|Focus:||Blake's 7 and Doctor Who|
|Click here for related articles on Fanlore.|
Supposedly, Redemption cons (which started in 1999) grew out of "Who's 7" cons.
October 30-November 1, Telford Moat House Hotel, Telford Shropshire, England
Henry Eggleton was an organizer.
And as many more panels/discussion subjects as you can think of to add to the list. If you have an idea, PLEASE tell us about it!
The PANELS are discussions or debates, & require at least two participants (one for & one against), an audience to heckle/cheer/agree/disagree/throw rotten cabbages, & often a mediator to keep the peace/wipe up the blood. They also need subjects for discussion in addition to the ones above. If you are an expert on anything, or would like to talk about something or have an idea you would like to hear discussed, we'd love to hear from you. Please get in touch. [Bear in mind that if no-one "volunteers", the Con Press-Gang may be in operation again - you have been warned! Volunteer now - before it's too late...]
1. THE SF COMEDY WORKSHOP: Step up to the mike! The Who's 7 Broadcasting Corporation, in association with the DTs, proudly presents episode 30 of their SF comedy serial "A Stitch in Time". Only trouble is the cast have all buggered off to the pub, locked themselves in the loo with a crate of Albanian lager & refuse to come out! Are YOU brave enough to step into their size seven & a halfs at the eleventh hour to save the world from yet another repeat of "Just a Minute"? ("A Stitch in Time" will be featuring in the Cabaret on Saturday & is preceded that afternoon by the Comedy Workshop, of which it is a part.)
2. THE WRITERS WORKSHOP: There will be two 2-hour workshops on creative writing; plotting, dialogue, story development & so forth. We may also put together a "convention fanzine" from the work produced at this Workshop. A MUST for all writers.
3. THE MAKEUP WORKSHOP: Last year it was vampire fangs & Klingons - Who knows what the artists will create this year!
4. THE MODELLING WORKSHOP: Not that sort of modelling, Naomi! Liberators, Daleks, hand-phasers, Tardis's & Starship Enterprises - that sort of modelling...
5. HOW TO PRODUCE A FANZINE WORKSHOP: A MUST for would-be editors & masochists...
7. HOW TO RUN A CONVENTION: Would YOU like to help run the next Who's 7? It really is a truly wonderful & fulfilling experience: just ask any of the current Convention Committee for this convention... (*WHIMPER!*)
The Panels: These are the ideas to date - give us more!
- A writing panel made up of professional & amateur authors talking about how & why they write - also tips on how to sell your work.
- Fight Scenes on TV - a talk by a martial arts instructor.
- The Making of Blake's 7 - the video that never was.
- Whatever happened to Turlough? Who knows? Who cares? You do?!?!?
- Women in Blake's 7 - Trip and Scream?
- The Future for Blake's 7 - Has it got one?
- Just Who was Rassilon anyway?
- Behind the Scenes of Blake's 7 & Doctor Who.
- Keynote Panel - Explain Fandom to your mum.
- Roj Blake: Man, myth or monster? What do you think of our little rebel leader?
- Slash - a Feasibility study. Yes, "/" rears its ugly head again. If you like it or loathe it, come along & say so.
- What if Dorian had become one of the Seven? (Who would have ended up in the cellar?) ("Tarrant! Tarrant! I vote Tarrant goes down the hole...!" - CAROL)
- Whatever happened to the Terra Nostra? (There is no truth to the rumour that they are alive & well & running Convention Security... they're just running the party on Sunday night [and the gaming tables...])
- Just how effective a fighting force was UNIT? (Pause while Carol laughs herself silly...)
- Did Leela live happily ever after on Gallifrey? (Temporal/Timelord marriages: can they work?) (As an afterthought what effect did Leela have on Time Lord Society & how many Jamis Thorns did she have left?)
- If DW#2 was a "Clown" & DW#3 was a "Dandy", how would YOU describe numbers 1, 4, 5, 6 & 7? (This is your chance to say what you think about the various Doctors Who.)
CHAMELEON CIRCUIT MALFUNCTION COMPETITION (Door decorating competition at the Queens Hotel) Q: "When is a door not a door?" A: When the Chameleon circuit on your Tardis has malfunctioned. Your Tardis is currently cunningly concealed as an ordinary 20th century hotel room, BUT the door to your "Hotel Room" has NOT disguised itself as a hotel door. It has been transposed into SOMETHING ELSE. What that something else is, is up to you. The Rules for this competition are simple. Turn your hotel room door into something else. Prizes will be awarded for originality, ingenuity & plain silliness. The only restrictions are DO NOT DAMAGE THE DOOR OR ANY PART OF ITS SURROUND. The ONLY adhesives you may use are MASKING TAPE or Blu-tack. No pins, tacks, nails, superglue or sellotape. The Room Number must remain visible and you must be able to open the door. Have fun...
THE MAD DICTATORS OF THE GALAXY TEA PARTY This will be a "proper" High Tea/light supper on Saturday evening, probably about 5-6pm, in the Hotel restaurant. The cost will be in the 5-10 pound range, depending on whether or not there are enough people to make it work. How would you like a cup of Earl Grey & a cucumber sandwich while discussing the best way to deal with pestersome rebels? If you are interested, please contact Carol. We need at least 20 people interested & willing to pay in advance in order to arrange this.
THE FANZINE/TAPE LIBRARY As we did last time round, we will have a quiet room set aside with Fanzines/Books/Audio tapes on "Doctor Who" and "Blake's 7", plus other fandoms. If the pace of the convention gets too hectic for you, you can always retreat to The Library for some peace and quiet. (We are on the cadge to borrow fanzines/books/tapes for the library - if you have any you can offer, please contact Carol.)
THE B7/DW MYSTERY LOCATION TOUR This has been suggested as an independent venture on Monday Morning following the con. We have a volunteer to plot out a location tour of the South East & London for both Blake's 7 & Doctor Who. Now we need to know if anyone actually wants to GO on this tour! Are you interested? It will probably begin at 10am at the Hotel & finish at about 4-5pm at St Pauls, London. Cost will be in the region of 15 pounds per person (depending on numbers: the more people going, the lower the price!) IF YOU ARE INTERESTED IN BOOKING A PLACE ON THIS TOUR, YOU NEED TO TELL US BEFORE 1ST OCTOBER so that we can arrange for the Coach. If we do not get a large enough response (minimum 12) we will not be able to run this. Anyone interested in adding their knowledge of locations & acting as a Guide for the Tour? ["I wanna go! I wanna go! We need more people! Contact Carol!" - Micky]
THE FUNERAL OF KERR AVON - ALSO KNOWN AS "THE WAKE THE DEAD" PARTY A quiet, sedate, dignified WAKE for our favourite psycho on Friday night, to be held in the Celtic tradition with a ceilidh band & dancing. Assuming you survived the Opening Ceremony and The Funeral Service...
THE DEALERS ROOM We have both amateur & professional dealers, selling a large range of merchandise. Whatever you are looking for, either DW or B7, you will probably find it here. We will also be running an "Orphan Zine Table" where we will sell zines and other merchandise on your behalf in return for a 10% commission on the price... & when you have finished in the Dealers Room, you can pop next door to...
THE FANNISH CAFE - Our own private cafeteria serving soft drinks & CHEAP food throughout the weekend. The perfect place to sit & chat over a glass of soma & a jelly lizard!
Art Show and Fancy Dress
ART SHOW Our Art Show is open to all for competition & display. If you would like to enter send us an SAE & we will send you an entry form. There are 3 categories for competition: DW, B7 & SF, & 3 prizes in each category. In addition to the Art Show we also hope to have a display of original & re-creation costume/props from B7/DW as well as people on hand to talk about them/answer questions on the costumes.
THE FANCY DRESS - On Saturday night - come one come all, as whatever takes your fancy. Contact Carol for an entry form.
THE FICTION/POETRY COMPETITION A must for all budding authors. Your chance to win BIG prizes (or something like that...)
THE FAN CABARET - This is an idea we would like to see work, but without your active support, it can't. We need people with talent, for reading funny poetry for instance, or singing, or juggling or anything else that might entertain/amuse your fellow fans. If you can help (please! PLEASE!) contact us & let us know what your talent is & we will see how much support we can get for this idea.
THE "RE-GENERATION GAME" - The Federation versus the Time Lords. An "ALMOST anything goes" game where the teams have to carry out very difficult assignments to gain points (well, would YOU waltz with a Dalek or try to rebuild the Liberator out of matchsticks in five minutes?). Virgin DW writer David McIntee (his latest book "FIRST FRONTIER" is out now - go buy a copy!) has volunteered to captain the DW team, now we are looking for the rest of you. We need 2 teams of 4 for Saturday night: one "Dr Who", one "Blake's 7". Your objective: to win the game. The time: straight after the Fancy Dress (probably). The methods you may use: anything you can get away with! Interested?
FILKING - Filking is the singing (???) of SF inspired folk music, & is great fun. There will be space set aside every night for filking at the con, & if you want to take part you are more than welcome. Bring an instrument if you can play one (or even if you can't!); bring yourself & a bit of enthusiasm, & join in the circle! An ability to sing in tune is not necessary as most of the filkers will be out of tune anyway! (We usually sing in the fannish key of "off"...) If you want to hear the song about the Tardis & the Grandfather Clock, or Servalan's Lament (aka "Studs & Black Leather"), this is where you will find them.
STEWARDS Q. Would you like to mix with the guests at an elite party? Q. Would you like to be "in" on the running of the con? Q. Would you like 5 pounds back from the convention after it finishes? If you have answered "yes" or "maybe" to any of the above, read on... You can never have enough stewards at a convention we think, so guess what, we are asking for more. What, you may be wondering (or not, as the case may be) is a steward? What does a steward do? Stewards are the lifeblood of the convention. It cannot run without them. Jobs delegated to stewards normally include looking after rooms, watching over equipment, helping the organisers with many varied tasks, locating guests, going to the bar for guests, watching over the artshow, working on the registration desk etc, etc. Don't think "Oh I'm too shy/ inexperienced/disorganised/whatever". No-one will expect you to make momentous decisions or handle enormous problems: we have command structures for that sort of thing [translation: pass the buck back to Operations! - CAROL]. All we ask of our stewards is that they perform the tasks delegated to them & don't hesitate to ask for help/advice/ reassurance if they need it. Easy! In return for giving up a few hours of your con time to help us we lay on a special stewards party which only stewards & guests attend, & when the con is all over, we'll give you 5 pounds of your registration back. How's that for a good deal? Interested in giving it a try? If so, write the convention address to request a stewarding form. You see, it's simple. Money for old rope - honest!
THIS YEAR'S CONVENTION CHARITIES ARE:
CITIZEN'S ADVICE BUREAU - a worthy charity, & one that we supported last year. CAB acts as an advice centre & voice for those who cannot pay a solicitor & have no-one to listen or talk to.
CROYDON WELCARE (Independent Social Work Agency) - An organisation based in Southwark to help those who slip through the Social Services net: mainly single & homeless mothers, battered wives & children, & related problems including child abuse.
Both these charities help the most disadvantaged people in society. Please help us help them by giving generously at the con.
We hope that you will all lend your support to these very worthy causes. As she did last year, Carol & her "Coke Bottle" will be prowling the con looking for donations. One thousand 1-pound coins would quite nicely fill up her bottle & be a very welcome boost to CAB & CW's finances. Please give generously. In addition to this, all profits from the convention will be handed to our charities.
In addition to the above CONVENTION CHARITIES, Louise Jameson will be raising funds on Sunday for Romanian Orphans, so please spare some money for this very worthy cause as well.
Telephone Calls: Some of the Committee's numbers are well known in fandom. The main convention number is: [redacted] (Carol can be contacted on [redacted] in an emergency). But please, please, if you call us be prepared to talk to an answering machine. Leave your name & address & tell us your question & we will write to you with a reply. We cannot afford to ring people back unless it is very urgent & important, & if we have to we may well want to reverse the charges! Beware! The answering machine keeps your phone bill down as well as our costs. We don't mean to be unfriendly but it is not always possible to take calls about the convention; we may be in the bath or have visitors, so please bear with us.
YOUR CONCOM FOR WHO'S 7 1994 are the following:
RUTH SAUNDERS - Registrations, Hotel Liaison, chief guest-cuddler & Chairman CAROL KEOGH - Programming, Enquiries, advertising, thefts, Acquisitions, Secretary & tryper-outer of forms, PRs etc. CLARE GOODALL - Technical wizardry, Masquerade, Filking & unusual methods of recruiting assistants... (don't ask...!) JUDITH ROLLS - Stewarding, Deputy Chair (when the Chair is asleep or under a table), running the con & general thuggery. JULIE PRITCHARD - DW Fandom liaison, Deputy Stewarding, general assistance & convention mathematician.
The Convention Skit
BLAKE - The Musical ("Grease is the Word, but Blake is the Man...") A musical extravaganza not in association with Andrew Lloyd Webber, which will receive its WORLD PREMIER on Saturday night at the Convention. See Blake as you have never seen (or heard!) him before. This Mega-Bankrupt Production is up and running, but there are a few SMALL things still needed that YOU can help out with: Small props (Liberator guns, bracelets, Federation costumes, an almost working ORAC...) and costumes (main characters, Federation uniforms, Servalan-type cossies) are still needed to add to the dramatic effects of this work. If you can help with any of the above, or anything else you think Blake needs in order to vanquish the Federation, please contact:...
Convention Reports: 1994
We arrived at the hotel at 10 a.m. and were told the room wouldn't be ready until after 2. So we carted our sleep- deprived, jetlagged selves to the bus stop and took a bus to Forbidden Planet bookstore (71 New Oxford Street)....
When we returned to the hotel, con registration was in progress and after a long discussion with the hotel personnel about why they should not have cancelled our reservation, we were finally given a room. The less said about that, the better.
The slash panel: The two women at the ends of the table (Naomi something and another woman whose name I've completely forgotten) were wonderfully articulate and I agreed with everything they said. I just wish I could remember what they said.
I do remember thinking the panel topic was silly (Slash: a Feasibility Study) since feasability is rarely a basis for fan fic as far as I can tell. Why should slash be held to a higher standard? Start limiting stories to what's feasible and 95% of the gen stuff can go out the window, too. Beyond that, I know someone had to ask the Male Question: is there any female.female slash. Now, think about this...99% of slash writers are women and the vast majority are straight. Female/female stories are not going to be very high on the agenda, are they? That was rhetorical, btw. I also remember someone waving a copy of Science Friction about as an example of bad slash but being too tired to say that IMO it isn't slash at all since it was written for a gay male sensibility and not a female one. Not that the two are completely incompatible, but it isn't a title I'd hold up as a generic example of slash.
Dealers room: Horizon had more photos and paraphernalia than you'd find at their table at a US con. It was a good chance to get a look at the items you can buy through the newsletter and I'll be filling out an order form soon, I think. I didn't notice any zines that US fen can't find here, which was sort of reassuring and meant I could blow most of my funds on prints from the art show.
The art show had several costumes. I'm not sure if the costumes were originals or part original, part reconstructed, or totally reconstructed, or a mix of all of the above. There were also several prints, most notably (for me, anyway) a set of Suzie Lovett prints I've lusted after for years and despaired of ever seeing for sale again. Compared to the US cons I've been to, both the dealer and art rooms were very small. OTOH, Who's 7 was a smaller con than all but the most intimate US con I've been to.
The Blooper Reel: It's almost all 4th season (Tarrant fans will be pleased) and features a lot of scenes of guns not firing when they were supposed to, or firing when they weren't supposed to, Space Rats unable to start their bikes, and Verlis and Servalan flubbing their lines, and the infamous teddy bear scene (which ends, frustratingly) just as Paul Darrow is starting to crack up).
It was different from other blooper reels I've seen because of the way it was edited. For example, there would be a clip of Jackie Pearce blowing a line from "Assassin" and cursing fervently, followed by a clip from "Blake" of Vila, Soolin, and Dayna running with their hands over their ears--like they were running and covering their ears at the nasty language. The editing made it seem less spontaneous than it might have, but there were some good laughs in it.
Chris Boucher and Joe Nazarro, Stephen Greif and Jan Chappell: Anyone know when the tapes will be available from the con com? Anybody who has audio or video tapes of their won: transcripts posted here would be a real community service. About all I remember is CB and JN ragging on Space Precinct, and then SG announcing in his panel that he was going to be in an episode of Space Precinct. Aside from that, a few general impressions have stayed with me: SG is very good-looking and an excellent con guest who answers questions well. JC was pretty much the way she was at Visions last year. I need to either carry a tape recorder or start taking notes at panels so I can remember what the hell was said.Overall comparison to US cons: Panels were about the same, the dealers rooms were smaller and got as packed with either dealers or buyers, and the guests didn't seem to be as heavily guarded. The main difference to me, though, was the site. Compared to an American hotel, there was a shortage of public space and not as much hallway traffic or as many room parties. But that might just have been our area of the hotel. 
This was a con that started for me several weeks before the actual event with increasingly frantic trips into Bournemouth to try and get enough copies made of the three new zines that I'd just brought out. By the time I'd survived the printer making a total mess up of the Sevencyclopaedia cover and having to redo the whole lot, and two encounters with a traffic warden, and various other slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, life topped itself off by my voice going. (I have asthma and tend to have unfortunate reactions to the inhaled steroids that are normally prescribed . 'Just try this new brand,' the specialist said. "Grrr.")
It seemed likely from the start that the voice wasn't going to recover in time for the con, so I started twisting arms as I'd volunteered for five panel sessions that needed a voice... (Thanks Neil, Val and Ruth for helping out and Neil and Val for helping with the stand too.)
So, on Friday night, my son Kelvin and I staggered into the con hotel with a massive pile of boxes containing zines, several fancy dress outfits and not a lot else. It was his first proper convention. (I refuse to count an incredibly boring Trek con I once took him to.) I distinctly recall getting changed into fancy dress and setting up my table in the dealer's room, but most of the rest of that evening has become a blank. I do recall meeting several e-mail friends that evening. I always wear fancy dress at cons; it's fun and it helps people recognise you. The cry of: 'Are you Judith Proctor?' was heard to echo down several corridors. I recall going to bed at a relatively sane hour (well all right, it was probably one or two o'clock, but this was a con).
I tried to go to sleep. My room was in the 'quiet' part of the hotel, but some **** in the room next door had the TV set on loud (at 2am) and woudn't turn it down even when I knocked on the door. After the TV finally went quiet, I found I couldn't sleep because my nose kept running. Either I had a cold, or I was reacting to something. At about 3 am, in desperation, I staggered down to the hotel desk to ask if they had any cold cures. They didn't, but a group of fans just arriving produced some anti-histamine tablets. I'm sorry I can't remember who you were, because those tablets saved my con. The nose dried up and I slept.
Next morning it was breakfast and zine selling. I've never seen zines go so fast. In fact I was selling them hand over hand all morning until things suddenly went quiet. After I'd recovered from the shock, I looked at the programme and realised the obvious: Paul Darrow was on in the main hall. The day developed into a juggling routine between managing the table, catching sessions I wanted to watch and joining in any that I was actually doing.
Kelvin - remember him? I passed him in the course of the morning. His fancy dress outfit was a vorlon constructed over the previous week by him and his dad out of an amazing collection of wire, cardboard, curtains from Oxfam and lots of paint. Looked good too, even if it was heavy to wear. The vorlon appeared to have teamed up with Psi Corps (being from the same Babylon 5 universe) and was now backing the Psi Corps bid for their leader to be elected as "Ruler of the Universe" against stiff competition from Servalan, the Master and the Red Dalek. (Thanks, Ming. You added greatly to Kelvin's enjoyment of the con)
At some point I joined my fellow contestants for the "Anorak Mastermind". Specialist subject: Blake's 7: the aired series. Other contenders had subjects including Red Dwarf, Eroica, Avon and Dr Who - The Pertwee era. Poor souls never stood a chance. I'd spent the last few months editing and proof-reading Neil Faulkner's Blake's 7 encyclopaedia. After surviving that, a set of B7 mastermind questions was almost a relief. Modest, that's me <grin>. Anyway, I am now the holder of the Golden Anorak Award!
Later in the day was a panel discussing whether Blake would have been a good president. The voice proved to be an asset in an unexpected way here. As is my usual habit with debates, I offered before the con to take either side. I got given the 'Blake would be a bad president' side of the debate. As I knew in advance that I might not be able to talk, I spent some time writing up a list of notes for Val, in case she had to do it. As it turned out, I was able to croak well enough to do the session (I sounded rather like Katharine Janeway) But I had the advantage of all the notes I'd done. So, after happily ripping Blake to shreds, we more or less left it up to Gareth to try and justify Blake. In Gareth's own words (as well as I can remember) it was virtually the first time he'd ever had to take a really deep look into Blake and try to decide exactly why he did what he did, and how he felt about it. What emerged was a man with a very strong sense of commitment, a strong sense of right and wrong. A man who didn't want power himself, a statesman rather than a politician. A man who felt guilt for any deaths he might cause, but who could see no other way for achieving freedom for the oppressed masses. A man who gradually became bitter and twisted by the time of Gauda Prime as he realised that he could not win. He also commented that Blake might have (on some level) wanted to be a martyr by the time of GP. It's a way out, an escape, and leaves you with the illusion of having achieved something.
I wish massively that this session could have gone on longer as it was becoming absolutely fascinating (I'm not the only one who found it so - several people spontaneously said the same to me), but unfortunately the room was needed. If anyone made a recording of this session, could they *please* contact me, as I know I haven't remembered all of it and it was extremely interesting.
More zine selling, more things to do. In the evening there was the cabaret. Firstly, Gareth and Paul auctioned each other off for breakfast the following morning. The bidding, surprise surprise, went beyond my meagre budget, - Gareth went for £90 and Paul for £140. Paul did his Henry V extract that he did at Visions with the help once more of Sophie Aldred. That had some suitably hilarious moments with Paul hamming like mad. Gareth did a bit of Hamlet, but to my frustration I had to miss that as I'd been roped into the masquerade. (We're short of entires, would you like to take part?) Nothing ventured, nothing gained. I went on first as Blake, then while the others were taking their turn, I did a quick change act and came on last as Avon. No, I didn't win that, but Kelvin did (and on his own merits too, as the costume made him look so tall that he got counted in the adult section) The performance prize went to David as Servalan.
The general standard of the entires was excellent. The other winner was Will Blight with a borg style Travis. After that came a wonderful fan musical following the fortunes of Blake and his crew (Blake with his curly wig had a flipover name tag hanging round his neck and changed into Tarrant half way through the show). Avon was particularly well voiced and it was obvious a lot of work had gone into this performance. After that came the slash turkey read late at night, followed by the even later filk session. I think the filks were my downfall in retrospect. I cannot resist a filk session as anyone who knows me will testify. Unfortunately, singing when you have almost lost your voice, tends to complete the process. After the filk session ended, I seem to recall talking to Neil and Russ until around 4 in the morning. I was at the scribbling notes on pieces of paper stage by now, but it was fun anyway. Staggered off to bed with another anti-histamine tablet.
By morning, I'd recovered enough voice to be able to whisper. I may not have got Gareth in the auction, but my breakfast stand-in sportingly managed a passable Welsh accent. Thanks Steve. More zine selling. Sold out of several titles, managed a brief visit to Horizon shop to stick up on memo pads, photos, etc. and to drool over original Liberator which was strategically placed in the window.
Time for 'Just A Minute'. The con committee (Claire in particular I think) had somehow achieved the impossible and managed a microphone for a session that hadn't originally had one. Necessary, by this time, as a whisper doesn't carry terribly far. David, Mark, myself and Angela attempted to speak without hesitation, repetition or deviation for an entire minute on subjects ranging from Avon, and slinky dresses to Damon Hill. We had a ball! My favourite memory is of David having to talk on astrophysics - a subject he freely confessed to knowing nothing at all about. By unspoken mutual agreement, the rest of the panel left him to flounder. Not one of us blew a whistle or rang a bell in spite of numerous hesitations, deviations etc. until eventually one of us took pity on him. In the spirit of the original radio programme, challenges were made for all sorts of interesting and technically illegal reasons (David: I'm bored). Ruth our chairperson handled those in suitably arbitrary fashion by allowing them if they appealed sufficiently to her or the audience. I still reckon it's unfair to challenge someone for giggling though. <grin> I can giggle and whisper at the same time... In turn, we all dealt in the traditional manner with subjects we knew nothing about (Judith: Damon Hill is the name of my son's budgerigar). Angela stunned us all by managing an entire minute non-stop talking on the subject of cream cakes, but this wasn't enough to get her out of bottom place. Who won? Erm, me actually <immodest grin>
Later on I did a fan writing workshop. That finished off the voice totally and utterly. By the end of the session I was relying pretty heavily on Neil and mainly acting as chairman by banging a bottle if anyone waffled on for too long. We got through a fair bit of interesting discussion on ways of developing plots, handling points of view, etc.
The evening's discussion was 'Sex in Space'. I'd roped Neil into this as backup and a good thing too as I couldn't speak a darn word, microphone or no microphone. We discovered an unexpected bonus in that Gareth was allocated to us (he had been mooted as a possible when the panel was first proposed, but I had thought the idea had been dropped), but he was fairly late as he was signing autographs. Nothing deterred, we discussed whether the Doctor was allowed to kiss his companion, what was possible/desirable in a free fall environment and then moved on to discuss relationships on the Liberator. Gareth arrived about ten minutes later and managed to achieve the almost impossible feat of embarassing me totally. I was spilt for choice between collapsing in giggles and diving under the table for cover. (Don't worry, it was entirely my own fault) Sadly, just as the conversation was getting interesting, it beame rather curtailed by the formation of the queue through the room, for the event in the main hall next door. The presence of children isn't exactly ideal for discussions of that nature. However, ignoring numerous, interesting side tracks, Gareth's basic opinion on Blake was that he was celibate as he was too focused on his cause for anything else to take on a major role in his life. I walked right into his original reply, though - I asked who Blake was sleeping with. Gareth promptly replied: "The make up lady!" (He was married to Sheelagh Wells at the time)
My pile of paper was running low by now. Do you know how frustrating it is to have a witty reply for somthing and by the time you've written it down and passed it to someone else to read aloud, the moment has already passed? Still, it was fun. I'd be hard put not to enjoy myself with Gareth around.
After that, I sold a few more zines and then packed the rest away as the dealers' room was due to shut. Besides, I'd sold out of five titles by then. If I'd known so many people wanted 'The Totally Imaginary Cheeseboard' and 'The Other Side of the Coin', I'd have printed more. I thought nearly everyone already had them, but I was wrong. I'll be doing another batch shortly for anyone who wants to mail order them. Refractions #1 is now out of print in the UK. 'The Road to Hell' and 'Sevencyclopaedia' will be back down the copyshop as soon as I've caught up on my sleep.
The closing ceremony was fun. I'd won two prizes, so I got to be hugged by both Gareth and Peter Tuddenham. Peter's getting on though. I had to catch him when he stumbled.
After that came the Rocky Horror Show. I dipped out on that, although I did see some great costumes passing through the bar. Given that I was only actually drinking water (a. because I object to hotel booze prices, and b. beause anything else would probably have irritated my poor throat even further), what was I doing in the bar? The answer is fairly obvious to any regular con goer. If you are looking for Gareth Thomas at a convention, you look in the bar. (And that conversation is definitely on the other list too). I also caught up with Neil and Russ and Val and Nicoline and Monique and happily discussed women in B7 and other B7 topics into the wee hours of the morning. It is so nice to be able to discuss your main obsessions in life with other people who share them. I'm an anorak, and at cons I'm a *happy* anorak.
Overall, this was quite simply the best con I have ever been to. The guests were great. The hotel was excellent (the foyer layout was particularly suited to casual gatherings of fans. The bar was well ventilated (if you're an asthmatic, Gareth Thomas fan, this is a serious consideration) The food was good. The con programme had loads of variety and lots going on. I was never felt bored for moment and that counts double given that I was totally unable to talk by the end.Many thanks to all those who organised and took part in it.