Monday, March 20, 2006

Left Coast

Yep, I was there. Due to the constraints of real life I probably only saw about half of it, but I had a great time. This was my first "con experience", and if they're all like this in some way I'll defo be along to more.

It was superb to finally meet Allan Guthrie and Donna, Ray "the Truth" Banks and Ana, Sarah Weinman, Kevin Wignall (in disguise), John Rickards (those two have identical hair, believe or or not), Russel McLean (nice coat), Jason Starr, Donna Moore, (I really didn't intend this to sound like an Oscar speech), Maddy Van Hertbruggen, Adrian Magson, Pat Mullan, McKenna Jordan and David Thompson, Martin Edwards... There are others I met who I just can't remember the name of, or couldn't hear it when I asked. I've got a problem listening to one voice in a crowded and noisy room, and it becomes a bit embarrassing when you have to keep saying "What was that?" four or five times. There comes a point when you just have to give up and say "Oh, right. Nice name" and get on with it.

Even greater than meeting those guys were the folks who came up to me when they didn't have to, to get a book signed or just to say hello. I'm incredibly grateful for those, and to anyone who came to the two panels I did (especially the first, which I moderated).

Ah, those panels. One of them was great. Donna Moore moderated it smoothly and with great aplomb, and the other panelists (Al, Ray, and Jason) revealed themselves as natural entertainers in the Bruce Forsyth mould. Everyone seemed to enjoy it, and I certainly did. Then there was the other panel, which I actually moderated. All I can say is thanks to Greg Rucka, David Lawrence, Peter James and Catherine Aird for keeping things going. And Greg - sorry I kept going on about your comics, rather than the Atticus Kodiak and "Queen and Country" series. I just couldn't get the word "comics" out of my head. I think I might even have asked Catherine if she'd ever written any. Or read any. Or just thought about comics in any way.

Congrats to Tony Broadbent for winning the Bruce Alexander Award and Peter Guttridge for the Lefty (like they'll ever read this). FAGS AND LAGER was up for a Lefty but, hmm, it didn't win. Apologies for those near my table who caught shards of broken glass, and to the staff who had to clean all the red wine off the wall. I've calmed down now. You can let go of my arm, really. I'm not going to throw anything else.

Well done to Myles Allfrey, Adrian Muller and co for organising it all.

Jesus, why am I still writing this? There were some people who I intended to "approach" but never got around to it. Stuart McBride was one of these. He probably would have spotted a nutter coming and made off (as did Jeffrey Deaver) , but I recognised him from his blog, and meant to go over but couldn't shift my arse from the comfy sofa. I was also going to have a word with Peter Guttridge, and ask him if I could just hold his blue glass Lefty award for a few seconds. But after the ceremony, when they'd let me out of the secured room, I had this strange electronic device around my neck that induced debilitating head pain whenever I came within ten feet of him. And I was going to say hello to Lee Child, and maybe swap suaveness tips. Sorry, Lee, you'll just have to stumble along as best you can until our paths cross again. And there were others. Oh yes, many others that I wanted to meet. But let's face it: I'm just not a good networker. I mean, come on, I'm a writer.

PS: Ray Banks would have you believe the only thing that separates us in height is my big hair. This is untrue, and I will prove this by having a "number 1" the next time we meet (interpret that how you will). And the big hair, I assure you, was down to the extremely windy conditions outside the hotel, and my inability to look in a mirror.


Ray said...

Ah now, I didn't say you had big hair. Like, y'know, Bonnie Tyler big. But I slouch, so that might've been it. Or you could just be taller than me. Some people are.

Russel said...

Actually I'd love to see Charlie in a Bonnie Tyler wig. I reckon that's what he should have worn to the gala.

And everyone (as was established conclusively by Rickards) is taller than me. Except Agent Phil.

Charlie Williams said...

Hey, I've met Bonnie Tyler. She was in a curry house in Mumbles and, well, so was I. At a different table. OK, I haven't met Bonnie Tyler.

Anonymous said...

All women know you can judge a man by the size of his hair. Then again, next time I'll put some extra gel in mine, then we'll see who's looking up at who.
Great meeting. Next time I'll do my homework, I promise, though I'm not good at assigments. Tis why I hated school.

Stuart MacBride said...

Ah Mr Williams, I wanted to meet you too, but you were always busy hanging with the cool kids... *sigh* I'll just have to go back to writing dirty limericks about you on the toilet walls.

And yours was a damn fine panel. Though it could have done with more proper facial hair. That Ray Banks Junior Goatee Kit just doesn't do it for me.

Charlie Williams said...

Stuart, there were cool kids? I didn't see any of those. I was just sitting on my arse in a drunken haze. When I'm drinking it's much better for me to just sit down and stay out of trouble. I've got a habit of collapsing onto tables laden with drinks. Quite funny in restrospect, but you need at least five years if you're one of the victims.

I agree about the facial hair. Really, Donna should make more of an effort.

Charlie Williams said...

And Jason, I'll love to see a few tubs of serious gel applied to your hair. Could be one hell of a pompadour.