BristolCon Artist Shoutout #1: Talis Kimberley

BristolCon laid on entertainment for the die-hards that wouldn't leave after the Con closed, and we were extremely lucky that said entertainment was provided by Talis, ably abetted by by Chantelle Smith on vocals and Simon Fairbourn (I believe) playing so many instruments it was almost surreal.

I love Talis is informal style. I hope she wont be offended if I say it the very unpolished nature of her performance that makes it so immediate and personal - and I mean personal in the sense that you get to feel she is playing for you, not just as a gig. It was wonderful, and I still have the refrain of the Plastic Spoon song earworming me days after.

Simon played (not simultaneously) Oboe, bass acoustic guitar, penny whistle and trumpet. Thinking about it, I'm lying; he did play both guitar and penny whistle sort of at the same time. Credit where its due after all. I have to admit (having been accused of assault with intent on a guitar myself), I enjoyed watching Simon play almost as much as I enjoyed listening to Talis and Chantelle.

So there you have it. Swindon based, www.talis.net for more info, being listened to even as I type this. Go see her if you get a chance, or buy an album if you like really personal folk. And I haven't even mentioned the knitting.

And if you folks ever see this - thanks again :)


BristolCon, how many ways do I love thee?

Well that was a wonderful surprise. Let me start by saying that the BristolCon team should be on the honours list, or up for a Nobel, or something. A huge thank you to all of the people who worked so hard to put it all togather and make it the best Con I've been to this year (fx: thunderous round of applause, wolf whistles, etc)

See, I'm actually torn as to whether I should tell people how good it was. Kind of like when you find a quiet, relaxing, untouched greek island; you want to tell everybody how great it was, but you dont want to give away the location. BristolCon is a bit like that in that what makes it work is its size, and the fact that its a single day. I do worry that if it gets too successful, it will lose that loverly 'small con' feel.

And, of course, they gave me my first 'Guest' status and my first Panel (where, I am told, I 'did all right' with which I am content :) )

I spent so much time catching up with good friends, and making new ones, I actually didn't get to go to many panels, but that was part of the joy. There was enough space set aside for socialising (and free tea and coffee) that it never felt as though I should be worrying about too much else.

There will be a few more posts over the next couple of days about some of the new people I met, but I wanted to get this out while it was fresh in my mind. Thanks again, BristolCon


The cost of 'free' speech

This article on the BBC's website today tells the tale of an individual who thought it was appropriate to celebrate the deliberate and merciless deaths of two female police officers responding to what they thought was a follow up to a burglary call.

Barry Thew was arrested for wearing the T-shirt, then sentenced to four months for a public order offence, to which he pleaded guilty. I suppose we must give him credit for that. I suppose we must also cut the man some slack and consider he may have come from a disadvantaged background, or had had previous unfavourable dealings with the police. I'm not sure that excuses him from wearing a slogan so crass and disgusting.

However this case brings up an awkward discussion on the right to free speech. The man, however disgusting, had an opinion, however foul, and stated it. I happen not to agree with him, but I'll bet there are others who do.

But what about the off-colour joke made too soon after a disaster (Matthew Jones, jailed), or the anguish of an outraged fan that comes out in a distressing text? The man who texted that Tom Daley's deceased father would be disappointed in his Olympic performance was also beaten up by the authorities (although not charged), both using a rusty part of the Misuse of Telecommunications legislation. I very much doubt I would get the same prompt service from the police if someone started to troll me here.

Free speech has never been free; there has always been a cost to using it. Whether that cost has been the disapproval of ones peers who disagree, or the cost of taking a moment to consider if what you are about to say actually enriches us all, it is still a cost. I'm just not sure if the cost should be determined by the police and the CPS.


Another first...

I shall be going to BristolCon next weekend. I was born in Bristol, and left there when I was only 16 to seek my fortunes in London.

BristolCon has a great reputation already, so its really nice to be able to go to a Con in my home town.

Then things started to get better; very kindly the organisers put me on the Guest list, rather then just the member list - and then yesterday I found I've been invited to take part in my first ever Con panel. Quite appropriately, its on keeping oneself out of too many confrontations online.

I am really excited about this, and will have to work extra hard to keep my foot out of my mouth :)


YA Convention, Anybody?

Whilst at Fantasy Con this year I had a chat with a YA publisher and was utterly delighted to find out that she was considering putting together a convention, in the UK, to promote Young Adult entertainment.

Now I know there's a 'whose interested' gone out, but I'm not sure how wide the circulation is meant to be, so I'm not going to name names.

However, if you have an interest in seeing such a thing happen, make a comment or mail me and I will pass all the comments along.

I think this is long overdue - but its going to be a real challenge to put together. Please support the idea if you are a YA author, or if you are involved with YA publishing or media.