Sharp Blue: CrowCon Bristol


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Some of my best friends are people that I know solely or mostly over the Internet. Most of these are people that I met through the Culture mailing list, a community of fans of the writer Iain Banks. Last weekend, I met up with some of these friends, Kim, Lal, Ritu and PaulW, for the Bristol leg of Ritu’s visit to the UK. It was a wonderful weekend, but two days just wasn’t enough time to do everything we wanted to do.

On Saturday, Lal and Ritu finally arrived in mid-afternoon, many hours after their supposed arrival time. Almost immediately, we headed off into town to meet Kim at at-Bristol, where we planned to watch Space Station 3D at the IMAX cinema. We arrived there almost an hour early so we went for a walk around the city centre, taking in my old school, QEH. We ran into Kim on the way back to the cinema and then spent a pleasant thirty minutes chatting in the foyer. I’d seen the film before but even on a second viewing it was very impressive and surprisingly moving. The 3D effect isn’t perfect - I tend to get ghosting around the images - but it was still as close as any of us are likely to get to orbit in the next few decades. After the film, we went for Japanese food and then tried to locate PaulW in a crowded pub. Unfortunately, we had to leave quite early so we didn’t get much time to talk to him. It was nice finally meeting someone I’d known over the Net for so many years though.

The plan for Sunday involved museums and bookshops. First we went to the new British Empire and Commonwealth Museum, which was full of interesting exhibits. As usual, there was more on display than could be properly studied in just a few hours. It’s impressive that it already feels like a mature museum even though it’s only been open for short time. We’d planned to go to the City Museum after a brief interlude in the bookshops, but we were so pressed for time that feeding our book addictions squeezed out looking at Egyptian mummies. The final part of the day was a scenic drive to Kim’s parents’ house, by way of Cabot Tower, where Kim took some photos and the Clifton Suspension Bridge. All too soon, the weekend was over and Lal and Ritu had to return to London. If only it had been a week or a month.

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