Nothing's Forgotten, Nothing's Ever Forgotten
Friday (23 May): Off to Silver Arrow, a Robin of Sherwood con in Bristol, via Reading to pick up Heather. Slight delay as I got slightly lost in the vicinity...
Wow. I went to the last Silver Arrow back in 1998 but it was still a bit of a surprise after all the Starfury and Sector 14 cons I'd done.
First of all, there were only 200 people present. This meant everything was remarkably informal. The likes of Phil Rose (Tuck), Jeremy Bulloch (Edward of Wycombe) and Robert Addies (Guy of Gisburne) tended to hang around the bar with us and autographs and photos were obtained but walking up to them and asking! Of course, I guess this only works due to the small size of the con.
Another interesting thing: Phil Rose openly said he would never sell a photo to a fan. Much respect to him although I certainly wouldn't have objected if he had been. He also spoke to all present about his disappointment at Farscape being cancelled! Go Phil!
And then, on the Sunday, we went on a trip to Chepstow Castle. Yes, outdoors, fresh air, that kind of thing! Outrageous!
A few weird encounters:
The evil that men do lives on... A couple of people separately came up to me and asked if I'd been at the Who's 7 cons. Pretty damned spooky, given the last one was back in 1996! Likewise, one of the con organisers recognised me from 1998. Dorian Grey, eat your bloody heart out.
On Sunday night, a chap named Phil (a different one) leaned over to me and said "You dirty old man!". When I caught up with him in the bar, I asked him about that.
Phil: "You Dirty Old Man!"
Phil: "The age difference"
Phil: "It's the same as me and my wife"
Phil: "You and Heather"
Me: "Uh? Oh. Ah. Er... just one but rather important incorrect assumption here..."
Well, at least he was suitably mortified. And I guess I should be flattered.
Also discovered on Monday morning Robert Addie is a PDA user when I mislaid mine and eventually realised it must have fallen out of my pocket where I sat at breakfast. He was of course now sitting there. After I retrieved it, I apologised for distrubing him and he replied "Not at all, I'm glad you found it as like you, I'd be totally lost without mine". Upon further questioning, he produced his Handspring Visor!
Anyway, photos to be found in my Yahoo photo album. Another big contrast with cons I've been to recently: costumes were rather more modest, shall we say. If you look really carefully, you can sometimes see women exposing ankles!
The Slough Of Despair
After dropping Heather off and getting home, a fairly lethal combination of post-con and pre-overseas trip blues (man, I used to get so gloomy the night before the weekly commute to the Netherlands or Finland), Phil's Dirty Old Man comment, those guys recognising me after all this time and listening to Del Amitri on the drive home resulted in some major league depression and lots of angst about what the Hell was I doing with my life and what did I really have to show for the time which had passed since the last Who's 7 and Silver Arrows cons, apart from a pile of airmiles and a collection of constantly obsolescing tech toys. However, had a load of packing to do for Germany and then set off to Crystal Palace to meet friends for the Springsteen concert.
Wow. Talk about complete turnaround. Springsteen has long been one of my all-time favourite performers, live or otherwise. Absolutely stunning performance, completely turned my mood around 180 degrees. If Robin of Sherwood represents the dreams and heroes of my childhood, Springsteen and the E Street Band probably represent ones I've grown up and matured with. The set focused mainly on his classic rock numbers ie Thunder Road, Bobby Jean, Badlands, Born To Run etc plus a fair bit from The Rising with the recurring themes of life being hard but defiantly giving it all your best shot. He left out his really dark introspective stuff completely. Probably a really good idea given my initial mood.
"Talk about a dream
Try to make it real
you wake up in the night
With a fear so real
Spend your life waiting
for a moment that just don't come
Well, don't waste your time waiting"
Back to the real world
Well, flew out to Hamburg on the 0750 flight on Tuesday, spent that and today in Lübeck. Actually looks like it's going to be a pretty interesting - client does digital TV set top boxes and has some pretty nifty ideas about PC integration, networking etc.
I'll be in Düsseldorf for the rest of the week and, actually, this project is looking like it's going to be fun. If nothing else, it'll let me have a load of fun later. Even Lübeck turned out to be quite interesting to wander through - had dinner in what used to be a ship owners' guild hall. Beautiful wooden panelling and murals. Shame it didn't appear to have any Internet cafes though...
"Meet me in a land of hope and dreams"