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treble, songworm


It's the last day of Sasquan, and I'm leaving relatively early on the last day. In this case, because it's a Wednesday-Sunday con and the all-night filk turned out to still be Saturday, I headed almost directly from the after-filk breakfast to the airport.

Here's a sort of limited review, in the form of comments on one aspect and a song about another:

  1. It's great that recent Worldcons are starting to have a filk Guest of Honor. But here's a thought: If your filk GoH is a performer (as has always been the case for U.S. Worldcons and maybe always will be), how about giving them a concert set? A normal standalone one for grownups, I mean. Tom Smith was scheduled for a kid concert, an outdoor Artist Vs. Singer item, and as halftime entertainment for the Masquerade. The last is a nice idea since it gives the performer more exposure -- a large captive audience -- and the people attending the Masquerade something to watch during what I guess is a dead spot in the schedule during judging. But it's no substitute for a concert for people who actually came to see the performer. Some of us may not want to sit through an often-long costuming event in order to see the music event.
  2. Re my one panel (not counting bubble blowing): If a participant is bored by the idea of talking about songwriting, don't put them on a songwriting panel whose description is "our experts will tell you what works and what doesn't". If as someone on Programming you agree with the idea that panelists should perform sample songs, don't put two non-performers on your three-person panel, and use the word "show" instead of "tell". Part of the problem in this case might have been the pent-up demand on the part of both the GoH and certain audience members to have a filk concert. I expected to talk about the songwriting process, and had thought about using the two parodies I wrote of Tom Smith songs as examples, but I never got a chance.
  3. I don't know if this will make sense to people who didn't witness the effect I'm talking about, but here's my attempt to capture the atmosphere, literally, of First Night and the morning after. It would be an exaggeration to say it was like being on another planet; the air was breathable, except Friday night, and even then a wet handkerchief was enough to make it breathable.

    See the summer sunshine filter through the forest fires,
    The sun still struggling to shine.
    It's this smoky summer that I find so very strange
    This smoky sullen summertime.

    The sun it hangs like egg yolk,
    Dim and subdued:
    A red-hot coal, or the golden goose's brood.
    It makes parks turn pink.
    It's a forest's surest sign.
    The slightly surreal sunlight of the Spokane summertime
    That surely is a forest fire's sign.

    There's no stranger setting, no locale that feels so weird,
    Fitting science fiction more.
    In the whole of fandom, not a single other con
    Provides this right outside your door!

    The sun it hangs like…

    When your Worldcon's not as otherworldly as you'd wish,
    And the filk has not been fun,
    Remember: There’s no need to take a trip aboard a rocket ship
    To walk beneath a strange new sun!

    It hangs like ...

    (after "All About Berries" by Julia Ecklar)

    (Edit: I thought of a better description of the Wednesday night appearance, "red-hot coal", than what I first wrote, "bloodshot eye".)


I thought I recognized that scansion! Very nice!

I hope you had a good time at the con despite scheduling oddities, and wish you a safe and convenient trip home.
I very much agree about the concert thing. On the one hand, I like the idea of inflicting our most talented performers (and Tom is absolutely that) on non-filk audiences, because at least a few of them may be filkers and not know it yet. On the other, I have no interest in masquerades, costumes or pageantry, and didn't want to sit through all that nonsense to hear music.

Where I don't agree is on the severity of the smoke on Friday night. I personally have asthma, but was able to get through it by increasing my intake of cough medicine and use of inhalers. One of our filkers was not so fortunate and ended up spending time in a local urgent care clinic. People's tolerance for such things can vary considerably.
I can't say I experienced any acute effects, such as coughing or severe shortness of breath or anything like that. I was more concerned with avoiding the long-term effects that getting lots of particles lodged in my lungs could cause. It was so thick at one point that I could see it while crossing the river, not just as a haze in thick layers. And my hotel, the Holiday Inn Express, was further away than some and up a steep hill, so it required more breathing to get to.
I may have been exaggerating calling that a disagreement.

3 observations:

1. I was promised that Spokane is largely smoke-free. Um....

2. I'd hoped to get away from the smoke when I flew home. No such luck. Denver has captured a lot of the smoke, and has even had the red sun.

3. I have a pain running from my throat to my ear. Not sure if it's the smoke or an infection, or the combo platter. If it's not better in 2 days, off to the doc for me.
Hope you feel better and that Denver recovers from its secondhand smoke.