jonnynexus (jonnynexus) wrote,

Discworld 2008: Full Story With Pics

Last weekend saw us heading for the Discworld Convention 2008, which was located in Birmingham's NEC complex. Doing two conventions back-to-back isn't what we'd ideally do, but we'd been talked into doing the Discworld Con by two Terry Pratchett fans (Chris and Chris) we met at last Easter's Orbital convention, and I'm pleased to say that it was everything they said it would be.

We had a really good time, met some very nice people (including one Terence David John Pratchett, OBE), and - aided by some pretty heavy recommending by natural20 and Chris and Chris - managed to sell 70 copies of Game Night. Given that this represents getting on for 10% of the 750 or so people attending, we were pretty pleased with this.

Due to our late booking, we weren't staying at the Metropole hotel that was hosting the con, but as we were running late on Friday morning we went straight there, leaving our main luggage in the car and taking only those items we needed to set up the stand.

The dealer's hall (renamed Sator Square for the occasion) was pretty good.

Our stall looked rather nice.

But possibly not as impressive as that of Eclectic Games.

It was also a good place to see very cool things like a stuffed Discworld.

Two much happened to describe in detail, but as well as selling during the day we had a very good time. I think of all the cons I've ever been to, the Discworld con is the most social. People say that it's special, and it is.

On Friday evening we attended the opening ceremony, which was both entertaining and moving, and featured a very good speech from Terry Pratchett. Then, later that evening, we attended the "Terry's Bedtime Stories" event, in which we were privileged to listen to him reading out several sections from Nation, his new novel.

During the Saturday lunchtime interval (the dealers hall closes for lunch, which I think is very good idea), we attended "This Is Your Disc", a sort of This Is Your Life, for Terry. That was again very entertaining and informative.

And then Saturday evening, we were at the Masquerade. This is a sort of costume party / talent contest, and it was very ably hosted by Pat. He was brilliant - very funny! Personally, I thought the sword dance was the best, but then I wasn't one of the judges, and don't know what criteria they were supposed to be judging against.

My personal funniest moment of the weekend (among many) came when we slipped into the auction during the Sunday lunchtime interval. This was again being ably hosted by the very cool Pat. I should stress that the following anecdote should be read in the knowledge that Pat was being very good-humoured and friendly.


I fancied bidding on something, but the problem was that we didn't have the paddles from our membership packs that you need to bid with. (The auction's very well organised - to bid you just hold up your paddle and put it down when you want to stop bidding). If we'd been staying in the hotel we could have nipped up and got a paddle, but our hotel was a ten minutes each way walk away.

I would have just not bid, because I was a bit embarrassed, but when something I wanted came up, Jules decided to help me out by putting her hand up. Cue the following exchange:

Jules: We haven't got our paddle, but we'll bid sixty pounds.

Pat: You need to nip up to your room and grab your paddle then.

Jules: We're not in this hotel.

Pat: Well you need to borrow someone else's then!

At this point one of the guys near us put up his paddle, we won the bid, and then afterwards he read the number off Jules's badge, and shouted it out to Pat.

Pat: Okay, but that's that. From now on you can't bid without a paddle, because otherwise it's all going to disintegrate into chaos.

A couple of bids later...

Pat: Okay the next item is...  [describes item]  This is a very nice item, and I think I'll start it off myself!  [puts up his hand]  Fifty pounds!

Entire Audience: [immediately, in perfect chorus]  You haven't got a paddle!

Pat: Bugger!

It was perfect. I'd say it was sitcom worthy, except if you put it in a sitcom, people would say that it was too fake and rehearsed.

The final event we attended was the Dragon racing on Sunday night. We consistantly lost every bet, but in our defence we weren't quite sure what was going on, and there was an awful lot of cheating. The final race was rather confused because five "pullers" slumped down over their chairs, two were tackled, and only one actually pulled.

Apparently the Assassins Guild had killed five of them and two were taken out by the witches.

They have guilds at the Discworld Con. It's a bit LARPy.

It's a good con, and when it's on in two years time (with natural20 as Chairman!) I'd definitely recommend it to any Discworld fans.
Tags: discworld con, game night

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