there needed to be a more ruthless pruning of the items, and perhaps a shortening even of the strongest pieces. I think what is appropriate to share with a small group of cheerful friends is different from what it is appropriate to share with a big audience. I think I know what brings this about - we all know we are to some extent minority and outsider people in our different ways, and therefore we value welcoming and inclusion - but sometimes a filtering is required. Filtering for purpose is not judging people for their worth as people.

Having said that there were several items which were of high quality.

I saw Doctor Who in someone's hotel room with a bunch of fans including one who had seen the rushes in advance - it was thrilling in context and very strong in its own right: a good omen for the season ahead.

And the other highlight in a very good day was seeing Ben Goldacre speak. He is a very impressive performer. Very smart, thinks on his feet, knows how to play the room. A brilliant presenter. It helps that he seems to be a tough cookie with a kind heart, just about my favourite kind of person. Well, you can tell I really warmed to him.

So thanks again to the lovely people I have met this weekend.