Long term reader may remember that I’ve become a total podcast devotee over the past few years. Rarely am I found not listening to one podcast or another and some; Joystiq, One Life Left, Fighting Talk, This American Life and many others have become firm weekly favourites. They’re pretty much taken over from music listening and tv watching for me… Podcasts are where it’s at and, in ways, where the market is heading – for good and occasionally bad.
Very high in my affections is Buzz Out Loud which, at its best, is a whip crack of a discussion with point, counter-point, offbeat tangent and rant about space travel and exploration batted around from one corner of a microphone to another. More often than not it sings me out of the day being the last thing I listen to at night because of the time it’s uploaded.
On Sunday the chief architect of the finest of cheesy links, Mr Tom Merritt, popped over to a London pub for a meet and, despite a number of facts that would have kept me away I was up there and enjoying the company quicker than you could say ‘oops watch out for that glass’.
(Which, in writing terms, is foreshadowing. We’ll come back to the glass later).
Of course, very cynically, this next part could be claimed as a lame attempt at networking. Tom also co-hosts an excellent fantasy book exploring podcast and, ahem, I’ve been known to write one or two of those myself. Recently they’ve been delving into my favourite fantasy series – Dune – and Tom expressed a high regard for that so the shared taste should have made it easier to say hi and beg a one-line quote right?
Wrongoloid. Big time.
Don’t think I’ve ever been as nervous passing a book on, ever. I was literally shaking prior to the meet, hiding in a corner as others went and said hi. I snuck onto the table as others moved to sit and chat and he noticed me and said hi and I nodded and raised a glass, total fanboy coward that I is.
Anyhow the conversation, both with Tom and Nate from Cnet UK and a bunch of geeks of all flavours was chilled and easy, the beer was ace, courtesy of Weatherspoon’s excellent real ale festival (also mentioned by the equally esteemed Mr Dave Walker) and a card that I had drawn was serepticiously passed round the table for people to sign and say hi for themselves. I was glad to do it, I like the idea of someone taking something away when they’ve taken the time to do something nice for others – hopefully a reminder of a good time shared all ways round. I did the same thing at Larry Normans farewell gig in the UK but no idea if he received the card… Hope so.
Tom did get the card because, as we moved from pub to restaurant I passed it on myself as it was returned to me not him (but ran away before he had the chance to open it, just in case…) as well as a brown paper wrapped package containing Dr Sylver 1 and Messenger which I almost wimped out on giving to him. It’s one thing to beg a quote from the LICC, Lord Ron and others and I was delighted when the NDCS came out in support of the book, but I’m a huge fan of the other TM so it felt much bigger the risk. Hope he likes anyhow. Maybe it was a pleasant read on the flight back, maybe it’s excellent bedding for their hamster, maybe I’ll not know. We’ll see…
And the glass? Well at some point someone started to collect all of the empty glasses and then a small group of people were doing it, just to see how high the tower could become. I want to make it clear that Tom was on another table at this point and is in no way implicated in such beery, bleary shenanigans… Through distance alone if not sense also. Anyhow, I went for a brief break to take in the scenery of the inside of the building, one room in particular, that sort of thing, and when I came back a few short minutes later there was a very clear table and a huge amount of broken glass on the table, floor, chairs, and one bag. Some people had scarpered off into the distance, others were helping clear up and soon enough a slightly – and can’t blame him – frowny faced manager was sweeping it up and we were keeping quiet a little.
So, lesson learnt. No more jenga using pint glasses. It is, however, something we’ll remember for a good few years that said and, fortunately, no-one was hurt bar for blushes from those concerned. Earlier a half pint had been spilt during an animated discussion, sideways and towards people at velocity. After the pint glass leaning tower disaster incident that seemed pretty small beer in comparison.
Below is the original sketch for the card, the card itself and inner image, the brown paper, decorated pleadingly on the longer than normal train ride up as the nerves set in, and a tall talented person standing next to a small one (but hey, short power and all that…)
*edit: Tom said he loved the card 🙂 time well spent then…
**edit two: just noticed that that the thing I didn’t photograph was the back of the card. As anyone who’s had a card from me knows I always sign them “Rushjob cards inc” ever since that card for Sarah E all those years ago… This one contained that plus the exclamation mark explanation:
* we admit we did the tatt but the cylon spine was there before we got here…
(or words to that effect, can’t remember exactly. I drew it out anyhow and then, of course, Tom’s on the webs defending Lost to Molly Wood’s Galactica positivity. Ah well, both are ace).