RogerBW's Blog

Thoughts on an Eastercon: Follycon 05 April 2018

I spent last weekend at the Eastercon. With images; cc-by-sa on everything.

We discovered on the way out that Prohibition had been enacted all over the UK. Or possibly someone just wasn't thinking about what he was writing. (Seen at Donington Park services.)

Mixed messages at this village church.

We got to the convention over country roads, many of which were not flooded.

For a wonderful change from recent Eastercon venues, this was in a place that had a bit of character - the Majestic in Harrogate. All right, they were suffering a bit from scaffolding.

It's not the convention's fault that the hotel was bought by a chain six months after the convention was booked in, and is still settling down. It's being given some internal and external repairs; but more importantly, the staff were mostly cheerful, which marks it out from most hotels.

Oddly, though, for a place with conference facilities for a thousand or more, they did a remarkably poor job of getting food and drink to people: one of the two bars only ever had one staff member, meals took an hour or more to arrive, and generally things didn't work terribly well. At one point there were three separate billing procedures operating in the restaurant (pay as you arrive, pay when you order, pay as you leave) depending on which menu you ordered from and which staff member you spoke to. To do the staff credit, they did do their best to fix this as the weekend went on.

Beer was competently organised, and ran out on Sunday night, which is better than not running out.

The hotel room came with its own pocket labyrinth, and was generally Confused. Also cool enough for me, which may account for all the complaints about the place being too cold.

Of course next year's convention checked the spelling of the names of the guests of honour before they printed five thousand beermats. Why do you ask?

Fannish Stacking Behaviour in action.

Never seen a pint glass sponsored by a firm of solicitors before. "Not sure where you are? Had an accident and it can't have been your fault? Call…"

Early morning crow outside the hotel.

A fine and well-hidden lurking place that most people didn't seem to find.

Gents' loo downstairs.

Sunday morning was for golf-ball-spotting at nearby RAF Menwith Hill – made somewhat challenging by extensive tree cover. (These photos by vatine; I was driving.)

Post-ironic? Retro-ironic?

  1. Posted by Dr Bob at 09:20am on 05 April 2018

    Wow! That Gents loos looks big enough to hold programme items in. None of the Ladies was that palatial.

    A hotel without aircon - hurrah! No con crud - hurrah! My room was too hot, but I solved this by turning the radiator off and opening the window - hurrah! Can we have low tech hotels from now on please?

  2. Posted by RogerBW at 09:29am on 05 April 2018

    True, it felt a bit dry at times but I survived four days of talking a lot with throat basically intact.

    I definitely prefer an older hotel with a bit of character, like this or the Adelphi, to the generic modern hotels that Eastercons have used of late. But given that the last pleasant hotel before this one was Jersey in 2002, it's clearly not a popular option.

  3. Posted by Dr Bob at 04:00pm on 06 April 2018

    Perhaps pleasant hotels are a dying breed? Or just too expensive for the average Eastercon?

  4. Posted by RogerBW at 04:38pm on 06 April 2018

    (I think I mentioned this when we were chatting on Saturday.) As far as cost and availability go: when I was involved in the 1990s, a big hotel would be mostly empty at Easter if it didn't get the con. Now it may well be able to get in Indian weddings, and/or business meetings, so it won't be as keen to have a bunch of people who, while they don't do damage, are often a bit awkward (wanting real ale rather than generic fizz, cheap food, etc.). I think that's also a big part of why room rates aren't as reduced as they used to be.

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