I was at ArmadaCon in Plymouth last weekend, looking forward to a small and relaxing con, but unfortunately I volunteered to do a play, a film and a talk. But then I don’t really like cons where I’ve nothing to do. So I did a play on the Friday, a restaging of “One of Our Eastercons is Missing”, Saturday some filming, on Sunday I set the alarm for 7:40am – conventions have that time in the morning, who’d have thought!? – in order to do some more filming and that afternoon I gave a talk. So, a very full con.
The film was Alan and Linda Marques “Convention of Death”, set at a convention with death. I did some 1st ADing, so I got to shout a lot. I also got to do some acting, both in reality and in front of a green screen. I’m looking forward to seeing the results.
I tested my ‘trundler’, a cut down coffee table from Loncon’s Tartan play, which is a sort of boxy, zimmer frame that doubles as a portable bookshop and beer garden. There were numerous suggestions to install optics (or an alcohol drip) and remote control. Quite a few people came up to me for the sequel to the Derring-Do Club. It was grand to have the books selling themselves. I was called to film my death scene and someone caught me to sign a copy: I put “The last book I signed before my death”, then, as I was filming my death scene, I became rather concerned that I was tempting fate, so I was relived to sell another copy and so write “The first book I signed after my death”. Phew really. Not that I’m – touch wood – superstitious for anything.
I think I went to more programme items than at Worldcon. Certainly stayed to the end of more, 100%, as opposed to Loncon’s somewhat lower total.
But really conventions are made by the people. The usual crowd, of course, Gary, Liz, Ali, David, Ros and – now I’ve started a list I’m going to miss someone and they’ll feel left out – everyone. They made me very welcome last year when I was Guest of Honour for their 25th Anniversary. This year was Andrew Cartmel and Philip Reeve. I thoroughly enjoyed Andrew Cartmel’s interview and live audio commentary as well as a natter in the dealer’s room. Nice to meet someone who has the same attitude to SF as you do. i.e. we should have SF. Now I’m half-way through his memoirs of his time as Doctor Who’s script editor, I’d like another conversation.
Philip Reeve was the other Guest of Honour, timetabled against morning’s or filming, so I missed his programme items and we only chatted in passing. He was in my play though, which name checked him and Andrew Cartmel.
I sat with three people I didn’t know for the convention meal and we had a lively conversation about a research idea I have for a novel – very useful. That’s what’s great, meeting people.
Cat, Sam and Jon were the other theatre group (ah, the ego, but our play was on first) and we shared rather too much red wine and talked theatre, writing and so forth. Their Friday piece was a collection of shorts acts on the theme of horror… and burlesque. On Sunday, I did a talk on writing and they helped out first with a reading and then, as we took a short break for tea and biscuits sponsored by the Plymouth Tea Company, they talked about their writing method. I stopped them: we should share this with everyone, so we reconvened the talk and used that as a spring board.
I came back very unrelaxed and somewhat exhausted, but I had a good time.