Brian Keene Broke Me, and Other Necon Myths

July 26th, 2007 • Posted in News |

I’ve just returned from 9 days in the USA, visiting friends and attending, my first Necon as a Writer Guest of Honour. And I feel broken. My body is telling me, “No more, Lebbon, no more!” My head is telling it to go mind its own business. My liver … that went missing somewhere on an eleven hour drive between Bristol, Rhode Island and York, Pennsylvania. If anyone finds it, I’ve posted a reward.

Ahhh, Necon ….

What a brilliant, chilling, boozy, friendly, marvellous, unusual, enthusiastic, mad convention it was. Many people had told me many things about Necon … and yet I’ve always felt that I know nothing. What are the mysterious saugies? What is Team Koi? And what the fuck is a roast? Last weekend I found out, and to explain much of it to you, if you haven’t been already, would be hopeless. Necon is unlike any other convention I’ve ever been to, and I can happily say that it was the all-round best convention I’ve been to. Attended by people out for a good, relaxing time – most of them hauling crates of beer and bottles of fine single malts and bourbon – what’s not to like?

To write about all of it here would take forever, but I’ll mention some highlights:

The first evening, drinking far too much beer and then, when Dallas Mayr (Jack Ketchum) approached me waving a bottle of single malt and saying he’d been challenged to drink it in five minutes and could I help him … saying yes. Foolish me. Washing it down with some of Keene’s Knob Creek was even more foolish. My head.

The softball game, during which I managed to bluff my way through complete and utter bafflement at the rules to score a run and not make a complete prick of myself. “You’ll be good at this, you must play cricket,” many people said, and yes, I can hereby confirm that all Brits play cricket. Lee Thomas bled for the cause, but we still lost to Monteleone’s team (though I still insist that we were robbed).

Meeting the Mad Candians on Saturday night, hearing the best Chewie impression ever, listening to a bunch of people chilled out playing guitar on the quad and eating saugies. Yum.

Seeing lots of old friends for the first time in years … the Koishes, Gerard and Linda, Mary, the gorgeous Gina and Jane. And making lots of new friends … Craig, Chet & his lovely wife, Jose, Josh, Eden, Shawn, Rick & Holly, Tom, Russ, Michael and Michael, and about eight million more people I’ve forgotten to mention (and to you … I’ll raise a pint).

Jim Moore being roasted.

That interminable fucking gameshow that made me laugh until my remaining hair follicles gave up the ghost.

Darts with Weston and Russ …..

You get the drift. I had a great time, and feel like I made a new family.

BEFORE NECON … I flew into Boston a couple of days early and spent a while with Chris Golden and his lovely family. We had a blast. Walking around Boston in the rain, Chris spent some time rubbing my nose in Revolution history before taking me to an Irish pub for lunch. We had some great food, some great times, and on the way to Necon, while Chris’s son Nicholas read in the back of the car, Chris and I worked on the Greatest Project Ever (which naturally I can’t say anything about just yet). A big thanks to Chris, his lovely wife Connie and their three wonderful children for making me feel so welcome. Yeah, yeah, he made me sleep in the basement, but all the torture devices were kept out of sight.

AFTER NECON … Left Necon in a van with seven other people. Drove for eleven hours to reach Keene’s house. Now then. Think about that for a minute. I’m a Brit, and if I drive for eleven hours over here I can see most of this little island, three times. I’m not used to it. It’s too long. It’s unnatural. So we had to crack a bottle of Scotch to see us through, of course, and undergo the Steak House experience from Hell.

I stayed with Brian Keene and his lovely wife Cassie for a couple of relaxing, wonderful days. Went walking, went shooting (ouch! my ears!!), and on the last evening we sat around his firepit and demolished a bottle of Knob Creek, much to the amusement of Coop who’d come over to look after us. He didn’t do a very good job. Next day I felt as though I’d gone a day too far (sounds like a good book title ….). Weirdest hangover I’ve ever had.

But …. let me state here and now, I’m alive and well and back at home. Brian Keene may have broken my eardrums, but he didn’t break me. It’ll take more than a bottle of Bourbon and his version of a cup of tea to do that.

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One comment on “Brian Keene Broke Me, and Other Necon Myths”

  1. Fran Friel says:

    Tim – It was a delight to have you at Necon. I hope it won’t be a one-time offer, though. I know it’s a long way to come for a con, but you’re a natural “camper” and we need your accent to help culture-up the joint.

    Sorry I didn’t get to spend more than a few moments with you – admiring the back of your lovely head, and that of the dashing Mr. Houarner. I did steal a little shiny rub…one of the highlights of my trip. 😉

    I hope your trip home was speedy and smooth. Just remember you always have a home with the Necon Campers, and if you’re ever in Connecticut, you’ve got a place at the beach waiting…and with a Scot on the premises, we ALWAYS have a fine single malt on hand!

    Hugs from America,

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