Log in

No account? Create an account
Brunchcon 3 video - The fan fund party in Las Vegas
profile, Jim, picture
Alan White has journeyed through the fires of editor wrangling and the pits of creative torment to bring us 45 minutes of joy and wonderment as we wonder what the hell is going on here. 9 hours of Vegas party edited down to 45 minutes of fantastical frolics for your amusement. "And gentlemen in England now a-bed
Shall think themselves accursed they were not here," http://tafftrip.com/the-edited-brunchcon/ or here it is as an embed directly from his youtube feed

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy Live Radio Show in Hackney
profile, Jim, picture
It was a Saturday it was.
All day the facebook feed had been abuzz with excitement from fellow Hitchhiker fans. There are the DACcers (this is the Douglas Adams Continuum) and the ZZ9ers (This is the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy Appreciation society known as ZZ9 Plural Z Alpha). Carrie and I are in both groups and are surfing this wave of pleasure and anticipation as these people meet up during the day. We travel into London a little later than most and book into a hotel just down the road from the Hackney Empire in Bethnal Green. It's a very basic affair (being a Travelodge) but cheap for London clean and fairly nearby.
We catch a bus down to the Hackney Empire and pick out the narrow passageway that takes us into the Ship Inn, only 50 yards from the theatre. We have reserved 12 spaces there for dinner but upon entering the pub we see that this is nothing like enough. There are around 20 people already there and more are arriving as we settle in and buy beer. The bar staff look a little terrified but somehow we manage to figure out ways and means of finding flat surfaces from which to eat pre theatre dinner and drink several pre-show drinks. They are serving Doom Bar beer in here. This beer was a wonderful new discovery for me only about a year ago but I guess it must have been for many other people also as I'm told it is now ubiquitous in all parts of London.
We eat, drink, chat with friends who have arrived here from all over the world (several in particular from the United States such as Ami Lou and Janette. We were expecting that Ami would have brought naked Barbie with her and indeed she has but it has been handed off to Dirk Maggs who says he will try and get a picture of naked Barbie on top of Marvin.
Geoffrey McGivern is in the pub and is happy to pose for photographs. He comes to see us on the way out and assures all will be well despite the band being drunk etc etc.
The ZZ9 Meetings book is passed around. There's a comment from Jonny5 about the combination of ZZ9 and DAC being unstoppable. I exercise my no talent drawing skills to try and draw something that looks vaguely like a train with a ZZ9 carriage and a DAC carriage. I then place a suicidal stick man in front of it trying to stop the train. Several more pints and I'm sure it would have been hilarious.
We troop off to the theatre and are soon seated and waiting. There's the soundtrack of Douglas Adams speaking as background to our settling down. I glance around and see many familiar faces such as Dave and Sarah Haddock, Alex McLintock, Keira Vallejo and up there on one of the balconies is Kevin Jon Davies with his son Liam. Kevin has the towel with the full quote about towels on it and has draped this towel over the balcony in front of him.
Here's the quote, although it looks quite long so I wonder just how much of this is on the towel.

"A towel, it says, is about the most massively useful thing an interstellar hitchhiker can have. Partly it has great practical value - you can wrap it around you for warmth as you bound across the cold moons of Jaglan Beta; you can lie on it on the brilliant marble-sanded beaches of Santraginus V, inhaling the heady sea vapours; you can sleep under it beneath the stars which shine so redly on the desert world of Kakrafoon; use it to sail a mini raft down the slow heavy river Moth; wet it for use in hand-to- hand-combat; wrap it round your head to ward off noxious fumes or to avoid the gaze of the Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal (a mindboggingly stupid animal, it assumes that if you can't see it, it can't see you - daft as a bush, but very ravenous); you can wave your towel in emergencies as a distress signal, and of course dry yourself off with it if it still seems to be clean enough.

The first half of the show is very similar to last year although there is one major cast change. Mitch Benn is playing the Zaphod Beeblebrox character and has a completely new take on it. The character is played as a bit of a big stupid lummox. He is self obsessed, of course, but the accent is not the mid Atlantic drawl to which we are accustomed. It's more English and somehow perhaps a little more believable. I was unbalanced by this portrayal but it was a brave direction to take and felt refreshing and interesting for that. The first half contains mostly material from the early incarnations of Hitchhiker's but the second half is where most of the surprises were. Mitch Benn sings a new song about matter transporters that proclaims "If you have to take me apart to get me there then I don't want to go" in a mock Elvis style. It's a rocking little number that had us chortling merrily. My favourite song as always tho' was the Krikkit song. Full of poignancy, sensitivity and the desire to wipe out all life forms.
Neil Gaiman was the voice of the book for this show and got a huge round of applause when he sat down in his book chair. He seems a very popular chap indeed among the Hitchhiker crowd.

The show has been tightened up a lot since last year and feels smoother and a more coherent production. I saw Dirk Maggs later after we'd gone back to the pub and he said that tightening up the production had been one of his main aims this time and hoped he'd achieved that.

The full cast adjourned to the pub and there was much quaffing of wine and beer.
Many pictures were taken and everyone seemed happy with the way things had gone.

I was also pleased to see some faces there that I didn't expect to see such as Lilian Edwards.
She'd been in the area, Neil Gaiman had suggested she pop along to the show so along she had popped. Lilian asked me about my recent TAFF experiences and we discussed each of our experiences with places such as New Orleans. It seems Lilian was there for the last Worldcon they'd had. Fascinating to hear about this as I'd been talking to people about the last New Orleans Worldcon only a week before.

Dirk returns a little later to our table to tell us a tale about Ray McKinley (drummer in Glenn Miller Orchestra). Dirk knows that Carrie and I are fans of Glenn Miller. He tells of seeing Ray play and all the younger folks around him being just entranced by his magic. It sounded a very enviable experience indeed.

It was a fine night and Carrie and I stayed in the pub until we were all chucked out around half past midnight. We see James Thrift and Sue Adams as we leave. They look as if they've had a great time and are shaking hands with everyone. We wave goodbye to Silas on the pavement outside and then walk off down the street to our hotel.

All most excellent fun.

Packing for TAFF trip
profile, Jim, picture
I'm packing for my TAFF trip (details at http://tafftrip.com/ )
Don't really know what to take but this is what I have so far:

wearing - shoes, light coloured trousers, shirt, pants, socks, belt
Some zines for auction
6 tops
2 pair light coloured trousers
7 underpants
8 pair socks
1 Ghillie shirt, kilt, socks and sporran
warm army shirt
laptop and lead
tablet and lead
phone and power supply
camera and cable
Kindle and cable
sun cream
Canadian money
US money
Sweets for auction
2 pair shorts
Running shoes

The TAFF Results
profile, Jim, picture
North America Europe Total
Theresa Derwin 5 11 16
Jim Mowatt 47 44 91
Hold Over Funds 1 0 1
No Preference 8 5 13
Total 61 60 121


The PDF with the full voting details is here


TAFF Victory
profile, Jim, picture
Just a quick note to say that I've won TAFF and will be propelled by your good will, votes and your money to North America in August to attend Lonestarcon3 and visit some fabulous fannish peoples.
Thank you everyone who has voted, donated or generally helped out in TAFF.

TAFF Voting Deadline
profile, Jim, picture
The TAFF voting deadline is almost upon us.
It's only a few days away and the suspense is driving me crazy. I've stopped short of chewing my own leg as I suffer these last few days of waiting.
Anyone who is intending to vote then please please do so now. It would be great to see a large voter turnout and therefore a validation of TAFF itself. If you're intending to vote for me then all the better.
I've done a page on my campaign website going step by step through the process of voting via PayPal.
Instructions are here http://jimfortaff.com/voting-via-paypal/
Happy voting


Tiny Taffzines
profile, Jim, picture
The latest of my Tiny TAFFzines is now available.
This is the fourth in the series and concerns my intention to go back in time and nobble Dave Langford before he started writing amusing fannish prose.
I also attempt to summarise the entirety of North American history in one short paragraph.
There's also a polar bear.
See zine for more



Milliways Frolics at Eastercon
profile, Jim, picture

The Milliways Silly Games Bonanza

Come one, come all to the Milliways silly games bonanza. The universe will explode for your pleasure and then the games will commence. We’ll be doing some Vogon recruitment so sharpen up your shouting and throwing humans out of airlocks skills. There’ll be Runaround, Vote With Your Bums, Towels of Hanoi and Disaster Area Stuntship.

and before all that - The Universe Will Explode for your Pleasure.

“Believe me, ladies and gentlemen, “there’s nothing penultimate

about this one.”

“This,” “really is the absolute end, the final chilling desolation, in

which the whole majestic sweep of creation becomes extinct. “After this,” “there is nothing. Void. Emptiness. Oblivion. Absolute nothing ...”

This ladies and gentlemen is the proverbial ‘it’.”

“... except of course for the sweet trolley, and a fine selection of Aldebaran liqueurs!”

Vogon Constructor Fleet recruitment


A public open access document - How should this be filed?

Explain the process of obtaining a visa to visit Vogonosphere?

Where do you see yourself in 5 years time?

What’s your biggest weakness?

Testing Vogon abilities

Shouting - Resistance is Useless

Stomping - Marching up and down with a fine stomp.

Throwing humans out of airlocks

The winner if they are willing can hang around as Vogon security for the rest of the evening. If any contestants get out of hand then the Vogon throws them out of the airlock.

4 contestants needed


Quiz show where you run around to a different queue depending upon what you think the answer is.

Multiple choice questions are asked and the contestants run around to the station that they feel represents the correct answer. Contestants are eliminated if they are at the wrong station and this continues until there is a single winner or until the heat death of the universe.

Contestants - as many as possibly - minimum of 3

Vote with your Arses

There is a row of chairs, opinion questions are asked and the contestants/victims sit at one end of the row of chairs or the other. The end at which they sit represents how strongly they feel about the opinion. Doug Spencer will be hosting this item.

Towels of Hanoi

Four different sized towels. Move the tower of towels from one place to another place one towel at a time and only placing a smaller towel on top of a larger. There will be two teams and each team member is sent out along the Towel Stations to move the next towel.

There will be 4 team members on each side - 8 towels will be needed - graded sizes

Disaster Area Stuntship

Design and build your own Disaster Area Stuntship from black paper and then send it plunging into a fiery hell (a bit of the hall we designate to be a sun).

The winner will be named as Lazlar Lyricon Engineer of the Year.

Pieces of black card

There will be some prizes knocking about - Haribo buckets containing sweet things.
From 10 until late - Main programme room Friday night at the Eastercon.

Picocon #30
profile, Jim, picture
Well, I had a reasonably good time.
I decided it was the Tun with an entrance fee and there were slightly more authors than there might be at the Tun.
Once I'd got these expectations sorted then the Picocon slid smoothly into place. It seemed a little odd that it was running for 2 days. Picocon often seems to finish around 6 or 7 in the evening when the students start to fill up the bar and we get rather pushed out. I didn't feel inclined to come back on Sunday but maybe others did and maybe it was a splendid experience.
Lots of the usual crowd there including ZZ9ers past and present. Intriguing to see Grandad knocking about. He is at least a thousand years old and still in pretty good condition. His jaw muscles are working particularly well and he exercised them greatly all day Saturday.
I saw Dave Lally there and every time he encountered me he would shout 'no taffing here'. This would of course remind me that I needed to rush around thrusting leaflets into peoples hands. There were some lovely comments from people who appreciated the care we've taken with our Tiny Taffzines . I had to explain that Carrie and Nic are the ones who should take most of the credit for the look of the zines with my role merely being that of the guy who supplies the content. Hopefully when folk get around to reading them then they'll appreciate the content too.
Damned ear was playing up during the con and I had to leave earlier than I intended. I was mostly deaf due to an ear infection and the pain built up during the day. I had to leave rather earlier than I would like but was pleased to meet so many friendly faces.

TAFF so far
profile, Jim, picture
I always thought running for TAFF would be an interesting experience and it hasn't disappointed in that.
I think what I've enjoyed most tho' has been the wonderful feeling of camaraderie amongst the campaign team. In particular Carrie, Nic and Randy have all been rallying around as we try to whip up enthusiasm and produce some really good stuff in the process.
I'm quite proud of the little newsletters we've been putting together. I write the content, Carrie, checks and edits it and Nic works like a demon throwing it all together and making it look terrific. Randy and Mark pop in making suggestions too and Randy is currently stuffing the Tiny TAFFzine into envelopes to such an extent that North America will shortly be awash with Jim, the Universe and Everything leaflets. We'll be doing the same here for Europe but I doubt I'll be able to match Randy's mailout mania.

The latest issue is out now and issue 1 can also be found on the same page at http://jimfortaff.com/tiny-taffzine/