The 2011 Irish Discworld Convention

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Postby RJH » Wed Nov 09, 2011 11:56 am

Of coarse, I need someone they to get me some stuff as well 8) :D
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Postby Jan Van Quirm » Wed Nov 09, 2011 1:15 pm

Am back online but still utterly wrecked - will post more fully when I'm more compus mentis... :twisted:
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Postby Dotsie » Wed Nov 09, 2011 1:23 pm

Welcome back party girl! :D
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Postby Sjoerd3000 » Wed Nov 09, 2011 1:29 pm

Welcome back Jan! :D
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Postby michelanCello » Wed Nov 09, 2011 4:27 pm

Good to have you back, Jan! :D
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Postby Penfold » Wed Nov 09, 2011 6:07 pm

Jan Van Quirm wrote:Am back online but still utterly wrecked - will post more fully when I'm more compus mentis... :twisted:

I'm guessing you had a great time then. :lol:
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Postby Jan Van Quirm » Wed Nov 09, 2011 7:01 pm

It's mostly because I still have this bloody cough but party-fatigue is a factor... :P

OK - there may well be more to come because I'm not going to be online too much tonight but I start it at least as I began writing after the closing ceremony on Monday :lol:

Rule No 1 goes without saying - but maybe there ought to be a Rule 1a about yupping yourself into doing a write-up on a Discworld Convention. But I went and did it anyway even though I knew the inevitable risk of developing a faulty memory amongst the Irish hence why I've started this just after the Closing Ceremony and with the programme open in front of me to remind me of what happened when and where (that I know of) so I have some assistance with recall. The rest will of course be hearsay, rumour and probably actionable but it will all, of course, go down into legend as fantastic, entertaining and a load of laughs.

No Terry. No Rob. They appeared by Skype but regrettably I was doing something else and missed that. Aside from that, having Bernard Pearson, the Cunning Artificer himself as the Guest of Honour was the best of all possible substitutions and he aquitted himself as Master of Mayhem with the aplomb most people would expect - we were urged to p*ss off and enjoy ourselves on several occasions and he bobbed up and down a lot in various places the entire weekend with his usual bonhomie with plenty of tall tales about 'How things have come to be' and lots of teasing news about the new Mapp of Ankh-Morpork that certain civil servants who bear passing resemblances to Patricians and a Roundworld lingerie habit had bunged through some expensive CAD kit to arrive at the definitive, virtually perfect and very much to scale template for the A-Z of the Great Wahooni. It comes with a 120 page booklet too so that sounds like something that will be on a lot of people's Disc wishlists in the New Year.

Bernard also gave a very good interview on just how great it is to be Terry's best mate but also how bloody lucky Bernard is to have met Isobel and to have started Clarecraft with her. Also giving interviews were Jack Cohen (no Ian Stewart as he regrettably had something fluey that had robbed him of his voice), Colin Smythe and Jacqueline Simpson the latter of whom I didn't hear 'on the sofa' regrettably but Meerkat and I did go to a Klatch with her and very interesting it was too as this remarkable octogenarian is literally a goldmine of information on European folklore, ghost stories and mythologies and really nice lady. Colin Smythe I regret was not miked up too well so I can't tell you so much about him but he's a very interesting guy to corner as he knows where all the bodies are buried and is a bugger to cap at an auction... :oops:

More on Klatches and auctions later as I've just coughed up some more lung and it's dinner time :wink:
Last edited by Jan Van Quirm on Sun Nov 13, 2011 5:47 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Postby Who's Wee Dug » Wed Nov 09, 2011 9:48 pm

Good report so far Jan look forward to the rest of it. :)
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Postby Jan Van Quirm » Wed Nov 09, 2011 11:13 pm

Bit more before I turn in and some more about the guests (have been looking at RJH's questions) to try to cover the less social/convivial and more meaty or cerebral aspects of the programme so you get a flavour of some the things you can listen to or take part in that doesn't necessarily involve dressing up, quaffing or generally making a right tit of yourself... :P

A lot of convention programming are what's loosely labelled 'fan activities' and these tend to be more along the quiz or silly game side of things, but some of it's more absorbing and creative and one such was another Skype style interview with Australian Daniel Knight, the Artistic Director of Snowgum Films which showed the trailers made from the Troll Bridge short film (now in post-production and 80% complete for release on DVD to subscribers next year - GO HERE FOR THE TRAILERS). It looks superb and it's been done by fans for fans on donations of time, talent, toil and of course the cash money through their Kickstarter fundraiser. Daniel gave great interview - he could well be a cooler, younger, fitter Peter Jackson.... :P and the casting and action sequences reek Discworld with young and old Cohen looking absolutely spot on. There was a general Q&A on open mike to end the screening and Daniel will be posting details of how you can get hold of a DVD and other goodies by dint of donation as they're still needing fundraisers to get the film out on the festival circuit once they've sorted the editing etc. Definitely one to watch out for anyway. :D

OK - Klatches next. I didn't go to one at my 1st convention last year in Birmingham as I didn't really understand what they were about and competition to attend them was fierce so really I missed out by default. They're different in Ireland simply because there's less people to vye for places and result is that I can thoroughly recommend them as a way of getting to meet Terry (if he's there) or other guests for a nice little hour long chat over a cup of coffee or tea in a nice secluded nook away from the hurly burly of the more public events. That's basically what a Klatch is - just a few people - 6 people at the ones in Ireland, but I think Birmingham had up to a dozen people to meet demand with the guest of your choice to have a free-roaming conversation about whatever you'd like to talk about. Meerkat and I went to one of Jacqueline Simpson's and had a lovely ramble around witchy subjects and ancient belief systems, but Bernard, Colin Smythe and Jack Cohen all held sessions as well which I would guess were as interesting and enthralling. :)

There's bigger, more formal talks in the larger event rooms as well and these were also interesting and participative although again I only went to one of Jack Cohen's (right after Daniel Wright's interview) which was on the knotty problem of how very risky a process evolution is and whether we'll ever discover life as we 'know' it in this big old universe. And the answer is in all likelihood that we've probably already encountered it but not recognised it as being 'life' - necessarily. Also potentially what a Martian might look like... :lol:

Now I'll let you into my own unique experiences at the convention at this point, because I happen to have a lot of time for Mr. Cohen who is 78 and whose memory is not always reliable, but always lucid, lively and very, very interesting. I happened to come over on the same flight as him (and Jacqueline Simpson) and shared the transport to Ennistymon with them. It had to be one of the most entertaining and funny hours of my life. Even if you don't like science in general, or reproductive biology in particular, if you ever go to a DWCon, do go to one of Jack's talks (with Ian Stewart who's also a lovely man but regrettably not there this time) because it's fascinating and plausible and really good fun - at the very least you'll see why the Science of the Discworld series is so great and like me, you'll be gagging to get Part 4 of the series which is one of the projects Terry's currently working on. We had a little teaser on that too - the Omnians are going to be cutting up rough in litigation with the Wizards over custody (or perhaps the intellectual rights as they 'thought of it first') of Roundworld and there may be a crossover traveller coming from Roundworld into the Disc, but at present it sounds as though this part of the storyline is fairly fluid.

That's your lot for tonight - back in tomorrow for the silly bits, gossip, naming and shaming.... :twisted:
"Some men see things as they are and ask why. Others dream things that never were and ask why not.” George Bernard Shaw
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Postby Tonyblack » Thu Nov 10, 2011 12:29 am

And, of course, Jack Cohen was a scientific advisor to Anne McCaffrey when she was writing her Dragonrider books. :wink:
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Postby RJH » Thu Nov 10, 2011 8:27 am

What a fantastic read, I enjoyed knowing a new Science book is in the pipeline and also a new map 8)
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Postby DaveC » Thu Nov 10, 2011 8:37 am

Can't wait for Troll Bridge the behind the scenes stills on Twitter are great!

http://twitter.com/?photo_id=1#!/snowgumfilms/status/123176671711997952/photo/1


Hope I can get a DVD. :D
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Postby meerkat » Thu Nov 10, 2011 11:04 am

Jan is so much better at this writing stuff than I am! I agree with what she said!
I hope she will not be shaming me at all! As if I did anything shamefull! (runs away and hides)
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Postby Jan Van Quirm » Thu Nov 10, 2011 4:01 pm

Tonyblack wrote:And, of course, Jack Cohen was a scientific advisor to Anne McCaffrey when she was writing her Dragonrider books. :wink:

Nice bit of exclusive gossip on Ms McCaffrey too (in the taxi but he didn't swear me to secrecy... :P ) - she's writing the 'last' Pern book apparently (well one with her doing the actual writing anyway) and he's been talking to her a bit about it again. She's been working on it for a few years apparently, but it's nearing completion - wiki seems to be saying it'll be out next year anyhoo. :wink:

And back to the report :D

Fan activities at conventions is really not too mad, hardly ever 'bad' except in the street sense (so therefore cool :wink: ) and is most definitely dangerously hilarious to take part in. You don't have to take part - the people watching is wonderful and just tagging along is pretty good fun, but if you hold your nose and cherry bomb into the deep end then you're more or less guaranteed to have a whale of a time. For those less mobile or chatty it can seem very daunting to take part in a quiz like Unseen University Challenge but they managed to dragoon Meerkat and I into one of the eight teams (or was it six? never mind! :lol: ) and we actually made it to the semi-finals by being one of the high-scoring losers with 115 points in Round 1. I forget our score for the semi but as it went on for 40 minutes instead of 20 minutes we didn't totally disgrace ourselves and I think got into the high 100s that time. In fact it could be said that we came 3rd as we lost to the 2 teams who made the final so no disgrace :D And yes - it's only your questions that are hard! :lol:

There were a mix of other panel quizzes roughly adapted to Discworld or general fan-interest areas, including the Wyrdest Link (apparently extremely cut-throat and the conniving finalists only managed to get one question right in the showdown) and Just a Minute with a lot of making it up as we went along with 'We don't know what to call this' hosted by the redoubtable Committee Gamesmistress Kirstine Heald (she of the 'How Many People Can Fit Under My Crinoline jolly jape at Birmingham 2010). Naming and Shaming there - we have photographic evidence of Kirstine showing up chronically tired and still a tad emotional at the ridiculously early 11 am slot for this on Sunday and she still managed to get Meerkat and 3 other 'volunteers' aka saps to do an on the fly Mock the Week-esque Political Translation skit for Lord Vetinari and CMOT Dibbler respectively, a very silly pictionary style round and a few very scary Just a Minute rounds.

Image

Werewolf was played extensively during convenient quiet periods by the determinedly perky in the evening if there wasn't anything better to do which brings us into the more participative activities, some of which involved the exchange of the folding stuff for posh food at the Oswalds Awards for the best costumes away from the Maskerade. As has been mentioned in other conversations, character dressing up at the convention isn't obligatory, but it is fun and it helps you meet and talk to people who you'd never talk to if you hadn't made the effort. It's certainly much less bother than dressing up and making up a 'routine' for your chosen impersonation the Maskerade. Sounds scary huh? The Maskerade... :P Well it depends who you choose to do - History Monks were pretty popular at this one as we had Qu's assistant demonstrating the mobile procrastinator for us through the wonders of battery power (couple of glorified revolving kitchen rolls on a modified back-pack - Bernard was very interested in that! :lol: ) who won 'Best in Show' another Orange sheet bedecked Sweeper who quoted Mrs. Cosmopolite at us and also a rather more Dominican-influenced Wen the Eternally Surprised who demonstrated the perils of using slicing techniques to try to cover up forgetting the wife's birthday - she has a very mean kick does Lady Time. :twisted: We also had a tap-dancing Cheerio lady dwarf health and safety officer who very nearly brought the house down showing us how they test the integrity of the prop-shafts down t'pit. You can even, if you just can't stand up there on your tod, do a team effort for the Maskerade - we had a most amusing sketch by the Bledlows of UU doing the Finding of the Keys ceremony in all the best 'tradition' of that august seat of learning that won the masters category.

Other 'joining in' stuff - Music with Rocks In for those with a fondness for instruments and/or singing in a 'Filk' environment. I can't tell you much more than the link as I didn't go, but the Discworld take on Filk is pretty darned thorough and I've no doubt that the Hedgehog Song was perpetrated at some stage, as were the attractions of Wizards Knobs extolled... :roll: The goodie bag also included a lyric booklet for popular plagiarisms of Roundworld standard fare 'to the tune of' variety (Wild Rover and the Logical Song to name but 2). I understand that this activity possibly needed to be tackled with a few beverages in hand, but like I said, I wasn't there. :P Other 'joining in' stuff included Ghost Stories, What's your Fantasy and another panel-style game 'Evil Genius/Good Samaritan' (good idea/bad idea) or if you were feeling a little masochistic you could go and find out all you needed to know about abominations with the Borogravian Nugganites. :shock:

And of course there was those time-honoured fan pastimes of signings and shopping with the Dealers including workshops with the makers of the latest boardgames Guards Guards and Ankh-Morpork as well as faves like Thud and of course the bookshops and badges and plushies and groovy stuff (including T-shirts) from the Cunning Artificer and other licensed DW merchants.

And then was 'Charidee' on a Sunday afternoon... :oops: Now I hadn't planned to go to this, but someone 'Simples' wanted to go... And I certainly wasn't going to be bidding for anything... And of course I wasn't actually going to buy anything that expensive... Was I? :shock: So there I was sitting beside a closet stamp collector who happens to belong to this very forum :P and putting my badge in the air for the many silly yet surreptitiously spiffy lots that were coming up on stage to the tune of 30 euros or so. I was in fact very good at putting my hand down before I was in danger of actually spending any money at all, up to the point where... I didn't! :oops: )

Did I say I never go to auctions and if I do I rarely buy anything? This was true. :oops: If I do buy something it's generally a bargain and almost always something I really, really want and like. That, remarkably, is also still true. Basically I had a 'Damascus moment' courtesy of bloody Pat Harkin (auctioneering) and sodding Colin Smythe (spiking the bidding)... Tomorrow a copy of Once More with Footnotes, 1st Edition, good condition, signed by both Pterry and by the Illustrator (whose full name escapes me just now as I'm still in shock :oops: ) will wend its way over from Ireland to Cornwall and into my grubby little hands.

I am a lucky girl. Apparently. It. Is. A. Bargain. (400 euros worth :oops: )

I may even read it a little bit (very carefully) before I flog it on eBay... :oops: :twisted:

Which brings me very neatly and pertinently onto the subject of 'what Discworld conventions are all about'. Like the books, it's mostly about people of every conceivable variety who happen to like reading this strange author called Terry Pratchett. There's a lot of talking done during a convention and it's mostly done out of the main events, just in general conversation between people who may have simply come to be with friends even if they came without knowing anyone who was there at all - you can't go to DWcon and not talk to at least a couple of people whether or not you knew them before and, more importantly you will not leave a DWCon without having at least one person smile at you without you having to smile at them first - but actually you'll want to smile at lots of people even if you're a really shy and shrinking violet because what DWcons are mostly about is having lots of fun being with other people who like Discworld.

Enistymon was my 3rd convention and the 2nd one that Terry hasn't been physically present at. He doesn't need to be there in person in fact but of course it's a plus if he is - he's there all the same because he's the reason for it all of course. So, to people who are not sure whether they're convention people all I can say is - I understand that. I went to my first convention because I wanted to meet some of the good friends I have on this forum - if they hadn't been going I wouldn't have gone there at all and I'd have missed out on something very special indeed. So - think how much you love Discworld and then think how much more fun you can have being with a load of other unusual, ordinary, funny, crazy people who also love Discworld - just for a few hours even. Try it. The worst you could do is come away with a T-Shirt and maybe a book or two. Possibly signed by Terry. Or Jack Cohen or Ian Stewart or Jacqueline Simpson. And have coffee with one of them maybe. Or hear Jack talking about how he helped create the Dragons of Pern or Jacqueline on Cunning Men. Or watch Going Postal on a big screen. Or the documentary Choosing to Die. It's more than an excuse to get rascally drunk a few times with people who like the same things as you, it's a chance to be there for an experience like nothing else, so surely that's something worth doing at least once isn't it?

I'm certainly not going to make a habit of going to auctions from now on but my little moment of madness is potentially one of the best things I'll ever do for myself, let alone in terms of the charities my donation will go to. And I'll be at Birmingham next year for sure - maybe Baltimore or Boston in 2013 and certainly I'll go back to Ireland for their next Con - just for the Craic in fact. Where else can you walk into an Irish hotel bar of a Sunday afternoon for a quick pint of scumble, dressed as Lettice Earwig (with Magic Meerkat also in black hat and cloak) and frighten the bejasus out an octagenarian nun and her only slightly younger female companions in less than a minute? :twisted: I'll definitely have some more of all that :lol:

Photographs to come once I've done some cutting and editing :P
Last edited by Jan Van Quirm on Fri Nov 11, 2011 11:28 pm, edited 1 time in total.
"Some men see things as they are and ask why. Others dream things that never were and ask why not.” George Bernard Shaw
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Postby RJH » Thu Nov 10, 2011 4:22 pm

Very interesting reading and still not something I'm sure me and the family would in enjoy but a great read none the less.
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