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The SFX Weekender Report

POSTED ON February 9th, 2012  - POSTED IN Events

I’m sure in the summer, Prestatyn is a pretty place, full of excited holiday makers, but in winter it feels slightly depressing; bleak and lonely.

We arrived in darkness, and morning found us in something between a council estate and a prison, a gated holiday-community in the form of Pontins. We were lucky, we had gold accommodation. However, having to choose via a ominous switch on the wall between hot water and the cooker, the lack of a microwave, the need to bring our own towels, and the large iron mark on the carpet in one of the bedrooms, one couldn’t help but wonder what extra hardships those in silver would have to endure? Even the television, a relic of the 80s cabled into their ‘network’, had worse reception than my first ever wire-aerial TV.

The Obligatory SFX Weekender Post

POSTED ON February 7th, 2011  - POSTED IN Events

For some reason I always seem to go to a convention and come back with a load of new personal philosophies on my writing career. I say some reason, but in truth I know them all and drafted a big long blog post about it all before I decided that wasn’t what I wanted my SFX Weekender post to be about.

What I really want to tell you about is the fun I had.

I’ve had a habit of taking my friends on my adventures. My friend Pob came to New York Toy Fair one year where we ended up stumbling drunk all over the city at 2am after a party with Run DMC. My friend Nick came out to San Diego Comic Con with me (after a personal video plea to his wife from Good Charlotte) and was sat there at the table with me as I nervously interviewed Charlize Theron. But my friend Simon, for one reason or another, missed out on those crazy, crazy times. So going to SFX weekender was in some small way a good opportunity to make up for that.

OK so the biggest ‘moment’ was when Mark Charan Newton recognised me (like I’m hard to forget). Simon seemed impressed with that, and I was happy that he was impressed. We did also see Steven Moffat and Russell Tovey in the bar (who I spent ages staring through trying to look at someone on the other side of the bar before I realised who it was).

We spent most of the time hanging out in the bar but we went to a number of panels and screenings. I made Simon rewatch Skyline, because A) I hadn’t seen it and B) He’d made me see Repo: The Genetic Opera the night before and that sort of crap deserves payback.

Funniest moment had to be where Scott Andrews beat me at Bragfest with his Summer Glau story. That is the first time it’s ever happened. The Abaddon Pub Hour was pretty hilarious as well.

I never bought any books. Which whilst that might sound disgusting to some, has good reason. Now I have my kindle (and no space left in the house) I’m restricting myself to ebooks. Whilst I might not have bought any books, there are a large number of additions in my kindle reading queue.

My biggest regret was that I never got to meet and chat to all the people I wanted to. Some people were around but they were deep in conversation and it wasn’t the right moment. If I know you, follow you on twitter and never got to chat to you, I’m sorry.

We weren’t staying on site and had to drive home on Saturday night, meaning we missed out on some of the late night shenanigans. On the plus side, it meant I couldn’t drink (which after Eastercon last year, is a good thing!). I think the best advice I can give anyone thinking of going to a convention is to stay on site.

It’s only a couple of months until the next event, Eastercon, and I’m already looking forward to it. Hope to see some of you there!

Nobby No Mates

POSTED ON January 13th, 2011  - POSTED IN Events

I got a very nice call last night to tell me I’d won 4 tickets to the SFX Weekender. To say I was pleased was a slight understatement.

It looked like a lot of what I know as the “book crowd” were going and I’d regretted not booking when there were offers on. Whilst there are a range of celebrities available, it was catching up with these friends that I was more interested.

So getting free tickets was ideal. “Great,” the caller said. “I’ll ring back in the future for the names of your guests.”

Guests? Oh crap.

You see, like everyone I have various social circles: There are the old workmates, there are the geocachers, there are friends from when I used to do charity work, friends from the collector community.

The trouble is, they don’t sit nice together. They’re all very different types of people and whilst variety is the spice of life, I don’t want to take someone who finds the prospect of sitting in a bar and talking books all day, boring.

Yes, my friend A would love a free day out as much as the next person but I have visions of him getting pissed up and telling China Mieville to f*** off. I mean, he doesn’t even read.

My friend P would love to come and would be unlikely to cause a ruckuss but he couldn’t afford to come down to me on the train.

My friend N isn’t the greatest of readers but has a good enough understanding of geek culture. He did come with me to San Diego Comic Con after I got Billy from the band Good Charlotte to record a personal plea to his wife. But she’s expecting their first child within a month of the event, and it would probably be wrong for him to leave her for a weekend.

A lot of my US friends would dig it… but they’re in the US, so they’re hardly going to fly over just for this event. Not when they go to San Diego Comic Con and New York Comic Con.

And my book friends? Well it looked like all those who were wanting to go had already got tickets.

So this left me with a quandary. Here I am with 152 friends on Facebook (and no I don’t try and collect them, just add people I know / interact with) and I had no-one to go with.

Now I usually have no issue with going to events alone. And it’s not like I wasn’t going to meet up with people. But the thought of telling the organisers I had no-one to bring really, really bothered me. I felt like Nobby No Mates. Oh the shame! How would I ever live it down?

But thankfully my friend Simon is able to make it, and it’s like a huge weight off my shoulders. He’s a reader (in fact he’s an alpha reader for my novel although he’s kept fairly quiet about his opinions so far) and I’m always giving him fantasy books to read that he doesn’t like. We agree on the Lies of Locke Lamorra and Tome of the Undergates, but that’s about it. Still I think he’ll get on with the book crowd.

Not sure if I’ll get another two people before they ring back, but at least if I have one I won’t feel like such a Nobby No Mates.