I'm afraid to say that I didn't have my onetime-coulda-been-a-journalist hat on for this one; quite apart from the fact that it doesn't fit very well any more, I'd paids my money and the choice I tooks was to sit back and enjoy the show. Therefore, I'll be taking the lazy option and basing my (brief) report on the schedule we were all given. I'm sorry. Sorta.
The Con was held at the London Wetland Centre, and opened with a talk from Darren himself on speculative zoology - its history and why we should give a flying flish about it. In doing so, he drew upon distinct strands of speculative zoology, including horrifying visions of the future, making (scientifically informed) shit up about the past, and inventing alternative timelines in which sapient iguanas won World War II. A personal highlight was a look at the work of Dougal Dixon, whose speculative zoological works included dinosaurs that (more-or-less) have since been discovered, silly dinosaurs, the aforementioned flightless bats, and Man After Man, which is not discussed in polite society. Darren also pointed out how, in spite of its apparently 'nitch' appeal, speculative zoology has proven to be incredibly popular; this prompted perhaps the most in-jokey slide of the show, which got a hearty chuckle from the audience. Here's looking at you, Raven Amos.
Then there was lunch, with fine company and a nice, cool beer. My first of many that day (I'm like that when I get chatty).
|The workshop - the audience could view the artists' progress on-screen. L-R: MC John Conway, Mark Witton, Bob Nicholls.|
|Niroot's creation. ROTTEN CHEATER!|
Then there was the quiz. The first question was easy - Tyrannosaurus rex, duh. Then it got difficult. Then it got stonkingly difficult. Niroot and I bashed our heads together and managed to walk away with third prize. First prize - a domestic pig skull - went to Kelvin Britton, who managed a frankly absurd 23 out of 30, the swine (djageddit?), while Richard Hing took second. The quiz ranged from the generic names of plesiosaurs, to shrews, to crocs, to bats, to whatever the hell the 10,000th comment on the blog was. (I still can't remember.)
|Oh boy. (This photo courtesy of Darren.)|
|NOT THE DUCKLINGS!|