Bonjour hi

Editorial note, 11/8/09: the remark below about not seeing these posts for a week was prophetic. I carefully recorded my worldcon experiences in diary form against the day when the internet would once more be mine …

It’s Monday 3 August and I’m in Montreal. Résidences universitaires UQAM (Université du Québec à Montréal), 303 boulevard René-Lévesque Est. If I can’t get an Internet connection then you might not read this until Tuesday 11 August and I’m getting my $15 for a week’s connectivity back. [I did.] We’ll see.

The approach to the airport gives a fantastic view of downtown Montreal on the left hand side, and a nice passport control guy told me he would look my panels up at the con. A nice undemanding 7 hour, 3 movie flight. I like to eschew the conventional Hollywood blockbusters for some of the more quirky offerings.

  • The Great Buck Howard. John Malkovitch as only John Malkovitch can be, playing a man who is simultaneously brilliant – a mentalist who wipes the floor with the likes of Paul McKenna – yet is doomed forever to be the kind of guy who only plays to half-packed theatres in small towns in Ohio. A brilliant study of pride and pathos.
  • Stone of Destiny. A more or less real story about a group of Scottish students who over Christmas 1950 stole the Stone of Scone from Westminster Abbey and brought it back to Scotland. My interest here is twofold: a further success on the CV of Charlie Cox (see here for my declaration of interest) and because several members of the Delightfully Dotty Car Club, whose club magazine I edit and which thus paid for this trip, contributed cars and sound effects. Also stars Begbie and one of the interchangeable hobbits.
  • Coraline. Pants-wetting animated fairy tale based on novel by Neil Gaiman, reminding everyone of exactly why he is this year’s Worldcon guest of honour. I was also grateful for Mr Bird’s Lower 6th English lessons, because despite all the obscure poetry that I never really understood, enough sunk in for me to realise who the baddie is.

It’s 01.50 by my body clock, I’m in university residences that are less monastic than the Boston YMCA (Worldcon 2004) but considerably more so than the Grand Hyatt, Denver (Worldcon 2008). And I’ve no Internet. Yet. But I’ve been out for a delicious gnocchi + Italian sausage meal and I’m already getting a better vibe from Montreal than from similar exposure to Denver a year ago. I look forward to seeing what else it has to offer.

Canadian money is very pretty and apparently works just like real dollars.