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The Con Report In Retrospect

In Retrospect

No two DWCons are the same, but some things are always certain. There will be insanity. There will be immense amounts of fun. There will be sleep deprivation. There will be a ConCom bearing, by the end of it, a startling resemblance to the living dead. Really happy living dead, but well zonked either way. Click here for full story )

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The Con Report Tuesday


Oh god, is it morning already? I thought, blinking against the light.

Actually, it wasn’t. Click here for full story )

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The Con Report - Monday


After breakfast, I went to Ian Stewart’s lecture on mathemagical curiosities, and it didn’t disappoint. I’ve always enjoyed things that are both clever and funny, and this talk ticked both boxes in spectacular fashion. Click here for full story )

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The Con Report - Sunday


Breakfast was good, and the coffee quite drinkable for once. I wonder if they can be persuaded to have streaky bacon as well next time... Click here for full story )

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The Con Report - Saturday


Once again up for breakfast! Two days in a row! The end times must be drawing near! Click here for full story )

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The Con Report - Friday


Seven AM. Up, dress, toothbrush, breakfast. Discover that Hilton Metropole has very friendly restaurant staff, quite good fried potatoes, and abysmal coffee.Click here for full story )

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The Con Report - Thursday


 “I don’t want to goooo,” I moaned[1], dragging the pillow over my head and screwing my eyes shut against the early-morning sunlight. Click here for full story )

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Dead Monkeys

Someone once said, when confronted with calamity, “This too shall end”. Unfortunately I can’t remember the exact words, but the idea was that sooner or later, even the worst circumstances end. Quite often, as far as I can tell, by getting worse.

The point – and unfortunate corollary – is that not only bad things end.

That, then, is the foundation of the traditional Dead Monkey Party. A distilled summation of the con’s insanity, it basically involves a bunch of remarkably sober congoers getting together to convince themselves that the Con ain’t over ‘til we say it is.

And it’s always, without exception, fantastic.

It started soon after the closing ceremony. I was in the bar – because the bar do chips; as some of you will know, I can’t be bothered with booze, particularly given what I’m like sober. I suspect combining my usual level of bonkersness with alcohol would cause some sort of supercritical event. And if you doubt that, just consider that on just two portions of chips and a can of Coca-Cola I was leading a procession marching towards the DMP, singing Colonel Bogey in Dwarfish[1]. Loudly.

We reached the door to Lancre Forge. They were all in step, to my astonishment. They performed a perfect Right Wheel when I bellowed the order, halted as the book prescribes, and even executed a textbook dismissal. I was terribly impressed. It got us some odd looks – admiring, I shall assume – from those already at the party, and we headed in to join the fun.

By the way, if you’re ever at a party where there are lots of lunatics and almost as many balloons, avoid having chandeliers. There will invariably be multi-ball games of whatever it is, and I was starting to get rather nervous by the end of the evening. I still get chills at the sound “clink”.

Where was I?

Oh yes. I got chatting to Cat – who was investigating the goody bags – and after a chat with Martyn we seemed to get assigned to running Walk The Walk. Well, someone got assigned to it, anyway, and we had a whole bunch going, but I’m not sure anyone’s really clear on who – if anyone – was really in charge.

It started out as a perfectly sane, ordinary game[2]. Then I got into designing the course. The first course – which I didn’t set up – was fairly easy, and guided through it by my distinctive bellows, Essy completed the course with considerable aplomb.

That’s when things started to get silly.

The courses gradually got trickier. We used flipcharts as obstacles, angling them away from the correct route to subtly guide walkers into the walls. We set up dead ends, obfuscating the easier route and nudging players towards more obvious but much harder routes[3].

“Hey,” someone said, “this is a garden, isn’t it? Postman trying to reach the letterbox. We need a dog.”

So we got a volunteer, scrawled “DOG” on her forehead, and set her to hounding the walkers. Then we got a cat – Cat, of course – who pawed and clawed at walkers as they went by. We cast someone as a plank, lying treacherously across the path. When Kai ran the course, we blocked the route entirely, forcing him to go under one of the flipcharts.

Think that sounds silly? Well, we were just getting started. The air gradually filled with our evil laughs, as we added insane neighbours with shotguns[4], balloons on the path, random underwear models posing in the garden, the evil Cossack neighbour...

Then I had a brainwave. We set up a fairly easy course, with an almost empty section in the middle, occupied by just three lone flipcharts. Very, very easy to negotiate.

Until the walker had been blindfolded, at which point three of us each picked up one of the flipcharts and started shuffling them back and forth across the course. Moving obstacles. And you might think there are very few things as funny as hearing the guide shouting “RUN! RUN FASTER!” – but sillier was to come.

You see, by now we were completely bonkers, and Cat and I reached the same evil plan at pretty much the same time. Great minds, and whatnot.

It was a great plan. Sheer genius, a scheme of such beautifully evil simplicity that we just couldn’t resist.

So we set up a course. It looked fiendish; leans, jumps, covered sections, double-backs, dead ends... I’m not convinced it was even completable. Well, I know for a fact it couldn’t be completed; we’d removed the postbox. But that’s beside the point.

We found a victi... volunteer, let him get a glimpse of the course, blindfolded him... What he didn’t know was that his guide was in on the scheme. She – one of the Irish sisters I mentioned in my Panel Game article – had a marvellous streak of evil, which she locked and loaded as she lined him up at the start of the course.

Meanwhile, the rest of us were quickly and quietly removing all the obstacles. Every one of them. And we were getting the camera phones ready.

What happened next... well, it should be on Youtube by the time you read this[5]. But she ran him through the most evil non-existant imaginary course her magnificently twisted brain could produce, and it was great. “Duck! Step over the plank! Lean to your left! Forwards! No, faster!”

Then he finally got back to the finish line, the blindfold was removed... I’m not sure the words “you bastards” have ever been so funny.

Anyway, after that nobody wanted to do the course, and we couldn’t be bothered setting it up again anyway, so we set up a bunch of dragon racing. One of the dragons was retired with a broken neck, but other than that a good time was had by all.

Then what... oh yes, Twister. There’s always Twister. But even Twister loses its charm after a while, so we manufactured a net out of flipcharts and settled in for a game of volleyballoon, which worked rather well.

By the way, if you’re ever at a DWCon and someone offers you liquorice, decline.[6]

Anyway, by that point during the evening, the crowd batting balloons around in the middle of the room were hitting the chandelier rather more than was probably good for it, so we of the evil dispositions decided to absent ourselves before anything happened to it.

So we retired to the bar, and the proceedings there are more interestingly described in my Panel Games witterings. So have a look at them instead. Go on, shoo.

[1] “Gold gold, gold gold gold GOLD GOLD GOLD...”

[2] Or as sane and ordinary as a game of Walk The Walk can, anyway.

[3] Whoever it was who managed to guide someone through my cunning dead end by steering their walker through the ostensibly unpassable gap, you did a bloody good job.

[4] Popped balloons

[6] Particularly if they say “Close your eyes and open your mouth”. But declining that is probably good advice in general.


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