Redemption '01 - Predatrix


Much running about screaming. Much painful carrying of box of 30 'zines down steps and escalators and through crowded trains: only one person stopped to help, London is like that. Started con with a streaming cold.

Staggered in about 2 or 3 pm. Considered going to the Brave Young & Handsome panel and sitting in the back row singing Tarrant Is A Tit, but decided not in good enough shape to fight off lynch mob. Handed box of 30 copies of my 'zine (Erogenous Zine, a collection of pure filth, see elsewhere on Judith's website when it's updated) to Richard, who told me I should charge more money for it. Bowed to expertise of experienced 'zinepubbing house, and agreed.

Went to Sainsbury's, involving trampling gloomily over a large cotoneaster, because the side gate was locked. On way back, trampled back the same way and *then* discovered gate had been opened. Why do these things always happen to me?

Spent long time reading new 'zine collection (mostly gen, unfortunately. Do I have to write all the filth myself?) Loved what I read of FS3--unfortunately had read most of the best bits myself as had beta-read some of them.

Got forced to eat something, felt less crumpled. Missed (but wanted to listen to) filking. Stood in the bar with Ika doing her Travis impression. Am lost in admiration that she could do such a convincing lazeron destroyer with a cheap rolled-up bit of pencil-case stuck onto a ring, but am forced to admit that due to special effects budget of about 50p, b7 was probably much the same. She was meant to be T2 but not fat enough. I couldn't tell the difference because I'm hopeless at picking out small differences between costumes (one small chest-flap of black leather or something, I think. She did, however, do a game attempt at a Travis impression by putting her hands on her hips and bellowing "Crimmos!" Luckily, there weren't any. I dread to think what a bunch of armed crimmos could do to a crowded bar.

Made a short visit to the room party, which didn't enjoy tremendously as I didn't want to eat the nice food as had streaming cold, and the room was smaller than the party. Was surprised to see Calle detached from his Lyst, and asked him if he had written an analogue of himself in Perl to keep things in hand, but he says it runs itself nowadays. Must do. Quite a lot of it was there when I came back. Not everything stops for cons (not even my cold did).

Went to 'zine launch, stark dumbstruck by genius of other people. Am still kicking self that did not manage to pick up one of the few copies of Chris's 'zine (parodies). Will have to pay postage now. Asked her why she didn't schlep 30 copies across London like me, but she was unable because wounded in production process (paper cuts? thermal burn like Julia? The mind boggles).

Went to sleep at midnight, when Julia could pry me loose from reading Cheeseboard, which isn't icky at all, just fannish.


The formidable brains of the Lyst, and me, were all sitting at the same table. Could have learned vast amount about science, birdwatching, etc if brain had been switched on. Breakfasts are wonderful (apart from the fact that no large institution can make proper scrambled egg), so had large plateful of cooked breakfast followed by pain au chocolate and coffee. Very civilised.

Went to panel on Science in SF, which was interesting when comprehensible. Actual astrophysicist-type people did point out that although a lot of the science is complete bollocks, ideas can later come under the aegis of science from being crackpot ideas (quantum physics is apparently full of this, also cf plate tectonics, but note some things (cold fusion?) have remained bollocks. Neil made the excellent point that it's down to what the individual viewer knows: he can be thrown right out of the willing-suspension-of-disbelief if the wrong bird chirps, for example.

Went to panel on clichés, run by Chris B and someone else, in which we had the easy task of picking up all tvsf clichés and rolling them into a big ball. Have forgotten most of these as forgot to take notes, which saved the world any attempt to create such a dreadful series.

Had banana butties for lunch (ask Julia. It was her idea).

Later on, went to "When I'm an evil overlord" workshop. Mentioned some of the ones I could remember from the Evil Overlord list: everyone seems to think that the top of the list should be "explains things to hero while setting up terrible tortures for him, although I do like "will keep average five-year-old child as adviser, and any flaws in my plan which he or she can spot will be eliminated". Several people mentioned wear-and-tear on minions, and why are they so stupid, but of course Evil Overlords don't dare have clever minions, who will rush to take their place. Evil Overlords should also exterminate every member of the hero's family, otherwise they will take on a blood oath to revenge him. But then the life of an Evil Overlord is not easy. Has anyone else seen a BBC2 comedy called Big Train, which contained a running skit about Ming the Merciless's home life? Ming, complete with sharp black beard, sharp collar points and long red robes, is shown at home in a semi in Finchley, phoning the office to make sure the executions are going all right, and morosely running a hoover over the lounge and trying to discourage door-to-door salesmen. I find this strangely persuasive, but maybe it's just me.

Poor Tavia was finding it a struggle to eat in the hotel restaurant because, like the Palace Cook in Lancre (Discworld reference), the chef was more at home with preparing roast haunch of something bloody than any other cooking. She went out to Sainsbury's, and I investigated the roast haunch of something.

Went to Fancy Dress and Cabaret. Two belly-dancing acts, one Turkish and one Egyptian, a Centauri married couple, "Borg to be Wild", Servalan (David Walsh) miming Money Money Money (complete with throwing paper, unfortunately *not* £10 notes) and I Will Survive, Servalan (Nicola Collie) looking *unbelievably convincing* in a chaos costume, Herr Flick from Allo Allo (don't know who) making amusing adlibs about the Gestapo having bugged all our rooms: 've know vot you haff been doing, and vith whom--or vith vot." My favourite was the utterly utterly wonderful Reduced Blake's 7 Company, complete with ratings-predatory producers on one side of the stage, managing a surrealistic cross between Blake's 7 and Big Brother. This was hysterical, particularly when Blake (Alison Page) voted Gan out and then ranted: "I thought you'd send him *home.* To his *family*. You BASTARDS--you made a fucking wall fall on him". Oh, and they made Moloch out of two rubber gloves, which had a surprising resemblance to the original. Unless I'm getting the day wrong, this was followed by a birthday cake for Iain, whose birthday it was, with a Fannish Wedding between Lesley(dressed as Londo Mollari) and David McIntee (dressed as G'Kar), complete with Fannish Creation Myth ably presented by Judith.

Went to Gareth's Shakespeare reading. Am amazed by his range and power, and melt in a puddle (no, not that way particularly) before the man's formidable natural charm. While trying to find a particular speech by Falstaff which he'd used for his first audition piece, he did a love sonnet (think it was "When in disgrace with fortune & men's eyes", but not sure), Richard III being villainous, some of Polonius being sententious to his son, Oberon roaring at his wife and then being perfectly courteous to his servant, Othello wooing Desdemona, and some King Henry or other old and weary and totally unable to get to bloody sleep when he's quite sure the meanest souls in the kingdom can sleep even when they ought not to. And he never found the Falstaff bit, and it was still bloody wonderful. Less seriously, while he was hunting through pages he managed a constant flow of amusing anecdotes (I liked the bit about Olivier as Richard III walking across the stage and changing the foot he limped on as he turned to walk back, so he was always limping on the downstage foot). This overran, not that I'm complaining.

Went to the Slash Turkey Read, run by Jane Carnall. Some godawful early BUART, with some lovely terrible bits, by an author who had an obsession with unconvincing physical descriptives. One of the rapists is "granite-faced", another "stern-faced" and yet another "grey-haired" and so on. There was also one bit of dialogue where poor Toothy asks his cellmate why he's watching him, and gets "You remind me of my ex-girlfriend"--quickly followed by rape. The poor boy appears to be mostly worried about bad fashion throughout. Boggle. Don't think we got as far as the end, but probably One Damn Rape After Another.

Dropped in on the filking, where Kathy had a Zander songbook (if you have not heard of the multitalented Zander Nyrond, try for a hysterically funny list of possible hazard warnings on a large and confusing spaceship, or for an equally hysterical list of possible names for smaller spaceships, or for some of his excellent Britfilk). Did best to join in singing of filk of Danny Deever about Danny Bennett from Tom Holt's books (very *very* funny if you've read those. Entitled: "You can't keep a good man down--and this one's pretty buoyant too". It's on the website. If you know the Fish tune and the Kipling poem, it's even better). Also a cracking good serious filk of Hope Eyrie (fandom's anthem, if there is one), after NASA became less ambitious, entitled "Hope? Eerie!". To my complete surprise, managed to remember enough of the tune of "The Market At Mos Eisley" to sing it, even though have only heard it once.

Staggered into bed at 2 am, trying to find right bed and not wake up roommate whom I do not know that intimately. Could not help thinking this is wonderful idea for story where B doesn't know A that intimately but will by end of story. By end of con, have hashed this out as a collab with roommate who happens to be my beta reader.


Not enough sleep, but more or less adequate. At breakfast, Julia was geeking cameras with Calle and Jenny; after breakfast she went to David & Leslie's wedding breakfast (not to eat but take photos).

Late morning, went to excellent panel of Blake's Trial if he'd had one instead of being shot, with Ika as Blake (surprisingly convincing without the figure, the hair or the...ahem) and Jem something as Travis, and David Walsh in The Role He Had Made His Own, although he came in late because of Eyelash Problems. On Blake's side were two excellent attorneys, ably portrayed by Morrigan and a black woman whose name I didn't catch. (This was the only panel I managed to remember to take notes at, so it's a rather fuller report).

The defendant was asked to remove his gun, and replied, "It doesn't work. I just keep it to do my hair." Attorney commented, the prisoner has a right to reasonable standards of hair care. After a minor squabble about whether Blake was guilty of mutiny or piracy, the prosecution was introduced. On the appearance of Space Commander Travis, Blake stated: "I was sure I'd killed him!" The Adjudicator was not sure if this counted as threatening behaviour or not.

Defence attorneys made an excellent job of giving Travis a hard time about war crimes & his own suspiciously terroristic escape in a commandeered ship--"to say nothing of the betrayal of all humanity, which hasn't happened yet".

Travis, who seemed to have made far less preparation than the defendant, replied pitiably that he had "not watched the videos recently"--whatever that might mean.

The defence attorney led Blake through his past history: "I was tortured, and what is in common parlance "mindwiped" by a combination of drugs and flashing lights", he admitted.

Later, on Atlay: "I do not recall very well, there was some sort of oscillating tone... no, actually, I remember it very well. We were told to lay down our weapons or be shot--some of us were shot anyway."

On being asked, What makes you think you are qualified to speak for ordinary people?" Blake replied, "Perhaps because I have occasionally been known to speak to them when they are not under large doses of suppressant drugs."

Blake was finally voted not guilty by a large majority (all but four), but since the Arbiter stated the defendant was mentally incompetent and unfit to plead, he was to be placed under psychiatric care. Which is a very b7 conclusion. Kudos to Ika for her splendid ad-libbing!

In the afternoon, went to Costume panel. Am struck dumb by Julia's encyclopaedic knowledge, and determined to rewatch Aftermath and Star One for those all important Avon-drool moments.

Then went to the Alien Sex workshop, run by Londo (Leslie) and G'Kar (David McIntee). Londo put on her penis (I've always wanted to write that), and I said "Well, where are the other five, then?" and she said "If you think I'm going to get five rubber snakes covered with stockings, you have another think coming". Among the more serious points in the discussion, G'Kar stated that although mutual pleasure would probably be possible among lots of different races, they probably couldn't interbreed, although the original Star Trek started about right by explicitly saying that Spock was the result of some fairly heavy genetic engineering rather than just random sex.

Went to panel on Wobbly Sets (any b7 fan may fairly be considered an expert). I said, it's much easier to bear the _London_ wobbling, because it's meant to be an awful old crate with a badly-tuned engine, and someone else came up with a splendid hypothesis that the _Liberator_ translates kinetic energy into power and uses it to flush the loos. Points for ingenuity, that man!

At seven o'clock, went to be part of the panel on The Slash Debate, although hardly managed to get a word in edgeways. This was a very, *very* good panel in terms of the ratio of rationality to flamage. If it wasn't for some Prat dressed in Pink coming in and soapboxing on paedophilia for three seconds before running off in an ecstasy of manufactured outrage, it would have been perfect. I find it very difficult to get into the head of somebody like Kathyrn Andersen, whose views are fairly diametrically opposed to mine on slash, but am very impressed that she can respect the views of others and hold a rational argument. Bright flashes of insight kept happening: someone (think he's a gay DW fan, can't remember the name) suggested that maybe the A/Se relationship is a 'dark mirror' in which Avon can see what he *might* have been if things had been different, which certainly struck Judith, among others. I had a moment of insight when I used the Prat dressed in Pink as an excellent illustration of what had been done to Blake: people who react to any mention of child-abuse by frothing at the mouth rather than thinking make it very easy to use smear tactics. I'm sure there were more insights I've forgotten, but it was such a lovely panel when I'd been dreading it all weekend because I'd forgotten my asbestos trousers.

Went to the filking and sang myself hoarse. Admired anew the lyrics of Ladies from Hades (anyone who can rhyme 'alien' and 'sesquipidalien' is my kind of person), and various other things including Battle-Hymn of The Andromedan Republic. Incautiously ad-libbed: "Dedicated to the Andromedan warfleet over there"--and pointed to the results of the Chaos Modelling Workshop (ships and guns made out of yoghurt pots and so on look remarkably like it), and thus have only myself to blame for the resultant parade of filkers holding aloft "the Andromedan warfleet" and marching downstairs singing (or croaking): "Glory glory to amoebas/Destroy humanity!"

Spent rest of evening in the bar with Ika, Emma Peel and Morrigan (and the DW fans whose names I don't know). Great fun. Emma is about to do a 'zine entitled I, Mutoid (major kudos for the Asimov joke), and I, for my sins, have been roped in to write an A/B romance that will also somehow manage to be a mutoid story. Actually sounds quite interesting.

Felt quite sad to go home as was wonderful event altogether.

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