UT Convention Reports

h o m e | w h o   w e   a r e | o u r   p r o j e c t s | s c h e d u l e | m & u l | s & h t | l i n k s

b l a t h e r i n g | b l a t h e r c h a t | o r d e r   o u r   m u s i c | o u r  w e b l o g

UT Does Didgeri
(Our Adventures Across The Pond)

(last updated Feb. 19/2000)

Wed. Feb. 2 | Thurs. Feb. 3 | Fri. Feb 4 | Sat. Feb. 5 | Sun. Feb 6 | Mon. Feb. 7

    Allison: I was teasing last week that my con report this time out was going to consist of writing "See Erica's report -here-. See Phil's report -here-. They've said it all. The End.", but I've been convinced to write a bit more than that :). OK, I've been convinced to write -a lot- more than that... Here we go.

Wednesday, February 2, 2000

    Allison: After a long two year period of excited anticipation it was finally time for Didgeri Douze. Dave Clement flew from Winnipeg to meet us in Toronto and then it was off to England! The flight went smoothly, though I found it very difficult to sleep on the plane.

    Jodi: I have to admit that I always do too. Especially the way they squash people on to those planes... Still, a little discomfort was *well* worth the result. ;-) And I got to catch up with Dave throughout the flight so that made it much more fun.

    Debbie: We had a bit of a minor crisis just before leaving...Allison's ticket still hadn't arrived! The travel agent reassured us we'd be able to get a new one, but would have to pay a $90 administration fee. Fortunately the airport people felt sorry for us and found a way to reissue the ticket without us having to pay the fee. Yay, more money to spend in England! :-)

    Allison: My first view of England from the air was a magical moment- all these irregular green fields like a patchwork quilt. You have to understand I've wanted to visit England all my life and I was so excited to finally be here! Passing over London, seeing Tower Bridge and the London Eye- that was so cool!!

    Jodi: It was definitely a fantastic sight! I've taken that flight twice before but I think Allison's excitement was really contagious. :-)

    Debbie: Very cool to be able to hook up with Dave again at the airport; we all got some over-priced airport pizza and caught up a bit while waiting for our flight. The flight itself was relatively painless, or at least I found it that way. Then again, I actually got some sleep on the flight. Had to wake up for the meals, of course. Don't you LOVE compartmentalized food? I always have; one of the reasons I've always considered TV dinners a treat where others sneer at them. I like plane food. I remember trading desserts with Allison on that flight; she gave me some yummy goopy thing and I gave her some apple crumble thingy.

Thursday, February 3, 2000

    Allison: At Heathrow Airport we reunited with Phil and finally got to meet Tim and Jared. Jodi: English accents on young children. Gotta love it. Jared is *adorable*. I never did find out why Batman was wearing a gold suit though... I'm still curious. Allison: and then we drove back to Phil and Lissa's place in Gravesend where we met their two cats, Chewie and Caffeine, and started to get ourselves settled.

    Jodi: I love those cats! They seemed to want to sleep on the very bed Debbie (who is allergic) was sleeping on, though... Poor Deb. We had to keep the door closed for a while...

    Debbie: Jared is adorable. And it was VERY cool to see Phil again! (I hadn't seen Lissa by this point; she was still at work). He hasn't changed one iota, at least as far as I remember. Also great to meet Tim for the first time. Chewie and Caffeine are great names for cats, aren't they? :-D I had forgotten that Lissa and Phil had cats (I'm allergic), but going out to a CHEMIST'S (oooo a new British word for me) solved that problem. I'm pretty used to doping up on allergy pills when going to Allison's place for practice. I love Phil and Lissa's place!!!! They have all kinds of interestingly-shaped rooms and wonderful stuff to look at, and walls and walls of books. It's one of the first things I look at, you know, when I visit someone's house...snoop their books. You can tell a lot about a person from their books. If their house hasn't got ANY books except for the glossy spine-never-cracked coffee table books well, then...that's not a good sign, is it? But I digress again...

    Allison: Ug, jetlag is a deadly thing, but we decided to keep pushing forward and Phil took us to the grocery store where I spent English money for the very first time on Paprika crisps (mmm, tasty, and, wow, look at this cool gold and silver coin in my change...).

    Jodi: They tasted almost like BBQ flavour... but not quite as spicy. Quite good! I've never had Paprika chips before.

    Debbie: I had spent my first English money this trip on a map of London at the airport...three pounds, I think. Also picked up several copes of Underground maps and other London transportation stuff. I'm a flyer junkie. Browsing the grocery store was lots of fun...it's very cool to see all kinds of brand names and products you can't find in Canada. My favourites are the mixable packages...you know, where you can mix various toppings with various goopy concoctions like yogurt or pudding. There were also shelves and shelves of different types of CRISPS and tea. The paprika crisps were yummy, but didn't really taste all that much like paprika. Then again, I confess I've never consumed paprika straight before, so how would I really know? Paprika's one of those flavours you can really on mix with other flavours to really appreciate, I suppose.

    Allison: We then went to Bluewater, a huge, cool mall with neat artwork, but by then I was too exhausted to hardly see straight (luckily, Phil and Lissa would bring me back to Bluewater the following week when I was able to appreciate shopping better :)). Soon as we got home both Jodi and I collapsed for much needed sleep. Deb slept better on the plane, so she stayed up to kick around with Phil.

    Jodi: I just couldn't do it. I couldn't last throughout the entire day and into the night without at least a few hours of sleep. I really did try. I've never had the flight affect me like that before either so it was something of a surprise to me when I had to "admit defeat". But admit it I did. And BOY was I glad I did later on in the day. It always helps to be sentient when you're meeting new people, don't you think? ;-)

    Debbie: Bluewater was huge! But Allison's right...we were reeling with jetlag, so couldn't fully immerse ourselves in proper Tourist Frenzy yet. Really enjoyed hanging out with Phil while Jodi and Allison were asleep; we spent the entire time talking about them. Ok, just kidding. Enjoyed talking with Phil and listening to some of his newer music. I was especially intrigued by his Buffy songs, and asked about their background. Phil filled me in on some of the Buffy series plot, a series which I had never seen. Hm, I thought, this series is kinda more interesting than I expected. But no, I'm not going to be hooked, no way. Phil also let me try out his new electric guitar!!!! Veryvery cool!!! I tried out my Technonerdboy bass guitar part, and felt like a Power Rocker Woman. We briefly discussed the possibility of me playing his guitar in our concert but then sanity sank in, and I realized that this isn't the sort of twist I should be adding without lots of rehearsal (and warning Allison and Jodi, of course!). I want to play bass guitar someday, tho, that'd be fun. I was also inspired by watching Anne Whitaker and Tim in various concert settings.

    Allison: After a happy reunion with Lissa we headed out to Tim and Annie Walker's place where we met Annie and David Peek for the first time and reunited with Rika, who we had hung around with at FilKONtario last year. Dave Clement was there, too. David gave us a huge tin of Cadbury Roses and Annie served us steak and chips. Thank you, both!

    Jodi: UT doesn't like chocolate. Naww... ;-) And it was just *so* appropriate to be eating "cow" before Digeri. I confess I didn't have mine "mooing" however. Thanks, guys! Allison: Phil spoke in his report about how complicated the badge machine was! I fear in our sleep-deprived state UT was more a hinderance than a help in getting those con badges done :). Jodi: I knew how much coordination I had at that moment and stayed well out of it.

    Debbie: Hey, I did manage to do a some of the badges without wrecking them! :-) It does take some practice, though, yikes. The first time Tim explained the zillion steps necessary, I thought my brain was going to explode (my poor jetlagged brain). Delicious meal, yum. I also enjoyed snooping through the house, which is veryvery cool and contains more musical instruments than any other house I've ever seen. Very sweet of David to give us those chocolates! They were delectable, and were also a good ice-breaker at the convention ("Hello, you don't know me, but would you like a chocolate?").

Friday, February 4, 2000

    Allison: And off to the con! Thanks to Phil's efficient packing and the help of Lissa's mum, Jenny (are Lissa and her mum alike or what??), we all fit into a van and a car and made our way to Milton Keynes. Debbie and I hit a nearby mall to stock up on snacks, both healthy (grapes and carrots) and non (fudge), to carry us through the con.

    Debbie: Lissa's mom was great; I really enjoyed meeting her.

    Jodi: I went with Phil in the van on the way to the con and we stopped at the mall for just a few minutes because he had banking stuff to do. I confess I was probably not the best bit of company for that trip as I kept dozing off. Sorry, Phil! I'll bet Debbie and Allison were *much* more entertaining on the way home though. I took that trip back with Lissa and her mum.

    Debbie: We also picked up some food from MacDonalds, including stuff for Jodi. Our internal clocks were still out of whack...I could feel my stomach yelling "EAT SOMETHING YOU FOOL!" even though it was just after lunch. I got a Happy Meal, and was pleased to get a Woody doll from Toy Story 2...I had only collected Rex the Dinosaur back in Toronto before they sold out of the Toy Story toys. And the Clotted Cream Fudge was yummy! Very rich, though, which is why I still had half a bag left to take home for Annie and Sara.

    Allison: At this point, the concom said, "Off you go, then. Go have fun. Make friends." and I realized with apprehension that at heart I'm -shy- and here I was at a con where I could count on two hands the people I'd -met-, much less the people I knew. It was a foolish fear. Look up "warm and friendly" in the dictionary and you'll find pictures of English and German filkers. Rafe took us under wing and took us to the hotel lounge for coffee and within a few hours we were in a swirl of arriving filkers, laughing, hugging, welcoming us with open arms.

    Jodi: What a great bunch! Those first few minutes set the scene for the entire con and it was *so* great to be so welcomed by people we'd only seen posting on the UK List. And a great pleasure to meet everyone face to face.

    Debbie: Everyone was SUPER friendly and welcome; I was really touched. And Rafe was wonderful. I think his WiGGle list idea is great!! It must take a lot of work to coordinate something like that.

    Allison: We had taken Canadian flag stickers with us and it was fun getting to know people by sticking flags on their badges. Considering the badges already had maps of Australia on them we were all British-German-American-Australian-Canadian filkers for the weekend. About that time Phil and Lissa took great glee in watching us read the UT bios solicited for the programme book. Um, thanks to all our "creative and helpful" friends in North America and beyond... I think! :)

    Jodi: I'm still reserving judgement on that... It occurs to me though (even though I had nothing to do with it - of course), that Debbie got just what she deserved. ;-)

    Debbie: That was a WONDERFULLY evil idea, getting our friends to send in bios! I was both horrified and delighted when Annie posted the call for submissions on the UT website. And of course I couldn't resist sending in 'anonymous' bios for Allison and Jodi. I only found out at the con that A & J had sent in the lyrics to their Evil Song about me, 'It's Always The Quiet Ones!'. I remember thumbing through the programme book and hearing whispers of "Has she read it yet?" "No...she has a few more pages to go". Just you wait, I'll get my revenge.... While we were waiting for the convention to officially begin, I fell in love with a little fellow named Till Eulenspiegel. He's a large hand puppet owned by Franklin Gunkelmann...VERY cute. :-) I want one!! Apparently Till is legendary in Germany. Anke writes, "He was a fool, doing crazy stuff to hold a mirror to the respectable people who knew what was right and wrong and thought of themselves to be very wise... In the end it was often Till who was the wise one... "

    Allison: Our first intro to British filk at DD was a strange one. We met Dan Bennett in the main room and he played the Dr. Who theme for us on the accordian- hee hee!

    Jodi: Woohoo! Bonifide Dr. Who Fan Here!! I loved that. I think we ended up getting it on tape, didn't we?

    Allison: He also introduced me to a cool double-reeded instrument with a really beautiful sound that he later used in his concert. Opening ceremonies started with a blast of didgeridoos and we were off. A lot of impressive concerts that night. Chris Conway gave an amazing set, keeping us all moving with his jazzy tunes. Keyboards, guitar, whistles, voice, Christo does it all (his jazz piano version of the theme from Star Trek later in the weekend blew me away :)). It was great to finally meet him after hearing so much about him from Jodi and Blatherchatting with him on the UT board.

    Jodi: Chris and I have been in e-mail contact for over a year now (almost two, in fact) as we actually met through my songwriting web site, The Muse's Muse. I'd been telling him about this neat music called "filk"... and many of his songs were already very geared towards the stars and other usual filk topics. It was a natural fit. This was his first convention and I really hope he'll keep going to them. I'd LOVE to see him wow the folks at FilkOntario as I know he's fully capable of doing so. It was a great pleasure to have some more time to spend with him this trip.

    Debbie: Wow, Chris is one multi-talented guy. It was great to be able to finally meet him in person. I bought his CD at the convention and it's wonderful; everyone go buy it! Jodi's on two of the tracks, too. Sometime during the concert sets, Rika introduced me to Fox...Talis had introduced Fox and me in e-mail soon after she guested at FilKONtario several years ago. Fox and I had become e-mail friends, but had never met! It was great to finally meet him in person, as well as Corwin. I loved the version of Andrea Dale's "Furies" he did in concert.

    Allison: The B and B set by Dan Bennett and Paul Bristow was a good time, too- a fun mix of songs and instruments. I have the "Orange" song on video and though it is great fun to watch, I must admit to not having a clue what it's about (blush) :). Thanks to Dan, too, for giving us a copy of his tape! We were blown away when we heard Talis perform as GOH at FilKONtario a few years back, so it was a treat to hear her again at DD. I especially liked the "Two Sisters" story she told on the harp. I heard a more traditional folk ballad of the same story at the Faversham folk club the following week and both Rafe and I looked at each other at that time and said, "Whoa, that's very different than Talis' version." :).

    Jodi: Talis is one of those incredible performers who makes me just *cry* every time I see her on stage. She had the same affect on me this time around. All I can say is - *Wow*.

    Debbie: It was great to hear Talis in concert again! She is such an amazing performer. Her harp storytelling is so compelling...I felt myself drawn into the story almost right away, not conscious of the harp accompaniment being a separate element of the performance; it was all so well-integrated. It was also great to finally see/hear Simon...wow, very talented guy! I -love- the musical partnership between bassoon and harp...not one I would have predicted would have sounded so wonderful together. That worked very well...I'm crossing my fingers and hoping that Simon brings his bassoon to OVFF (to those that don't know: Talis and Simon and Corwin are coming to OVFF this October!).

    Allison: We participated in the Pick Circle that night and I especially enjoyed being able to sit back and hear so much new music. Memories include hearing German ballads with wonderful harmonies and hearing Erica Neely perform live for the first time. I'd heard recordings of her songs at Phil and Lissa's place when Phil was burning the copy of her CD and I was as impressed with Erica live as I had been by her recordings. I'm looking forward to buying your CD, Erica! I especially liked the haunting B5 duet she did with Phil.

    Jodi: I think that was called "Delenn's Dilemna" and I'd heard that at the house and *definitely* wanted to hear it live once we were at the con. What a fantastic song...

    Allison: Hearing Rika, Tajo, Katy and Ju, Dave and more, it was all a treat. We fell into bed around 3:30 am.

    Debbie: I want a copy of Erica's CD, too! She was such a pleasure to listen to; I -love- her voice and her songs. And I agree with Allison; hearing those German songs was a real treat...that so rarely happens in North American filks (songs being performed in other languages). It's one of the main differences I noticed between this particular convention and North American cons...more multicultural influences. Heck, I even heard songs in MONGOLIAN! :-) Jodi, Allison and I want to learn a German filk song; hopefully we'll find someone fluent in German around here to help coach us with the right accent.

Saturday, February 5, 2000

Allison: Woke up to a -free- English breakfast- how nice! Christo, Katy and Anke joined us and it was fun to get acquainted and/or catch up.

Jodi: I confess to giving the fried bread a wide girth. Otherwise, the breakfast was very good. You rarely get anything more than toast and coffee at most North American hotels. Impressive. :-)

Debbie: Hey, I can't believe you said so little about the breakfast, Allison! I loved the breakfast at this place...I tried to make a point of having a little bit of everything, though I discovered that I missed the blood pudding somehow. Broiled tomatoes, fried mushrooms, fried bread, eggs, sausages, bacon, fresh fruit juice, selection of cereals, milk, fruit, toast, jams, lots more. Fried bread is definitely something we don't have in North America. I'm curious, tho...is fried bread a regular staple in an English breakfast, or is it just a hotel and b&b thing? And what do they fry the bread IN? Or maybe I don't want to know.

Allison: The morning featured several more excellent performances. Rachel, Zander, Valerie and Magician were all new to me and I enjoyed their instrumentals and harmonies so much! I especially remember Valerie's wonderful "Following In Valentina's Footsteps" (is this song available on tape?) and their lovely rendition of "Dust In The Wind".

Jodi: We'd heard a lot about Zander but hadn't yet had the opportunity to meet him. Wow. What a sweet guy! I hope we get to see him again some time soon.

Debbie: Their group was called "Just Playin' Folk", by the way. Wonderful performance, the kind that you smile all the way through. I especially loved Rachel's fiddle and her expressive face. Really impressive harmonies in this group, and I also enjoyed the friendly/fun rapport they obviously had with one another.

Allison: Lawrence Dean was one of the finds of the con for me. Great songs, great voice, confident performance style. His concert made me sit up and take notice. I especially liked his Princess Bride song, his pretty Robert Service song and "Good Times", the first song to make me cry at the con (though far from the last :)). I was glad to get to spend some time with Lawrence both at lunch on Sunday and at the folk club on Wednesday night.

Jodi: I didn't have the second opportunity, unfortunately, but it was really a pleasure getting to know him when I could. What a fantastic musician. And he writes such wonderful songs...

Debbie: Lawrence was great! Full of good humour and energy; I loved watching him in concert. Lawrence roomed with Dave Clement at this convention; I ran into him several times while hanging out with Dave, but didn't get nearly enough time to chat with him.

Allison: Minstrel, Neil and the GKs gave an energetic performance as Patchwork that kept us moving, too. Cool to see all the electric instruments being used and the flute. Lots of fun. Great voices.

Debbie: I had hoped to hook up with Andy during the con sometime to maybe jam a bit on our flutes...I -loved- her flute playing! Sometime during the programming today, by the way, I ran into my old friend, Godfrey Joseph. I hadn't seen him in about ten years!!! He had never been to a filk con, didn't read science fiction, had never met anyone else at the convention before. I was a bit nervous for him, but he said he had a wonderful time. :-) He also took a lot of great photos!

Allison: Brian Biddle was a goofy treat. Amazing range of costumes and silly parodies. His Cthulhu costume was quite a sight! Laughed at Brian and FanTom's antics in "Suddenly Igor" as well as Brian's Death reponse to Talis' "Death Came To My Party" (cool bassoon by Simon!).

Debbie: "Death Came To My Party" is one of my all-time favourite Talis songs.

Allison: Really enjoyed the main concert a lot. It was a great way to sample a wide cross-section of DD talent. Too many highlights to mention, but I got a special kick out of Separated At Birth's (the Suttons and the Whitakers) "Eldorado To The Moon"- I've been looking for that song for ages! Was also moved to tears by Annie's "World's Too Big", her tribute to Dave and Tom. My biggest disappointment is that I missed hearing Lissa sing! No fair! I only stepped out of the room for ten minutes...

Debbie: You missed a treat, Allison! Lissa was great. The main concert was one of the highlights of the convention for me...most of the performers were brand-new to me, and it was wonderful to have the opportunity to hear so many filkers "across the pond".

Allison: We went upstairs to quickly have a buffet dinner before heading out to our Arrangement Workshop. It was enlightening and informative for us. Goodness knows we had as much to learn from the participants on the art of music arranging as they had to learn from us!

Jodi: A very educational experience for us. Lots of very talented people participated and it was a great way to get some insight into arranging for even more folks than three. A big thanks to all those who came!

Allison: Unfortunately, due to tuning and warming up for our own set we missed most of Erica and Phil's set, which was a disappointment to me. I'm glad I got a chance to hear some of their music in open filk as I admire them both as songwriters and musicians very much.

Debbie: I wish we could have heard their entire set, too. :( (brightens) Say, maybe they'll do an album together sometime...

Allison: And we were next. We had a -great- time during our concert, it was a rush from beginning to end. The audience was marvelous, singing along, hand jiving. It was just so much fun! Our guest musicians were a joy- Christo's whistle playing and TechnoNerdboy, Phil's outrageous "guy" lines, Kate's Xena yell, Lissa and Smitty's light saber and Jedi antics ("Don't look at -me- that way!"), Dave's superb playing and singing. We just had a blast :).

Jodi: What more can I possibly add to this? Wow. That was just SUCH fun! What a great audience! Thanks so much to our guest performers who helped make it such an awesome experience. :-)

Allison: The disco incident during our concert has been hashed out in full (see Phil's report for an insider look into that), and it was unfortunate, but it in no way affected the satisfaction we had in our concert or the wonderful response we received from the crowd. The only thing I regret is the extra stress it put on the concom, so short a time before their own concert, and the fact that Annie and Tim had to leave our concert to deal with the hotel. But we will remember the thrill of that concert for a long, long time to come. Thanks, too, to the DD sound team for giving us a recording of our concert! Listening to it this week has brought back some fabulous memories :).

Jodi: I still have yet to hear it but I'm really looking forward to it. Thanks again!

Debbie: That was SUCH a fun concert...the audience was amazingly responsive, and of course their energy just revved us up even more. :-) Some of the Germans taught me a hand-jive thingy over the weekend, and it's way fun; feel free to ask at OVFF, and I'll show you. During our encore ("Gone Filkin'" by Tom Jeffers), I noticed Anne Whitaker at the back of the room doing the German hand jive. I immediately dropped my tambourine (Lissa's tambourine, actually...thanks, Lissa) and followed her lead. Within seconds, nearly the entire room was copying me!!! Very cool to see that...the UK filk audiences are unbelieveably enthusiastic about everything :-). I asked in my Blatherings about the origin of this hand-jive thingy, and Anne Whitaker responded, "Where the 'German Handjive' came from...I started this particular handjive back in the late 1970s when I was a mere nipper, having decided that there were too many variations of the handjive. This was taught to many English filkers at 'Return to the Forbidden Planet' shows, and from there to most of British Filkdom at filk conventions. The Germans picked up on it there and consolidated their handjives into one consistent jive. I have seen an entire German Filk convention handjive to Phoenix! It is an amazing sight!" re: disco controversy. One of the things that really impressed me about the whole incident was how united the convention attendees were in supporting the concom in all of this.

Allison: If every cloud has a silver lining, here it is: the comcon turned around from battling the hotel an hour later and provided the audience with a Phoenix set that was pure inspired rock and roll. Mike, Anne, Lissa, Tim, Phil and Annie, You Rule!!!!! Their concert was fantastic and I loved every minute of it. From the gorgeous harp and harmonies of "Crimson and Crystal" to Lissa's energetic "Robo-man" to the lush energy of "The Lady"

Jodi: Pheonix's version of "The Lady" ROCKS, man! I loved Mike's electric guitar on that. What a thrill. :-)

Allison: to Annie's wanton Ranger song to Tim's over-the-top "Return Of The King"

Jodi: Elvis Lives! (cue groupie screams)

Debbie: (faints)

Allison: to Phil's show-stopping "Thank You For Your Music", UT was just in heavy-duty groupie mode :). Whoooooo! What a party! Can't wait to see them perform again sometime!

Debbie: I already picked up their CD a while back so already knew these people were talented, but WOW...I was so blown away by their live performance at Digeri-Douze. Everyone absolutely must MUST hear Phoenix live in concert...it's worth the trip to England, really! Rafe, Dave Clement, Chris Conway, Jodi, Allison and I sat in the front row...SO much fun. I had heard rumours that Phoenix was "loud" but y'know what? I found them *exactly* loud enough. I've been to rock concerts which left my ears ringing even when I carefully sat far from the speakers...this didn't even come close; I thought the sound levels were great. These people have so much energy I'm surprised they don't explode on stage. :-) Especially Annie...whoa. (!!!) I had met Annie once before and she came across as a fairly quiet person. HA. The transformation of Annie-on-stage was truly astounding. Wildly teased hair, make-up, heels, painted-on leather look, the way she fairly crackled with energy as she gyrated and danced...this woman was MADE for the stage. All the Phoenix crew were excellent, and you could sense the fun they were having as they performed; it was infectious. The crowd was dancing, cheering, clapping their hands, yelling...it was a great party. Surprise of the concert for us...they did a KILLER version of "The Lady", with a rock guitar solo that had us melting all over the place. Wow...I really, really loved this version. I have to confess that my favourite piece of the concert was Phil's "Thank You For Your Music", which is one of the most brilliant parodies I've ever heard (ABBA tune), and SO well-done. The only problem with the concert, I found, was that my cheeks were in pain by the end...from all the smiling I was doing throughout. And yelling and screaming (esp. during Tim's gyrating Elvis number) and laughing, of course. Lissa was a dynamo on the drums and on stage...I wish she sang more! All the Phoenix crew played many instruments...I was really impressed (and felt hopelessly inadequate, of course). Yes, I'm a Phoenix groupie! I admit it!!! For more info about the group, http://www.altrion.org/phoenix/.

Allison: Loved when they finished with "Mr. Spaceman", too :). "Won't you please take me along, I won't do anything wrong..." So much fun!

Debbie: That was GREAT fun...the whole room was singing by that point. Allison: Finished the evening in the open filk circle, but the eventful day caught up to me relatively early and I called it a night at 2:30 am. After all, the evil concom had scheduled our Kiddie Concert for 10:00 the next morning... No sane filkers get up at that ungodly hour on the Sunday of a con... do they?

Jodi: Who said any of us were sane?

Sunday, February 6, 2000

Allison: Well, the concom had every reason to be smug as they sat in the front row at the start of our Kiddie Concert. Vindication was theirs. Seems we had a roomful of filkers willing to get up on a Sunday morning :).

Debbie: I was floored...we had been expecting, oh, maybe a dozen filkers. Heck, I don't know if *I* would have gotten up for a 10 a.m. concert if I had been filking into the wee hours the previous night!)

Allison: And -what- a roomful of filkers!!! I'm convinced we had to have been just as entertained by the audience during that hour as they may have been by us :). There was Teddy bouncing around with his bright yellow sock puppets during "Banana Slug", Franklin and Tilde flying around the room during "I'm Going To Fly To Florida", Annie's human train winding around the room during "Morningtown Ride", Jared's deafening shrieks during "We Are The Dinosaurs" and we managed to convert another continent to the "Ahhhh, I can't get that song out of my head!!! And it's 1 2 3, the kids love the monkey..." inevitability of "The Hockey Monkey Song" :). The "actual" kiddies helped to hold Debbie's cartoons and danced the rest of the time. I still laugh in wonder when I think about it. The enthusiasm, the sheer joy of it all... man, I miss you all so much :).

Jodi: What a lively audience! For 10am on a Sunday morning - at a FILK con - that's pretty darned impressive! Thanks to all who came and participated. It was *such* a blast! :-)

Debbie: That was the most fun I've had at one of our children's concert, gotta confess. Wow, what a party, and at 10 am on a Sunday morning, too!! I remember Jodi, Allison and I looking at each other several times during that wonderful chaos, shaking our heads in delighted amazement. It's one of the things I've noticed about filkers, to tell you the truth...we're not afraid of having fun and being kids again. :-) I remember another fun kids' concert in the U.S. where Sherman Dorn made a zillion finger butterfly puppets and the whole audience (consisting mostly of adults, of course) waved their 'butterflies' during one of our songs).

Allison: Sherman's butterfly song was sung at The Second ConCerto, where we first met Phil and Lissa. Next on was Dave Clement and what can I possibly say? Everything UT knows about performance and connecting with an audience we were learning at Dave's knee when we were mere filk pups. Dave took the Best Performer Pegasus Award this year at OVFF and my only reaction was "It's about time." :). His set was wonderful, as always. Talis' offered hanky came in very handy. We were honoured to be invited on stage to sing "Old Friends" with him and Rika, Katy and Talis at the end of the concert.

Jodi: Hankies were definitely needed. Dave certainly deserved that Pegasus Award.

Debbie: I love Dave. It was SO great to be able to spend some time with him during our stay in the UK...ironic that we have to fly over the ocean to be able to hang out with North American pals like Dave, Brenda and Bill! Though it was tough finding time with Brenda...every time I saw her, she was drooling over Anne and Mike's new baby. :D :D (okay, so their baby made ME melt, too...)

Allison: The filk auction went well and DD broke the record for the most money raised at a con for the filk fund. Congrats to Roger for being such a great auctioneer! Thanks to Lissa for buying both our cross-stitched sweatshirt and our tape. It may be awhile before Phil forgives either Lissa or UT for her financial enthusiasm :).

Debbie: That was a fun auction. Roger was wonderfully efficient! Interesting to compare it to North American Interfilk auctions. Our auctions tend to be more drawn out, with more "schtick". (the runners ham it up, use costumes, etc.) We also have the "Going...going...gone" tradition, which the Brits don't seem to have. And we use dollars instead of pounds, of course, so the numbers don't seem to go up as fast.

Allison: And this seems a good place to say thank you to Interfilk for giving us the opportunity to meet Phil and Lissa at The Second ConCerto in the first place. I have never felt Interfilk's message of bringing filkers from all over the globe together more intensely than I did during my time at Didgeri Douze. Keep supporting those British filk fund and Interfilk auctions, everyone, they benefit us all.

Debbie: Absolutely! I've heard many talented filkers I wouldn't have otherwise had it not been for the generosity of the Interfilk and filk fund auctions. And Allison, Jodi, and I have always been incredibly grateful for being invited to be Interfilk guests at ConChord out in California.

Allison: We badly needed some downtime after the energy of our set and the emotion of Dave's set, so unfortunately we missed Brian Biddle's second performance. We went to the mall for lunch with Christo, Lawrence and Dave. It was a relaxing time to get to know Chris and Lawrence better.

Jodi: I always love "downtimes" like that. Sharing laughter over a drink. I confess that I still haven't *quite* figured out what the English think "potato skins" are though... That mystified me. :-)

Debbie: You mean 'crisp' skins?

Allison: That's when I discovered the English version of lemonade is pretty strange, too. In Canada, lemonade is more a fruit juice, it's not carbonated. The lemonade I got with that meal was more like Seven-up.

Debbie: Fries are chips. Chips are crisps. Elevators are lifts. Things go pear-shaped just before a convention. Godfrey gave me a great little book on how to translate between 'British' and 'North American'. :-)

Allison: We arrived back in time to see most of the performance by NMC. Wow, gorgeous harmonies! A group like that must be so much fun to be part of! -Loved- the clothing and the cross-stitched banners, too!

Mike, Alison, Rick and Miki (Taking The Mic) entertained us, too, with a series of fun and serious songs and some lovely poetry. Sigh, I love listening to the harp :). I have never seen so many harps at one convention before!

All good things must end and the Closing Ceremonies were very emotional. We were given a jar of stuffed puppies, cute vibrating cows (I named mine Brioche, after the notorious dessert at our committee dinner :)) and wonderful wooden DD souvenir plaques made by Sue Mason. Thank you so much! We'll always treasure them.

Jodi: Wonderful momentos of an AMAZING con. Thank you!

Allison: Then Zander got up to sing a beautiful rendition of "Sam's Song" and we all sang and cried and hugged. It was a very moving way to end the con.

Jodi: I needed more of Talis' hankies, I'm afraid...

Debbie: We were all hugging and crying; it was quite the weepfest. "Sam's Song" will always have a special emotional significance for me now...apparently they always try singing it at the end of the convention. I suspect this end-of-con ceremony was more intense than the North American equivalents also because there is only one major filk con in England a year. This also helps explain why their conventions tend to run a bit longer than ours...many attendees stayed overnight through until Monday morning, for example.

Allison: From there we went to the traditional concom/guest meal in the hotel restaurant. Thanks to the concom for the dinner and the good times. The food was great, even if the slow service caused us all to get rather giddy and loud :).

Jodi: It was the slow service? Don't UT dinners *always* go like that? ;-)

Debbie: That was a fun dinner. :-)

Allison: Down to our last open filk circle after that and it was a perfect way to end the con. Phil parodied both "Starsoul" and "Puppies Cooked In Brine". Zander filked "The Hockey Monkey Song".

Jodi: Hee! We have successfully propagated!

Debbie: It was so cool seeing people start to sing the Hockey Monkey song independently. Also cool that it got filked by Phil and Zander.

Allison: Paul and Zander sang in Mongolian. Tajo and Rika sang more lovely songs in German (I want UT to learn a German song!). The good music went on and on. We lingered very, very late. We didn't want to leave... but at least we got to sleep in :).

Monday, February 7, 2000

Allison: The first few hours of Monday were spent lingering in the hotel lobby gathering good-bye hugs and promises to meet again from many, many new friends. Some of my most poignant memories involve saying good-bye to new German friends with them saying, "Come to FilkContinental." and us saying, "Come to FilKONtario." and the bittersweet awareness of how hard it can be to make friends who are half a world away. Still, an observation Talis made to me Friday night rings so true- it may be months or years before we all see each other again, but we -will- see each other again and it'll be as if we were never apart. Filk bonds tend to be that way :).

Jodi: I'm getting misty-eyed just thinking about it, actually. While I know it'll be difficult for us all to get together again as soon as I'd like, I'm still looking forward to it happening at some point. Time will tell.

Allison: I feel so privileged to have gotten to know so many of you at Didgeri Douze. I'd like to also invite you all to bookmark the "Blatherchat" board on the UT website (http://www.inkspot.com/ut/blatherchat.html). Please come post and join the fun and help us miss you all just a little less :). And do check out the FilKONtario website (http://www.bserv.com/community/fkoa.htm)... Toronto is a lovely city to visit...

My last thought in this -very- lengthy report has to be for the DD concom. Lissa, Phil, Smitty, Annie, Tim- thank you for making our extraordinary time in England possible. Thank you for all your hard work and for running such a great con. Thank you for your friendship, your warm hospitality, the loud parties, the quiet nights of music, for guiding this wide-eyed tourist through London, for tea, Cheerios, fish and chips and brownies. I miss you more than I can say.

Jodi: Again, Allison has said it all. I can't really add to that except that I feel the same way and want to say "Thank You" too. It was an *amazing* trip and it wouldn't have been possible without you guys. We greatly appreciate the confidence you showed in us two years ago and we hope to see you again as soon as is humanly possible. We miss you TONS...

Debbie: To Lissa, Phil, Smitty, Annie, and Tim...THANK YOU. Thank you for inviting us in the first place, for all your incredible behind-the-scenes work, for your friendship. For giving us the opportunity to enjoy the music of a close-knit filk community across an entire ocean, to share some of our own. I also want to thank the UK filk community for making us feel so welcome. I feel as though I've left a small part of me over there across the pond, and hope to come back to collect it eventually (though I suspect I'll just end up leaving another piece :-)). Hopefully we'll all run into each other someday soon. (fingers crossed very very hard)

Allison: You know, I loved England so much I suspect I won't be able to stay away for long. Being a teacher, getting to the filkcon may always be difficult for me, but I bet summers in England are really nice. Someday, John and I intend to find out :).

THE END

[Back top Top]

Back to Con Reports Menu


Send us email