Follycon Convention Diary Saturday 31st March 2018 Eastercon

Photo taken by me – plaque on the entrance gates to The Majestic Hotel, Harrogate
Preston, England
April 9, 2018 1:19pm CST
Up early for an 8am breakfast at the guest house. There were lots more guests there now, most of us being convention attendees and this was the only morning we all met there together. They were all very nice, friendly people. I headed round to the Majestic for the tart of the programme of events. I had lots of notes with me for the two events I was participating in later in the day. ‘Writing Tragedy’ was the first event I went to, a panel on realistically bringing a story to a bleak conclusion. Somehow despite them being sad and distressing, we find them appealing and cathartic, especially as the tragedy is affecting fictitious characters. I asked the panel about The Walking Dead, which relentlessly piles tragedy on tragedy, with characters forestalling an inevitable doom. Their noble struggle is powerful for them not simply allowing themselves to die. The boundaries Of Horror panel I went to immediately after the tragedy one seemed almost an extension of it, and the panel included horror writer Ramey Campbell. The emphasis was on work that frightens us without being initially presented as horror, so the scares come at us rather left-field. Spookily voiced contributor Woadwarrior drew on the example of the movie The Man With The X-Ray Eyes, which deals with a man (Ray Milland) experimenting with X-Ray vision to aid his work as a surgeon, only to be driven crazy as his vision gets out of control and he sees through the fabric of the Universe. It seems a low key entertainment until the closing ten minutes, when it cranks up the tension until the hero tears out his own eyes on the unwitting advice of a priest. Stephen King wrote that the movie makers then had to cut out the last line as too scary where Milland screams into the closing credits, “I can still see.” My personal scary moment in a non-horror feature is the quicksand scene in the war movie Ice Cold In Alex. Nigerian author, Nnedi Okorafor, one of the weekend’s main guests of honour was interviewed by Tade Thompson on the main stage and this was a major highlight of the weekend. Nnedi clearly enjoyed talking about her childhood fascination for cockroaches and other bugs despite her interviewer finding the subject icky. More sadly, Nnedi had to cut short her promising professional tennis career due to a dangerous spine debilitating hereditary condition, Scolliosis, which causes severe spine curvature. Treatment of it cleared it but left her with a slow release paralysis that ended her athletic career. In the process of recovery, she found her new vocation through her writing, and he is now one of the most respected SF authors in the business. Her novel Lagoon, which I have read and loved, was written from her anger about the South African movie District Nine which depicted a white South African hero rescuing stranded aliens from a Johannesburg ghetto. The film depicts black south Africans consistently as the villains, exploiting, torturing and dealing in drug to the aliens. Nnedi is now writing the new Black Panther adventures for Marvel comics and one of her short stories, Binti: Home, a sequel to Binti, which won her the award in 2016, was announced as a nominee for the Hugo Awards which will be awarded later this year. Good luck Nnedi. Angry Robot Book Launch – I watched readings by several authors promoting their latest works through this publisher in the mid-afternoon. After a few beers and time to chat with friends I headed out for food. A pub called The Montpellier which I planned on dining at due its menus being posted all over the walls outside the bar and sounding lovely, proved to not do food at weekends. I settled on the promise of a burrito at another Harrogate bar, called The Pit. Though the food, when it finally arrived, proved to be delicious, the service was poor, despite several staff standing around doing little to nothing. On arrival I was told that they could fit me in despite being very busy though there were clearly lots of tables around. I was then left standing ignored, waiting an eternity to get a drink at the bar, and then waiting forever to place my food order. Getting attention to receive the bill was also a challenge. I returned to the Majestic Hotel in plenty of time to relax before taking part in a panel myself, a first for me at Eastercons. I have given solo presentations but never been on a panel before in two decades of con attendance. The feature was called My Con Diary, and along with moderating host, Eira Short and co-panellist Smuzz, I was invited to contribute extracts from my various online con reports and features over the years, with emphasise on more humorous events. Many of my own diary pages are right here on Mylot. Smuzz & Eira read extracts that steadily spelt out their relationship, (they are now married) so they were both funny and delightfully romantic too. We had a lovely audience despite being on at the same time as several other big events on the programme in other rooms at the hotel. Rapidfire Infoshots was the final event I watched and participated in on the Saturday. This involved participants getting to rant freely on any topic of our choice for three minutes, with friendly heckling and an audience invited to throw marshmallows at us as we eulogized. We had the option to use Powerpoint slides if we wished. I just chose to talk, and my text has already been added here on Mylot. No one threw a single marshmallow at me which was strangely disappointing. My rant was one of the few suitable for younger listeners in a gloriously funny adults only entertainment. The judging panel , Tiffani Angus, Val Nolan, and Meg MacDonald awarded me an Easter Egg as one of the three runners up prizes. The winner got a bottle of wine. I shared the egg with friends over the remaining hours in the bar before heading to my Bed & breakfast for the bed part of my stay. Arthur Chappell
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3 responses
@Courage7 (21353)
• United States
9 Apr
Sounds delightful Arthur except for that one useless pub oh my! Pity you couldn't have skipped the bill part since you had to wait so long. So glad you got to read some of your diary there too on a panel.
1 person likes this
• Preston, England
9 Apr
@Courage7 thanks yes, I was close to walking out when my food finally arrived
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@Courage7 (21353)
• United States
9 Apr
@arthurchappell Amazing how some keep their jobs whilst doing nothing all along too.
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@JudyEv (141833)
• Bunbury, Australia
9 Apr
A very full day from the sounds of it - just as well the food was good when it finally arrived.
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• Preston, England
10 Apr
@JudyEv yes the meal was terrific
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@Kandae11 (40338)
9 Apr
The Pit lived up to its name as regards its service to customers. From what I have read so far , this was a Convention that did not disappoint - and you met a number of interesting people too.
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