ManorCon – a weekend in brief

As I know that both boardgamers and filkers read this, I should point out that ManorCon was the layback filk con held at Halsway Manor, Somerset, and not the board game con in Leicester. A brief account of the weekend follows.

The day before the con, I was catching up on Live Journal, and read about ‘s car troubles. While it seemed that he had mostly sorted them for the purposes of getting down to Somerset, I called him up and asked if he would like me to go via London, and pick him up on the way. He also seemed to think it would make a long journey fun to have company, so we arranged times.

I had intended to take a telescope with me, but had second thoughts, on seeing how much space my instruments had taken up in the car, and what I thought would want to bring. The last week had been overcast up here, so I thought it would probably not leave the car, anyway. As it happens, there were clear skies over the weekend, but I didn’t miss it, as I was too busy having fun.

The journey to Somerset went smoothly, and although we took a different route to what I planned, it was very enjoyable, when it wasn’t tipping down. We soon knew that we were going to arrive too late for cream tea at 4, but consoled ourselves with an excellent late lunch in a roadside Harvester.

On arrival, I was told by a smiling Annie that I was playing the second of two sets that night. I was absolutely fine with this, but kidded about having to follow Tim and Annie, who played the first set. I hadn’t actually spent much time preparing my set, as I’d only learned for certain I would be doing one that week. I had decided to put together a set of my songs exclusively inspired by movies – some of them well known to the filkers, but a few had been rarely performed. The set seemed to go down very well with everyone. There was much singing by all, and the acoustics in the room were brilliant. I also felt I was of better voice than I have been in recent years, and left the stage quite happy.

The following day there was the concert, and I had decided to play a familiar song – my “The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress” – but in a different form from usual. Previously we had had a pleasant discussion about songwriting, and I had mentioned how I frequently use one song form for inspiration, before rewriting the song. In this case, “The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress” was originally written as a kind of shanty, and I decided to perform like that, using the ukulele.

Disaster struck. The uke was fine, and so was the arrangement, but when I hit the first bridge, my mind went completely blank of lyrics. After seeing me floundering around a while, prompted me with a line of the last verse. I quipped “That’s much later, but it will do”, and finished the song. I was initially embarassed (who wouldn’t be), but I had managed to keep a kind of patter up through my brain-drain, and people seemed to enjoy it anyway.

In between all of that, and following it, was much eating, drinking, playing of board games and singing in bars (and drinking!). I had a whale of a time, particularly in the dead-dog, which was terrific.

Many thanks to Annie, who organised the whole thing, and did a splendid job, and Tim who proved once more to be an all-round good guy. Also, many many thanks to Talis for being such a good friend – this weekend fell over the first anniversary of losing my mum, and she was there for me during a brief moment when it got a bit much for me. In that respect, thanks to you all, for being with me, and lifting my heart.

One Comment

  1. August 17, 2010

    It was my pleasure to hear you sing, get to do some out-and-out songwriting-geekery together, *and* spend some time with you generally, my friend. Always a pleasure.

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