Monday 3 November 2008

Fortean Times Unconvention 2008

So, after an 18-month gap, the Fortean Times Unconvention is back. Saturday 1st and Sunday 2nd November was the date, the venue being the University of Westminster at Regent Street...the verdict ? AWFUL!

Is it me or are a majority of 'forteans' just sad anoraks who walk around in their black hats, long cloaks and smelling of b.o. ? Is it me or are a majority of the speakers the same every year, part of the FT clique who, despite large ego's and big heads, waffle on like robots bereft of any kind of humanity or character, kinda like Tim Henman with that smarmy grin, well educated haircut and frothy lip from babbling on about such lifeless information. I admit, I was actually looking forward to Mike Dash and his Spring-Heeled Jack lecture but after twenty-minutes without a pause, milky lip and complete damnation of Peter Haining's original book on the subject, he must surely have realised that his robotic waffling had put all in attendance into a trance. Well, thank goodness for 'The Woman In Black' I thought, surely to be a lecture on a very eerie matter, but alas, all we got was Theo Paijmans and his internet print-outs of sightings of women in black, and nothing more, not even a connectivity with the audience.

So, it was an escape to the traders area where I discovered there was more life at a church fete as a literal handful of tables exhibited a small selection of dreary books, except for the only effort being made by the Centre For Fortean Zoology guys who, complete with wrinkly mermaid displayed their books and made the day for me. Thank goodness for Jonathan Downes and the gang, who saved the day with the talk on the re-evaluation of the Chupacabra...

For me, Uncon 2008 was the final nail in the coffin as lecture after lecture passed by like a stingy haze...or was that just the procession of 'forteans' who filed into the two halls like dopplegangers of one another, convinced that conspiracy, aliens and ghosts are truly among us without ever realising that in their stubborn and lifeless facade they had, in two days, summed up a lifetime of Forteana including the empty Fortean Times magazine whose pages continue to bore even the most hardened pony-tailed UFO fans.

I recall a fine '60s soul track called 'The In Crowd', which at the time conjured up unity in its lyrics of, "I'm in with the in-crowd, I go where the in-crowd goes...", but not any more, and if you've got any sense, you'll avoid the Unconvention like the plague, because until they realise how robotic and stiff the whole event is, they'll forever remain buried deep within the realm of their owns arses, where the sun refuses to shine...

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