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19 May 2006

I am a bad person, and haven't been copying my LiveJournal entries through to here. It's not deliberate; I just forget. So, catching up, here is one:

So there I was, and here I am, and here is better than there...

'There' in these terms being defined as the Tolkien Weekend in Birmingham, Saturday morning; 'here' being m'friend Helen's house, Monday morning, on the threshold of going home. Very little is happening here, it's just a slow and drifty morning - coffee, Radio 4, more coffee, 'Chaz, d'you want to go online at all?', you get the picture - but the point is that frankly very little was happening there either, and I was a lot less mellow about that.

Me? Unmellow? Surely not...

It is true, O my beloved 'earers. Thing is, this isn't the first time we of The Write Fantastic had been invited to this gig. It was effectively our first public appearance, this time last year; and there was a tent for performers, with a working PA that meant we could make a joke of the rumbling generator outside, and a well-stocked bookstall with all our titles present, and a general air of a fun event well organised. We didn't get a huge audience, but we were in opposition to archery and swordfights and dressing-up and all sorts of stuff that was a lot more fun than sitting in a tent listening to half a dozen writers, so that was okay too. And there was a really good farmers' market attached to the event, so I was happy all round.

So I was looking forward to this year's anniversary reappearance. I stayed in Birmingham with Stan'n'Anne the night before, and about twenty of us writerly folk went out for a balti, and that was grand; and then Saturday morning off we go to the event.

Where - well, let me be brief. They had us scheduled in the tea-tent, against the rival attractions of a counter selling refreshments and tables full of people who frankly wanted to talk to each other. The PA didn't work, or couldn't be made to work. The generator rendered us inaudible, unamplified. The book table had nobody's books except a few of Stan's, and not the ones that should have been there. There was no publicity for us, nobody knew who we were or why we were there.

All of which added together meant that it was utterly pointless, our being there. We did try to do the gig anyway, bellowing up and down the line, but nobody could hear, so we abandoned it. Mingled a little with those people who had had the generosity to try and hear, but I was spitting nails and better gone, so I went down to the farmers' market. Even that was a disappointment, after last year - but I did buy some asparagus and rhubarb to bring to Helen's.

The rest of the weekend was just up all the way - we met in Reading for a little late shopping, and since then it's been all good food, good alcohol and good company, not much sleep but hey, who cares about that? - but I am still seething over the gig. Just the absolute epitome of how not to organise this kind of event, and we weren't even being paid to be there, all the expenses are coming out of our own funds. Snarrrl..

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© Chaz Brenchley 2006
Reproduced here by permission of Chaz Brenchley, who asserts his moral right to be identified as the author of this work.