UnCon 08

Jen_O

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Just a quick warning to anyone who hasn't got their ticket yet - they're selling fast. Because numbers are limited, there's a real possibility that there might not be any left to sell on the day. I'd strongly advise anyone who doesn't want to risk not getting in to book in advance.
 

Dr_David_Sutton

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There will be day tickets for the Sunday available on the door I imagine, but Saturday looks pretty well sold out now.

And here's some catering info:

Bar 11am-5pm (deep end room)
Newcastle Brown £2.90
Guiness £2.50
Speckled Hen Ale £2.25
Grolsch Lager £2.25
Magners Cider £2.50/£3.50
Glass of Wine £2.50
Bottle of Wine £12.00
Glass of Juice or Coke etc. £1.00

Breakfast 9-10.30am (refectory)
English Breakfast 5 items plus toast, tea or coffee £3.00
Breakfast Baps from £2.00

Lunch 11.00am-4.00pm (refectory)
Dish of the day £3.35
Jacket potatoes from £2.50
Soup & Roll £2
Pasty, bean & Chips £3.00
Chips £1.20

£3.35 dish of the day will include:
Fish Chips & Peas
Beef Lasagne & Garlic Bread
Lamb hotpot & Rice or Veg
Pork Meatballs in tomato sauce & pasta
Veggie Curry & Rice
Spinach & Mushroom Pasta & Garlic Bread
Sunday Roast Chicken with potatoes & veg


Tea Bar (deep end room) 8am-11am
coffee or tea 65p
Biscuit pack 40p
homemade scone, jam & butter 70p

cafe (ground floor) 8am-6pm
cappucino, hot chocolate etc £1.15
assorted pastries from £1.10
Sandwiches from £1.80

I hope this gives you a general idea, there will be more available on the day. Timings are a general guide and not set in stone.
 

zarathustraspake

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I'll be travelling down tomorrow, checking into a hotel and then hitting UnCon in the morning. Whoop!

My girlfriend's travelling down with me and then disappearing off to explore the Tate and whatnot, leaving me to "all that beardy stuff". I think she's afraid beards might turn out to be contagious. ;)
 

oll_lewis

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I'll be going and if there are any more pullouts I'll be giving a talk on the mystery animals of Wales in fact and folklore.

Haven't been here for a while because of being snowed under with CFZ stuff most of the time but if there's anyone at uncon who remembers me (or anyone who just wants to say hi) I'll probably around the CFZ stall most of the time.
 

RabidReader

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Stormkhan said:
We're trotting down from Oop North, hitting the Fortean trail then meeting up with willing folk* after the event has closed on Saturday; to drink, eat and etc.

Sunday means much of the same.

Quel Damage!

*This isn't a ristricted or "in folk" meet - it's actually being sociable. Email me/PM me for details.


Sounds positively delightful.

Now, if I could just find the PM/e-mail function on here.....

*embarrassed newbie* :oops:


ETA: A-ha! Have spied the button. And aren't you all pretty when one logs on? :D
 

Stormkhan

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Logged on, logged off ... I'm always pretty!
 

Mama_Kitty

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I'm so excited!!!

And if anyone else drops out, I have prepared a fascinating talk on breastfeeding. It's bound to have some sort of fortean relevance, everything does, doesn't it?!
 

Pietro_Mercurios

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I've got to get my gear ready and also go to work, shortly.

I shouldn't be on here at all.

Looking forward to it, though! :)
 

zarathustraspake

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Mama_Kitty said:
I'm so excited!!!

And if anyone else drops out, I have prepared a fascinating talk on breastfeeding. It's bound to have some sort of fortean relevance, everything does, doesn't it?!
No thanks, I've already got some milk in my tea. 8)
 

James_H

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If i've got the money (dubious but possible) I'll be there on sunday, praying that they still have tickets on the door. See you there. I'm quite tall and I have pink hair, so say hello to me if you like!
 

Mama_Kitty

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Yesterday was FABULOUS! Best talk ever was Jon Downes on the chupacabra.
 

jeanniesbottle

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Mirage Men Presentation

Did anyone go to the Mirage Men Presentation? If so, would you please tell me how it went. I couldn't make it.

Thanks so much.
 

original_fLeebLe

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back in my hotel now, have had a great weekend with old friends and new.
my highlights have been mike dash with spring heeled jack and cleopatra in the burlesque :shock: :D :twisted:
wasn't impressed with the uni technicians ability to sort problems or the quality of the sound system and lighting. but overall it seems an ok place to hold uncon.
 

lemuria162

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I thought this was one of the best UnCons for years, excellent venue (despite the minor technical glitches and the dreadful acoustics in Fyvie Hall) and good to have the two-track system back again so there was always a choice of sessions. It seemed like a return to the 'glory days' of the early to mid 1990s.
I particularly enjoyed Spring-Heeled Jack (both Mike Dash's talk and the panel discussion), the Golem of Prague, the Mirage Men (looking forward to the book and film!) and the Alan Godfrey abduction case.
Paul Screeton was a disappointment, I thought he was setting up a false dichotomy with his assertion that for Forteans repetition=veracity and for folklorists repetition=falsity, particularly in the context of urban legends - I really don't think forteans say that because lots of people claim that a FOAF has had a kidney stolen/ordered a prostitute who turns out to be his daughter, etc, it must be true. He just came across as a grumpy old man having a moan.
Anyway, I now intend to use the word 'ostention' as frequently as possible in conversation just to find out if I am the only ignoramus who had never heard it before this weekend

;)
 

jeanniesbottle

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I particularly enjoyed Spring-Heeled Jack (both Mike Dash's talk and the panel discussion), the Golem of Prague, the Mirage Men (looking forward to the book and film!)

;)[/quote]

I'm glad the Mirage Men Presentation went well. My old friend, John Lundberg, was presenting with Mark Pilkington, and was gutted when I couldn't make it. Would you be so kind as to tell me how John did at presenting please?
 

lemuria162

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Re: Mirage Men Presentation

jeanniesbottle said:
Did anyone go to the Mirage Men Presentation? If so, would you please tell me how it went. I couldn't make it.

Thanks so much.
From my illegible notes, written in the dark (anyone who took more accurate ones please feel free to correct me):
the main thesis was that popular beliefs about UFOs have always been manipulated by US military intelligence for various reasons, sometimes to plant 'false flag' information in order to divert attention from genuine secret projects, sometimes as a test to see how a potential agent will cope with classified information (i.e. will they blab or not, if they do it doesn't matter as the info they leak will be false) or in the case of military installations to test how staff will react when confronted with an emergency. They also talked about the role of disinformation in Project SERPO, and the possibility that some UFO publications are funded by the CIA.
Pilkington and Lundberg are working on (or have completed?) a book and film on the subject, both of which are due for release soon, and showed an excerpt from the film.
 

jeanniesbottle

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Re: Mirage Men Presentation

lemuria162 Thanks so much for the summary of the Mirage Men Presentatin. It sounds like it went very well indeed.
 

Anome

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It was a good weekend. It was the first I've been to with the two tracks, and I think this format is much better than the single track we were forced into at the Friends' Meeting House.

It's a pity there didn't seem to be as many retailers there this time (and personally, it was kind of inconvenient that only two had card facilities, but that's not really important).

Hopefully it won't be 2 and a half years before the next one.
 

Timble2

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lemuria162 said:
Anyway, I now intend to use the word 'ostention' as frequently as possible in conversation just to find out if I am the only ignoramus who had never heard it before this weekend

;)
No I'd never heard of it either, I'll be using it as often as possible too.

Mike Dash's Spring Heeled Jack was excellent and Gordon's Spirit Photography presentation was a highlight. John Downes was as interesting and passionate as ever.

Paul Screeton was a disappointment, potentially intereresting thesis, but very hesistant presentation (probably a touch of stage fright) and rather hard to follow, and the soggy acoustics hindered him too.

The Golem of Prague was different, it covered quite a bit of the same ground as the recent FT article, but this was a pretty good presentaion that overcame the language barrier. I'd like to see the rest of the Golem film that he showed a clip of.

As ever, Jan Bondeson gave us us a great presentation of some classic Fortean, themes.

The presentation on novelty acts, was very good, with some excellent archival film glips (the dancing pig was both funny and disturbing...)

The Burlesque was a fun way to round off one strand of the Weekend.

Good one, I hape we don't have to wait two years for the next.

BTW is the timing on the board off. I appear to have posted this an hour in the future :?

Apropos spirit photography, orb in the trading area:

 

47Forteans

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Due to a lack of funds to fly me from Sydney to London, I was unable to attend, but i was with you in spirit, which might explain the orb in the photo!

Apropos spirit photography, orb in the trading area:

[/quote]
 

zarathustraspake

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I have spirit photos from the burlesque. I'll post them in a bit. ;)

My review of the UnCon

Good bits

- Richard Wiseman
- David Clarke on MOD staff being amused to find out the UFO community thinks they're Britain's secret alien hunters
- Ian Simmons showing that 70s prog rock really was very shite
- Jon Downes ranting at Powerpoint, faultty microphones and the world in general
- Gordon Rutter's collection of spirit photos.
- Vanessa Toulmin's talk on Victorian entertainments, complete with her "thank you for oversharing" moment when she decided to mention her erotic fantasies about contortionists.
- Richard Freeman's travologue
- THE BURLESQUE!!!!


Bad bits

- There seemed to be surrprisingly few stalls and exhibitions this year
- Paul Screeton's talk was just poor. I don't think his "For Forteans, repetiion equals veracity; for folklorists, repetition equals falsity" argument was particuly accurate either of folklorists or forteans. And he really was just a lousy public speaker, spending most of the talk with his head buried in the notes.
- Microphone problems, particularly in the Fyvie Hall.


Overall, I'd say this has been an excellent UnCon. See you all in 2009! 8)
 

Dr_David_Sutton

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Please keep the comments coming - it would be a great help to us in planning the next UnCon to get as much feedback (positive and negative) as possible about venue, format, speakers and anything else that occurs to you.

We hope everybody had fun - we did, although we're all a bit knackered today and will be having a rest.

DS
 

Anome

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Well, as for suggestions: WiFi access for attendees. Not just so we can surf porn between talks, but so we can communicate with those not there, put up blog posts about the event. Maybe even a dedicated message board (or a section of this one) for discussion, planning, updating schedules, etc). Costs money, I know, but I think it would be useful.
 

colpepper1

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Any chance of the whole shindig being youtubed a la Weird Weekend?
I made the last few UnCons but La C'pepper pre-booked me in for a sleepover at some rather dull 'old friend's'.
 

zarathustraspake

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A few pics of FTMB attendees, for anybody that wants them:


[I've forgotten his username] and Pietro Mercurios


[what's his username??? Somebody help me out here]


Anomie and Rabidreader


Mama_Kitty (in the background) and me
 

Mama_Kitty

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Timble2!

*pinched for my Facebook collection*
 

DrPaulLee

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My wife and I thoroughly enjoyed the Uncon (it being her first). With one exception, all the talks were of a consistently high standard and enjoyed them all. Fortean topics that I normally am not interested in did fuel the old grey cells, opening the intellect just a little bit more. Well done, take a bow, Dr David!

The only disappointment was the lack of dealer's tables, and what on earth has happened to ASSAP? They seem to have seriously down-sized this year!
 

James_H

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Hi
I was there on Sunday (a bit too shy to talk to anyone though).

Gordon Rutter: Spirit Photographs
An amusing demolition of the subject, also providing a pretty good overview.

Alan Murdie: Ghosts frightening people to death
Interesting, but a little low on ghosts frightening people to death. Can't change the facts, though, eh? A couple of good stories: the one with the tower, and the Colombian one. A lot of good stories mentioned and not pursued, frustratingly. I managed to ask a question! Slightly rued not going to see Ivan Mackerle and his exciting, rollicking adventures in Siberia.

Paul Screeton: Forteans Vs Folklorists
As others mentioned, this was a bit weak. This, I thought, was down to the fact that it was the first talk he'd done in 25 years, and he was terrified and absolutely dying on stage. I couldn't work out what the talk was actually about as he mumbled and slurred his words, looked at the floor and blushed so much. I can understand this as a similar thing happened to my dad last summer, doing his first talk in 19 years. I felt terrible for him.

Vaudeville/illegimate entertainments etc
Definitely my highlight this year. A wealth of very interesting material on offer, though a little skimmed; the speaker kept mentioning that she could do an hour's talk on each of the 15,000 performers she had notes on, and I wished she would at times. Worth it though, for all the playbills with boxing midgets and parachuting cats on, and the films at the end were a treat, especially given the venue.

Mark Pilkington & John Lundberg - the Mirage Men
I liked this, though I must admit that I'm a sucker for anything stamped 'real life X-files'. I don't mean 'Britain's X-files' - it's gotta have missile silos inside remote mountains, secret tests and men in mirror shades with hokey accents to match, or it ain't worth a dime. Great title too. Pilkington's delivery was a little flat, and I really felt that this would have worked better in a more anecdotal/travelogue style - you know the drill, Louis Theroux/Jon Ronson hit the alien weirdos with a stick. Still, it was really interesting to see the evidence they'd uncovered for a high-up disinformation program. It was highly convincing and I can't wait for the film and book. FT article?

Kitty Claw Burlesque.
This was absolutely shockingly dreadful, I can say with no reservations. What's a cabaret when the players can't sing, can't dance, can't act, and can't be funny (even if their very lives depend on it?). My idea of hell is to be trapped with the teenage devil and his ukelele for that eternity of five minutes.

So we left and went to:

Peter Brookesmith, david clarke, andy roberts: looking at the policeman abduction case thing
This was very interesting, was sad to have missed the start, where they presumably outlined the case, with which I am unfamiliar. I came in when Brookesmith, (looking too cool - who can wear sunglasses, after dark, inside, with the lights off and not be in the Cramps?) was demonstrating - with excellent slides- the disparity of alien abduction reports before the narrative had crystallised into the one with which we are all so familiar today. Then David Clarke, standing in for Jenny Randles, put forward her thesis, which he then rather spoiled by saying that he didn't believe a word of it. Andy Roberts then put forward his explanation. I do think that 'altered state of consciousness' is a little glib - maybe it's a bit more plausible than aliens but they didn't seem to think too hard about exactly what this 'altered state of consciousness' was.
There was a bit of a feeling of a sneering schoolground gang of sceptics (only a little bit, though), but they had good points, very well presented.

The venue was pretty nice. I liked the paintings in the Fyvie hall best. Very convenient - I didn't have to get any public transport once off the bus from Oxford.
I'm sad that I missed the first day, but I really couldn't afford it. That's not a reflection on the price, which I thought was good, but on the current status of my bank account.

All in all, thumbs up, but not perfect.
 

James_H

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Oh and the second hand bookstall was great, the guy was really nice and I got a really nice three volume set of Illuminatus! which I intend to re-read the hell out of, starting now.
 

Mama_Kitty

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I loved the venue, very convenient but my favourite part was the price! Lunch was awesome, hardly posh nosh, but filled a hole and had a price tag to match, unlike 2002 with a tea-and-biscuit bar which charged wine-bar prices. Plus it wasn't vegan, and there's nothing wrong with vegan food, but it's nice to have an option, unlike the 2006 venue.

I can only echo what has gone before, and I'd also like to second the comments about the stalls in the lower hall. I loved 2002 with the huge mix of fluffy new-age nonsense, occult groups and stuffed animals as well as the uniquitous book stalls. The people there did their best, but I would have liked a bit more browsing material. The second-hand book stall was okay, but more of a selection would have been good, it seemed to be mostly fiction.

The speakers were excellent, maybe next time we could have chin straps hung from some sort of scaffolding apperatus to encourage the more nervous types to glance up occasionally?

Another suggestion, can we have some sort of selection criteria or application forms next time? There were far too many normal-looking people there, I like it when I can spot UnCon-goers on the Tube as we get closer to the venue.

Oh and could we install some sort of crush-restricting device on some of the chairs so I can focus on the talks rather than planning my speech to my husband informing him that I'm running away to live in sin with a fellow fortean?

I'd also like to apologise for falling asleep in some of the talks. It wasn't a comment on the quality of the talk, more a reaction to a warm room, a comfy chair and being awake at 5.30am because I was so excited...
 
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