Redemption '01 - Ika

Redemption. It's so good, don't even try it once.

Here I am, back in my miraculously unburgled (but very cold) house, suffering terribly from con comedown, so I thought I'd try my hand at one of them there con reports.

This was my first ever convention, and it was fantastic. I fear it may have spoiled me for every other con. Everyone was lovely, and the event was extremely well-organized. So there was always either something to do, or some people to talk to in the bar - the real problem was that usually it was both. It was great to meet so many fans I knew from the list and put faces to names (or faces to pseuds, in some cases [Pred!]). I came away just regretting I hadn't had enough time to talk to everyone.

But that damn committee had come up with such a good range of panels and events that I couldn't just spend all my time in the bar, and I'm glad I went to those too - I came away with an aching brain from all sorts of new ideas and insights from a huge variety of fan views. And aching sides from laughing so much. And an aching head from too much beer & too little sleep on Sunday night. (rather misguidedly stayed up till 3am attempting to drunkenly explain the poststructuralist critique of science to Tavia and Neil. Oops. Memo to self: don't do that again. Or if you must, don't stamp your foot.)

Gareth was there, and seemed on very good form, but alas I didn't go to any of his events (he dropped in on the "realism in slash" debate briefly, bless him, although it meant I was too inhibited by his presence to ask David Walsh about deep-throating, so you won't be seeing any of *that* in an Ika story) so someone else will have to report on those. [I see Pred has, and now I'm wishing I'd made it to the Shakespeare reading...] As usual (or so I'm told) he was around in the bar at almost all times, but I was too shy to talk to him ("Hello, Mr Thomas, you don't know me but a character you played 20 years ago is my imaginary boyfriend..."). Bah. Maybe in '03. When it seems that ... wait for it... CHRIS BOUCHER!!!! will be there!!!!!! And I will be far too paralysed with shyness to go anywhere near him either. Sigh.

Michael Sheard was also extremely good value for money. I don't think any of us who were there for the live-action Shadow wobblevision will forget the sight of him pouncing on Cally and devouring the moondisks ("flying saucer" sweets) from her comatose body in a hurry. Much as we might like to. ; )

There were wonderful costumes (I was in heaven and it was full of Avons! And Centauri, and Seven of Nine with a newborn baby, and Servalans, and Traves, and Klingons, Borg, Captain Scarlett, Ares, Xena...) and some great performances in balloon debates, Ruler of the Universe hustings, etc - particularly, I thought, from Londo and G'Kar, ie Lesley Rhodes and David McIntee - who were married, in character, by Judith Proctor during the cabaret, having married IRL that morning at the register office. Which did my romantic and Londo-and-G'Kar- loving heart the world of good. Also I love the idea of being married by Judith.

Not so many B7 characters were actually 'acted' - though I did miss the B7 balloon debate on Friday night, for some reason, which would have been the best place to see 'em. I actually can't remember what I was doing on Friday night. I think I was in the bar. Anyway, not so many B7 characters, apart of course from David Walsh's Servalan (who won Ruler of the Universe again), who was given a fair run for her money this year by Fran and Nicola Collie (who came second in the Fancy Dress for a rather marvellous little black number which she'd made *that afternoon* in the chaos costuming session).

Travis showed up to 'my' trial, rather confusingly wearing a Travis I costume but claiming to have been dismissed the Service. He wasn't the most credible of witnesses, and between that and Pat C's & Morrigan's passionate and well- researched defence, we KICKED THEIR ARSE. Now I'm a free man as well as an honest one - or I will be after my appointment with the mind-wipers.... er, Federation-accredited psychologists.

The cabaret on Saturday night was lots of fun, although sadly Vila's Royal Mounties weren't able to perform. We got a glimpse of their red fur outfits the next day, though, and I can tell we missed a treat. Fifitrix and Ares God Of War (whose real name temporarily escapes me, sorry) did a couple of marvellous filks, including a very sad Pressure Point one to the tune of Wonderwall. Una, Alison, Iain and (??? Matthew??? - sorry, I met about a million new people and I suck at names at the best of times) did a brilliant B7/Big Brother sketch which had me nearly crying with laughter - the TV producers discussing the Central Control "challenge" ("with monkey bars!") was a little treat, as was "This week I'm going to have to nominate Vila because he doesn't pull his weight..." Plenty of (mostly Centauri) dancing girls, too, and a nice lip-synch by Servalan/David Walsh to "Money Money Money".

After that first reference to the monkey bars, the con was increasingly monkey- oriented, since for some reason the bar staff were selling pints of monkeys (little plastic ones). Anyone with glasses or suitable hairstyles ended up laden with monkeys. I'm not quite sure what was going on there, but I have hundreds of the little critters in my handbag.

I bought lots of zines and read a couple of them on the train on the way home, and they were all storming. Special mentions for the moment to Una for "The Last Days of Roj Blake" (I *did* like it, Una! Particularly the Cally bits. And Morrigan had to take 10 minutes of the train journey recovering from it. I probably should have done, since I was most upset, but there was so much more fic calling to me...), Penny for "The Killer of Dole Nu Lin" (which alone is worth the money for ttba, it's just extraordinary), Hafren for "Fetch" (you *bastard*, Hafren!), and Pred for... being Pred.

At one exhaustion-fuelled point Emma, Morrigan and I were discussing the possibility of organising a B7 fic writing con, with brainstorming, writing games, challenges and everyone having to produce something by the end of the weekend. Having been to Redemption I am far too daunted to imagine doing anything on such a large scale, but a small-scale overnight event at someone's house might work. Someday.

The slash debate was very interesting, and once time had run out the majority of us went off to another room to continue it. I guess if there was a conclusion it was that slash is all things to all fen: whether it's a way of putting gay relationships on telly despite the Beeb's reluctance to do so, or a way of circulating not-for-profit porn among fans, or (Neil's position) a sex- as-metaphor way of extending and exploring the dynamics between major characters - or even *within* major characters (Peter's point about A/Se - and to some extent A/B as "dark mirror" relationships, where slash explores the choices each character has made that differentiate him from the other partner). There was a nice lad there whose name I've forgotten who started writing his first A/B at the con - and has already come up against their famed reluctance to have sex with each other just to suit the writer's plot needs!

Kathryn Andersen bravely stood (sat) in the anti-slash position: the trouble with her being the only anti-slash person there (maybe apart from Neil, but he didn't say much against it) was that she doesn't like slash - even a passing "gen" reference to two men being lovers - because she believes homosexuality is morally wrong on religious grounds. It struck me that in order to be consistent she must also have a hard time reading gen stories which focus on murder, adultery (Anna/Avon), het sex outside marriage, violent resistance, theft, embezzlement (and indeed shellfish eating, wearing garments woven of two types of cloth, etc)... but in the interests of preventing the debate turning into a Kathryn-bash I was silent.

These con reports are harder to do than you'd think! I find myself with little more to say other than: It was nice. I liked it. The committee, stewards, tech team & hotel staff have my undying gratitude: it was obvious how much work and love must have gone into creating such a complicated, smooth-running monstrous beastie of a convention.

Love, Ika

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