Event report: TERROR SCRIBES 2010

The Lansdowne, Leicester, 17th July 2010

If there’s one thing about one-day events that’s guaranteed to make this old body of mine grumble, it’s having to get up early enough so I can catch a train/coach to get there in time. Not so with this event, as it was a) held in Leicester, which isn’t that far away from where I live, and b) didn’t start until 1pm, so I had plenty of time. At least, that was the theory: in practise, I nearly missed the coach because the bus to take me to the coach station was late – 10 minutes late. Luckily, the coach was itself 20 minutes late, so all worked out in the end.

So, I arrived in Leicester a little bit later than planned, but still had enough time to find the venue, The Lansdowne. It turned out to be a spacious, if rather public, venue with a noisy air-conditioning unit perched above and behind where we were sitting. However, first order of the day: a reviving drink was needed. Paul Bradshaw (of The Dreamzone magazine, which is now sadly defunct) and his wife Coleen had already arrived, and the three of us sat talking until Sue Phillips and her husband Morgan arrived. After that, others trickled in, including Mark West (finally meeting him after corresponding via the internet for a while), Jay Eales and Selina Lock (of Factor Fiction Comics), and John and Wendy (from Ashby de la Zouch and who had seen the event listed in Dave Langford’s Ansible).

The beauty of this small, informal gathering was that it was just that – it was small and informal. And there was no rushing about trying to fit everything in. It all happened with everyone sitting on sofas around a table, initially just talking amongst ourselves and making introductions to those we didn’t know (which in my case was just about everybody). There was no tight schedule, just a ‘when-everybody’s-ready-we’ll-begin’ kind of vibe.

John (apologies – didn’t quite catch your last name) started proceedings off with an extemporised talk on ‘Horror and the Sciences’, which was marred somewhat by the air-conditioning unit attempting to drown him out. Then  Mark West did a reading of one of his stories, Risen Wife, from his chapbook Life Once Lived (gotta get hold of that, Mark). After that, Sue Phillips treated us to an excerpt from one of her stories, Diamond Geezer, which was well received despite the difficulty Sue had when she realised she’d brought the wrong glasses with her. But soldiering on is what the seasoned campaigner does, in spite of the obstacles.

And then it was my turn to sit on the Chair of Doom. I had stood up in front of people only twice before, both of which happened 15 years ago as part of my sandwich year in industry for the degree I was studying for (I gave two workshops on web design then). I felt less nervous than expected, and once I got into the rhythm of my subject (Appearances can be Deceptive), all remaining jitters faded away. I did lose my thread a little in the middle of it all, but luckily I brought notes with me, so I sort of brought it back on track and brought it to a species of conclusion. A few questions were asked afterwards and then it was off to the bar for a wind-down drink.

There were some absolutely great prizes in the raffle, and I won a copy of Factor Fiction’s Violent Comics, the snappy title being just too hard to resist. After that, the rest of the day was spent in amiable talk and chatter, and drinking of course. Inevitably, though, we were all just waiting for 7pm to turn up.

Why? 7pm meant CURRY TIME! So we all trooped downhill to the Agra Indian Restaurant for some good food and even more good drink, spiced with some good conversation until we all went our separate ways, and parted with promises of seeing each other at FantasyCon, only a few months away now.

And here, I must say, is where Mark West was a life-saver. For some inexplicably stupid reason, buses between Leicester and Milton Keynes only depart up until 6pm and then they start again at 12:15am. This would have necessitated waiting for about three hours at the coach station. So Mark very kindly offered to drive me back home… and when I did (after I phoned the wife) I found myself at one of my stepson’s friend’s 21st birthday party. The life of the socialite, eh?

I met some very nice people that day, who all made me feel extremely welcome (and politely clapped after my talk, too!).  The only downside was that damn air-conditioning unit, but even that didn’t dampen enthusiasm and proceedings too much. I am very much tempted to organise an event myself next time, under the Terror Scribes banner, but held somewhere atmospheric so that writers, when reading out their stories, can really get into the vibe, so to speak. (And I promise to read out an excerpt from one my stories next time…)

I would like to thank Sue and Morgan for arranging everything, Jay and Selina for organising the curry, Mark for dropping me home and everyone else for turning up. I had a brilliant day – roll on the next event!!

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7 Responses to “Event report: TERROR SCRIBES 2010”

  1. So glad you enjoyed it Simon. When we arrived the music seemed very loud and it wasn’t until the staff turned it down for us that we discovered the music was there to mask the noise of the rattly old air-con :S Jay and Selina are going to scout for a more suitable venue for the next Leicester gathering.

    I won’t be at FantasyCon, so the next time we meet will probably be at the next TS Gathering. Really looking forward to yours.

  2. Will let you know what we come up with… I am looking at an early spring date for that one…. =)

  3. It was lovely to meet you too Simon & looking forward to FantasyCon. We’d be up for a Milton Keynes Terror Scribe gathering as it’s easy enough for us to drive down.

  4. […] has also written about the event on his blog. └ Tags: event, Terror Scribes, […]

  5. Agree with all comments – there’s something to be said for a small scale meeting. Like Selina said to me, at least you get to speak to everyone.

    Good day, well organised, great company. Roll on the next one (and FCon in between!).

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