August 7th, 2009

Goth marquise

Day One

It's remarkably hard to find breakfast in a tunnel. No, really. What with this, that and the other (mainly my sense of duty), we skipped breakfast in the hotel and set out for the con this morning intending to buy breakfast en route. After all, we reasoned, the underground corridors in Vancouver are essentially malls. Therefore... In Montreal, not so much. A couple of coffee shops, but no real breakfast, and we arrived at the con breakfastless and rather confused, in time ot collect programme participant packs and fail to find the person I was do to report to for being good duty. Breakfast was eventually tracked down in a nearby hotel and turned out to involve blueberry granola pancakes. I approve. There should be blueberry granola pancakes on all breakfast menus. (Though the marquis prefers kippers.) Then back to the con to fail to connect yet again with my manager and thence on to panel Ye First.
This was the Celtic one, which was packed out. Long nervous look around from the panellists who had not had any advance discussion. 'Off you go,' said the moderator, so off I went on my standard Famous False Beliefs about teh Celts rant (1. Not one people; 2. Not egalitarian; 3. Not peace-loving; 4. Not worshippers of a single set of gods; 5. Slave-owning; 6. Oh, and Christianity didn;t come along and ruin everything for them. Rather the opposite, for women, at least.) No-one screamed, threw anything, or left, and off we went on what we liked and didn't like in Celtic fantasy (Evangeline Walton,mostly), what we thought was interesting and productive, and a lot of jokes about Baltimore. I've been on this panel many times, and this wasn't the best it's been, but it was pretty good.
And and an hour and a half long. I was on another panel, on Translations, immediately afterwards, which was also an hour and a half, and which I was moderating. Great set of participants, great audience, long complex debate about everything from grammar to the philosophy of translation: I learnt a lot and felt we did a good job.
Then off to watch the marquis on his first panel on the Hugo novel shortlist. No-one really loved any of the nominated books, and the marquis compared one of the books to an overenthusiastic labrador. A very British item, and a rather baffled audience, but a lot of fun.
We tried to have food after that (lunch didn't fit into the no time between items thing, so this was early dinner). Lovely beer and a good starter, then the restaurant was distracted by the arrival of a huge pre-booked party, and everything slowed so much that I had to leave for my next item before my main course arrived. P got his, though, and says it was good, and they didn't charge for mine. The panel in questi
Things I've learned today: people get very attached to old translations, and translators feel under-loved (so if you have one, give him or her a big cheer); the cheese sandwich seems to be a rare concept in this bit of Montreal but the con suite has food (we don't have these in the UK); Canadian green room is US in style and thus not comprehensible to the likes of me; there is a local brewery called Trois Mousquetaires...