SWANCON & NAFF V
by Edwina Harvey
(First published in Edwina's LiveJournal on 14 August 2008.)
EASTER SUNDAY, 23 MARCH 2008
To mark Easter Sunday, Lucy and I have a hotel breakfast while Tehani moves all the ASIM stuff from our room. (No Rob Shearman to act as porter this morning.)
Hanging around the foyer area, I bumped into Stephen Dedman and had a chance to talk to him for a bit. I even tried to peddle him Katherine’s Diary because she mentions a few SF people in it like her good friends Terry Dowling & Nick Stathopolous.
There’s a “Boot Camp For Jedi” on the program, and I got to see the tail-end of this (really cool. Wish I’d seen more of it now,) before the indoor Quidditch match was on.
I wasn’t really sure what the Quidditch match entailed. (How do you get flying brooms, for a start…?), but I expected to be a spectator only, and that was still a high priority as things were explained. No flying brooms. Bugger! But the bludgers were contorted teddy-bears, and the snitch was a Nemo squeaky rubber toy, and for all that I thought I’d only gone to be a spectator, I ended up as one of the volunteers who threw the snitch *and* thoroughly enjoyed myself, despite having problems seeing the snitch on occasions. The number of players increased, play hotted up and became fiercely competitive, but also wildly fun. I wondered if the referee was a school teacher, and could see Quidditch being a great pastime on a wet day when kids have to spend their lunch hours indoors at school.
Lunch was devoted to the ASIM business meeting in the hotel courtyard. Tehani had arranged food from the café which we all shared.
After lunch I attended Zara’s “Greenwashing” panel, which was thought provoking.
There was an Australia in 2010 Worldcon bid panel I attended after that. It’s good to see the people behind this bid getting out and selling it to their Australian audience, generating awareness and support. Not for the first time, I find myself thinking if we could just pick up the enthusiastic, innovative, friendly Perth fans who make Swancons such great events and transfuse them into the Wordlcon committee we’d really have a great Worldcon. Perth fans just have something special about them with their “can do, no fuss, and I can still be friendly to you even though I’m under stress” attitude I admire.
I saw the 70 years of televised SF photographic display in what had been the art room the day before, then I “wandered lonely as a cloud” in search of someone to have dinner with. (Thought I could afford it for once!) Ended up back in my room eating biscuits though (spot the recurring theme in my posts!)
Tehani had left the boxes of ASIM in my room, and people congregated there to change into their Ditmar outfits prior to the awards ceremony. Tehani looked particularly elegant.
Of course, I was planning to go as “rent a scruff”. I hadn’t packed anything fancy to wear, but thought I’d get away with the outfit I wore on the plane. Lucy decided to save me at the last minute, saying “You can wear this if you like” throwing me a very nice, stylish black linen top, and offering me a bit of make-up while Tehani and Alyssa headed downstairs.
I went through the “lets experiment with make-up” phase in my teen-age years like most other girls (and probably some boys?), but the novelty wore off. I can’t get it right, and it’s too much bother, and I’m a WYSIWYG person anyway, which isn’t to say that I don’t mind it if someone else wants to fuss over me.
Lucy indulged Monissa and I in “dress ups” at Conjure in Brisbane in 2006 and I really enjoyed it, so I’m not adverse to her applying a bit of make-up.
I’m even confident about her putting on mascara for me (this is a *huge* compliment to Lucy considering how nervous I get about strangers getting anywhere near my eyes!) But applying mascara to me is making *her* nervous, so she suggests I have a go myself. Slight problem: We’re applying mascara to the (good) left eye. When I close it and try to look at my reflection in the mirror, my face turns into a blob with hair on it. The cataract is so far advanced, I can’t even see my features any more. Lucy bravely carries on, and Ohmyghod I look almost *human* with a bit of make-up on! We head downstairs.
Tehani comes racing towards me as I get out of the lift. I hadn’t realised that as one of the Ditmar presenters, I was expected to be at a walk through prior to the awards. I apologise to Ju for my tardiness, and she’s very professional as she gives me the folded-over winners envelope and the list of nominees in the category I’m presenting.
There’s very low light in the room we’re using, and this throws The Blind Lady (me) into a bit of a spin, because I can barely read the nominees names in such low light, and know I’m probably not able to learn all the nominees names by heart to rattle off because I can’t read them at this late stage. I mention I can’t read the writing on the paper because of the low light. I spend an anxious 15 minutes sure I’m doomed as an award-presenter, drawing a shred of comfort from the fact that one of the other presenters is having trouble reading in the dim light as well. They decide to up the lighting, for which I’m much relieved!
The Tin Ducks – awards recognising WA fans doing well in various fields – are announced before the Ditmars. Alysa Krasnostein walks away with an armload of them.
My 2 minutes in the lime light lasts long enough for me to stumble through the nominations in the category I’m awarding, and announce Cat Sparks is the winner. (No, I didn’t peak before hand. It was a surprise to me as well!). ASIM win an award, so I get to stand up as one of the award winners a short time later, and Tehani wins an award for “Best new talent”
The Atheling Award follows the Ditmars, and then the local tradition of presenting a Mumfan in honour of a WA fan who had been active in many Swancons, always making sure everyone was well taken care of, is continued.
Then in an emotionally-charged presentation, three locals explain why it’s been decided to bestow a silver swan on a well-deserving fan. Danny Oz receives this award amongst a flood of tears. (Him, the presenters, just about half the audience.)
At the supper held in the next room after the Awards ceremony is over, I’m introduced to Grant Stone, which put a positive turn on my night. Like Brendan Carson, I’ve read Grant’s posts on Eidolist over the years, but this is the first time I’ve had a chance to speak to him f2f.
I eventually adjourn to my room while Lucy is off being a social butterfly somewhere.
Tehani turned up later looking for something, still radiant and excited about her “Best new talent” Ditmar win.
Good luck to her! I recall what it’s like to be young, and happy and vibrant with plans and dreams…but these days at cons I just feel old. I don’t remember anyone ever leaping out from behind a bush to yell “Surprise” and hand me a certificate, but more and more lately I feel like an elder stateswoman of fandom.
Last day of the con (What? Already?)
Lucy and I were in the midst of breakfasting and trying to pack up our belongings to vacate the room when tehani, Alysa and Rob Shearman arrive to remove the stack of book boxes from our room. Bob is heartbroken to hear he hasn’t won the chocolate easter egg raffle. I offer him some conciliatory chocolate, but he pouts and says , “No, I don’t want your sympathy chocolate!” (all in jest, of course!)
When we’ve paid our bills and cloaked our bags, I realise there’s a panel about craft and craft-people becoming appreciated again. It was interesting and uplifting.
I catch up with Emma Hawkes & give her the raffle money from the easter egg raffle. She gives me the money for my 3 art sales. Yippee! I’m solvent!
After another panel, Lucy suggests we hot0tail it to a local Vietnamese restaurant Lucy had tried previously. We need to get there early to avoid the big queues. (Big queues means it must be good!) We selected about 4 entrees and a noodle dish to share. It’s all freshly cooked and delicious, and I eat like I haven’t had a proper meal in days. (probably because I haven’t.)
On the way back we see DUFF delegates Sue and Steve, and *have* to ask about their still missing luggage. They’re moving on tonight, and I hug them both feeling I’ve made 2 new friends who we’ll hopefully see back in Aus in 2010…their wayward luggage might have made it home by then? ; - )
I went to a panel on father of D&D, gamer Garry Gygax, who’d recently passed away then it was time for the closing ceremony. Some of Sue and Steve’s luggage has turned up, and in it are some items to auction for DUFF. Rob Shearman offers 33 1/3 (Aus $) for a Kentucky Derby glass, and everyone hopes the next bid will be 45 to keep ye olde music theme going, but Zara bids $50 instead.
Various winners are announced. Various people are thanked, and the Natcon gavel is passed on to the representatives from Adelaide who are hosting the 2009 Natcon.
That’s it. Another Swancon done and dusted. I get my bag, I get a taxi and head back uptown.