Tuesday, 14 April 2015

Dysprosium - Day 3

When we went down to breakfast (me as Steampunk Alice in Wonderland, with white dress and pale blue corset, and the Young Man as Cutter Conway, Steampunk adventurer) there was a chap in the lounge bar playing a small harp. I paused to look, and he said; "Would you like a go?" As I hesitated, he added; "I wouldn't be sitting here if I didn't want people to join in."
So I had a quick impromtu lesson, which was brilliant, and I managed to make a reasonable sound, if not a tune.
After breakfast, we ambled through the dealers' rooms we hadn't seen yet, and got our photos taken and turned into sepia by the chap from Gearhearts. There's a possibility we may even appear in the magazine!

The first panel we attended was Truth, Justice and the Home Office, which was a discussion about how the law would have to change to accommodate paranormal beings. For instance, how would one deal with the requirement that a prisoner had to have a cell with access to natural daylight when the prisoner was a vampire? Would a selkie come under Fisheries? And how would the Dangerous Dogs Act apply to werewolves?
I forgot to say, for the Jim Butcher panel yesterday, what a good double act he and Charles Stross (who was interviewing him) are. Charles Stross writes the Laundry Files series, which deals with this sort of problem. Today the panel was Jim Butcher, Charles Stross and a lady who works for the police in real life. Seanan MacGuire was supposed to be there, but hadn't surfaced, so they kept an empty chair for her.

The Psychology of Doctor Who was more Real Science - Dr Sarita Robinson was talking about how we can extrapolate human knowledge of how the brain works onto a Time Lord, and mentioned some research she had been doing where volunteers were asked to draw a common everyday object (in this case the heads side of a 10p piece) and a Dalek. They found that more people could accurately draw a Dalek than a 10p, and there were various theories about why this should be so. "Daleks are scarier," said one little girl in the audience.

This was followed by Herr Doktor, who talked about his model making and Doctor Who and the pleasures of trawling through charity shops for smart clothes. Amongst other things.

And by that time, we were feeling ravenous, so we went off to buy a lunch voucher and eventually tracked down a baguette and a ham sandwich at the lounge bar. Every time we passed the lounge bar, we seemed to see a chap called Pietro (by his name badge) there. By the end of the Con, I was beginning to suspect he was an android - he never seemed to sleep! Or maybe he was just getting overtime in while he could.

The Runesmith held a talk in the dealers' room he was sharing on how to make a sword. Seven or eight people turned up, about half and half male and female, to discover that it is possible to make a sword or knife without access to the full blacksmith's forge - it can be cold forged, which basically means hitting the metal with a hammer for several hours. He also gave tips on how to make a mini-anvil from the head of an old sledgehammer, showed some knives he had made earlier, and talked about metal working in general.

We changed for the Masquerade Ball. I wore my crinoline skirt and black corset, with a purple blouse, and the Young Man was back in his frock coat with piratical accessories, and we both wore masks.
The fancy dress parade was great fun, and was run by the people who are bidding to hold WorldCon in Dublin in 2019. There were two child entries, Medieval Girl and a beautiful Rainette from The Girl in the Fireplace Doctor Who episode. They both got prizes. They were followed by Dr Sanguis (a mad scientist), Jenna from Blakes' Seven, a dashing Pirate King, a lady dressed as Angel from the novels of Jaine Fenn (I think that was the flapper) - about a dozen fine costumes. These were the winning entries, cribbed from Clickety Click, the Con newsletter.

And then there was dancing. The Young Man has always maintained that he can't dance - he just does slow martial arts moves at the back of the dance floor. However, some music came on that could be waltzed to - and he swept me round the dance floor like something off Strictly Come Dancing! And then muttered something about his half turns being sloppy! I was amazed, and delighted, and only just managed to keep up!

However, after that, people drifted off, leaving small children in charge of the dance floor. It seemed that everyone was in the lounge bar and Real Ale bars, talking, which must have been a bit discouraging for the DJ.

Late that evening (we had gone to bed by that stage) there was a performance of Spock in Manacles, which was first performed at Beccon in 1985. I wasn't at Beccon, but I do have a dim memory of hearing about it.
This is how it was reported on in Clickety Click the next morning:
"Teenage Nightmare: Going to EasterCon and discovering your English teacher is there - worrying
Going to EasterCon and realising you are running tech for your English teacher's programme item - seriously disturbing
Discovering your English teacher wrote Spock in Manacles and you are in charge of the video - priceless"
and on the other side of the sheet:
"Teacher Nightmare: Play you put on thirty years ago anonymously being remembered - nice
Being on a panel with all your old pals from those days - very nice
One of your sixth-formers is the tech gopher for your sci-fi goat slash orgy musical - priceless"

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