Phew! What a manic few days it’s been. My feet feel like they haven’t seen the ground, let alone touched it. I’ve talked about spinning plates before. At the moment I feel like I’m spinning entire table services.
So, where to begin? Well, lets start on Saturday. I was up at 6 am to make the drive to Barking for the Big Finish 3 convention. While the sun wasn’t exactly shining, the weather seemed fine, until I zipped by the Bath turn-off on the M4 and plunged into Narnia. Driving in, well, driving snow. Fun!
Despite almost turning around near Membury services, I persevered (accompanied by the audiobook of the 10th Anniversary edition of Neil Gaiman’s American Gods, which, incidentally, is wonderful). By the time I reached Barking, the snow was thinning out and I’m glad I made it. What a bonkers but brilliant day.
Ignoring the slightly surreal moment when I realised we were sharing the writing room with cast members of ‘Allo Allo in full costume, the con had a fantastic atmosphere with cast, crew and fans mingling and laughing together at every corner.
Personal highlights for the day included the Writers Workshop in which I discussed the process of writing alongside (takes deep breath) my old mucker Mark Wright, Matt Fitton, John Dorney, Joseph Lidster, Nev Fountain, Simon Guerrier, Andrew Smith, Peter Angelides and Andy Lane. The conversation covered everything from the pain but importance of receiving notes from your editor, outlining and how even greats like Roald Dahl got things wrong from time to time. I’ll be returning to some of the points of the workshop over the next few posts. I know I learnt a good few things listening to my fellow panel members.
Talking of writers, one of the treats of the day was meeting my ‘virtual’ buddy, kid’s writer and author of Shroud of Sorrow, Tommy Donbavand. I met Tommy online via twitter and Facebook well over a year ago, but we’ve never met in the flesh. It’s a strange feeling, meeting someone you already count as a friend for the very first time. Part of the crazy, mixed up, Internet-based world we live in these days.
Later on in the afternoon, Mark and I took part in the Blake’s 7 panel, sharing the stage with Simon and Peter again, alongside Producer David Richardson, Director Ken Bentley, Sound wiz and voice of Zen Alistair Lock and the legend that is Michael Keating – Vila from the Blake’s 7 series. When asked what made Blake’s 7 special, Michael said that it was the relationship behind the camera, that feeling of working with family.
Must admit, that’s how I felt about a lot of the day. Living in the West Country, I don’t get to see the rest of the Big Finish writers that often, but when we do meet up there’s a real sense of camaraderie. There’s lots of excited chatting about stories people are working on, projects they have on the go. Half the time, new ideas spring out of these conversations too – something that was definitely the case at the weekend. I came back to Bristol buzzing with enthusiasm for a couple of new projects. Now, just have to find the time to work on them.
Thanks to everyone who worked behind the scenes on the day and all the Big Finish fans who came up for a chat. Roll on Big Finish Day 4!