Friday Saturday Sunday Monday
Got to Coventry half an hour later than planned, walked to the hotel, and arrived just as it started snowing gently. Said, "Hi," to Mariel and Martin who were in reception, and went up to the main room to drop off my stuff with tech. Came back down, got my badge, checked in to the hotel - or rather tried to. The hotel couldn't find my name on their system. I explained that the convention had booked me with a sharer, but I'd forgotton who, so they had another look and still couldn't find me. Then they looked for the people who had already checked in, and found my sharer. They gave me two room keys, telling me that using one of them would de-activate the one my sharer had, and sent me on my way. They didn't tell me who my sharer was though, so I went looking for hotel liason Ming. Ops told me he was in a panel, so at the end of it I asked him. We found my sharer in the bar, exchanged keys, and I collected my stuff from tech, dropped it off in my room, and returned to tech. Spent most of the rest of the afternoon helping with setup (mostly taping down wires). Disappeared to eat at about 6.30, back in plenty of time for final planning and setup for the Opening Ceremony. I distributed handfuls of leaflets for my Edinburgh show (called "The Fifth Duck") on the tables, and returned to the tech desk to wait and watch.
Good Gods! Did Virginia Hey really just mis-hear "Groats" (the in-convention currency used as volunteer rewards) as "gropes"? Apparently, she did. And since Chris O'Shea was ill, Lesley was doing all the announcements, and Virginia mimed groping her several times during the ceremony, and even mimed spanking her when she bent down to pick up an escaped page of script. Kim Newman, the other Guest of Honour, tried to restore a little decorum with his introduction, but we weren't having any of it. At some point in the evening, Rob (who I had last seen at Eastercon '08 turned up, with long hair and boobs, and, as normal with people I haven't seen in a while looking completely different, I didn't recognise him. Once the Opening Ceremony was over, I went up to Three Spires for the Starship Cool Wall.
The rules were simple - it must be an actual spaceship, it must be designed for and capable of interstellar travel, and it must be cool - just like the cars on Top Gear's Cool Wall. Most of the USS Enterprises did poorly, while things like X-wings did better. Ships like Serenity and Starbug which weren't capable of interstellar travel were consigned to the floor, despite being considered cool. Real spaceships (like the Saturn V rocket and the Space Shuttle) were only floored over the hosts' strenuous objections. About halfway through, they stopped putting ships on the wall to "put a starship in a reasonably drunk audience". They gave the half of the audience I was sitting on an inflatable Starship Enterprise, and the other half got an inflatable Death Star. The game was to pass the models along the row, back a row, along that row, and so on to the back, then pass it down the aisle seats to the front again. We won, after the Death Star got lost near the back. Most of the starships were from TV and film, but they did have some from games like Mass Effect - no real classics like the Cobra III from the Elite series. But anyway, 'twas good fun, then it was back to the main hall for the last half of the Ceilidh (where I only got one dance), and a bit of a cool down while clearing up, then bed.
Got up nice and early (for a Con), had breakfast, hung around in the empty bar until I heard Carrie & Lindsey open up the main room, and went in to join them. We had an hour to re-set for the day's events, and since most of the work would be done by the hotel, we left them to it. Carrie & Lindsey had other things on their mind for most of the morning, what with them getting married later that day, but we didn't let that slow us down. I spent most of the first three events (a talk on what Big Science projects were going on around the world, the first of Virginia Hey's main stage Q&A's, and a talk on why Star Wars is based on Tarot) sitting at the back working on my laptop in preparation for Edinburgh. During Virginia's talk, she totally confirmed our joint opinion of her, by describing her first (social) encounter with a Sub in Weston-Super-Mare, and really shovelling out the double entendres - not realising there was a reporter from the Coventry Telegraph in the room! She was very worried for the rest of the Con about being taken out of context, and pictures of her making faces appearing online. We all loved it. Anyway, by the time of Kim Newman's interview with Tlanti an hour later, I had finished and was sitting by the tech desk helping to worry about the wedding preparations.
I was stationed on camera one for the ceremony, which meant, since the cameras had been moved forward and in a bit, I had to crane round the tripod and avoid crashing into the main screen. It also meant I was unable to take many pictures of the ceremony itself, but that didn't stop me taking them completely. I didn't get any good ones until the reception in the bar next door, so I didn't get any of the moments when the tech crew fired off a trio of confetti cannons at the happy couple. I had been ordered to place party poppers (including five really big ones) on the seats at the front before manning my camera, but when the happy couple walked back up the aisle, those tech crew not occupied with cameras set off the cannons. Apparently Carrie's face went from, "what's going on?" to, "confetti! Shiny!" to, "you bastards!" in less than a second.
Stressed and exhausted. Won't be finishing