An early start - I had put my name down for the Kaffeeklatch with Mike Carey, which was scheduled for 10 a.m., so necessitated getting to the Radisson
by 9 to check the list. Happily, it was worth it, as I was on the list, so having marked myself in I was able to forage for coffee and ensure I was actually awake, before heading down to reclaim the room from the Clanger knitting panel immediately before us.
We were very lucky as not only did we get the conversation with Mike, there was no-one using the room from 11 and so we were able to simply carry on, and the kaffeeklatch ended up continuing until 1/4 to 12. Bonus!
There seemed to be a cross section of those who were primarily fans of Mike's comics / GNs and those coming in as fans of the Felix Castor novels, so part of the conversation veered into a quick run down of Mike's back catalogue and recommendations of where to start for a non-comic reader (possibly 'Season of Mists' followed by Lucifer)
There was talk about the 'grittiness' of the settings - the fact that the London in which Felix
lives, and he other places he visits are very real, (except of course specific buildings
Mike invents - and which people apparently regularly claim to be familiar with!) as are elements such as the time taken to get from one part of it to another. Also talked about adapting other people's work, the fact that Mike has been offered but turned down suggestions that the Felix Castor books should be adapted as GNs
(because, at least in part, of the difficulty in representing music in comics), but that a possible film is in the offing (Contracts have been "on the verge of being sent" for 2 years now...
We also talked about the Constantine film (general consensus seemed to be that it wasn't necessarily a bad film, as long as you don't expect it to be anything much to do with Hellblazer...) the importance of characters taking responsibility for their own actions and mistakes, Felix Castors's sex life (or lack thereof), families (born and made), Frankenstein and the morality of monsters, torture, John Constantine's successor, and reading recommendations from all around the table.
I'm pretty sure a good time was had by all - I certainly enjoyed it, and hope Mike did, too. The extra time meant that I missed the '1st editions & fine bindings' panel, which was a pity, but one cannot have everything.
After a couple of hours in the Green Room, which included a brief conversation with Paul Cornell & other waiting panellists about Jane Austen, lost in Austen and Pride & Prejudice & Zombies, all conducted with the faint background smell of smoke & cordite from the Pyrotechnics display in the main hall, I headed down to the Hall for the Guest of Honour interview with Mike Carey, conducted by Paul Cornell.
This started late due to
stuff, and some of the clean up had to go on during the interview, with people from (?Ops) mopping the stage as the interview continued!
The interview covered some of the same areas which were discussed at the Kaffeeklatch but also featured the Pantera comic "Probably the worst comicbook in the history of the world [,...] I convinced myself at the time that it was ironic, but it wasn't, it was just bad"- Mike Carey and more discussion of Lucifer, an how the character changed from Neil Gaiman's original character (Prompting Paul Cornell to declare "I love Lucifer. [pause] that wouldn't go down well with my wife")
Mike also talked about "The Unwritten" (including explaining that if/when JK Rowling's lawyers come knocking claiming it rips off Harry Potter the defence will be that no, it wasn't nicked from JKR but from 'Books of Magic'....
Both Paul & Mike seemed to be having fun during the interview, and we learned Mike's research consists of "bumming about on the internet..."
I had planned to stay for the European Torus & Alan Moore talks, but the lure of a shower & nap won out. I must say, that whatever its other failings, the Ibis cannot be faulted on water pressure :-)
I got back to the hotel in time for Ian Sorensen's "Harry Potter and the Half Cut Prince", billed as ' a musical with jokes and live quidittich. It was very funny, involving many appalling puns, reworked lyrics to such classics as 'Fame' and 'Pinball Wizard' , lots of Dr Who, Alan Rickman, Galaxy Quest and Rocky Horror references, and audience participation. All good, grubby fun!
An hour later, back in the hall for the Mitch Benn gig - introduced by Paul Cornell "He is one of us", Mitch's set included 'Be my Dr Who Girl', 'I might just have to Murder James Blunt' The Very Hungry caterpillar rock opera, 'Crap Shag' plus singing in dalek
voice... this is a man who knows his audience.
Lots of comedy between songs, including comments on not being a real Dr Who fan as he has never built his own Dalek
, (and that what can what do with a dalek
, except perhaps sulk) which amused me as I left, as I overheard a plaintive little voice saying "but I can think of *lots* of reasons to build a dalek"...
There seemed to be a lot of people queueing up to buy CDs afterwards some of whom didn't appear to have previously heard Mitch's stuff.
There were also lots of people milling around the atrium in fantastic costumes, preparing for the Steampunk Ball - also a rather splendid 10th Doctor.
It was shortly after this that I ended up in the Polo bar, where I had interesting conversations with several strangers, congratulated Paul Cornell & Cheryl Morgan on their Hugo nominations, drank guinness, and acquired a perfecty splendid hat from (I think) Sith Happens, before staggering back to the hotel at around 2 a.m.
Sadly, I didn't make it to the dealers room on Monday morning to get the e-mail address of the dealer from Brighton I was chatting to in the bar, so if you're reading this - sorry :(