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Dinah’s Mancunicon Con Report

Mancunicon took place in a corridor.  I could see quite well both ways from my tableland, or mesa which I know is a Spanish table.  Opposite me was Ops, which must mean opposite.  So I wasn’t too confused, although humans of different sizes suddenly vanished and other humans suddenly appeared instead.  I often have gaps

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We Collect Cemeteries

During Christmas 2015 a cap of smog was officially bad in Madrid, nevertheless a solitary seagull found its way more than 300 kilometres from the nearest brine to the central Retiro park.  Such persistence deserves a photo: In the nearby Botanical Garden, all was serene… …while just by Spain’s Kilometre Zero in Puerta del Sol

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Gombrowicz and the Giant Rat of Rome

One of the authors I tackled in my long-ago, maybe misconceived book of literary criticism entitled The Modern Fantasy, never published as a whole—see “A Book That Made Me, and an odd bull” elsewhere in this blog—was Poland’s Witold Gombrowicz, mainly on the basis of his novel Ferdydurke. Near Rome‘s Castel Sant’Angelo, on the promenade

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Northward Ho! Vote for Helsinki!

At the end of May 2015 I went with Cristina to Copenhagen so that I could be a Guest of Honour at Denmark‘s delightful Fantasticon, and three weeks later we paid for ourselves to travel by way of Stockholm to excellent Archipelacon in Mariehamn, capital of the Finnish island (and archipelago) of Åland where the

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With Coleridge in Cadiz

Streets in the geometrical old city of Cadiz (correctly, Cádiz) tend to be very long and narrow—beware of cars and motor bikes unexpectedly swinging around a corner to crush you. Bizzarely, most streets have two different names displayed on wall-plaques of the same size—one may be an antique name, the other a name chosen by

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Seville Ho! Ho!

I didn’t expect there to be quite so much of Seville.  Queues kept us away from the Cathedral and from the Alcázar fortress (so we shall ignore them), but hurrah for the trees of Seville!  Seeds of these liana trees were brought back by scientific sons of conquistadors.  Once a source of rubber—see the tell-tale

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Córdoba Ho!

On the eve of Xmas Eve (2014), Cristina and I were at the Telefónica Foundation in Madrid‘s Gran Vía for a sparkling exhibition about Tesla—us shown around by the exhibition designer himself, Miguel Delgado, here next to me: Our batteries duly charged with electricity, right after Xmas Day Cristina and I headed by high-speed train

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Black Pudding and Bibliophily in Burgos

December 2014: a week ago I was making my way with difficulty, due to the crush of crowds, through the big chilly Christmas market beside the Cathedral in Barcelona, wishing that some German had a stall with hot mulled wine. However, almost all the stalls were selling figures little and large and umpteen landscape accessories

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Cyborged in Zaragoza

When I found this dramatic engraving of the Leaning Tower of Zaragoza, unknown to me, at a temporary antiques/junk stall in Gijón, I spied a possible story—and I don’t think I’m referring to the storeys of the tower, though I may be. ‘Drawn by David Roberts from a Sketch by Lieut. Eldridge of the Royal

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Ebola now loose in Europe because of stupidity

When a Spanish priest in Liberia became infected with Ebola a few weeks ago, the Spanish conservative government stupidly flew the priest back to Madrid, to show what caring people the conservatives are. (The priest died, so that was a waste of time and money which should have been directed at treating him and a

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