Friday, October 7, 2011

My First Day in Discworld

For a short while, all too short, Discworld came to Madison, Wisconsin. From July 8th to the 11th I was a traveller in a very familiar land. Everywhere I went I'd run into favorite characters, from Sergeant Angua to a plethora of Twoflowers. I had a little passport that would be stamped whenever I ventured in this hotel cum fantastical land. I think they might have even placed four giant elephants and a space turtle under it, but I can't prove this... But the highlight was the very center of the con, the man in black... Terry Pratchett. The man who must look around and wonder, what have I done.

Because I live in town, I ventured down the night before to get all my registration taken care of, as well as to sign up for the multitude of crafting sessions my friend Jess and I where determined to participate in (they delayed craft registration till the next morning). Our goals? See everything with Terry Pratchett then craft the hell out of Discworld. Do to my early registration the first thing I would be doing on Friday was meeting Terry Pratchett. Now, this was a bit intimidating. I thought I'd have the whole weekend to prepare, but no. I got up bright and early and headed to the con to succeed in my craftacular registration, of which I succeeded fully! Over the next three days we would be making Igors, crafting our own Nac Mac Feegles, designing our own personal crest and making shambles, of which I was very excited. There where tons more I would have loved to have done, but there's only so much time in a day!

So, to the Terry signing I went, where there was almost a riot. The source? They strictly forbade autographs, based on Terry's Alzheimer's, opting for Terry handing out a special bookplate and stamping our passports. What happened next led to hew and outcry. They said Terry would stamp a book if we had it. HEW CRY WAIL! Me, I got on the phone, located someone in my house, told them to located the turquoise book on the top shelf near the window in my library, the limited edition of I Shall Wear Midnight and deliver it to me outside the Concourse... it was done, it was achieved. I now have the one book I love more than any other stamped, sticker and fingerprinted by the man. The fingerprinting surprised me, it's a far more intimate thing that a signature. I will treasure it always.

Sadly, I didn't really get to say anything to the man himself, because the lady in front of me was sweet but didn't really understand signing line etiquette and I ended up getting bitched at by the guy who kept the flow going... sigh. Felt like a little bit of a wasted opportunity, but then again, these things happen. Also, it's not like I wasn't going to be seeing him every chance I could all weekend!

The opening ceremonies where interesting. They kicked off with a song and dance number to the might Om. Here you can see Om singing with the help of one of his disciples. They where quickly eshewed away and the Seamstresses Guild took over. They where the ones who initiated this con back in 2009... but even for founders, I started to get sick of all the double entendres rather quickly.  As a woman, I don't think I'd like to be making aspersions against my character for four days straight.

Terry was then brought forth and the Gods of Discworld paid tribute to him. One of the gods took a bit of a tumble and had to get stitches, but it didn't slow down the ceremony, and the paramedics attended to her backstage. Apparently she was in her 80s! Back to the ceremony. Two amusing things, Terry very much liked Bastet, the cat God, even pulling her tail, and the God with the bubbles was fun two. One thing learned from this. Terry is very bad at remembering to speak into the microphone, no matter how many times people try to fix it. Therefore, I was glad I was used to arriving at events early. For the ceremonies I was in the second or third row... barring one incident, I was in the front row for every other talk he did.

After the opening ceremonies, there was to be a reading. AKA "Reading with Rob." Rob Wilkins is Terry's assistant. So while Terry sat back and relaxed (yes, that does involve removing the ever present hat!) Rob read. Now, I should mention, I'm not the best at listening to people talk for long periods of time. As Patrick Rothfuss has said, he starts to see peoples interest waning after the first 15 minutes. Hence he likes to do small little bits to keep people awake. I agree with Pat. I am horrible after about 5 minutes. I remember I went to a reading of Dante's Inferno at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York for Maundy Thursday... so dull... so long... in fact, the person who signed their section was the most interesting part. Anyway, here I was, front row for an hour long reading. Was I crazy? Well, yes, that's been long since established. But rumors where that he was going to be reading from Snuff, the upcoming Discworld novel. This made me excited. This reading also made me fall a little bit in love with Rob Wilkins.

Rob takes such joy in what he reads, sometimes having to pause the regain his composure. I don't know if I will ever be able to read a Discworld book again without hearing him in my head. I hadn't read much up on Snuff, so imagine my surprise when it's Samuel Vimes going to his wife's estate in the country. It's Discworld does period miniseries. Sam Vimes does Pride and Prejudice. It was so funny and wonderful that I didn't want it to end. Knowing that I'd have to wait till this month, three whole months after hearing Rob read was a harsh blow. I want to know more about the apples that go up versus down. I just need it now!

While listening to Rob I also started to devise a theory, I'm very good at multitasking. Rob seems to combine all the best of British actors I like. I saw a bit of Adrian Lukis, aka that naughty Wickham from Pride and Prejudice. But then Rob smiled and, dear lord, if it wasn't the smile of Richard Armitage I would be struck down. At this point I was kind of a goner in my Rob crush. My friend Jess said that there was a little bit of Martin Freeman she could see peaking through. So here is the Rob Wilkins mathematical formulae:

After the reading I went forth and retrived my Jess from the airport and had some dinner with my Matt and Jess (ironically at a restaurant besieged by Discworld people). After dinner we had a production by The Cromulent Shakespeare Company doing a play of The Wyrd Sisters. It had luckily been long enough since I read it so that it wasn't predictable. Magrat was a little too masculine and hippy dippy for me, but Granny Weatherwax, though being portrayed by a young woman, so had the posture and just all out presence of Granny Weatherwax it was amazingly well done. I was very happy and surprised by how fun and good it was, even if a little embarrassed that when there was this audience participation part and we had to jump in a circle and I found out that Terry Pratchett was standing behind me, seeing me in all my wacko glory. After a quick trip to the Seamstress Guild's party, to bed to bed, for there where to be Igors bright and early in the morning.


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