And what an interesting jaunt it was – was meant to catch the 7am from Glasgow Central (for an arrival in Derby at 12.25, allowing enough leeway to cab it to the Derby Quad in time for the signing sesh at 1pm); however, said train broke down and we passengers were shifted onto the 8am to Birmingham New St. Got there with about 5 mins to find the Derby connecting train, which I did with barely seconds to spare – except that the train manager wouldnt let me on. Just stood there and told me – twice – that I`d missed the train. His face was expressionless as the door closed and off the train sped.
I was massively unimpressed. Anyway, got the next train, got to the signing with more than half an hour to go so wasnt too much of a loss. The signing took place in a room called the Box, in which a few dealer tables had been set up. Kate Griffin and Mike Carey were there too, so we exchanged bon mots and pithy sayings until our time was done (also caught up with Mark Chitty from Walker of Worlds website, finally!). After a break at the bar (encountering the singular Ian Sales, the unique John Jarrold, and sundry other mould-breaking stalwarts) it was off to a media room for the podcast. This involved myself, Tony Ballantyne and Colin Harvey (Tony’s brother from Bizzaroworld!). Hosted by the podcastmistress, Adele, we discussed the Future Of The Future, delved into definitions, the meaning of SF in culture, the effect of tech on the way we write, and various other sidealleys. It was all very enjoyable, and apparently the podcast of this event will be released to the internet in a few weeks time, I understand. Announcements will be made on this blog and elsewhere.
After that, the Saturday went pretty well – went off to the hotel, Jurys, which was very nice, and my room was nice and cool (with adjustable a/c controls), had a shower, then back to the Quad for more general chinwaggery prior to heading off for some nosh at the local Slug & Lettuce, truly one of the loudest restaurants I’ve ever been in. In attendance were myself, Ian Sales, Tony Ballantyne, Roy Gray and local lad Jyoti Mishra and as we were attacking our various platters the England-USA match was being shown on the various screens; and yes, when England scored the goal the entire place went pure stone mental! (Luckily w were spared the sight of THAT goalie fumble as we’d left by then).
So back to the Quad bar for nattering and gossiping, and such like. Made it back to the hotel for about 11pm, feeling pretty shattered (was up at 5.30am after all, for the train that never was!). Next morning had breakfast with Tony Ballantyne during which we speculated upon the various methods by which Andy Remic could (or indeed should) tackle everyday activities. (Cue gritty male Hollywood movie voice-over: “In a world gone mad, Andy Remic gets his laundry done!”….that kinda thing…)(Sorry, Andy, it was the camo pants that set us off).
After that, got a cab to the station and boarded a crowded, standingroom only train to Birmingham New St from which I caught the next one to Glasgow (in a seat of me own). So in all a great weekend was had – my thanks to the organisers of Alt.Fiction for inviting me, and major major thanks to Rose Tremlett at Orbit for coordinating it.