Tuesday, February 20, 2007

... Long Journeys Wear Me Out But I Know I Can't Live Without It...

Greeting, dear blog reader. Yer actual Keith Telly Topping is actually posting this bloggerisation entry from his mate Tony Kenealy's spacious and palatial gaff in sunny San Diego as the eleventh day of Keith Telly Topping's 2007 Californian Adventure draws close and the time looms when he must get on the first on three separate aeroplanes to come back to Stately Telly Topping Manor. Which will probably be cold and damp by the time he gets there. Because it's February and it always, you know, is.

Keith Telly Topping comes to the US for a couple of weeks each year around this time, mainly to attend the annual Gallifrey One Doctor Who/writers/General SF convention held for many years at the leaky-but-wonderful Airtel Plaza in Van Nuys but, these days, at the much-less-leaky-and-more-vast LAX Marriot in downtown Los Angeles. For the last three years this blogger has made what used to be about an eight day trip with a couple of days holiday either side of the convention into two week vacations with three or four days holiday either side staying with my friends Tony and Jane in San Diego. The idea is to stop any jet-lag from looming whilst I'm actually at the convention itself - and falling asleep in the middle of a panel, or some such nonsense (it has happened before).
The generosity and friendship shown towards us British writers out here never ceases to amaze us and, as a consequence, each year we come back for more and usually drag a few new converts with us. Plus, it's always nice to see old friends and make some new ones.

This year's event was, as with all of the previous nine this blogger has attended, great fun with plenty of opportunity to meet and talk to fans with lots of out-of-hours socialising and being taken to nice places to eat (that Persian/Italian place on Manchester Boulevard - check it out, it's sensational). Keith Telly Topping hasto admit that, for some odd reason (possibly related to those 'February Blues' that he was talking about in the last bloggerisationisms posting) he spent a portion of the weekend feeling ... well, a bit melancholy. Nothing, I hasten to add, whatsoever to do with the convention itself which was, as always, superbly organised by the committee; many of whom - Shaun, Suze, Ingrid, Dan, Robbie, Paul et cetera - I now regard as close personal friends of mine as opposed to just 'some people I meet once a year for a few days.'

By the end of the weekend, however, I was as sad to see the end of the event. Conventions can be funny things - you're cocooned in your own little world for three or four days and everything that goes on away from it seems trivial whilst you're there. Keith Telly Topping his very self took part in just four panels this year - far less than usual. Perhaps he was getting afraid that people were becoming tired of the sound of his voice after all these years (that's the same reason which he only did one autograph panel this year instead of the usual two - because, surely by now everyone who wants to get one of his books signed, has done so).
There was a genuinely fascinating discussion on the development and future of Battlestar Galactica with Paul Cornell, Shaun Lyon, Caroline Symcox and Graeme Burk, Jill Sherwin's amusingly irreverent Buffy & Other Vampires event with Lars and Christa from Mad Norwegian Press, the annual TV Shows On DVD presentation, moderated by my dear friend Clay Eichelberger and including my old mate from the BBC Steve Roberts, and a tribute panel to the late and much missed Craig Hinton which was attended by many of his contemporaries and friends. For much of the rest of the time, this blogger checked out the dealers room (though, thankfully, this year he didn't come away with a bunch of novelty trinkets to clutter up the Stately Telly Topping Manor living room), took in a few other panels from the floor, networked and chewed the fat in The Green Room, generally wandered the corridors bumping into many old friends and held court in the bar on the subject of why $5.90 for a bottle of Heinekin is 'an effing disgrace!'

He also ended up in an impromptu room party on Saturday night after Tony, Jane, Clay and Kim allowed me to take them to 'that little Thai place on Manchester' which we discovered last year. So all in all, yet again, Gally managed to drag this blogger kicking and screaming into a new year and rediscover his enthusiasm for fandom and for the TV shows which he, and other people, love. As well as - with a bit of luck - touching base with some people who, one day, Keith telly Topping could be working with and/or for.
In other news, just to note, for anyone interested, that the second of my seven 'no really, these are the last Buffy articles I'll ever write, ever, honest' appears in Xpose issue 102 which is available in all good newsagents (and some very bad ones) today.


LJC said...

Trying to post a new comment--hopefully, this time I will not be OMG REJECTED.


Keith Topping said...

As if I'd reject *you*, Tara sweetheart!


LJC said...


Brian said...

Never made it over the pond to the conventions in the USA. Would you recommend them.


Keith Topping said...

Well, I've only had experience of two myself - Gally and CONvergenace in Minneapolis.

They're *very* different from conventions in the UK, but then, from what I'm told, Gally is very different from other conventions in the US too!