UnCon 2004 reviews/discussion

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Anonymous

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#31
What no in-depth reviews yet? I'll get the ball rolling with Saturday.

First, I just want to say, Speakers of UnCon: STOP reading your talks out. A disappointingly large proportion of presentations featured huge chunks of text being declaimed in a fabulously undynamic monotone.

Marina Warner did exactly this in her talk on ectoplasm - it was not an auspicious beginning. While it might be quite interesting in book form, it was pretty tedious to listen to. I thought she was an academic, she must have given and suffered through enough seminars by now to get it right. At any rate, ectoplasm was conspicuous by its absence for much of her talk. I found her attempts to connect it to luminiferous ether and the clouds associated with angels and cherubim rather unconvincing. It reminded me of an undergraduate essay.

Fortunately, Lloyd Pye got us back on track. He was brilliant. Before we even got to the skull, he was laying the smack-down on the establishment interpretation of the newly discovered floriensis "hobbits" (they're actually little yetis, in case you're wondering). I don't know much about skulls, so I can't really judge how much of his comparison between the human skull and the starchild skull was important, but goddamn, the man was entertaining as he went about it. I loved his comment about Einstein's brain and the suggestion that the star"child" might in fact be several hundred years old, with regularly replaced teeth. This reminded me of a shark. All I could think at the end was "smarter than Einstein, deadlier than a shark, lives for 400 years - we don't need to worry about the starchild, we need to worry about what killed it".

Jan Bondeson's talk on the lost Dauphin and Kasper Hauser (I was expecting him to reveal at the end "that they were in fact ONE and THE SAME PERSON!", but he didn't) was as level-headed and informative as you'd expect, although he did perhaps put too much text on his slides and then proceed to read them out. He also reminds me a bit of Lieutenant Gruber from Allo Allo, but I don't know if that's a good or a bad thing.

Andy Roberts' account of contacteeism in the UK in the 1950s was also good; funny without being too sneery. I certainly hadn't heard of the case he described - typical space brothers from Venus fare, but with a charmingly quaint British feel. And a bit of Jesus on top.

I'd not heard the documentary or read anything else about it, so I liked Peter Lamont's talk on the Indian Rope Trick a lot - he was very very funny, as well as presenting a thorough investigation. Perhaps my favourite of all the talks.

Paul Devereux, on the other hand, was dreadful. Probably the worst talk of the weekend. An extended pointless, negative whinge about the western materialist "paradigm" and how ESP is definitely totally true, and scientists are just too scared to face up to the reality. It's got something to do with quantum physics, apparently. The evidence for this conspiracy of silence against ESP is that, er, Devereux can't get his books published. He then took a pop at "septics" like Richard Wiseman (not named, but it was obvious) at one end of the scale and other new-age investigators at the other. Apparently, their new age bilge, is, well, bilge, but Devereux's new age bilge is top class. How to tell the difference was not apparent to me. I was, frankly, insulted by how poor this talk was. In turn, I also inadvertantly insulted Mrs Devereux, who took umbrage at my complaints about the talk. Hadn't realised she was sitting next to me but one. Whoops! Would feel a bit sheepish, but then I remembered I paid good money for this.

The Richard Freeman & Jon Downes double act was as good as you'd expect. I thought Richard Freeman's account of their (unfortunately fruitless) search for the cigau and orang pendek started a little slowly, but he soon got into his stride. Basically, they spent a lot of time struggling through inhospitable conditions, then had to turn around again, but it was a very enjoyable journey. Jon Downes' speculation on the identity of chupacabras was particularly intriguing. An eccentric pleasure, as always. Someone give them millions of pounds and a round-the-clock documentary team, we are talking national treasures here.
 

SoundDust

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#32
ARRRRRRRRGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHH!!!

I really should've got a digital camera, none of the second reel of film I used has come out, so I've just got 14 photo's mostly from thursday, and some pictures from the NRM at york. The photo's I've got are:

1 of me not looking at the camera
1 of me looking at the camera and drinking beer
...
1 of Flash looking at the karaoke list
1 of me with my hands in front of my face
1 of VQ, with me just on the edge of the picture
1 of VQ and a pint of guiness (?)
1 of Flash still with the karaoke list
1 of Flash that's out of focus (I didn't take that one)
1 of Flash again
1 of me in the bar again
1 of the egyptian staircase with Flash and Min just at the edge of the picture
2 of Colin, Min, Flash and VQ in the hostel room, not looking at the camera


:mad: :rolleyes:
 
A

Anonymous

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#35
Paul Devereux's Talk

It was, I thought, a bit of a whinge, as James M says. It struck me later, that perhaps western materialistic culture has, over the past decade or two, neatly placed "the Paranormal", and even Paranormal Research into the cubby hole marked "Entertainment".

And as in talks, so with books. If it ain't got a story, or it's not "entertaining" it's not going to get a mainstream publisher interested.

Freeman and Downes. Now, That's Entertainment!
 

Min Bannister

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#37
fLeebLe said:
*ignores Swans earlier comments*

:rolleyes:
*Becomes even more intrigued*:D

I also agree about Paul Devereux. I couldn't help thinking that hardly anyone gets their research published in New Scientist so why should he be any different and why take such affront at it?

I have to say though that the other ones I saw that came after it were so good I had quite forgotten about that one.:)
 

Bullseye

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#38
Well, a big thank you to FT for the event, and a bigger thanks to all the FTMBers who made it all such an enjoyable weekend. I had a really good time and it was a pleasure to meet and talk (and drink with) all you good folks.
Much esoteric talk, such as "What pub are we going to next?".
Spent too much on books,as did most of the others I think.And made some "cyber"friends into real ones, thanks again folks (and I did'nt get a slap from anyone !;) )
 

Timble2

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#39
Alan Alford the – Singing Pyramid, claims that the Kings chamber of the Great Pyramid was a resonator that made the Pyramid produce mysterious sounds until it was cracked by an earthquake. Interesting as another example of alternative archaeology – but less than convincing since there’s no accounts or legends of the pyramid actually making noises. Saying that that’s possibly because there’s very few records from the period between the building of the Great Pyramid and the Pyramid Texts, isn’t a convincing explanation.

The fact that the tops of the granite beams aren’t flat like the bottom and look a bit like the keys of a xylophone or musical scale, doesn’t mean they were tuned.

The chamber resonates at 30Hz, well it was going to resonate at some pitch. The fact that 30Hz has the effect of the deep bass in heavy metal is neither here nor there. (No one made a joke about rock music)

The ‘air shafts’ weren’t passage ways for the soul of the king to the stars because the Egyptian concept of the soul was as metaphysical entity that wouldn’t need a door.
Which doesn’t tally with the ‘false doors’ found in Egyptian tombs to allow the spirit to go forth by day – the spirit needed the idea of a door if not a physical door.

Could go on, but running out of lunch break.

BTW Jima maybe someone was practicing anti-thoughtography on your film as they didn’t want their image revealed.

I agree Freeman and Downes were quality. The Rev was entertaining too.

What was Brookesmith rambling on about? It was really only a extended ITHM (or my to my Dad or Sister) and not as interesting as a lot of the ITHM on the board.

And its great to be able to put more faces to names from the board.
 

CygnusRex

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#40
Re: Paul Devereux's Talk

wonkydog said:
It was, I thought, a bit of a whinge, as James M says. It struck me later, that perhaps western materialistic culture has, over the past decade or two, neatly placed "the Paranormal", and even Paranormal Research into the cubby hole marked "Entertainment".

And as in talks, so with books. If it ain't got a story, or it's not "entertaining" it's not going to get a mainstream publisher interested.

Freeman and Downes. Now, That's Entertainment!
To your first point, this was amply displayed in the Docutainment programme last night about Oliver the upright chimp.
It was littered with words like "Humanzee" and references to his exploitation by lascivious Japanese television and their offer of an actress to sleep with him, and then went on to heavily imply that he was the product of just such a mating (this being the almost entire gist of the hour long show)
Only at the very end did the scientific evidence kick-in and the much more interesting hypothosis that he was in fact from an unknown chimpanzee subspecies
What I draw from this is the fact that the makers appear to assume the discovery of an entire subspecies that shares a trait we as humans had assumed was uniquely ours, is not as interesting as the implication that an African villager may have shagged a chimp.
Paul Devereux was right to point out the way the media/scientific establishment treat any area that comes under the Fortean umbrella, but it didn't require an hour to do it, and it's global and not a directed personally at him.

Second point, Freeman and Downes, pure class
 

escargot

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#41
I very much enjoyed Alan Alford's Singing Pyramid talk even though I expected it to sound totally barking. Not until the fresh air hit me did I realise that, yup, barking it was indeed. :D

Ken Campbell didn't impress me. It's rumoured that this was because of his enthusiasm for a certain deceased wireless-based personality but no, it was because his talk was a load of rambling dung.

I am also concerned that his language was coarse and profane, schoolboyishly so, and feel that this was unlikely to go down well with the Religious Society of Friends whose building we were using.

It's a lovely venue and it'd be a shame if we weren't invited back.

I actually considered heckling the silly old sod to point out his disrespect but on reflection decided not to risk being torn limb from limb by loyal Forteans and instead I split and went for a brew.

Well, I and one other person did. :D Hardly a mass walkout.
 

Mighty_Emperor

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#43
escargot said:
So who is this?
Caution - one of the clues is a red herring.
My guess is that he is the kind of person who, every time he turns round, has his pint spilt - the shot eve misses off the little red fez he wasn't wearing.
 
A

Anonymous

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#44
Timble said:
What was Brookesmith rambling on about?
Yes, rambling was the word. Dear me, that was dull. His description of the leprechaun (all green and drooping) made me think he had just mis-seen a plant. And I think we could have done without the hugely long video of the Irish fox hunt.

Disappointed with Gary Lachman's talk, too. I wish he had done the general occult in politics talk. Instead he just read out his forthcoming article for FT. A shame, because the potential for a genuinely interesting talk was all there. The slides could have been informative, instead they were merely distracting.

I am also not a particular Fanthorpe Fan, and I found his speculations on the Templars (surely the most over-exposed bit of Forteana not needing a retread) fact-free piffle.

But to show I liked something on Sunday, Gail Nina Anderson's cross-cultural excursion on harpies and whatnot was just as brilliant as last year's talk. Marina Warner should have been taking notes.

And I did enjoy the singing pyramid talk, despite the lack of any evidence for any singing.

Ian Simmons struggled manfully with illness through his Skinwalker Ranch talk. If you've read the article in FT, there was nothing new, but the parallels with the case in FT45 and in (that unimpeachably reliable source) Timothy Good's Alien Liaison were nice to have pointed out. The big problem is that almost no-one knows anything about the case, and those that do ain't saying.
 

Cult_of_Mana

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#45
escargot said:
So who is this?
Caution - one of the clues is a red herring.
Isn't that Sally's bag?

I found Ken Campbell tedious too. I'm glad I wasn't the only one. ;)
 

original_fLeebLe

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#46
Emperor said:
My guess is that he is the kind of person who, every time he turns round, has his pint spilt
my poor poor pint :sad:
anyway i never realised i made a pint glass look like a half till now :eek!!!!:
 

CygnusRex

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#47
fLeebLe said:
my poor poor pint :sad:
anyway i never realised i made a pint glass look like a half till now :eek!!!!:
Yes, almost like your drinking in munchkin land
 

escargot

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#50
May have to sound a Hunk alert.
arooga arooga
Photo of Swan imminent! :laughing:
 

SoundDust

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#51
Timble said:
BTW Jima maybe someone was practicing anti-thoughtography on your film as they didn’t want their image revealed.
but the hat was in the way anyway:(



on a technical note, I thought they could've checked the microphones and projectors were working before the talks started, it didn't help Marina Warners lecture any at the start. The CFZ lecture was quite good, but they could've put more photo's up of the creatures they did see, or maybe less of the ones of them, they just made it look like their holiday photo's:D
 

escargot

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#52
but the hat was in the way anyway
Such flimsy obstacles are easily penetrated by Molluscvision!


Yup, the CFZ talk would've benefited from more in-depth Death Worm coverage!
I'll definitely be back to see their promised Giant Worms and Horned Snakes.

Hmmm, there's a theme here. :rolleyes:
 

gordonrutter

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#53
jima said:
but the hat was in the way anyway:(
on a technical note, I thought they could've checked the microphones and projectors were working before the talks started, it didn't help Marina Warners lecture any at the start. The CFZ lecture was quite good, but they could've put more photo's up of the creatures they did see, or maybe less of the ones of them, they just made it look like their holiday photo's:D
re the mikes - batteries run out unfortunately, and one probelm with video clips - the projector needs a few seconds to warm up and people were not letting the AV guy know when they wanted it on and so they just launched into the video without waiting for the projector to be ready.

Gordon
 

anne_of_28_days

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#54
raising my hand in the back of the room -- i have a few questions.

how many people attended?
is it always held in London?
who traveled the farthest to attend?
 

beakboo1

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#56
I rather enjoyed the Ken Campbell talk, I liked the way it all tied up at the end, and Hubcap and I want to find out more about the cult he spoke of.
We may have seemed a little anti social at times, please put it down to major tiredness, and a rather unwell Hubcap. I was sorry we didn't join you all at the pub on Saturday night, sounds like you had fun. Though whether the Japanese tourist had fun is another matter.
It was nice to meet a few more of you in the flesh, as it were, and what gorgeous people you all are!
 

Cult_of_Mana

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#57
I didn't get to chat to some people due to a bad attack of shyness. Sorry. Hope to meet you again at some other meet.
 

Tyger_Lily

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#58
Apparently I was there masquerading as a mental red head with a dodgy barnet who was appallingly behaved.

Not much change from usual then! :D
 

escargot

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#60
Hey Mana, your presence was noted.
click
And yours, James.
click

No need to be shy. This was my first Uncon and I wasn't shy, in fact I made a thorough nuisance of myself among these good peeps. :D

And I bet there are loads of lurkers who've looked at the FT website and popped onto here for a shufty.

Yes, you over there. ;)
 
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