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BookLore on Tour
Clarecraft Discworld Event 2003

Report by Nigel
Report by Chrissi
Item by Jon

Report by Nigel
Of all the reviewers going to the Clarecraft Discworld Event this year (eight had originally shown an interest) Ray and I were probably the most ‘trendy’ and so where a little worried about being somewhat out of place (die hard Stella drinkers for a start!)

A little wary of what to expect since Victim, who has been before, kept playing down the event saying things like ‘Hope you aren’t expecting too much…’ which quite frankly is a bit of a worry when you are 200 miles from home (Note for Americans - this is a bloody long way in the UK… almost coast to coast in some parts:)

We finally managed to get there after spending several hours in a traffic jam and started to pitch the tents, Chrissi and mine taking up several acres and requiring planning permission.

After we had settled down and had a few beers we decided to visit the ‘beer tent’ and check out what was on offer while not holding out much hope for a decent lager let alone Stella. So with trepidation we walked into the beer barn (an actual building no less) and lo and behold, alongside the array of weird and wonderful signs for devil’s toenail and pig’s trotters another sign… Stella 4.9% abv. Ray and I both stopped in our tracks, turned at the same time with big grins spreading across our faces… ‘Your round then?’

So began a weekend that was full of unexpected surprises, great weather, very nice people (Hector and Lou and Star to mention but a few) and turned out to be immense fun.

PS - many thanks to the barman we befriended who was very generous when ‘cleaning’ the pumps… at one stage, on a very sunny afternoon, we were surrounded by pints and pints of free Stella… heaven.
Nigel 13th June 2004

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Item by Jon
Thanks to Jon for sending in the following details regarding the song sung at the Karaoke night that everyone enjoyed so much...

I have just read your "Booklore on Tour" review of the Clarecraft event and thought you might like the information below.

You mentioned a song about Paddy not being able to go to work. If this song featured barrels of bricks, then you can to find the original song by Noel Murphy - follow the link below:

http://www.martin-kingsbury.co.uk/noel/

I don't know about the cd featured here, but on my (very old) vinyl version he does not give credit to the originator of this story.

Back in the Fifties "The Bricklayer" was a monologue by Gerrard Hoffnung and can be found here

http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/ASIN/0563536756/ref=pd_sr_ec_ir_aps/026-4514557-2874060

as part of Hoffnung's Oxford Union speech.
Jon - 31st October 2003

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Report by Chrissi
On Friday morning we got up to the pitter-patter of rain on the roof and Nigel turned to me and said (quite seriously) that there was no way he was sleeping in a tent in the rain, he would rather sleep in the car; my thoughts were just as doubtful, and I seriously considered packing a winter-weight Gore-Tex, as everybody knows that camping in summer leads to frostbite and no matter how nice the day is, the nights are damp and cold…

Rainy days? I think that we all have memories of finding things to do on rainy holiday-days – I can remember being on holiday in Newquay as a child and going to the cinema to see James Bond in Octopussy. The cinema was where we could all be warm and dry, but then we got back to find a river through the middle of the tent, and David and I had to sit in the Maxi while Mum and Dad struggled to move the tent in the dark with horizontal rain and a howling gale… At six years old it all seems a bit of an adventure, whereas at my present rather advanced number of years the prospect fills me with dread and a pathological need to have the number of a local taxi firm and an address for a bed and breakfast.

With that thought in mind, Nigel suggested that as we were not going until later, we could all go and have a game of golf and see what the weather did, and lo! If the sun did not come out (only because we all had our waterproofs on and no sunblock with us – sod’s law, don’t you think?) so we got home, grabbed baths and packed the car. David arrived and I cadged a lift with him rather than sit in the back of N’s car all the way down.

The journey was awful – we got caught in the queue for the A1 (thanks to Robbie Williams at Knebworth – I lay that firmly at his door) and an accident on the A14, it took us four and a half hours to get to the campsite, including one detour because we didn't know what the signs would look like and we saw a (small) sign which we followed, nearly ending up at an antiques fair. We realised before it was too late and went back to the A14, arriving at about half past seven in the evening.

Can I share something with you? I was really not sure quite what to expect at the CCDE, my brother and a friend had been to the last couple, and had enjoyed them but if you know my brother, then you will know that he is not the most effusive of people and his last words as we drove into the campsite were "I hope that you are not expecting too much of this…"

We drove onto the site and waited for N and Ray to arrive before we put up the tents as we all wanted to be together, that way we could be sensible and take one torch out in the evenings so that we could find our way home… bit too sensible really, several beers while we put up the tents before going to find the bar, and we forgot the torch, typical really…

Opposite our tent was a sign for a Klatchian camel trader, (jokes about trading women (i.e. me) abounded all weekend), and we realised that we had no sign to say who we were and what we were doing, so bright sparks flew and we cobbled together a sign saying “BookLore on Tour” using a bic biro and an asda camp-bed box, which was stuck onto the tent poles of the too-big-tent belonging to N and I.

(We had to endure lots of ribbing about our tent from Ray and David with their neat little dome tents, but I refuse to be intimidated, I like our tent; it might be a little large, but at least I can lie down and (almost) stand up in it, whereas David on the other hand, can do neither properly, so ha!)

The sign in place, we met a gentleman called Hector, (who we later saw in the Masquerade dressed as a Wizard), and then took a wander around the site to inspect the facilities and find the bar (centre point for the event, according to N, and wow, if it didn’t sell Stella!! That was two of our number very happy and settled for the night)

Later we moved to the barn and listened to the Karaoke, I have to say that Karaoke normally sounds to me like people are being killed in a most hideous way, but it would appear that CCDE people are a very talented bunch and we could actually tell what songs were being sung – I have to give a large round of applause to the gentleman who sung the song about Paddy (see above for more details) who could not go to work today – he was brilliant, a song that I have never heard before, but it had all of us in fits of laughter, so well was it sung.

The following morning, I was cold and stiff, having been unable to get warm – by the end of the night I was wearing ‘jamas, thick socks and a sweatshirt, with a blanket over my sleeping bag – not a happy bunny then, to be awake at six (damned noisy seagulls) and unable to sleep any more, but at least I did not have to queue for the ladies facilities. At least, though, my concerns about the weather seemed misplaced, as the sunshine was out and there was not a cloud in the sky – the tent at half past six was starting to warm up and I was able to doze for a while until a more reasonable time to start waking the others.

I didn’t have to wait long for David, as I am sure that the short tent is not particularly conducive to sleeping for tall people and sat outside chatting for a while, waiting for the others to stir. I was amazed to find that Ray has three zips on his tent – two I could understand, but three? I thought that he was never going to get out, and it actually gave me time to get the camera and be in position to zap him. I do apologise for anyone that can lip-read, because the photo I took should probably have an eighteen certificate just because of the language, he was not impressed and I daren’t tell you what he said, else N will censor it.

Needless to say, when I am up, I think it reasonable for others to be getting up, and N got dragged out of his (hungover) pit not much later with a sausage and egg sarnie from the van. His rude awakening was completed when a wasp wanted to share his breakfast in bed resulting in a loud commotion from the tent, (not a lover of wasps, bees, or creepy crawlies in general is Nigel.)

Once we were all dressed, it was time for the t-shirts, much to the disgust of Ray, N had had t-shirts made for us all, just for the CCDE and we all had to wear them, and very nice they are, too, (even on whinging Irishmen!!) You may have seen us wandering around and might I take this opportunity to thank the people who bid for the one that we donated to the auction – we looked for the buyer afterwards but could not tell who had bought it – if you could send us a piccie of yourself (or anyone else) wearing it, we would love to post it with this article.

Now, a word of warning – the bazaar at the CCDE is a very dangerous place to be, for your wallet at least. We wandered from stall to stall, with tongues hanging out and longing looks towards objects of our desire. Creatures with no will power are we when it comes to books or anything to do with books, and this was a veritable feast; proofs, first editions and foreign editions all by that man Terry, all of it available if you pass over enough of your hard earned overdraft! Where to start? Well, the obvious starting place was the pile of proof copies of 'Monstrous Regiment' – several puddles of drool and indecision later, David purchased a copy and Nigel turned green with envy.

Having a desperate need to escape from temptation, we went up to the bar, where the Paint Your Own was getting underway and the queue was forming for people wanting to see TP. We decided to join and have a copy of Good Omens signed, this being a 10/10 book for the site and one of our personal favourites. David asked us to have his brand spanking new copy of 'Monstrous Regiment' signed and so we waited patiently.

Now I had heard that TP is not the fastest of authors to sign things, signing as he does anything that people present to him and making nice little comments as he does so, but so we were happy to wait in that dreadfully hot barn, in a queue which got longer and longer. It took about three quarters of an hour to get to meet him, by which time my brain had melted and I’d become a dithering wreck, but he was so nice, he signed our books and our programmes, writing nice little witticisms and commenting on my (hand-made quilted) book bag, which normally just makes people think I’m an anorak, aaaahhhhh, I can see why everyone who has met him thinks that he is lovely.

After this, it was getting too hot to sit outside, so David and I decided to do a PYO, he chose the event piece, while I chose Mort. Ray and N decided to “have a drink” while we painted and they gradually got quite hammered, because it took us a while to paint these things. Now although David has been to a couple of CCDE’s he has never done a PYO, so I was surprised that he wanted to do a big piece but then he said that he wanted it for the mantelpiece of his new house. So, congratulations David, it’s great and I am sure that it will look absolutely brilliant.

When we had finished painting it was still really warm, but the Masquerade was about to start so we grabbed a (much deserved) alcoholic drink and tried to find somewhere to watch the show. I have to say that I was shocked by the amount of effort that people had put into their costumes and the little skits that they performed and to stand up in front of so many people, TP included, they were so brave, I really do take my hat off to you all. We saw Hector the wizard, and Lou (as the Scarab) with Star and while this was going on, N and Ray wandered around taking photos of people, who all said yes and posed nicely, and those photographs are here as well, but being as organised as we were, we did not ask all of your names, so it would be really nice, if you can see yourself, or someone you recognise, to send us in a name (real or fake) and we’ll try to label them up.

At the end of the Masquerade, we sat and chatted to a very pleasant gentleman called Casanunder (the second greatest lover on the Discworld) who had brought along his own stool, and were surprised at the number of people that he knew that had come from the Midlands, and although he was rude about lager drinkers he kindly invited us to his palatial tent complex that evening. I am sorry to say that we did not get there as we went to see the band, but thank you anyway, I hope that you got through all that 40 pints of whatever it was that you needed to drink. It would have been a shame to have to take it all home again with you.

At the end of the night, having watched the band and drunk a considerable amount more, we were all shattered and wandered back to the tent with Lou and Star, where I proceeded to get even more layers on to ward off the night chill than the night before.

Sunday morning was also glorious, we went to meet TP for the last time, N’s jellyfish spine having finally caved in and got a copy of 'Monstrous Regiment'. We were at the front of the queue this time, and watched in amazement as the queue promptly curved all the way along the wall. I sat next to a lady from Scarborough who said that the weather was always gorgeous for the CCDE’s, and it was almost like true Discworld weather. I have to say that the lazy sunshine did seem to flow by slowly and it made everyone smile (and judging by a few people, it made them so lethargic that they forgot their suncream!)

After a reprise of the Masquerade, it was time for the auction, and never having been before, I was amazed at the kind of things that were included and how generous people were. I am sure that my recounting of the auction could be in no way as amusing as the real thing, and so I shall say only that the Librarian would be proud, although I am sure he would probably rather have had a banana than TP’s part-eaten cake.

After the auction we made our weary way home, not realising that we were missing the Rocket launch, but having paid for safety features for the orangutan, I hope that he survived his ordeal even if he didn’t enjoy it.

Having been a CCDE virgin, I am so glad that we went and had such a good time, that I am now campaigning to go to the Wadfest; my only reservation being that I want an arctic rated sleeping bag, or three dozen hot water bottles. I don’t really mind which, both would be nice but they may not all fit in the boot of the car, not with people at the same time anyway. You never know, I may even be brave enough at some point to do the dressing up thing, I would not know who or what as, but seeing as these things hopefully continue I can spend the next two years deciding… Until then N wants us to prepare a proper banner for the top of the tent for Wadfest, but it won’t be as much use as a torch in helping us to find the tent in the dark…
Chrissi - 22nd September 2003

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