Bridget Plokta's Diary
Thursday 12 April
9st 3, alcohol units 7 (but don't count at Eastercon, surely), cigarettes 11 (so-so), Cokes 0 (Pepsi bar), fanzines 1
4 p.m. Find self driving up A5 to metropolis of Hinckley. Would be a one-horse town if they hadn't shot it because of FMD. Glad to be leaving London behind, and glad to have a weekend without worrying about Rodney's indifference, Reginald's unwanted attentions, or Russell's animal lust. Am I getting R fixation?
Am not at all sure why going to Eastercon. Gave in to weird uncle Dr P. "You'll have a great time," he said. "Loads of nice young men there, bound to find one who'll do. Just hang onto this detonator a minute, would you?" Sometimes I think my uncle is strange.
6 p.m. First appearance of hotel not recommended for those with empty stomachs. Enormous naked statue of Mark Plummer in fishnets. With fish. Am told actually Neptune. Or possibly Poseidon. At any rate, is holding up giant mirrored ceiling. Odd. Otherwise hotel reminiscent of "Tudor Nightmare Metropolis". Lots of bay windows pretending to be Victorian shops with quaint gift items. See lovely Andrex puppy toilet bookends. Cannot justify expense given cost of beer etc.
6:05p.m. Discover bedroom also has mirrored ceiling. Look appraisingly at hips. Have to lie along top end of bed to do this, as mirrored ceiling too short for any kinky possibilities. Hips grim.
Midnight Have had jolly time wandering round bar saying hello to everyone. John Harold looks furtive (as usual); explains that he is chief of the White Mice at this convention. He must be an ROUS. Anders is wearing a name badge saying "Anders Prime". "Who's Anders Secundus?" I ask. "All the others" he explains.
Everyone swaps notes on rooms; it appears we all have mirrored ceilings. Dave Hicks is dazed by notion that Debbi Kerr and Yvonne Rowse not only sharing double room, but also mirrored ceiling. This clearly too much for him and he displays shocking naked animal lust.
Fan room has a sign on door saying closed' but is actually open and full of Greg & Catherine, along with Mark & Claire the Banana Twins, and Sandra Bond. Mark & Claire are notably embarrassed that Greg has described them as Our Greatest Living Fans. TAFF delegate Victor Gonzalez turns up. "OK, time to close for the night" says Greg. Don't think these were related. Victor explains that D West will be at the con the following day. Am sceptical. "I'll bet £100!" says Victor. Accuse him of gambling with TAFF's money. "Yup, I'm putting it on red!" Victor gives me copy of his and Lilian's fanzine, Gloss.
Friday 13 April
9st 2, alcohol units lots (mugged by Banana Twins and a bottle of Laphroaig), cigarettes 4(v.g.), large chunks of cake 3, fanzines 2
2 p.m. Victor very smug about something. Turns out Don West holding forth in the bar, explaining to everyone how wrong they are about art. He spots Sue Mason. "Congratulations on your third Nova, Sue," he says, generously. "Only six more to go, eh?" Sue picks up a few tips about how to draw in D's style, but I don't think she's quite got the hang of it yet.
Yvonne Rowse gives me her fanzine, Adverse Camber. "If Pam were editing that," said Michael Abbott, "she'd have retitled it Slope". Yvonne persona non grata with D West since duck-shrinking incident.
Go to whip panel. Whipper looking for volunteers. Find self whippee. Whoopee! Whipper tells me not to move. No chance; rooted to spot with fear. V. scary. V. sexy. Ask whipper for phone number. Whipper explains smug married 3 kids hence whips.
Meet up with Naomi Saunders, and swap notes on men with names beginning with R. All terribly complicated. Naomi promises to fix me up with a friend of one of her men next time I am in Cambridge. End up eating a tapas dinner the size of Mexico with Naomi and eighteen of her closest friends.
2 a.m. Get a bit confused in Rocky Horror. Manage to set light to my newspaper with my cigarette lighter. Whoops. Luckily several hunky men nearby put out the fire with their water pistols. Hadn't previously appreciated the benefits of Super Soakers. Costume v. wet afterwards, attracts much attention.
The Plokta cabal are telling tales of George, the Meanest Cat in the World. Victor explains that he could tame the savage beast, that he is in fact a cat whisperer. Everyone seems doubtful, but it appears that Victor's TAFF itinerary does not provide him with a chance to be mauled senseless by George.
Lilian explains that she's got a cake in her room and would I like a slice. Is it her birthday? Cake commissioned from Pam-Not-Appearing-At-This-Convention (she emailed me to say she'd had a better offer, something about a Chicken Brothers party). But then Lilian goes off to chat to Anders and I say I'll catch her later. When I wander along to her room, the door's ajar but there's nobody there. Think it best to make sure the door is shut, but notice, along with eight thousand pairs of tights, a cake on the bed in a tin with "Eat Me" written on the side. Well, she did offer me some. Grab a largish single person portion of cakedelicious, if a little grittyand leave, making sure the room is secure. Unfortunately, I then run immediately into Alison & Sue. As door now safely locked, I have to share my cake with them.
End up at Norwegian room party. Victor passing a pipe around, and nearly gets thrown out by the hosts, who explain in agitated Norwegian that this is a non-smoking room party. Meet cute Norwegian. Christina worried about getting into her role in the play. She's going to be the moon. Worried about motivation. Is she circling the earth because of gravity, or does she have a higher purpose?
Meet up with Lilian and cake. Chat to Lilian for ages. Cake having no effect whatsoever. Feel a bit peckish. What is there to eat round here? Have second slice of cake. And third. Meet Alisons Scott and Freebairn in fanroom. Alison F gives me her fanzine, Shebang, and explains has been cast in Fannish Addams Family as both Morticia and Wednesday. Michael Abbott complaining that Alison S left cucumber patches out of Novacon report in Gloss. Alison F wonders if cucumber patches are what you wear to stop you craving cucumbers? All suddenly start giggling uncontrollably.
Saturday 14 April
9st 2, no hangover (whee) calories 870 (can't eat in corset), cigarettes too many (needed to keep warm in car park)
3 p.m. Walking back through the rotunda, am almost mown down by three low-slung tricycles that look a bit like go-karts. Tim Kirk explains that he, Sparks, and Bazooka are having a chariot race. V. few dead.
Go to Banana Twins slide show. Laugh self silly at slides of almost unrecognisable thin young people. Next slide self age 19 dressed as Leela. Die of embarrassment.
11 p.m. Missed masquerade. Apparently M@ turned up as 2001: A Space Obelix. Giulia explained that he'd worn stripy trousers and nipple rings. "Does Obelix have nipple rings?" I queried. "No, but M@ does," she explained. "Just at eye-level. V. disconcerting."
Put on v. tight corset lent by Sue Dawson. Lose nerve and add thick mohair cardie on top. Put on 5" fuck-me-quickly-before-I-fall-over shoes. V. hard to move but think effect worth it.
Everyone heading out to car park for fireworks. Join them. Shoes, corset v. impractical. No fireworks. Fire engine goes past on the motorway. Everyone cheers. Goes back again. Everyone cheers again. This repeated several times with ever-louder cheers before fireworks actually start. Fireworks great but effect cannot be described in print. Legs blue.
Look in on the disco, but all I see is Dave Lally dancing round his handbag. Meet lovely chap in a write-your-own-message velcro t-shirt, wearing extra velcro letters as bandolier. As cheap excuse for feeling him up, rewrite shirt to say "All Your Moose Are Belong To Us."
Sunday 15 April
9st 4 (full English breakfast, eggs, bacon, sausage, hash browns, croissants, calories 9,270)
11 a.m. Try to recover from malign effects of breakfast by going for swim. Jump into warm inviting bubbly Jacuzzi. Arrrgh! Jacuzzi freezing. Realise being watched from pool. "We were wondering how long you would stay in there." Pool decorated like tropical lagoon with Hinckley Island submerged like Atlantis in middle.
3 p.m. Sparks invites me to try out his trike in the car park. Wheee! These bikes turn out to be quite fast. Unfortunately have no idea where the brakes are, but luckily manage to come to a stop before ending up on the M69.
Steve Davies wanders past, carrying a large Fred Gambino painting of a rocket ship. It looks rather phallic. I say so. "Hmmph," says Steve. "All the women are saying that."
Bid for Seacon '03 announced, looks suspiciously like Contravention. Get '80s flashbacks.
10:30 p.m. Just taking a breather before the room parties. Go to the fan funds auction. Bridget Bradshaw (the other Bridget) was in the play, but instructed Claire (pro tem fan fund auctioneer extraordinaire) to spend some money on her behalf. Claire bids £10 for a very fetching propeller beanie, provided that Alison Scott wears it for the rest of the evening. Alison promptly delegates this responsibility to baby Jonathan.
Stand in the back of the play 20:01 (except that it actually gets underway at 20:25) for a little while, so miss all the visual jokes, which are clearly aimed at tall people. Christina superb as the moon. She waltzes round the earth, and they both waltz round the sun. David Wake holds up a sign saying "Not to Scale". Appears that play is following glacial speed of original movie. Nip out to bar.
Monday 16 April
Alcohol units: enough to fancy the Channel Islands' Greatest Living Fan. Dope units: 0 (no man to light pipe)
7:30 a.m. Wake up. Awful nightmare. Dreamt I got plastered and shagged Tobes. Quite fun actually.
7:31 a.m. Roll over. No! Tobes is lying in my bed. Am never going to drink again. Try to work out exactly what happened, and piece it together bit by bit.
Met other Bridget in a room party, busily admiring the baby's headgear. She explained wistfully that she'd always wanted a propeller beanie. On asking if she could try it on, she was delighted to hear that it was actually hers, and Jonathan was just keeping it warm. She put it on and immediately began channelling '50s fandom, dodgy puns spewing from her mouth like a plague of frogs. Meanwhile, Cambridge fandom was in one corner, discussing the fractal structure of the Artex ceiling. Made me nostalgic for the mirrors. Called into lobby to see Big Mark Plummer, now with strategically placed piece of toast.
At some point Tobes and Anders started snogging. I wouldn't believe it either, except have a photo of it.
Suddenly realised that bishonen Tobes was staggeringly sexy in those leather trousers. Staggering, at any rate. Offered him a cup of coffee Insert strategic row of asterisks.
7:32 a.m. Tobes almost as hung over as I am. When he spots me he's delighted. "Hey!" he keeps saying. "Bridget!" He offers me some Calvados. Not sure that accepting was a good idea.
10:01 a.m. Realise we have missed breakfast.
2:30 p.m. Realise we have missed lunch.
3 p.m. Emerge, bleary eyed. The talk of the con is that someone has found a large, suspicious looking lump of some resinous substance in one of the hall corridors. John Harold considers whether he should leave it in the convention lost and found, but eventually flushes it away.
Lots of sad-looking people in the bar, staring at their orange juice and refusing all alcohol. Mike Siddall is holding forth as our Greatest Undead Fan. Get large cranberry juice. Everyone asks me if I find pewter sexy. "Maybe", I say cautiously. Apparently Victor has decided that a pewter tankard is the perfect romantic present. Martin Smith recommends his new website, www.bigpewterdildos.com.
Find self at back of a tour party, looking round hotel. Am confused, but realise quickly this is James Steel's Tour of Tat. "And if you look up here, you can see the garrotted baby". We move quickly past the cannibal pig clock, Marilyn Monroe with a rooster on her head, the offensive blackface basketball, and the sperm balloons. The finale is the dead teddybear piano.
Victor hurries past, looking v. v. agitated. Has he lost something?
V. silly conversation in bar. Everyone nostalgic for lost youth. "We didn't have a fridge when we were growing up," says someone. "Well, I had a potty until I was eleven" said Sue. "And it was no use for keeping the beer cold," says the man in the Fifties Fandom Channelling Hat.
Greg Pickersgill explains that for many years, he's made a practice of beachcombing on the Pembrokeshire coast. This is because of all those news reports in which somebody, out walking their dog, has found a huge quantity of hash and handed it in. "Think of the number of cases there must be where people don't hand it in!" he exclaims. Suggest he should have been beachcombing the corridors of the hotel.
11 p.m. Drive home. Keep getting shag flashbacks. V. worrying. Looking forward to Helicon.
Bridget Plokta, as told to Alison
Thanks to Lilian for the idea, to all the people whose jokes I borrowed, and to Tobes, who donated £5 to the fan funds for the privilege of being pulled by Bridget in this article.