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What's that? An update at last?


It's only DWCon 2012, that's all!



It's been a while since I got round to writing anything here, so it's perhaps fitting that it's for something as momentous as the 2012 Discworld Convention.

Oh, and I'm still a bit frazzled, so do bear with me if there are typos or memory lapses here.

As late as Monday last week it looked like I'd have to miss the Con - but thanks to a well-timed and generous cash injection from my Dad, I could finally book my train ticket and commit to a (well-deserved, frankly) weekend of fun.

The journey down was painless enough; I slept through most of the train ride, and never had more than an hour to wait anywher, and even the stroll from the station to the hotel was little trouble. (The trip home was much the same. Slept through it all.)

Arrived on Thursday, because, well, it's a DWCon - miss the Thursday and Monday evening and you miss the best bits. Checked in. The hotel had upgraded me to an Executive room (after some problems with my room last time) and trust me - it's worth going for the upgrade even if it costs money. Nice room. Anyway, then down to the bar for dinner, followed by the pre-Con fiendish quiz. Can't remember how long I stayed up chatting in the bar, but with Friday morning being fairly empty it was probably a late night.

Oh, and instead of guilds we had sects this year, and that's a sentence one must pronounce with some care. As a result a counter had been instituted to track the number of minutes since a sects-related pun. It rarely passed a minute, and I don't think it ever hit double figures. The end result, anyway, was that "Reset the counter!" became something of an unofficial motto for the 2012 DWCon.

Friday. Went to the Discworld Roleplaying, found a room with many attendees but no game and no GM. We tidied the room and gave up after an hour. Sect meeting, got accidentally recruited by three other sects and became a polytheist (Or as people kept saying, a multisectsual. Reset the counter!). Then the Opening Ceremony, after which I pelted it to UU to set up for Just A Minute. Went pretty well, I thought - people seemed to enjoy themselves, and the technical hiccups were easily remedied by talking louder. Then back to the bar, more chatting, and off to the Once More With Feeling singalong, and then back to the bar for another night of random chattery.

Saturday. Disappointed by absence of sauteed potatoes at breakfast as usual. Sat chatting in the bar or Dunmanifestin, probably (always a good bet when there's a blank hour or two). Then came Örjan's traditional swashbuckling class, this year with a guest lecturer in the form of Peter Morwood. As good as always, if not a smidgeon better. That afternoon, Lionel Fanthorpe's usual talk on unsolved mysteries (Rennes-le-Chateau and the Oak Island Money Pit featured heavily, as usual) was great fun as always. Then there was So You Think You Know Stuff in The Rim, which was fun but seemed to have lifted most of its questions verbatim from QI. Then assorted other stuff, Ian Stewart's lecture on the maths behind animal patterning, and then the madness that is the Maskerade. Quite impressed by Pat Harkin's appropriating of the duck gag - it was never going to go away otherwise (and to be honest I hope it doesn't anyway). :-)

Then there was the Discworld's Next Top Sacrifice thing, which I could take or leave. I dropped in briefly to the Hedgehog Party, but it was too noisy for me. So what does one do at a DWCon when there's nothing to attend? That's right, it was chatting-in-the-bar time! Oh, and by about twelve thirty I ran a session of Just A Minute After Dark, which was fun.

Sunday. Lie-in. Was downstairs in time for the tail end of breakfast, as I recall, which is more than I usually manage by the Sunday. There wasn't a whole lot else going on until the Stephen Baxter lecture, and after that there was the Stewart/Cohen lecture, both of which were good fun - but being in the highly refrigerated but somehow badly oxygenated Unseen University, staying warm and awake started becoming a problem. Oh well.

Went to the Mystery Hour later, which turned out to be a Discworld quiz run by Lionel Fanthorpe. I got conscripted into competing for the sect of Neoldian, on the grounds that I was one of only two of His acolytes at that event rather than because of any actual knowledge of DW trivia, so we were slightly surprised (and quite chuffed) to actually come in third.

Then came the interview with the team behind The Watch, the TV series currently in development. Nice to see Rhianna Pratchett, formerly of PC Zone, stepping into the DW arena - and the PC gaming geekery between her and Terry was good fun too. As for The Watch itself, all indications are that it will be inutterably awesome; apart from anything else, they've set up a production company where Terry himself has the final say on everything, so you know things aren't going to get caught up in Hollywood focus groups. Yes, will definitely be watching that.

Let's see... I watched the talk on martial arts, which was interesting but didn't really cover anything I didn't already know. Then I planned to go to the talk on shape-shifting and the pre-banquet drinkies, but was too tired, so I went up to my room to put my head down and watch Top Gear for half an hour.

Then went to the Cori Celesti Games, which were mildly amusing, but I found myself stuck running a game of Just A Minute when I'd been hoping to go to the Toast And Jam. Oh well. Oh, and some guy kept thinking it was funny to randomly pinch stuff; irritating when he ran off with my pen, bloody annoying when he made a grab for my £600 phone. Yes, putative thieves' guilder, we know you weren't stealing things for real. It's still not done, it's not funny, and do not ever try it again.

Anyway, eventually bailed at 2230 for the Dr Horrible singalong (which apparently ended up with poor old Mary-Ellen getting a bollocking from someone who thought she was responsible for their kid missing Just A Minute. Very strange.) and, inevitably, then headed for the bar.

There was one nasty little anchovy of roundworld unpleasantness that dropped into my otherwise delicious Discworld milkshake[1] during my pre-games snooze. Fortunately, one of the good things about the DWCon is that it's the one opportunity I get to see some of my friends, so an evening chatting to Essy and [livejournal.com profile] burntcopper (with interludes of Peter Morwood on jet fighters and Gideon in a disturbing outfit) cheered me up no end. Essy, Conina, you may not know how much it helped at a really bloody bad time just having you two there to talk to, but thanks.

On to cheerier things. It's a Sunday night, heading for a Monday morning. It's late, everyone's tired, it's been a busy weekend, you've got a packed Monday coming up. That's right, time to go to Dunmanifestin and play stupidly awesome (or awesomely stupid, I'm not sure) party games until breakfast. A bit of Werewolf, followed by Gina running a guess-the-rule game where she and I spent the last two hours dropping increasingly outrageous hints for the other players. Aaaah, that was fun. Straight on to breakfast, where we explained the secret rule to the last player standing, and then it's a bit of a blur until the evil Bel-Shamharoth was handily evicted by the acolytes of Neoldian. A spot of lunch, then off to So You Think You Can Do It Better. My feedback was pretty much "for god's sake turn the heating on in Unseen University".

I'm not entirely sure what I did for the rest of the afternoon, but chatting in the bar of Dunmanifestin is probably a good bet. At some point - maybe not even on the Monday, come to think of it - I ordered a double portion of chips and the portion I got was probably closer to a treble... for the price of a double. So the bar staff aren't all bad. ;-)

Closing ceremony at 1600, then I nipped upstairs to get some warmer clothes on as Dunmanifestin had taken on characteristics more commonly associated with the ice wastes of Titan. And by eigh...nnn we'd assembled the regiment and formed up outside The Rim for the traditional march to the Dead Monkey Party.

I warmed up the old squarebashing voice, and we set off. Most of them seemed - surprisingly - to grasp the vocabulary, which is impressive when you realise that in the military, "squad, squad-SHUN" is pronounced "skwaskwa-HURGH!" and "moving to the left, leeeeft-WHEEL!" becomes "mvgh 'ef, 'eeeef, 'EEEEEGH!" All in all, best DMP parade ever. There's apparently video of it, but I haven't found it yet.

The DMP was as much fun as usual, with silly games and silly people and silly conversation and, as a result, unquestionable fun. We did Walk The Walk, we watched people fling poi about with varying degrees of injury, there was Werewolf and good music and fun people. This, above all, is why I go to the DWCon. Ended up vegging out on a sofa next to Essy - I had promised to make sure nobody decided to decorate her as she slept, after all - then observing [2] a game of Werewolf. The villagers had little trouble going to sleep at "night", slightly more waking up after the werewolves' attacks... But it's the DMP! Sitting around being silly until you collapse is what it's all about.

Finally even the diehards started to drift off. Essy and I had a quick stab at tidying up, then I gave her a hand carrying the giant bag of Offler icons to her room. Then I headed to my room for 40 minutes of sleep (yes, 0620-0700) and then down for breakfast.

Had a leisurely breakfast discussing international travel with Goofgiant and lighting tech with Ken The Gaffer. Then off to find the new bar - the real lounge bar having been closed for renovation - and after checking out and collecting my luggage perched myself there to wait for leaving time. In the meantime chatted to Davina's son, Brian Wakeling and - when she'd finished breakfast - Essy. (It occurs to me that all in all, from Sunday afternoon to Tuesday morning, I must have spent close to 40 hours one way or another in her company. Just goes to show that even in a group of people where fun and awesome is the baseline, some people are even more fun.)

Finally it was time to head to the shuttle bus. Fortunately someone in the lobby was talking about waving a sausage about, so appropriately enough the con ended on a counter reset. Farewell hugs from Gina and Essy - I'm not good with hugs on the whole, largely I think because I'm never sure how to respond, but there's definitely something rather nice about feeling liked.

Into the van for a short but pleasant drive with enjoyable conversation to the station. I'd been whistling Chattanooga Choo-Choo in the minibus, and as I waited for my train I guess it must have been infectious - one of the other people on the next platform along was ambling along, absently whistling the same tune. So that was an amusing and suitably DWConny note on which to end.

Anyway, with only a fly or two in the ointment, it's been a great weekend. And good for my ego, too - I've been described as "charming", I've been told my whistling is "the kind you can't stop yourself from singing along to", and I've been told by a person with a fairly impressive musical background that I'm the fifth best drummer he's played with. So I'm feeling pretty good about a number of things today.

Memories and notes of particular awesomeness include, of course, pretty much anything prompting a counter reset, and the general insanity and brilliance of my assorted old and new friends - special mentions would have to go to (and particularly enjoyable conversations were had with) Essy, Conina, Gina, Davina (lots of -inas, I note), Brian Wakeling, Kirstine Heald, Lionel Fanthorpe, Peter Morwood, Diane Duane, Jen Austen, the blue wizard who may or may not be Richard Gaze, Completely Batty and Robin Gidman. Four(-ish) days is never enough time to spend with that sort of people, so hey - we really have to pull together that RandomCon thing.

With my budget (or lack thereof) I don't imagine I'll be able to get to Wincanton or IDWCON, so unless we organise something more informal in the meantime - roll on 2014!

---

[1] I mentioned that analogy to a mate of mine. It took him a moment to realise it was an analogy - "Makes a bit more sense now. I was going to ask how the anchovy got there. But it's discworld. So.." And he does have a point.

[2] "I'm like the UN. I'll observe and have absolutely no effect on anything."

Date: 2012-08-30 01:12 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] mrs-tribble.livejournal.com
[livejournal.com profile] rpdom and I saw you briefly but you seemed busy.

You and I never did get around to designing giant name badges as costumes, did we :(

Date: 2012-08-30 02:40 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] awmperry.livejournal.com
I wondered why I didn't see you two. Will have to catch up next time.

And yeah, the name badges... perhaps something a bit meta could work, going as Silas T Firefly's name badge. ;-)

Date: 2012-08-30 02:43 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] mrs-tribble.livejournal.com
We definitely need to catch up. Adding my new journal (this one) would help ;)

Heheh, Doing Silas T Firefly's badge would be epic :)

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