So what did you do? I'll bet it involved being outside, possibly burning some meat, whilst wearing inappropriate clothing... Whether the meat you were burning was your own, or came from an ultimately more bovine or porcine source is neither here nor there and essentially is between you and your Priest / Shaman / Robotic Richard Dawkins impersonator...
I spent a number of hours on Saturday in one of those modern, glass eco-friendly hippy buildings that people are so fond of building nowadays. You know the ones, they never look finished and they've all got passive air-conditioning - In as much as when it's hot, they open a window and when it's cold, they offer to sell you genuine foraged alpaca wool ponchos and all the money made gets put towards a charity concerned with re-homing the fifth generation offspring of itinerant Turkish pit-ponies.
I was at the Edge-Lit 2 Convention(?) in Derby - (Please note, the question mark there isn't meant to imply that I wasn't exactly sure where I was - I knew where I was... At first, but I wasn't sure if convention was the right word - Never been to one you see. I'd always thought the word convention implied CosPlay. There was sadly no CosPlay, not that I noticed at least).
I got there nice and early, as it was also to be the day that I, your kilt-wearing hero, was to finally meet the Internationally accepted God of Flash Fiction, James Josiah and Neil Sehmbhy the Supremo Author of the upcoming The Corporation, Jinx and Sunder Wars books. Now, because of the unusual way that the Internet works, I've know these guys really well for ages, but I've never actually met either of them in the flesh as it were. They're both thoroughly nice chaps though, you should go and follow them now... Go, do it now.
So, we went in, with a fair amount of trepidation if I'm honest, none of us knowing really what to expect, and registered. We were given a 'goodie bag' of frankly excellent books (Which more than covered the price of entry), a sheet of A4 paper with some words on it and a name-badge for us to fill in ourselves - I considered filling it in humorously, but as there was only the one pen, and a queue of sweaty Sci-Fi/Horror types behind me, I just wrote my real name and the name of this blog. I noticed that some people wrote their life stories on theirs, reams of added paper disappearing into the distance making them look like the personification of 'Snake' on an early Nokia phone - Seriously, there was this one guy with a particularly long trail, during some confusion about which room he needed to be in for a particular Author panel, he crossed the streams, created a Moebius and immediately flipped into another dimension - His memorial service was lovely, we nicked some tulips from the traffic island outside, I cried.
We attended a couple of Writers' Panels, one on 'World-Building', which was where published authors talked about how they went about creating the background for where their books are set, the stage on which their characters perform. It was really good, not just in that it gave me a couple of great ideas for how to improve the 'Edward Teach' Stories, but it showed me that no two authors do anything in the same way - Everyone pretty much just makes it up as they go along - It really filled me with confidence.
The next was on 'The future of Fantasy' and was quite interesting in a 'blue-sky thinking' / 'I'm just pulling this out of my rectum' kind of way. But the number one, double diamond, glittering ruby, shaped like a cherry on the top of a birthday cake made of pureed Angelina Jolie and solid gold hundreds and thousands thing about this was the questions from the audience section. OK, so a couple of people made salient points with real, erudite questions about the possible future of a widely unknowable medium, and the panel did their best to answer them. But the guy who asked the last question was an absolute gem, I assume he was writing a book, he was very keen... Very, very keen... and very excitable... Very, very excitable. I only picked up about one in every three words because he was talking so quickly, but there was something about people having brands or tattoos on their backs that specified who they were, I think, and rather than ask a question, he sort of gave us all a warp 7 synopsis of the book, it was a joy to see five professional authors sat there with their mouths open whilst they were bombarded by a wall of... erm... well... I'm not exactly sure what it was a wall of, but the three of us spent the afternoon trying to fill in the blanks, our ideas got more and more outlandish after every pint.
You see, for us, this is where it all went a bit pear shaped. We went to the pub at lunchtime, nice place, The Brewery Tap (or Royal Standard if you're old like me.) just down the road - Does nice beer and snacks... And we looked at the running order to see when we needed to be back, it turned out that we had almost two hours to kill, so we had a few pints and wandered back to the venue in plenty of time - Only to find that the sheet of A4 paper that we'd all been given when we'd walked in was a list of changes... And pretty much everything that we'd planned on doing / seeing was now either full or all on at the same time... So we did the only noble thing we could - We had a go on the raffle, had a chat to a new local publisher who may have been looking for fresh talent *cough* and then went back to the pub for a couple of hours.
Then I woke up on the floor at home, with my kilt up around my waist, with no real recollection of how I got there or what the burning sensation was.
All in all, a great day - I would definitely recommend Edge-Lit 3 in 2014 (should there be one, which I hope there is)
Ages and ages and ages ago, I mentioned that there may be some Chimping Dandy merchandise in the works... Well, I have struck a deal with New, up and coming merchandising company Hash Togs to provide things, clothing, phone backs, mugs and other stuff no doubt that bear the Seedy the Pangolin logo - Here is a T-Shirt that I have - You can buy one for yourself for a measly tenner:
This is on the Back
This is on the front
They've very kindly supplied me with a phone back for my iPhone too, but as I have fingers like sausages, I couldn't get it off to take a photo of it, I will need to let the MiniDandy to explore it with her arachnid-style digits later on. They deliver really quickly, the proprietor is not not completely mental and they will quite happily do whatever your little heart desires on whatever your little heart desires (within reason - They won't print a haddock on a live pig, but only because they can't get it through the presses without it making a helluva noise.
And yes, they paid me to say that, but in fairness I would have said it anyway. (So I win that transaction - Mwahahaahahhahahaha!)
For any questions, quotes etc. please get in touch with these guys, not me, because my stock answer will be huh?
They're on Facebook here - Hash Togs on Facebook
Or you can eMail them Here - Hash Togs eMail