I was laid up most of last week, so I didn’t get to see much of St Patrick’s Day. I hope all my Irish friends and readers had a great day, and I also hope they’ll respectfully avoid mentioning yesterday’s rugby match.
Before the Sunday sessions began at Phoenix Con, my wife Lisa and I snuck off for a little sightseeing. Inevitably we ended up at the Guinness Storehouse – home of one of the most famous, and undoubtably one of the greatest beers ever created. The tour takes you up through several floors of exhibits describing the history and production of Guinness, before culminating in a complimentary pint in the seventh floor Gravity Bar. And the Gravity Bar, I remember thinking at the time, would be a damn fine place to find yourself stuck when the dead start to rise.
Where else are you going to get a). a virtually unobstructed, panoramic view of the chaos unfolding across Dublin, b). the security of being seven floors and a hundred feet above street level, and c). the luxury of a huge bar serving almost nothing but perfect pints of Guinness? Okay, so technically it wouldn’t be the most sensible place to hide (from memory there’s only one way in and out if the lifts are out of action – you’ll have to try and get down the same way the living dead are fighting their way up), but with all that Guinness on tap, who’d give a damn?!
You wouldn’t last long, and you’re out of luck if you don’t like Guinness, but I challenge you to find a better place to be stranded in the event of a zombie apocalypse!
This weekend just gone I was a guest at the Phoenix Convention in Dublin. A very small and informal event in comparison to the recent SFX Weekender and the like, it was a great opportunity to catch up with friends and spend a weekend in Ireland with the missus.
The convention has an almost exclusively literary focus which is refreshing. I took part in a number of panels, most notably ‘What do we do with Zombies?’ with Wayne Simmons (who surely by now needs no introduction), and Derek Gunn author of The Estuary and the popular Vampire Apocalypse books.
But it wasn’t all about the living dead (for once). Other panel topics included ‘Mission to Mars: who would you send?’ (answers ranged from George Lucas to Jedward (and if you don’t know who/what that is, I envy you), Justin Bieber and, bizarrely, Geoffrey Boycott!), and ‘Routes into Publishing’ – a discussion about the various options available to writers in today’s rapidly changing marketplace.
Another highlight for me was meeting David Naughton-Shires. For those of you who haven’t come across David, he’s the brains behind Knightwatch Press, a very active member of the Moody’s Survivors Facebook group, and a damn fine artist who’s responsible for some of the artwork over at www.lastoftheliving.net – the new AUTUMN website. David was kind enough to give me several of his original illustrations, and you’ll be able to see them shortly as more stories are added to the site. In fact, he’s illustrated the next three entries I’ll be adding. Check back tomorrow to find out how the end of the world actually turns out to be a good thing for Jim Harper, one of the characters you’ll meet in AUTUMN: PURIFICATION.
I’ve already said that I’m planning to get out and about a lot more in 2011, so this will hopefully be the first of many announcements.
I’ll be at the SFX Weekender 2 event in Camber Sands on 4th and 5th of February, and then in March (the 5th – 7th to be precise) I’ll be making my first trip to Dublin for Phoenix Convention VIII. Both should be great events and, as always, I hope to see some of you there.