Author and Scriptwriter

'Among the most important writers of contemporary British horror.' -Ramsey Campbell

Monday, 29 March 2010

WHC 2010- Part The First

Right, here it begins. I made a promise to the lovely Cate Gardner (yes, that's her over there) to blog about World Horror 2010, and I always keep my promises, especially to women who have Colin Firth chained up in their basements. Thusly and heretofore, the first instalment:

The convention started on Thursday 25th, but the preamble to it was pretty entertaining too, so I thought I'd shoehorn that in and all. So, here goes...

Wednesday 24th
The calm before the storm, the day before the Con.

Finish work at 12.30 and head for home with plans to carefully pack stuff and get the house reasonably tidy for soon-to-be new housemate who’ll be moving stuff in over the coming weekend. Fail miserably and veg out in front of the internet connection for several hours, throwing everything together at the last minute and dashing for Swinton train station. Catch the train with literally seconds to spare and buy return ticket to Leeds- home of the lovely Gary and Emily McMahon, with whom Your Humble Author is hitching a ride- changing at Salford Crescent and then at Oxford Road. Once in Leeds, all that’s required is a simple phone call to Gary who’ll pick me up at the station. Simple as clockwork and smooth as glass.

Yeah, right.

At Salford Crescent the unwelcome discovery is made that the mobile phone has been left back at Castle Bestwick.

Oh shit.

Too late, though, to turn back now. We are now committed to the path.

The plan was to work on the rewrite notes for The Song Of The Sibyl en route. No soap as succession of anxiety attacks ensue. In the train carriage are mobiles, mobiles everywhere, nor any one to call on. Fail to work up the nerve to ask a fellow passenger for the loan of theirs. Doesn’t help that I can’t remember Gary’s home or mobile numbers beyond the first four or five digits.

Don’t panic. Remain calm.

Thank god Leeds train station has a payphone. But still no memory of Gary’s phone number. Whose phone do I still remember? Calls follow to: Joel Lane (answering machine), Paul Finch (doesn’t have Gary’s number but will try and find Gary Fry of Gray Friar Press’ number as he’s good mates with Gary Mc- are you getting confused yet? Imagine what it was like at this end) and then Bernard, my neighbour back in Swinton (sheer desperation is kicking in by now) who got on with Gary last time he was up my way and became friends with him on Facebook…

Finally another call to Joel gets through and, just as all hope is about to be abandoned he finds Gary’s number. All three mates are automatically owed a pint.

Ring Gary, who’s been ringing my mobile in the growing conviction that he’ll have to pay half the parking fees when he gets to Brighton rather than only a third (private joke). He hoots with laugher and informs me that my life is a cross between a tragedy and a farce.

Thanks, mate. I think.

Back to Gary’s for corned beef sandwiches, coffee, and a late-night viewing of the brilliant Harlan Ellison documentary Dreams With Sharp Teeth. Brilliant stuff, with both of us nodding along and uttering heartfelt agreements with virtually everyone of the great man’s pronouncements on creativity, writing, and life in general. We are, truly, not worthy.

And so to bed. Tomorrow, the Con begins.

And may God have mercy on our souls...

Next instalment as soon as I have the time and energy.


Cate Gardner said...

Ha! Sounds like an episode from my life. Only, I wouldn't have risked leaving Colin alone, hence no convention for me. :D

Simon said...

Get your Mum to pop in and feed him or something, Cate. Conventions are great fun!

David A. Riley said...

I'm glad my trip to the WHC was less fraught than yours, Simon. Still, you made it there in the end.