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 DWDiscworld Updated: 01/09/16

Not really at home

Friday Saturday Sunday Monday Tuesday

I went down to the hotel on Friday. I had my stock for the dealers' room, my Nijel the Destroyer costume for the opening ceremony, the necessary changes of clothes and supply of food for the weekend, and a box full of music and related equipment. Good job I was able to borrow my sister's car for the weekend.

I arrived at the hotel at about the same time as I would have done had I come by train - I would have been about half an hour earlier if not for the queues on the M1. Anyway, checked in, and was told my room would not be ready until 3pm. So I went to the dealers' room to report in. That done, I snagged a luggage trolley and unloaded the car, dropping all my stuff by my stall, then I went to Ops to try and get confirmation of when and where I would be needed for the rehearsal for the opening ceremony. I was told 5pm in The Dysk.

I went back to Sator Square and unpacked my stock, and asked Mike Flynn to put some of my flyers for my Edinburgh show somewhere where people would pick them up. The dealers' room opened, and it was a fairly busy couple of hours. Then Jennifer Delaney turned up and said I was urgently needed in rehearsal in The Pit. "But I was told five," I said. No, I'm needed now. Right, I grab two of my bags and headed to reception to get my room card. Got my room card, took my stuff up to my room - which wasn't ready; the bed was completely unmade, there was an empty glass and a coke bottle on the table, and it stank of alcohol. Dropped my bags off, went to The Pit, apologised and explained the situation to Kate, went and complained to the hotel, got given a new room, so went and moved the stuff I'd left in the old one to the new one, then hurried back to the Pit. Where I wasn't actually needed for a bit, as the fight was being rehearsed, and two of the people for that weren't around either.

I went and moved the rest of my stuff up to my room, then came back and watched. At about 5.15 we moved to the Dysk and started rehearsing on stage. At about 6pm I went and got changed into my Nijel costume, and took the opportunity to have a shave as well (can't have Nijel with five o'clock shadow). More rehearsal, then hide while the audience came in. Curtain up, do the scene, take a bow, go and join the audience for the rest of the opening ceremony.

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Ceremony over, I went back to my room to put some clothes on and have dinner. I came back down and hung around until I could slip into Bedtime Stories without having to queue. Rob read the Acknowledgements at the back of Dodger and then started reading the story at the beginning. I left at the end of chapter one (which I'd already read, it being in the back of my pb copy of Snuff) and found musicians in Dunmanifestin, the convention's own lounge area. There were beanbags to sit on, so every so often I had to get up and have a wander, otherwise I'd have spent the weekend with chest pains. I could have stood up, but that would have meant I'd spend the weekend with aching legs and back pain (yeah, I'm in terrible condition). Still, walking around gave me the opportunity to arrange getting proper tech for the Hedgehog Party tomorrow night.


Up at eight-ish, breakfast, quick wander, dealers' room. It was the best day in Sator Square. Plenty of people, quite a few sales (but not as many as last time), and quite a bit of interest in the books. Caught up with a couple of people, exchanged "hi"'s with a couple more, then we all closed early because it was dead.

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Dinner, change T-shirt, hang around. Slip into the back of The Dysk and wait for Ken to collect me for moving audio tech stuff from UU (where it was no longer being used) to The Rim (where it was needed for the Hedgehog Party). Missed most of the Maskerade because of this, but at least I got to see the eventual Best-in-Show winner before leaving.

Main kit for Hedgehog Party set up, I went to my room to collect my music. Came back, helped finish setting up, arranged a few things with Hunter, and that was more-or-less the start. Spent the evening trading off DJ-ing with someone in vampire makeup, but it seemed to me there were always more people dancing when it was my turn on the decks. Might have had something to do with the things I was playing: "Now, what music is going to get everyone in the room dancing? Oh yeah - this will." Cue The Timewarp.

At some point Glingle Feegle, in zombie makeup and a toga, led in a conga line of similarly-attired people. We finished at 2am-ish with Everbody Needs Somebody to Love from The Blues Brothers ("We're so glad to see so many of you lovely people here tonight, and we would especially like to welcome all the representatives of Ankh-Morpork's law enforcement community, who have chosen to join us here in the Hilton Metropole Hotel. We do sincerely hope you all enjoy the show...") and Defying Gravity from Wicked. Shut down, pack up, let the hotel lock up the room while the party continued elsewhere. Not me, though - I needed to get to bed otherwise I'd accrue a fatigue debt I wouldn't be able to clear and didn't want while driving home.

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Up, breakfast, dealers' room. It was dead. Practically all day. After the high of last night, the low was shattering. When Sator Square closed, I went to have dinner, then hung around until it was time to set up for the Toast & Jam. After some initial problems, we managed to work out how to record directly from the desk to my minidisc - and here is what was recorded. The T&J started reasonably well, but was a distinctly quiet iteration of the event. At about 1am we went acoustic, and I stopped recording and went to bed, feeling crappy.

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Up, breakfast, dealers' room. It was very quiet again, and I was feeling very low. I was in fact in the process of writing a diatribe on the subject when Dónal came along and engaged me in conversation, and made me feel a whole lot better. It may have been a side effect of that, but sales co-incidentally picked up after that.

Now, there will be some of you reading this who are saying things like, "Oh cheer up! Stop feeling sorry for yourself! Get over it!" Yeah, well, you probably have lots of friends, and no problems communicating with them. You also probably have lots things to do and feel involved with, and are satisfied by doing them. You probably don't have a social disability, or employers who have been ignoring your capabilities and talents for the past eight months. You've probably never been clinically depressed either; so shut your faces, 'cos all that applies to me. If I want to moan, I'm going to. At least I didn't get to the stage of telling people to stop being cheerful at me.

At about 1 o'clock, the play (Eric) started, and the dealers' room went quiet again. I had lunch, then joined most of the other dealers in packing up. Things packed, I took it all up to my room, collecting my sword from Ops on the way, then came back down and found Eric, Cat, Kian and Ccooke in the bar. Ccooke was trying to teach someone the rules of a variant of Go, something about starbases and ships and resources... Anyway.

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We joined the queue for the closing ceremony at about ten to four, the ceremony happened - people were thanked, prizes were given out, and the ConComChairmanship was handed over to John Hicks. Then it was time to teardown, which I helped with for a bit, until I saw Essy carrying the huge Offler model, and struggling. I offered her a hand, and after Ops declined to host it, we managed to persuade the hotel concierge to look after it until morning. It was while we were waiting for them to get to us that Kirstine came up to me and said I was DJing at the dead monkey party. First I'd heard of it, but okay. I found out what tech we were getting, helped get it into Dunmanifestin, then went back up to my room for dinner.

I came back down with the last few dozen leaflets for The Fifth Duck and scattered them liberally throughout the lounge bar. Then, after some time chatting to Torak and Essy, I went in to Dunmanifestin and started the music.

The Dead Monkey Party was enjoyable. At one end, people were talking and playing werewolf. As you got further into the room, and the music got more audible, you came across more people playing werewolf, or using poi, or (thanks to Torak) Walking the Walk. And yes, he did set up an empty course again. And then there was me, UU scarf draped across the front of the table that carried the decks, mixer and my box of CDs. I managed to spend about half the time out from behind the desk, poi-ing or talking or sometimes dancing (I played The Timewarp twice), and for a few minutes even doing the fencing training exercise that Shevek had shown us last time. After going up against Brenna and an interested bystander, I went left-handed against Kirstine, and won.

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By about half-past midnight, the room was noticeably more empty than it had been. This wasn't the Hedgehog Party, so I made no move to try and revive it, just bunged on some slower tracks, and finished up by leaving a blues album to play, then joined Kirstine and her friends talking about the Con experience. I didn't ruin their evening with my personal moans, but we had a good bitch about the hotel. Then someone on the ConCom wanted to make sure we still had all the beanbags, so they were piled up in the middle of the floor, and people piled onto them. I decided now would be a good time to go to bed. After all, it was half past two and I didn't want to fall asleep at the wheel on the M1.


A fire alarm test at 8.30 got me out of bed. I went down to have breakfast, and found the hotel in a complete mess. The lounge bar was closed, a main corridor was closed for maintenance, there was no apple juice in the breakfast room, and hardly anyone was to be seen. I made sure I was all packed and ready to go, then came back down and found a sofa on which to type this up while waiting for people to say goodbye to. Spotted Torak, who'd found the other lounge the hotel had opened next to the pool, so we went there. I went to put my luggage in the car at about 10.30, but there were no luggage trolleys available, so after quarter of an hour of waiting, I carried my bags out in three trips. Checked out at 11, left the car park at quarter-past, because the sun had been shining and the interior of the car was an oven, and I needed to let it cool down. The drive took the same time as it had on Friday - no queues this time, but I accidentally turned onto a trunk road with no turning points when I wanted my first break, so that wasted half an hour.

Next time? We'll see...