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The Glasgowits, Part II: Down and Out in Glasgow and WorldCon

Forgive me, father, for I have not sinned but rather had a jolly good time – well, ok, maybe I’ve sinned a bit, but it was nothing serious – and it has been twenty-four hours since my last confession. We arrived at the SECC, which is where the con is taking place, about one hour after embarking on our journey, despite it being in about a twenty minutes walk distance. We were aided in this by the Glasgow underground and, of course, by Guy’s considerable navigation and orientation abilities, as were previously demonstrated. Also, his scottish accent didn’t get any better. The con is taking place inside a bunch of enormous buildings, which will be much better described by the pictures which I took and which, may god and the angels help me, are being burned upon a CD rom as I write this sentence. Since it was still early morning, there weren’t too many people about. Only several hundred or so were roaming here and there along the empty corridors, eating sandwiches and trying to find the registration desk. The latter was actually a whole series of desks, each dedicated to a narrow range of the alphabet. It was explained to us that we should approach the desk which fits the first letter of our surname, and therefore I immediately went to the ‘N’ desk, from which I was expelled by the claim that ‘surname’ is actually the family name. I then went to the desk which I thought might be the ‘Y’, but it turned out that it wasn’t. After some more wandering about I managed to register, and had to wait for Guy, who spend the whole time standing in line for the ‘H’. Popular letter, ‘H’. Each of us got a very thick programme, a bunch of colourful booklets and whatnot, a colourful name tag (with a fitting chain), a CD voucher (don’t ask me), and some other things which I forget. We put all this in Guy’s bag – I was smart enough not to bring one – upon which time he started complaining about its weight, and didn’t stop until this very moment. We then met Lavie and his motely crew, who were busy working on their documentary film. This was done, as far as I understand, by running around, having urgent discussions, talking to people, complaining about the press office, smoking cigarettes, drinking beers, having some more urgent discussions, complaining about the weight of the equipment (Guy did this also, despite not being a part of the documentary crew – I can’t fathom it), more smoking, having urgent literary discussions regarding the state of current English science fiction, etc. etc. Meanwhile, using my new digital cemera, I created a small documentary film which shows how their documentary film was being made. It is rather short, quite fascinating, and involved beer and smoking. Stay tuned. Lavie, Guy and myself went a bit around the place, been to the exhibition room, which was nice, the dealers room, where Guy had to be restrained by force from buying a houseload of books. Afterwards his complaints about the weight of his bag grew even noisier, despite the fact that I carried two of my books myself. Some people will never understand charity. Lavie kept complaining that a certain SF author was stalking him. I will not give here the name of said author, but I’ll hint that he’s relatively young, rather fat, and looks like a british punk on acid. I was never really interested in that author, but Lavie was so noisy about it that I suggested kidnapping the guy and storing him somewhere for the con’s duration, just so that we have some peace and quiet – as much quiet as you can have when two guys are complaining about the weight of their bags and the wether and how much beer they’ve consumed. We also saw Robert Silverberg. A very stylish looking old man, I think. Guy and I sneaked behind him to try and listen to his conversation, but at the time he was talking about tomatoes, so we found other things to do. During all this Lavie complained about being cold and tired. Later in the afternoon we met a bunch of French people, most of whom are in the publishing business. We had a very interesting conversation with them, in which each complained about the state of SF&F in his own country, and especially the horrible people which are drawn to the field. We exchanged mail addresses and web sites, and Lavie complained that he never had such long talks with the French, and that he was tired. In the evening we went to eat in a chinese restaurant. Among the guests who were honoured by our presence in the same general location there were Terry Pratchette and Kim Newman. Lavie told us all the hottest gossip about the English SF field, and complained about the prices and about being tired. We then embarked upon the quest in search of the German Room Party, which took place at the not-really-nearby Hilton hotel. We found it. It was… it was… I shall not describe it. I’m a brave man, but this is beyond me. And so, having finished our first WorldCon day, we returned to our hotel by taxi. Lavie complained the whole way.

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