So many things happened during August 2014 (so much jollier than August 1914 despite manipulated hysteria about the Crimea) that it’s easiest for me simply to focus on the manifestations of the Staff of Cthulhu at 9Worlds Geekfest, followed by the World Science Fiction Convention at the other end of London, and finally at the Shamrokon Eurocon in Dublin. The Staff of Cthulhu is due to the genius of Pabblo Villar Indignado, not forgetting Elena García Martínez, of Vin Studio FX (“Feel like a MONSTER!”) in Madrid, and here It appears at the door of the Geekfest hotel, towered over by a monster Adrian Tchaikowski:
…while inside the lobby a different monster was prowling:
In eldritch harmony with Cthulhu, here I survey the 8000 members of Loncon in the kilometre-long Excel building. Suitable homage won a business card from Vin Studio FX. About three dozen connoisseurs approached me during those days to pay reverence and fondle.
What’s more, to accompany Cthulhu the swashbuckling Robin Stevenson presented me with Il Dottore, a Venetian plague mask of his own making:
The news mag Concatenation generously invited me as GoH to their Chinese banquet at Loncon, with Guapa as Fan GoH, although we didn’t have to make any speeches (I merely seem to be). Many thanks, Jonathan and the rest of the team.
Another delight was the dinner hosted in Kensington by George Martin’s agent, Chris Lotts, on the roof gardens (Spanish, Tudor, and woodland) of what was once Derry and Toms department store built in Art Deco style, where Jerry Cornelius is shot at from a helicopter which he then manages to hijack. When I visited London as a lad in the Fifties I bought this postcard of what seemed to me paradise (and indeed was, compared with Tyneside):
On the first day in grey-green pastel Dublin I wore the same bright Spanish shirt, causing a bee to crawl over me for 5 minutes in search of non-existent spectral fields of flowers. Then the weather became even colder and windier, and the vile Loncon virus prostrated me for a day in bed followed by two days as a zombie. Due to my resulting lack of bodily co-ordination, Cthulhu could only come out for the presentation of Barcelona in 2016 as Eurocon venue and for the voting (which we did win). Previously, at Loncon, when I was stronger, I had even arm-wrestled with the gallant Michael Wnuk of the rival Wrocław bid:
But anyway everyone involved won, because there’ll still be a big convention in Wroclaw in August 2016, then in early November there’s the Barcelona Eurocon.
The lively post-Dead Dog Party of the Eurocon took place in the Porterhouse Central in Nassau Street where I ordered a pint of luscious Plain Porter by adapting the loveliest sentence from Flann O’Brien‘s masterpiece At Swim-Two-Birds, “A pint of plain is me only man!” The barman seemed strangely to miss the allusion, although he grasped what I wanted.
During three weeks of conning we got to know so many other lovely new people, such as (to name but a few) Gata and Radek Kot who wisely urged us to book our hotel in St Petersburg just in the nick of time, Thibaud Eliroff of J’ai Lu and his charming wife Charlotte Volper with whom I was able to enthuse on the roof garden about Raymond Roussel and Artemisia Gentileschi, polymath Gillian Polack from Australia who brought parchment bookmarks to a Loncon panel, Gothically printed with proverbs in medieval French, which I finally remembered to scatter around the Eurocon hotel where they were probably better appreciated, Allen Stroud whose omniscience swiftly transformed him from a 9Worlds audience member into a panelist without whom we couldn’t have survived, plus Pierre Gévart at long last, whose story “The Einstein Gun” (“Comment les choses se sont vraiment passées”) myself and Mr Whates published in The Mammoth Book of Alternate Histories, and who is spearheading the French bid for a Eurocon in 2018… And, as they say, many more wonderful folk. Life-enhancing!