Saturday, November 30, 2013

Hogswatch 2013 report - part 3

It's beginning to look a lot like Hogswatch for sure!

But, before delving into this day's recap, I need to tell you what we did yesterday evening, after we came back from Stonehenge.
Which was, basically, heading back to The Bear Inn... where I ate another fish & chips (which was good, but not as delightful as the one I got from The Bridge IMHO) and sampled a nice pint of red ale while waiting for the reading to start. 

Eating at a pub in the evening is a different beast altogether btw, nothing at all like our restaurants in Italy. For one, you can stay for as long as you wish, even if you're done eating - I saw a lady who was happily knitting a scarf, and no one bothered her at all about that. 
Also, people you don't know in the slightest will think nothing of sitting down at your table and chatting away... which was real fun on the occasion, as all the people in there were obviously Pratchett fans, but - well, it takes some getting used to. 

The "Cautionary Tales" turned out to be a fun reading of a choice of short stories from A Blink of the Screen - good think I was already familiar with the collection too, because my grasp of spoken English is - how to put it? - somewhat disheartening for one who's been studying the language for most of her life. Ouch!

We left before it ended though, because we were so darn tired both of us... 

...which brings us back to the current day!

Our B&B in Horsington has filled up nicely for the weekend, so much so that we've been moved to a larger room for breakfast this morning - could it mean that all the (apparently normal) people around us were fellow geeks? We surely were wondering... 

Once in Wincanton, we had another go at The Cat Cafe - hun had a grudge against their fudge cake, I guess, since he was determined to demolish another chunk of it - then got ready to rock!

Unsurprisingly, the Discworld Emporium was super crowded, and the first brave cosplayers were in full regalia already... 

...but, we were done with our purchases (my budget's dwindling!) so we went to see the Makers Market instead. I've taken no pictures of it but, in a nutshell, it was an area where the artistically inclined were selling their Discworld-inspired creations. 

I bought tons of stuff from a two-people-company called Cowleys Fine Food, specializing in historically correct food i.e. meat and fish jerky, fruit leathers, and anything dried or smoked. 
They had "rats on a stick" for sale, both plain and ketchup-flavoured (LOL)... but also a whole line of horse jerkys under the hilarious name My Brittle Pony, dried llama strips - you can bet I got those, too! - and more yummy things such as absinthe-spiked marzipan. Squee!

Back to The Bear we went, for lunch - alas, no chance of a pie for today... - and Discworld-inspired games. 
Turns out those evil masterminds from the Emporium had set up a table in there too, so even while I managed to stay away from the shop itself, I still ended up buying more stuff. But hey, I'm not complaining - I was able to purchase a Vetinari miniature, so all is peachy indeed!

The other highlight of the event was Mr Peter Dennis, the guy who illustrated, among other things, the Ankh-Morpork guide and its even geekier counterpart, the iPad app (gotta LOVE IT btw!)

The picture alone won't suffice to describe it - this guy was just sitting there, at his impromptu art station amid all the craziness, blissfully inking a super-intricated, oh-so-detailed drawing while chatting away with fans OMG!

I could have watched him for hours! As it were, though, we had to run to the Memorial Hall for the main events, including the cosplay parade, some sort of variety show, a lecture about The Folklore of Hogswatch - and a chance to meet Terry Pratchett himself!

By that point the convention was in full swing, with lots of cosplayers...

...and, uh - chances to make new friends?

Well, anyway. The costumes were great fun. You'll have to take my word for that, unfortunately - I gave up trying to photograph the parade because of the time it took for my crappy camera to put things into focus.

What followed was a super-concentrated recounting of every Discworld book up to now, and God help me, it was so spoiler-dense I just turned off the language-processing part of my brain there and then, and tried my best to just sit still and make bubbles until it was over.

The variety show was fun, too! The Seamstresses' choir especially made me giggle a lot, because I have the mind of a twelve years old and rejoice in double entendres. 
(I kind of hoped to upload it here for you all to enjoy, but buggy Blogger won't let me. Drat!)

But, what of Sir Pratchett? 
He was there indeed, and was so nice as to invite fans to have a little personal chat with him. Only there were so many of us that there was no way he could talk to everyone, so all we saw of him was a retreating top hat... 

Still, it felt strangely touching to even catch a glimpse of him, and the audience as a whole plainly shared the feeling. 
I've been to quite a few conventions in the past, mostly SF-centered (oh what the heck, I'm talking trekkies, 'nkay?) but the athmosphere here was completely different. 
TV fans approach their idols with an aggressive, almost proprietorial attitude, as in: "You're someone because of the likes of me, so shut up and humour us!" Here, on the other hand, the crowd practically radiated gratitude, concern and, well, love. 
At the risk of sounding mushy, I have to say I couldn't imagine another fandom being this considerate. I am SO proud of my fellow nerds!

The following conference, by a prof. Jacob Loefgren - whose writings I will make sure to keep an eye upon - was short but utterly fascinating, dealing with a topic which is close to my heart: fandom as the most fertile grounds for the establishing of "folklore", as humans in general love to share traditions, and  geeks in particular are the quintessential mythopoeic beasts. 

Now what else is in store for us? 
...Why, the SAUSAGE SUPPER of course! And later on, some naughty fun with the Pink Pussycat Cabaret!
I can't wait! I mean, sausage and innuendo aplenty... What else could this girl wish for?

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