“Convention Dinner” sounds like such a formal thing, doesn’t it? Not in this case – we’d surveyed a few bookcrossers when we were first planning the convention, and the general consensus was that cheap and cheerful was the way to go, so we booked a meeting room at Christchurch Girls (luckily getting a nice discount because lytteltonwitch is an Old Girl, and the person she booked the room through had heard of Bookcrossing and thought it was a good idea), and got Thai takeaways for dinner (we got a selection of 5 dishes for each table, plus tonnes of rice and prawn crackers (which the takeaway place threw in for free when they saw how big our order was!), and they were really nice – everyone seemed to enjoy them, and I don’t think anyone went short of food!)
As usual, the tables were piled high with books. I contributed:
- Witchcraft by Geoffrey Parrinder
- The Education of H*Y*M*A*N K*A*P*L*A*N by Leonard Q Ross
- The Last Emperor by Edward Behr
- Charley by Joan G Robinson
- The Bedside Esquire ed. by Arnold Gingrich
- Pardon Me, You’re Stepping on My Eyeball by Paul Zindel
- Trophy Wife by Nicola Thorne (which ended up in the OCZ, got released on Sunday and got caught!)
- Sharpe’s Triumph by Bernard Cornwell
- Shadows by Shaun Hutson
- Magnolia Street by Louis Golding
- Good Wives by Lousia M Alcott
- Buy Jupiter by Isaac Asimov
I’d also brought along Empire of the Sun by JG Ballard, but ended up giving it to the school caretaker, who’d come to open up the room for us. While we were talking, he asked us what the dinner was for, and we were telling him about Bookcrossing and the convention, so I grabbed a book out of my bag to show him the labels etc, and he mentioned that it was a book he’d always wanted to read – so of course I gave it to him 🙂 Don’t know if he’ll ever journal it, but at least it’s gone to an appreciative home.
After the dinner, we had our “celebrity” debate. The celebrities were, of course, bookcrossing celebrities, in the loosest definition of the term (we couldn’t afford the airfares to bring Ron over!). On the NZ team we had me (by now famous to everyone at the convention!), rarsberry, and ORNOT (both well known to anyone who spends much time on the forums), and on the other side we had the Australian team: Skyring (famous within Bookcrossing for all sorts of reasons), <a href="http://www.bookcrossing.com/mybookshelf/Mundoo"Mundoo (Australia’s top Bookcrosser), and littlemave (well known on BC-AUS). Lytteltonwitch was the chair. The topic was “That Kiwis are the best Bookcrossers in the world”, but to make it more entertaining, the Australian team took the affirmative, and we took the negative. The debate was great fun – first, Skyring described in glowing terms what a wonderful place NZ is, and how much he likes NZ Bookcrossers (he didn’t actually say a lot about Bookcrossing, but that’s a minor problem!). ORNOT retorted with a totally off-topic (but amusing) speech about “Bach-Croissants” (claiming to have mis-heard the topic), and then Mundoo brought in a note of reality by giving some statistics about NZ and Australian Bookcrossers. I responded by admitting that NZers were better than Australians, but that didn’t make us the best, and tried in vain to prove that Americans were actually better Bookcrossers than NZers. Littlemave’s response was brilliant – she stalled for time by asking for a drink, rearranging her papers, clearing her throat a lot… and then presented her argument: “Mornington Crescent” – and sat down (MrPloppy was highly amused, claiming that he was the only one in the room who got the joke (Littlemave is originally British too, so they have a lot of shared culture, adn very similar senses of humour) – not strictly true, because I’ve spent enough time in Britain that I got it too, but it certainly stunned the rest of the room into confused silence!). There wasn’t a lot we could do to refute that, but rarsberry made a brave effort, explaining that “Kiwis” couldn’t be the best Bookcrossers in the world, because they are small flightless birds that have trouble using the internet (though Littlemave attempted to disprove this by fashioning a beak from a rolled up sheet of paper and pecking at an imaginary keyboard on her desk). After rather short summing-ups by our team leaders (Skyring and ORNOT), the Australian team were declared winners by audience applause (though we were placated by the thought that that meant New Zealand was *really* the winner!).
Coffee and tim-tams followed, and Mundoo presented lytteltonwitch, rarsberry and I with special coffee mugs she’d had made (there was also one for Cathietay, but she couldn’t be there that night, so got hers the next day). They looked like plain black mugs, but when you poured hot water into them they slowly changed colour to reveal the convention logo and our names. Seriously cool!
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(Photo courtesy of Skyring – I did take my camera with me, but was too busy to use it!)