Eastercon blog 1
April 23rd 2011
Right then. Here I am in sunny Birmingham at Illustrious, the 62nd Eastercon. I have commanding views of the National Exhibition Centre from my hotel room, and the sound of the very nearby airport is filtering in through the double glazing – except I’ve got the window wide open because it’s unseasonably hot – so it’s not so much filtering as roaring…
What have I done so far? Actually not much, and yet loads. Writing is, by necessity, a solitary task, carried out in private with as few distractions as possible: because as a friend put it, “so much of writing is about Not Writing”. Tis true.
So, I pitched up at the Con hotel about midday, but couldn’t check in as it was too early – advertised check-in being 3pm. The first person I meet is my fellow Orbiteer (and gloriously Scottish) Mike Cobley. The second was the ever-fragrant Gillian from Gollancz, and in short order there after, Anna, Anne and Bella from Orbit, with John Berlyne from the Zeno agency.
“We’re all going to the pub,” they say. “Care to join us?” I dumped my bag with the concierge and bare minutes later we were all sitting outside “The Little Owl” with large glasses of cold fizzy pop, enjoying the sunshine and bees. Joined later by Tom Hunter (of the Clarkes) and other Simon, we managed to talk bollocks for most of the afternoon: writers write because they want to show off. Discuss.
Eventually back at the hotel, I got into my room, and then went to mingle. Chatted to Roy Gray on the Interzone stand, met Sandy Auden, said hello to Darren Nash (ex-Orbit, and the man who commissioned the Metrozone), and went to check in with the Forbidden Planet people, where I’m signing on Sunday.
Back to the room, shower, change, ready for the epic Orbit curry – Charlie Stross and Feorag, Philip Palmer, Mike, Jon Courtney Grimwood, Anna, Anne, Bella, John. And me. Somewhere near Coventry – the Tamarind (very highly recommended – excellent food and service, Cobra in bottles). I’m still boggling at the idea of ending up near Coventry: in the North East you have to travel an hour to get anywhere different…
Hotel bar again – they have Budvar, which is good (even though the price is not), and get a chance to talk to Anna properly. We’ve talked on the phone and email, but never actually met in person. It’s good to know stuff about your editor. Probably less good for the editor to know more about the writer. We’re not inherently interesting, but we can fix your online Scrabble game so you get that triple word score.
I folded about 1am, lightweight that I am. Room is still hot, despite window opening. Meh.
Wake up and discover that I have a sore throat because I have been talking too much. Tea is required.