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Reading 2.0: Report

From: Darrell Ottery <>
Subject: *F* Reading 2.0 report - the morning after
Date: Sun, 29 Sep 1996 15:35:50 +0100
Message-ID: <>

And so it begins...

Somewhat of a pre-meet occurred a couple of hours before the official
start time when Rob [1], Kitten, Matt, Paul 'Old Fart' Rood and Karen
Chicken arrived at my house to lounge around, watch Star Wars (on the
big widescreen TV :P) and eat me out of house and home. The Hamster
arrived a mere ten minutes or so later, and much abuse (mainly verbal)
of Paul ensued. Skipping this for now...

The small horde of us wandered down to the pub to arrive shortly after
7pm, only to find that BSL Simes had beaten us to it, and that
the two best areas were already taken, and so we resorted to lurking
around suspiciously by the toilets and imtimidating any passers-by.
Well, most of us hung around, and Paul did the imtimidating... I think
he even managed more successfully than Mr Fox did, since he seemed to
draw appreciative looks from a large number of young ladies wandering
toilet-wards. Perhaps I need to grow a tail...

A few minutes after this we were accosted by about four
lurkers/infrequent posters whose names I really cannot recall now.
Sorry. :) And then Helen 'fountain of all knowledge' Highwater and Tim
Hunt arrived. Drinks were bought, consumed and the box of dubious
chocolate things made its first appearance. As usual, this contained a
largish number of chocolate/coffee things, and for the first time (in my
recollection, anyway) a small number of chocolate-covered mushrooms.
These proved less popular - "Ugh! What a horrible idea." seemed to be
the prevailing comment - but those that were brave (foolish?) enough to
try them found that, yes, indeed chocolate and raw mushrooms *do* go
well together. Hah! Ye of little faith - I knew what I was doing. Maybe
for the first time, but that's by the way. After the initial disgust,
these vanished all too quickly. Having made three dozen 'things' they
lasted remarkably well - almost a couple of hours...

At about this point Alan & Colette's absence was discussed, only to be
rectified soon afterwards by their appearance, along with Simon Callan.
Looks like it was all my fault (again...) for giving out mildly
incorrect directions. 'snot my fault if people can't work out what I

The pub got more and more busy, and then the truth about an as-yet
unknown danger was about to be revealed - the Simon Conspiracy. A couple
of Simons turned up - both lurkers, AFAIK. The question is, will they be
able to displace the Horde of Bens? Only time will tell.

Other folk that turned up included Gideon Hallett (a goth? No, surely
not...), Adam Jones, Lunie & Thomas Down, and Bryan. We also seemed to
attract the attention of a number of other Pratchett fans, not all of
whom knew about afp (poor souls), the meet, or could believe that there
were this number of people who knew who Terry was... Names I don't have,
bar one - a Dan of some form or another was memorable.

>From herein things get a little hazy - I seemed to spend much of my time
wandering around and speaking to a lot of people, but in no particular
order, some of the events that I recall were:

Helen being rather protective of 'that' book.

Karen being shown her likeness to Gaiman's Death. I'm not quite sure
what the reaction was.

Lunie's predeliction for proposing to anything that moved, or at least

An attempt to take over more tables succeeded, and then once
accomplished, they were allowed to be retaken, despite the Fox being
present. I think he must have been feeling unwell to allow such a
transgression. Words will be had.

Lusers were discussed by those that have to deal with them.

The Rogues Gallery was mentioned many a time, and I think I was offered
the rear-end of a warthog. I'm not so sure this was a compliment.

Photographs were taken, and knowing some of the photographers I'm not
sure the results should be made available to the general public.

Sadly, no quotes from here, since the Psions departed long before this
got written. I'm sure suitable ones will be fabricated - I leave this in
the more-than capable hands of others.

After the meet there was a move towards food. Burger King were kind
enough to be shut - no doubt they'd heard we were in the area and wanted
to preserve their crown stocks - and so a convenient Balti house was
approached. At this point, some of the remainder departed for pastures
new (somewhere near Crowthorne) and we waved farewell to the Hamster,
Helen & Tim, and Kitten & Matt. The greater proportion of the remaining
13 ate, and I'm informed the food was not at all bad - I can't say, as I
didn't eat, but have been known to have takeaways from here before now.

A move was then made back here to my place, whereupon a variety of
alcohol was consumed, along with other, lesser things like tea and
coffee. No-one seemed to be able to guess without prompting what the
strange yellow liquid was, but Alan's Polish spirit was notable.

Events that occured here included:

Karen proposing to Rob. Rumour has it that this can be achieved simply
by brandishing a bottle of vodka...

A strange occurence of Emmet - you would have sworn he was here. In
general effect, if not in person. Actually, Julian Clary made more than
one appearance too. Things degenerated...

And whilst on the subject of strange occurences, we seemed to have the
welcome attentions of a foghorn. Curiously this made its debut about the
same time Paul fell asleep on the sofa, but I think this was just

A discussion on just how many purity points could be lost on one blow.
As it were. I think the concensus of opinion gave up when double figures
were reached.

A large number of people stayed over, but most had vanished by the time
I woke up this morning. Maybe it *was* just a bad dream... :)

We'll have to do this again sometime. Am I volunteering again? Someone
please stop me...

Darrell [INTJ] - -
Stealing a rhinoceros should not be attempted lightly.

[1] of Lspace, not the Ergonomist.

From: "Bryan" <>
Subject: *F*  Reading 2.0 report - The Chandler version
Date: 1 Oct 1996 14:39:33 GMT
Message-ID: <01bbafa5$862d4900$LocalHost@merlin>

So, there i am, in my office, last thing on a Saturday.  No goddam business
all day and i'm reduced to trying fit a new network server to stave off
that ground-down feeling you get when the excitement just don't cut it.

This dame walks past the frosted door, real sweet but she don't knock and
i'm still looking at the echos she leaves on my retinas two minutes later,
that being the most interesting thing i've seen all day.  This is when it
happens.  I open my eyes and i realise i'm looking straight at the wall
calendar which shows 28th of September.

Remembering what this means - some of us don't need no stinkin' psions - i
jump up an' head straight for Chippenham station.  I remember that my
sister took the wheels, so i'm travelling by thumb once again.

I scored surprisingly quickly.  These two skirts in a beat-up Fiesta took
me straight to the station.  This is unusual for a guy in a leather jacket
but i figured i didn't look like no threat to anybody.  I got one of those
faces you can't draw when you're six years old, so police ID artists almost
never peg me.

I take the train, grab a coffee from the godawful buffet car and sit down
in the smoking section with a Stephen King and a packet of lung busters. 
It's a pretty easy trip.  Three stations, no more no less.  These two
gorillas start something in the gap between coach A and coach B just
outside Didcot and the conductor scuttles up there like a frightened rabbit
to try to ease things down.  I pay no attention.  Nobody needs a beating
who ain't getting one, so i draw on my king-size and keep on with _Rita
Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption_.  Good decision.  This story's
really got something.

We get in to Reading, maybe seven thirty or just a little past.  I get out
and and try to remember the name of the pub and the MIME-mangled map that
Darrell posted to afp.  Walk up to Burger King, ask the idiot in the clown
outfit for directions, which he gives, once i agree to buy a cola.

Bin the cola.  Head down to the Monk's Retreat which, at first sight is one
of those open-plan style bars - you know?  No real tables or chairs, a few
barstools and these raised platforms to stand your beer on while you take
in the scenery.  Of which i may add, there is plenty but hey, not my type. 
The braincells down here you could count on the fingers of one Kit-Kat.  
One of the small ones.

Anyway, i waited for my Caffrey's to settle, and took a stroll around. 
Further up the bar there's four or five stairs and up here there are
booths.  I check out the booths looking for faces but nobody grabs me.  At
the end of the booths there are a couple big round tables and here, in a
crowd of people i don't know i see Paul Rood and with him are Darrell and
Mark and of course, Karen.  My first thought is that maybe the infamous
DiscCon gang are starting up on their old racket again but then i catch
Helen Highwater and Tim standing nearby so forget that.  So far as i know,
the heat have been too dumb to post a bounty anyway.

I got introduced to a lot of folks, Rob Collier who isn't part of the
lspace cabal so i didn't bust him, Lunie who's kind of detached from the
proceedings, her friend Thomas with the worryingly high voice, Adam, who's
okay, Dan who's paranoid, Kitten who is too goddam sweet to be in this bar,
a deck of Simons and a raft of others i don't remember.

Soon the Bellinghman and Colette turn up with another Simon so i start to
think up poker rules for faces but forget it when Helen says it ain't funny
and i can't use Gideon (did i leave Gideon out?  Tall, wears black, upsets
chemistry teachers) as a joker.

I talk to Paul about his big Con job in the summer.  If i'd been there he
would have gotten more than just custard but i was working on fixing some
peripheral damage at the time so he got lucky.  I checked out what i could
of Helen's prepublished copy of _The Hogfather_ but it had to compete with
alcohol and caffeine enriched chocolate lost.

Can i stop the Sam Spade now?  Thanks.  It was rubbish anyway.

Can't remember much in the way of quotes, but psions were in evidence so no
doubt there will be some.  We talked about the usual things, i remember
trying to convince Tim that Neil Gaiman's comics aren't like the Beano and
that Grant Ennis's comics are like the Beano done by Tarantino.  The
Quentin Taranbeano?  Naah.  Alan got some sneaky photos, Darrell and i
agreed to finalise the Survival Guide if MTB will help us a bit, erm there
was more.

White chocolate is the work of the devil for he spake unto the eaters of
God's Dark Chocolate and sayeth "Oi!  Check this out!  It's really nice"
when actually it was horrible unto the seven times seventh generation.

Sorry, just felt that needed to be said.  A good time was, i feel, had by
all, and the name of the Good Time was not Emmet nor was it Leo, nay it was
"atmosphere" which everyone enjoyed except me as i was not permitted to
smoke into it by the feminazi behind the bar.

Darrell still has strange hair.  Mark's would be strange, were it not
escaping from his forehead at a remarkable rate, several inches during the
course of the meet i thought.

So, we left the pub.  We wandered through a wet and windy Reading, our
babble making it more windy and Thomas' presence making it more wet.  A
Balti House summoned us, and we were forced to seek admittance.  At this
point the estimated twenty-seven revellers soon became seventeen.  My
pakoras failed to materialise, and indeed i was so relieved by the presence
of ashtrays that my hunger for food vanished almost entirely.  Dan was
convinced to eat a Korma, none of us wishing to be present in the vicinity
of an exploding Dan.  I don't know what Lunie and Thomas had.  Probably a
nice conversation about the animals i was eating.

Then we staggered off to Darrell's place.  He has a bidet in his bathroom. 
At least, Paul says it's a bidet.  I vaguely remember wondering why the
handbasin was so low.  He also has an enormous collection of dice and
gaming materials but everyone else said they were tired and i sulked a bit.
 Darrell supplied coffee, which was welcome, and Alan supplied 80% by
volume Polish Spirit.  I now understand why the Poles mounted a cavalry
charge against a Panzer division in 1938.  Ow.  Alan and Colette didn't
stay long.  

Thomas, Adam, Lunie, Paul, Karen and Rob stayed upon Darrell's amazing
expanding sofas and the inevitable floor, although Paul cheated in
supplying his own duvet and pillows which i call underhand.   I arose quite
early, made the coffee, went back to sleep, arose quite late and buggered
off home.

My thanks to all involved, and i hope i was tolerable.  I don't think i
behaved any worse that i have reported here, but my memory is not what it
was.  Before the Polish Spirit, i mean.

Regards to all, and very well done.


A man is like a red, red nose
With regular blowing, it's perfectly serviceable.

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