I got to go to Escape Velocity 2017 and it was actually totally awesome, despite the fact I’ve taken so long to post about it. See, I didn’t actually know that I was going until the day before. I’m pretty sure Purple Ink had told be about Escape Velocity previous to that, but since I had a submission due– and that’s a story in and of itself –and kind of forgot that I existed, besides, you know, everything else. So, when she asked me if I was going, I said no, checked out the program and promptly realized that Thomas Dolby was going to be there.
I’m clearly not an uberfan, but I do enjoy Thomas Dolby and I know he’s one of the great innovators of electronic music. I decided I wanted to see him before he synthed himself right off of this mortal coil, but I also had a date planned with Awesome Librarian Girlfriend that day. The date was to go to the National Book Festival, which is something I enjoy, but it’s also a lot of standing around.
I humbly asked if she minded me shuffling off elsewhere and she said: “I don’t know who Thomas Dolby is, but you should definitely go see him.” Which is quite possibly one of the sweetest things anyone has ever said to me. Worth mentioning, ALG is five years younger than me and also drew me a map of how to get to the hotel. We agreed to meet up after our adventures and I, well, I resolved to show up to the earliest possible panel and get the most of my admission fee. If you’re wondering if this means I parked myself in the back of the literature panel room and stayed there while wearing an eyeball, you would be correct.
Diversity and Storytelling in Emerging media was pretty cool. I enjoyed listening to the speakers actually get excited about some new titles instead of being all gloom and doom as was the case at a similar case at a panel I attended at a last con, though that was a LONG time ago. Man as Machine: Androids & Cyborgs in Literature was probably my favorite since the hosts had a lot of energy and didn’t sugarcoat anything. I took a rather ridiculous amount of notes. I would absolutely go see Thaddeus Howze again. Young Adult Science Fiction Literature For Girls was great to listen to even if that’s not my jam. Again, the hosts had a lot of energy and I celebrate them for their work and of course not foam batting the snot out of the white guy who pulled the ‘I R OPPRESED NAO’ schtick. The panel about the CESK anthology turned into the authors talking about their writerly experiences, which I can always get behind. I don’t know if it’s just me, but everyone seems to have much different stories about their inspiration than I do. As for Fantastic Beasts In Exobiology, again, awesome hosts and it turned out I’d read one of Nancy Y. Kiang’s articles before. You should also read it because it is awesome.
So came the time to sprint down the hall to wait in line to see Thomas Dolby. And then be told to put the line elsewhere. And then get smooshed by a Darth Vader cosplayer, but this this was a sci-fi convention and I expected precisely nothing less. I actually didn’t know what I expected from Thomas Dolby. Whatever I could have come up with, it would have been wrong.
I did not expect him to get up there and talk about being homeless in Paris like it was yesterday. I did not expect him to tell the audience that sometimes inspiration is hard or sticky or comes from abandoned lighthouses in the middle of nowhere. I did not expect him to jam like he was that kid in Paris and let the panel out super late, but he did and it was glorious. I actually don’t think I’ve ever see someone speak so honestly about doing what you love and so clearly enjoying it.
I also don’t think I’ve ever seen that many people with beat up vinyl records tucked lovingly under their arms before. I’m so happy I sprinted down their in the rain. Alas, I could not stay for the signing because I was already late for my date, already singing a song which cannot be repeat in spacetime. I know I sat down, said ‘wooooooow’ to answer how it was and was promptly presented with soup dumplings.
Totally worth sporting hella conshove bruises the next day.
Inspiration really is wherever you find it, or something like that. I’ve actually used one of his pieces of advice twice now and it’s worked both times. Plus, now I’ve got the visual of him playing the mixer like an instrument for the opening to “Waiting For A Girl Like You” stuck in my head forever.
Which might be just what he was talking about.