UnCon 08

zarathustraspake

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#91
H_James said:
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.
I rather enjoyed the burlesque, personally. Admittedly at times it wasn't the most polished of performances, but I thought it was good, bawdy fun, and I liked the in-jokes about Conan Doyles belief in faeries.
 

James_H

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#92
well, I can see that everyone else enjoyed the burlesque - I just can't for the life of me understand why ;)
 

SoundDust

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#93
That was fun :)

Good to meet up with some familiar faces and the new people - hiya to Rabidreader, Pietro, Original Chia & Partner (board name?), Bob (briefly on sunday evening) and Golf Sale (I'm sure that's who they were introduced as, after 4 pints ;) ), and to the couple that me, Fleeble and Anome met in the Lord John Russell on Friday night who identified us as people going to Uncon by the bags and hats we were wearing :D

Agree with fLeebLe on the tech issues, the mic's in the Fyvie Hall that only worked up to half its length were the major thing, I would've liked the reclining chairs from the stalls room in the halls rather than the plastic ones too. Also, for some reason I was expecting more stalls too, and for time for people to ask questions (only sometimes, like Fyvie hall saturday aft, were they cut after technical problems) :?

I didn't get the "It Happened to me" book, though I am thinking of putting together one with slightly less mysterious tales called "It Was Something Mundane" for the next Uncon ;)

And the talks:

Mike Dash's Spring heeled jack talk was a highlight, informative and coming accross as well researched into an often repeated story, looking forward to the book on that.

Theo Paijmans' Woman in Black wasn't one of the highlights, what could possibly be more interesting was merely a list of sightings with very little observations, with the Historical Crisis news article on the projector I was wondering if Mothman would be brought up. Very quiet spoken and not helped by half the audience leaving

Ian Simmons Extraterrestrial Mythologies in Modern Music was another list, of mainly prog-rock bands, though some of the music was quite good - Sun Ra & Magma and one of the instrumentals near the start, perhaps if a list of the songs used could be put up on the site maybe?

Andy Roberts' Psychedlia Forteana was sailing close to the "promoting drug taking" wind thing, with a fairly knowing disclaimer at the start ;) , didn't get round to buying the book and should've done really.

Peter Brookesmith & Rob Irving's Celine and Julie Go Hoaxing promised an interesting debate about the people who hoax and the people who get taken in by them, unfortunately they delivered it to each other and the screen mostly - as one audience member near me pointed out. The crop circle heckler was annoying too, distracting them even more.

I sat out the last talk, I did have a quick look at Jon Downes as he showed off his holiday snaps for a few minutes though ;)

Gordon Rutter's Spirit Photography talk was a good start to sunday morning, plenty of examples of hoax photo's and some info on where they were from.

Ivan Mackerles mostly video presentation of Siberia's Valley of Death was alright, if slightly frustrating in being more to do with flying about looking for cauldrons than the cauldrons themselves.

I had to walk out of Paul Screeton's Folklorists and Forteans talk, being at the back of the hall with a hearing problem is difficult when the talker is talking to his notes and everyone is getting up and leaving. I made it to the second promotion of his book, I didn't get the title.

Vanessa Toumlins Peculiar Entertainments talk was good, about half of it devoted to video's including the dancing pig :D

Richard Freeman was entertaining, even if an investigation into the Almasty rockslide witness might've made for a more interesting talk along the lines of making up paranormal stuff

Kittie Klaws Burlesque was fun, though some might say too short, fnarr :twisted:

Bit rambling that post, oh well.
 

Anome

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#94
I wasn't going to do a talk by talk critique, but everyone else is, and I feel left out.

Richard Wiseman was entertaining, and I like the idea of Tomorrow's World doing a Firewalking "World Record Attempt", and also the results of said "World Record Attempt".

The Woman in Black, I had to leave. It was a laundry list of sightings (including one in "Nineteen Oh Twelve", with remarkably little analysis. Also poor English and reading the whole talk did not help.

Jan Bondeson on animal falls and toads in holes was really good. I thought Jan was in exceptional form. I also bought his (latest?) book and got it signed afterwards.

Ivan Mackerle's talk on the Golem could have been as bad as the Woman in Black, but even though it was somewhat stilted by passing through the translator, it was still interesting (the video segments helped). It didn't really say anything he didn't cover already in the article.

Gail Nina was as entertaining and informative as usual.

I missed Jon Downes, because of the delay in getting in. (Instead of queueing and listening to Jon rail at being locked out of his own lecture, I went and did the ASSAP challenge.)

First on Sunday was Gordon's talk, which I found entertaining, and surprisingly free of electrocution.

I skipped 11am in favour of wandering about the hall, and making sure there was nothing else I needed to buy. (There was, sadly.)

Paul Screeton was clearly nervous, and not used to public speaking, which did make his talk hard going. On the other hand, it was rather short.

After lunch I, like many others it seems, went into the Old Cinema and stayed for the triple play of Toulmin, Freeman, and Klaw (Solicitors). All three were good. As I mentioned elsewhere, I was disappointed at the lack of actual spiritualism in the burlesque, but you can't have everything.

All in all, a good weekend.
 

DrPaulLee

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#95
Jan "The s**t hit the fan" Bondeson and his description of "sticky clouds" and the "space beaver" was hilarious!
 
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#96
SoundDust said:
Peter Brookesmith & Rob Irving's Celine and Julie Go Hoaxing promised an interesting debate about the people who hoax and the people who get taken in by them, unfortunately they delivered it to each other and the screen mostly - as one audience member near me pointed out. The crop circle heckler was annoying too, distracting them even more.
Hi there - I was going to respond with something along the lines of "I'm sorry you find proper logic annoying," but then I remembered that you had given me a shout-out earlier in your post! :) (I am both Original Chia and "crop circle heckler", I'm afraid). It was great to meet some Forteans in the pub on Saturday night, so hello to you all. In answer to your question mark regarding my husband's forum name, he is dead_flag and I met him via this very website (in the now-defunct chatroom).

Here's what I think about that aspect of the Irving/Brookesmith talk: If you're going to stand up in front of a group of people to speak, I think it's only respectful to demonstrate good reasoning skills and at least a moderately well-informed grasp of the subjects you choose to bring up. Rob Irving did not do this with regard to crop circles, and there was no way I was going to let him keep prattling on without raising an objection (remember, they asked us to shout out questions throughout the talk instead of waiting until the end). After my final question he did at least admit that he was in favor of leaving the door open for the possibility of anomaly, but then he went on to refer to BLT Research's findings as "complete codswallop", without (predictably, by that point) bothering to back up his blanket statement.

In light of well-documented physical findings examined within the larger context of the phenomenon (explore www.bltresearch.com, for example), I think it's just about as ludicrous to suggest that ALL complex crop circles are manmade as it is to suggest that they are all made by extraterrestrials. It is still very much a subject worthy of investigation, and I want to know what's going on. I am not satisfied, as Irving seems to be, to pick and choose evidence to fit a pre-conceived worldview. This type of thinking does not get us any closer to the truth, if indeed it is out there. I, for one, am going to keep looking.
 

zarathustraspake

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#97
Yeah, I hear what you're saying Chia. It could have been better presented.

Also, since the two of them had, by their own admission, been up drinking until 5am and were both clearly in a deep state of hangover, I have to say that they really should have a bit more respect for their audience than that.

I don't want to sound like a prude here, and I'm not necessarily suggesting that there's anything wrong with a pleasant night of projectile vomiting, but do it on the evening after you deliver your talk, not before it.
 

robirving1

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#99
Timble2 said:
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.
Best use it with an 's', as in 'ostension', thus avoiding Wittgenstein. A good starting place would be...

Ellis, Bill (2001) ‘Aliens, Ghosts and Cults: Legends We Live’, University Press of Mississippi/Jackson, and Dégh, Linda (2001) ‘Legend and Belief: Dialectics of a Folklore Genre’, Indiana University Press.

...but not necessarily in that order. And if you can get hold of...

Dégh, Linda; Andrew Vázsonyi (1983). "Does the Word 'Dog' Bite? Ostensive Action: A Means of Legend Telling". 'Journal of Folklore Research' 20: 5–34

...all the better.

zarathustraspake said:
Also, since the two of them had, by their own admission, been up drinking until 5am and were both clearly in a deep state of hangover, I have to say that they really should have a bit more respect for their audience than that.

I don't want to sound like a prude here, and I'm not necessarily suggesting that there's anything wrong with a pleasant night of projectile vomiting, but do it on the evening after you deliver your talk, not before it.
As a self-professed "good Fortean", zarathustraspake, you'll appreciate not only the perils of believing everything you hear but also everything you think you heard. What you thought you heard in this instance was not quite what was said. You heard my light-hearted remarks about Brookesmith's nocturnal activities quite correctly but they were rather unfair on him; that kind of damage was done long before 5am. As for mine, the remark I made about allowing me a free run to the loo was in reference to my suffering from an angry, seething tummy as a result of my eating too many peanuts the night before. Nothing to get too prudish about. In fact, I did save my projectile vomiting until after the talk, and it was a bit too soon afterwards for comfort. I seem to remember, looking at your photo, that you were in a front row aisle seat; you don't know how lucky you were, mate.

TheOriginalChia said:
Here's what I think about that aspect of the Irving/Brookesmith talk: If you're going to stand up in front of a group of people to speak, I think it's only respectful to demonstrate good reasoning skills and at least a moderately well-informed grasp of the subjects you choose to bring up. Rob Irving did not do this with regard to crop circles, and there was no way I was going to let him keep prattling on without raising an objection (remember, they asked us to shout out questions throughout the talk instead of waiting until the end). After my final question he did at least admit that he was in favor of leaving the door open for the possibility of anomaly, but then he went on to refer to BLT Research's findings as "complete codswallop", without (predictably, by that point) bothering to back up his blanket statement.
Chia, you know how things are when people start talking about crop circles. Please forgive my shallow analysis of BLT's work on Saturday. You'll find a more in depth analysis in The Field Guide: The Art, History and Philosophy of Crop Circle Making. Here's a taste:

'Apart from his starting by presuming “genuineness”, the second most striking thing about Levengood’s early research is that it tended to confirm existing findings, as if the lay-researchers desperately looking to him for answers were being fed a diet of science they already knew. With Larsen withdrawn again into retirement, Dr Meaden had by this time accepted the evidence that some of his ideas were based on man-made circles (evidence Levengood simply ignored), and toned them down accordingly – as Professor Roy commented, the Plasma Vortex now had much less to do than it was invented to undertake. But more than this, not only had Levengood adopted theories abandoned by their parents but he raised them as his own. Elongated, bent and exploded nodes due to exposure to flash radiation from a “plasma vortex” is an idea now synonymous with Levengood. By design or not, he had succeeded in giving some ill-founded research the stamp of scientific approval.' (Irving/Lundberg 2006: 124)

I did indeed mean what I said about leaving the door open for anomaly, but (as far as science goes) let's not confuse this with the floodgates of pseudo anomaly (or "complete codswallop").

I enjoyed our brief exchange on Saturday, and wish you well in your research. If you come up with anything specific you think I should know you are welcome to email me at: [email protected]
_
 

zarathustraspake

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robirving1 said:
As a self-professed "good Fortean", zarathustraspake, you'll appreciate not only the perils of believing everything you hear but also everything you think you heard. What you thought you heard in this instance was not quite what was said. You heard my light-hearted remarks about Brookesmith's nocturnal activities quite correctly but they were rather unfair on him; that kind of damage was done long before 5am. As for mine, the remark I made about allowing me a free run to the loo was in reference to my suffering from an angry, seething tummy as a result of my eating too many peanuts the night before. Nothing to get too prudish about. In fact, I did save my projectile vomiting until after the talk, and it was a bit too soon afterwards for comfort. I seem to remember, looking at your photo, that you were in a front row aisle seat; you don't know how lucky you were, mate.
Okay, fair enough Rob. Get yourself some Gaviscon and I hope your tummy gets better soon.

It wasn't me in the front row, though. I was some distance back, safely away from any projectile vomiting.
 

AnyankaJ

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All in all an excellent UnCon, great venue - and a special year for me, as I have got myself an UnCon buddy after years of going on my own: my 18-year-old daughter came along. You may have noticed her. She's gorgeous. ;)

My main criticism would be the lack of synchronisation between the two strands of talks on Saturday. We had to leave Andy Roberts' presentation prematurely to ensure that we did not miss any of Gail-Nina Anderson's talk. Other than that, I prefer the two-strand option, as it allowed me to miss all the UFO stuff!

The most interesting bit of Paijmans' "Woman in Black" listing were the comments made by a woman in the audience right at the end. He was hard to follow, what with the combination of poor acoustics, mumbling, Dutch accent and over-speedy delivery.

The burlesque seemed awfully silly and amateurish, but was probably quite enjoyable for all those guys in the audience who usually don't get out much...

However, everything else was fab, especially my perennial favourite Gail-Nina Anderson, and Vanessa Toulmin's "Peculiar Entertainments". The latter was cause of my very favourite UnCon moment: a young woman near us completely lost it during the video of the dancing 'monkey' - she laughed so much that she nearly fell off her chair. Fascinating.
 

Timble2

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AnyankaJ said:
and Vanessa Toulmin's "Peculiar Entertainments". The latter was cause of my very favourite UnCon moment: a young woman near us completely lost it during the video of the dancing 'monkey' - she laughed so much that she nearly fell off her chair. Fascinating.
Yes, please ask Vanessa Toulmin back with more clips and weird entertainments (even if some people were wincing during the contortionist clips)
 
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Hello soundDust and anome_,

I had with me some 152 Mb of visual files, but the PC lacked the necessary software that I requested beforehand to be installed. Hence the one image.

I used contemporary quotes and citations, not a long list so you must have missed that point. I used these selected quotes to show a consistency in descriptions of the components of the make-up of the Woman In Black (height, clothing, agility and so forth).

There is of course wisdom in always trying to find a clear narrative structure when presenting new materials.

I did announce though that my lecture was a status report, explaining that I had ideas about her origin which I shared. But I dislike too much speculation.

My own experience was that the audience was attentive and sympathetic. The hall was filled when I started and when I had finished. I also got good feedback afterwards. Nevertheless, I am not being squeamish and will use your remarks as constructive criticism.:D

Sincere regards,

Theo
 

AnyankaJ

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Hi, Theo. It would have been interesting to have a little bit of analysis - an attempt to understand social and historical context, for example, or a look at the range of possible explanations for the sightings.
 
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Hello AnyankaJ,

Thanks for the criticism. I am very open as to how my lecture was received - either good or bad, as it helps me finetune my presentations of my materials. So, point well taken!

Kind regards,

Theo
 

SoundDust

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TheOriginalChia said:
SoundDust said:
Peter Brookesmith & Rob Irving's Celine and Julie Go Hoaxing promised an interesting debate about the people who hoax and the people who get taken in by them, unfortunately they delivered it to each other and the screen mostly - as one audience member near me pointed out. The crop circle heckler was annoying too, distracting them even more.
Hi there - I was going to respond with something along the lines of "I'm sorry you find proper logic annoying," but then I remembered that you had given me a shout-out earlier in your post! :) (I am both Original Chia and "crop circle heckler", I'm afraid).
No worries :) , that's more to do with my boredom of the whole crop circle thing, rather than the point you made, I knew the subject would be inevitably mentioned but wasn't happy at it being talked about more than necessary.
 

thenewmev2

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So ... The Burlesque. In a nutshell ,what was it? I went to the lecture about the Alan Godfrey abduction instead. Did I miss anything good?

On a sadder note, It was horrible when I read about Ken Campbell's passing a few months ago. I saw him close out the 2004 Uncon and he was hilarious - remember the two mins noise for John Peel? Genius. I had been really looking forward to seeing him again this year.
 

Stormkhan

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theopaijmans said:
I am very open as to how my lecture was received - either good or bad, as it helps me finetune my presentations of my materials. So, point well taken!
Kind regards,
Theo
Greetings! With respect - and from one soon to make his debut in public presentation - might I offer the following criticism;

Dont, please don't, read paragraphs and paragraphs of information from your sheets. Quality of PA aside, it tends to sound like a drone noise after a short time ... which is a shame since the subject - completely new to me - really interested me. I've been reliably told to save huge amounts of quotes and source material for the written word; your talk should be just that - a speech or presentation of your argument or conclusion.
Thus:
You could've summed up the Womans physical appearance, saying "in several reports", rather than what appeared to be you reciting paragraphs and paragraphs of press columns.
It's one thing delivering a speech, holding documented evidence of your conclusions, and another when you read out verbatim several thousand words which, while in reading very interesting, only sounds incredibly tedious.

I hope what I've said helps and, in honesty, I look forward to reading your work on The Woman In Black.
 

DrPaulLee

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Stormkahn, I do so agree. The Woman In Black talk seemed interesting in concept.

Theo, (and please don't take this as an overall complaint), your talk seemed laboured and difficult to follow, BUT your spontaneous, off-the-cuff replies on the Spring Heeled Jack panel were fasincating and rivetting - perhaps a recipe for future lectures...?

I've given talks to audiences, some of whom were hostile, but don't let it put you off (if it did). Just persevere!
 
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My personal summary of the UnCon?

Spring Heeled Jack I really enjoyed Mike Dash's talk and the panel. They really gave the feeling that some process was being made into understanding what was lay at the bottom of this mysterious figure's reported appearances. Although, as discussion in the bar area showed later, there's still lots of possible explanations left to speculate upon.

The Woman In Black Theo Paijman's talk may suffered slightly coming so quickly after Mike Dash's talk on Spring Heeled Jack, too. There are similarities. The acoustics were not great, Theo mumbled slightly and though his accent is by no means heavy, it was enough to make his talk sightly hard to follow. The exposition of different reports of sightings and encounters with the phenomenon and Theo's hesitation to offer any hard and fast explanations, or theories, were classically Fortean, but that also makes Fort's books, occasionally, hard to follow, as well. I did catch something of Theo's excitement at discovering such a comparatively little known phenomenon, by using the internet as a search tool. Definitely a sense of a work in progress.

I'm very glad that I stayed for the question & answer session, at the end, because Theo obviously knows this subject very well. Theo could have made more of how little known this phenomenon is and its obvious similarities to, 'Spring Heeled Jack'. Although, he did this, later, on the SHJ panel discussion.

Toads in the Hole and Animal Rains This was also a talk in the classical Fortean mold. Jan Bonderson drew attention to the similarities between the two phenomena and should how orthodox science has treated them both, through history, with differing outcomes, as animal rains became more accepted in the mainstream and entombed toads fell in and out of favour.

Psychedelia Forteana Andy Roberts talk on the use of LSD and hallucinogenics and of their impact on British Society, in the 1950's and 60's. I thoroughly enjoyed this one. Roberts' point, that the use of these drugs had fundamentally changed how many people view the World and reality, from something fixed and definite, to something socially constructed and at least partially, illusory, was well made.

I bought the book, as this is an area of cultural history that I'm particularly interested in. Although, there could have been a bit more about British popular literature and politics of the period, Andy Roberts, himself was good enough to point out to me, that his publishers had made constraints on the hardback edition, he actually hoped to expand on these in the paperback. :)

Spirit Photography This was an expanded version of a similar talk that Gordon Rutter gave, at the Not the UnCovention in Edinburgh, last year. It was a jolly good talk, with slides last year and I thoroughly enjoyed this new and updated version, too. :)

Folklorists and and Forteans: Friends, or Foes Paul Screeton's talk, thanks to, bad acoustics, being a bit mumbled and Screeton apparently lacking confidence, was a bit hard to follow, but interesting for me. I'd never heard of 'ostention' either. The apparent dichotomy, between folklore as narrative and Fortean phenomena as folklore, is bound to suffer from miscible boundaries, at times.

Peculiar Entertainments: Speciality Acts in Victorian and Edwardian Fairgrounds and Variety Theatres Vanessa Toulmin's talk, with slides and moving pictures, managed to be quite as mind blowing as when some of those acts first performed.

Especially the whole bit with the contortionist! :shock:

Out of the Cabinet: A Burlesque of the Victorian Seance Kittie Klaw's Burlesque troupe put on a good show, I thought. I couldn't quite work out if the risqué and off-colour songs were actual period pieces, or not. The dancers and costumes were really quite charming (as Doctor Watson might have said).

Definitely, something to been seen by gaslight and limelight, though. :)

Great Stuff! I can hardly wait until next year! :yeay:
 

AnyankaJ

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Ostension/ostention

I'd never heard that word until the various mentions on this thread. However, both spellings get an airing in the current FT (242) on page 62 in Richard Alexander's review of Paul Screeton's Mars Bar and Mushy Peas: "He takes a detour through stories ostensibly about ostension, where celebs and others act out an urban legend for real. He even manages a typology of ostentions..."

Dang, I really need to look up what it means now.
 

StevieNice

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H_James said:
well, I can see that everyone else enjoyed the burlesque - I just can't for the life of me understand why ;)
I'm with you on this - wlaked out after 15 minutes to catch the policeman abduction case talk instead.
 

__23__

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Hello,

first post here, in fact first time I have been on this forum, I joined up after being it was said that this was the place to leave comments about the Uncon.

I am very surprised reading through that there has not been more comments about the sound, apart from the odd grumble. Having been coming to the Uncons for many years now, this is one thing which irritates. It really is of very poor quality, and quite frankly, not loud enough. If anything, it seems to be getting worse. Simple things, like checking microphones are working before someone starts their talk, and that radio microphones can reach the back of the audience, its not complicated.

Sorry to come across moaning on my first post, but the smallest of improvements would make a really big difference. We are coming along to hear people talking afterall.

Drew
 

GailNina

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Dang! From assorted comments of various flavours I gather that the Brookesmith-Irving debate was one that raised a lot of interest, and for obvious reasons I had to miss it.
And thanks, Anomie, for kind words. Always appreciated, even if I would rather have been hoaxing with Celine et Julie at the time.
 

Marrowpod

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From the Duke of Mendoza, Greetings.

Gail-Nina, the mourning is mutual. I was well cheesed-off I had to be deprived of your wisdom. Ah well. Maybe next time.

Neeow... I don't know if anyone is still watching this thread: even if no one is, there are a few points raised by various FTMB members that deserve addressing, if only for the record.

H. James said: "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?)"

If you had to put up with dumbos firing flashguns in your face, the blaze of overbright podium lights, and some of the faces in the front row, you'd do the same. Observant attenders may have noticed I wear dark glasses all the time, which along with the hat at least has the advantage of frightening the living streetlights out of passing hoodies. There is only so much cool those bro's can take.

SoundDust remarked: "Peter Brookesmith & Rob Irving's Celine and Julie Go Hoaxing promised an interesting debate about the people who hoax and the people who get taken in by them, unfortunately they delivered it to each other and the screen mostly -- as one audience member near me pointed out."

Um, err... but our slot was billed as a conversation. (See printed notes to the programme.) Perhaps one of us should have made that clear at the time for latecomers and the lazy. We never intended to speak to the audience in the conventional "here's our talk" fashion.

Zarathustraspake gave birth to a bit of urban legend: "...the two of them had, by their own admission, been up drinking until 5am and were both clearly in a deep state of hangover, [and] I have to say that they really should have a bit more respect for their audience than that." Well, I didn't and don't admit any such thing. Check your goddamn facts. Rob, in his post, didn't exactly help by remarking that "You heard my light-hearted remarks about Brookesmith's nocturnal activities quite correctly but they were rather unfair on him; that kind of damage was done long before 5am". Well, not quite. It is a curious fact that I haven't had a hangover since one day in 1984 upon a Cycladean isle, when I admit a quantity of rather moreish Metaxas rather did for most of the following day.

Truth is, Rob, John Lundberg and I completed an engrossing converation at about 3:00am -- about an hour before my usual bedtime [yeah, I've heard all the jokes about sleeping in a coffin]. Since I recall the content of that discussion altogether clearly I infer that I wasn't pissed. I went to sleep about 5:00am without further resort to vinous liquors and crawled from the casket shortly after 10:00am. Having rather a lot of respect for my audiences, I regret that it showed (it usually doesn't, but I'm older than I was). If I was suffering from anything it was lack of sleep, plain and simple. If you want to know about hangovers, address your queries to Paul Screeton. And if you want to know the really horrible truth, I drank a lot more on Saturday night and felt a lot better the following morning than I did on the previous one. Whose round is it?

It wasn't till later that I learned quite how ill Rob had been on Saturday. There may be things you can moan about à propos UnCon 08, but the man deserves one gold medal for his soldierly demeanour and another for being a great trouper, giving no hint of the pain he was in, and deciding that the show must go on. In the circumstances he did a great job and in my eyes is a bloody hero.

Especially in dealing with the "heckler", TheOriginalChia, whose intervention we had indeed invited and which did not distract us. She remarked that "I think it's only respectful to demonstrate good reasoning skills and at least a moderately well-informed grasp of the subjects you choose to bring up. [...] I am not satisfied, as Irving seems to be, to pick and choose evidence to fit a pre-conceived worldview. This type of thinking does not get us any closer to the truth, if indeed it is out there. I, for one, am going to keep looking."

Rob's response to Chia's intervention was a perfectly phrased and timed piece of stagecraft, a gem I shall always treasure. Suggesting that he has little grasp of crop circles and picks and chooses his arguments is a bit like suggesting Stephen Hawking should bone up a bit on Boyle's Law for his GCSE. Rob has his own reasons for "admitting anomalies" into the cropfields, and I am not going to risk misrepresenting him by suggesting what they may be here. But he is, as they say, gray in the making of crop formations -- rather more than just moderately well-informed. He is also a master of deep irony and high ambiguity, as befits the several-layered artist he is. Strictly on my own behalf I can say that Chia's remarks are among the most hilarious I've encountered in anomalistics. Complex crop art is made by people, full point. Learn to live with it. If we'd had the half a day that the material we had to hand could have consumed, the reasons why that is true, and why it's at least as interesting to a fortean as any other interpretation, would have become clear.

AnyankaJ noted that her [?] "main criticism would be the lack of synchronisation between the two strands of talks on Saturday. We had to leave Andy Roberts' presentation prematurely to ensure that we did not miss any of Gail-Nina Anderson's talk."

This was unintended, to say the least. It turned out that the UoW's software/kit/whatever couldn't digest Andy's PowerPoint presentation [or Rob's and mine either], and some scurrying around to make the whole thing work delayed the start of that afternoon's session by a quarter-hour. Not our fault, but sorry just the same.

An almost-final remark. While gripes about the technical problems are fair enough, and I'd agree that some speakers are not always the best presenters of some very fine material -- you know, some of you do come across as an ungrateful bunch of buggers, really. Hardly any of the comment on this thread has actually addressed the content of what people said, or engaged with any of the arguments offered. And it's not as if anyone gets paid, y'know. Think about it.

That grump over, as a veteran of UnCons since the day they began, I have to say that on the stand and backstage the 2008 UnCon was one of the best ever.
And it sold out. I hope this means it will continue for ever -- because then when I'm dead I can haunt it.
 

GailNina

Fresh Blood
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Do ghosts need dark glasses, or would that just be an afterlife affectation?

I see that your "conversation" continues to provide the liveliest topic on this board, so I still regret missing it (to the extent that I'm feeling obliged now to open a bottle of wine as a consolatory gesture.)

You didn't miss much in my own contribution, which was fairly light in tone though lavishly illustrated.I must say that I did get lots and lots of gratifying compliments on my furry teaching aid (and there's not many women of my age can say that...)
 

Marrowpod

Bon Viveur & Cynic
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Un billet doux pour Gail-Nina par Julie dans son bateau

I don't know much about ghosts, although according to Patrick Huyghe they watch you -- I mean, one -- in the shower. Grubby beasts. But since some of them reportedly wear clothes, to keep warm I suppose (or is it to stop us watching them in the shower?), then in due course I guess I may need the spectral shades. Only one way to find out really. Hmm...p'raps they'll let me be really poncey and affect a spooky snubby .38 Special, just like old times!

At some point in the future, and I hope before donning spectral spex and heat, the naughty Irving and I will be constructing an article or two for FT which, we hope, will communicate what we really wanted to say at UnCon. I hope this hasn't put you into a state of unbearable tension. Nah.

As for your furry teaching aid, good God, are you incorrigible madam or what. But perhaps I know the answer already.
 

SoundDust

Justified & Ancient
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Duke_Mendoza said:
If you had to put up with dumbos firing flashguns in your face, the blaze of overbright podium lights, and some of the faces in the front row, you'd do the same.
I'm glad I wasn't in the front row, or using my camera, cheeky sod ;)

Actually though, that sort of remark is fairly telling as a response to the criticisms of not respecting your audience enough to bother engaging with them. I do admit that the 3am conversation might have been more worth paying for, certainly if it was like any of the late night conversations on fortean subjects I heard over the weekend by various board members - perhaps a few beers would've loosened up the Hoaxing talk.

Finally, Kudos to Theo Paijman, who has dealt with criticisms of his talk with admirable humility and restraint.
 
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Duke_Mendoza said:
From the Duke of Mendoza.

If you had to put up with dumbos firing flashguns in your face, the blaze of overbright podium lights, and some of the faces in the front row, you'd do the same.
So who are the ugly mugs who unsettle you so? What kind of UnCon audience member makes you want to pull your hat over your eyes?
 
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to those concerned,

Thank you for your constructive comments. I enjoyed the days of UnCon very much and I hope everybody here did too!

Sincere regards,

Theo
 
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