Sunday, March 27, 2005

Swancon the rest of it!

The kiosk went down and I was unable to find my way back to the Internet cafe that Sally had shown me, so ... Saturday morning, Sally and I woke late-ish and had a companionable breakfast in our room. It was supposed to be the Market Day and we began to haul the ASIM stuff downstairs, only to find the day had been postponed till Sunday. Upstairs again and the first panel I attended was about Robert E. Howard, with Charles De Lint and an academic-type guy who has a passion for the works of Howard. There is an entire Howard community out there. A bunch of us went out to lunch again, but got back late and I was in time for a two-hour session with the De Lints, who answered questions, played and sang. Charles D is a musician with a wide variety of skills - guitar, mandolin (he taught her, that's how they met), Irish flute, penny-whistle, violin... He sings, too. This session alone was worth the entire trip to WA. It more than made up for missing the concert. There was one more panel, with Zara Baxter, Dave Luckett and me, but Dave did all the talking in the end, as he knows a helluva lot about the price of steeds, armour, swords, etc. and, to be honest, I hadn't had a clue what I had volunteered for, and just made one comment about tournaments. We were actually only too pleased to let him take over and had an enjoyable hour, before the entire con membershio went to the wedding of Lyn Triffit and Lee Battersby. There was more than one moist eye in there. That included mine and I only know them from the ASIM list! What a great idea, having their wedding at a con. After the wedding, a huge bunch of us went to dinner at an Indian restaurant, had the banquet and missed the masquerade, but no matter. It was a pleasant evening and I was seated near te De Lints, Ian Nicholls and a lady called Jessica (?) whom I have only met at this con. The evening ended with Sally and me hosting a room party, which went till 1.00 a.m. The chocolates I'd brought were Much Appreciated. Ann Poore, the harper, brought her instrument and played.You know you're getting old when you start turning into a pumpkin at midnight. I was distinctly orange by then and glad to get some sleep.

Yesterday, Sunday, I spent most of the day on the ASIM market stall, which was a fascinating experience. We actually sold quite a few magazines and several subscriptions, which was great. I finally did my panel on YA fiction with Dave Luckett and Charles D and then, suddenly, it was over. The thing about this topic is that people love to discuss it.

I did get in one more panel, actually someone reading a paper on "The meaning of smell in the Buffyverse" which was a lot more fun that such things tend to be at "real" conferences. The Underused mythologies panel was good, but the room was horribly cramped and I left. We had dinner "in" this time - I ate with Ian Nicholls and Ann Poore (who had been jamming with the De Lints) and the conversation turned serious, about life, the universe and cons. The service was slow, though. Very slow. Oh, well, at least I didn't have time for dessert. The Tin Ducks were awarded and - yay! - one, for best Professional Production, went to Lyn Triffit(now Battersby) for ASIM 11. There was a general party, afterwards, and I brought the leftovers from the room party, including wine. Got to bed around 11.30 p.m.

This morning I had breakfast with Glenda Larke, a genial older woman who is a fantasy novelist. I got to two panels this morning - Surrealism in SF, with Richard Harland, and a lively discussion of writers' workshops. I am hoping to get to one more panel with De Lint and others before heading for the airport this afternoon and then back to the grind.

The final panel featutred Charles D, Shaun Tan, Richard Harland and Terry Dowling. I'm actually quite a fan of Shaun Tan, as his artwork appears in a lot of books in school libraries. He's a small gentleman, shorter than me, even! And I'm only 5 foot 2. Wonderful artist, though. They just spoke about their work in general and their creativity and how they keep it fresh. A nice way to end the con. I was unable to stick around for the closing ceremony, but Simon Haynes, from the ASIM co-op very kindly drove Zara Baxter (another member) and me to the airport. I saw Zra off, but my plane doesn't go for another hour, so I am sitting at Perth airport, typing this into another kiosk like the one at the hotel.

The con has been delightful, overall, but my suggestion to next year's committee is that they make sure the goody bag contains a map of the area (with YOU ARE HERE on it) and a list of food shops that will be open and - vital! - Internet cafes.

It's been great putting faces to names and seeing some old friends as well. Next stop Continuum, in MY town.

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