Pasila Station and Messukeskus – the Worldcon 75 Venue

Four years ago, when Helsinki was first bidding to hold Worldcon, I did a video tour of the venue. You can find that here, but a few things have changed since then so I thought it would be worth re-visiting the venue. In particular you may have heard scare stories about construction work. Thankfully that turns out to be pretty much a non-event as we don’t need to go near the parts of Pasila station that are being dug up. Of course the room allocations that I mentioned in the older video may have changed too, but I didn’t have facilities staff around today to explain things.

Here is the latest video, in which I manage to mispronounce Messukeskus in a variety of spectacularly wrong ways.

Helsinki – Airport to City by Train

A whole lot of you will be flying into Helsinki for Worldcon over the next few days, and will be wondering how you get from the airport to the city. So I made a video of what I did when I arrived. For the princely sum of €5 you can get a train from the airport to either Pasila, the station by the convention center, or Helsinki Central. The full journey takes just 28 minutes, and the trains are very frequent. Here’s how it is done.

Update: In answer to Lynn’s question in comments, the schedules are available online here. The trains have a gap in service between roughly midnight and 5:00am, but there are a number of bus services that full the gap. The 615 is half-hourly through the night.

Dinomania at Bristol

Here are some more photos I took of the dinosaurs on view at Bristol Zoo.

As usual with animals, getting them to stay still to be photographed is not always easy. Some of them, such as the Pachyrhinosaurus, were gently snoozing. Others were very busy. The most active of them was the dilophosaurus, which seemed to fancy itself as a dragon and delighted in spraying small children with water. Here it is in action. (The background noise is the rain.)

Better photos and more information about the various creatures can be found here.

Terri Windling Lecture Online

Thanks to some really quick work by the folks at Pembroke, this year’s Tolkien Lecture, given by Terri Windling, is now available to enjoy online. They have a podcast version and a video version. You can find them both, along with some photos, here, and it would be nice to pop over there and say thank you. But I know people are put off by the need to click through to things so here, by the magic of embedding, is what you need.

The podcast

The video of the lecture

And the video of the Q&A

Trans Pride – Day 3

I didn’t actually see much of the Sunday events. I needed to grab an interview with my friend Kathy Caton who has been shortlisted for the National Diversity Awards (in the LGBT role model category) this year. Kathy was busy at Radio Reverb producing a show, so I headed on up to their studio and did radio stuff for a while before heading home. Some of that may end up on Shout Out eventually, and of course I’ll put all of the audio up on my gender podcast at some point. In the meantime, I have found a couple of vlogs on YouTube that will give you a taste of the atmosphere.

The second one has a brief glimpse of me in the background, but it is very brief so it should be OK for you to watch it without risking going blind.

Time Out Of Mind – Episode 4: Anne McCaffrey

Here is the fourth episode of Time Out of Mind. It features Anne McCaffrey. The fifth and final episode, shot at the 1979 Worldcon, has already been uploaded to YouTube by someone else and can be found here.

Aside from the small amount of copyright material in the John Brunner episode, everything appears to have gone up OK. Fingers crossed it will stay there. Of course I hope that the BBC still have the original files somewhere, and will one day produce decent quality versions of the series for sale, but for now I hope you have enjoyed what we have got. Thanks again to Arnold Aiken for sending me the recordings.

Time Out of Mind – Episode 3: Michael Moorcock

Here’s the third episode in BBC2’s 1979 series, Time Out of Mind. It features Michael Moorcock, but comes with bonus appearances from M. John Harrison, Tom Disch and Fred Pohl. There are also some clips from a Jerry Cornelius film that You Tube has not (so far) objected to. Mike and Mike are their usual, uninhibited selves and do not shy away from slagging off those whose work and/or tastes they deem not up to scratch.

Time Out of Mind – Episode 2: John Brunner

Here’s episode 2 of Time Out of Mind. When I first uploaded this to YouTube they complained about copyright content within the video. As this was likely to cause the whole thing to be pulled I edited it the remove the offending sections. They were a clip from a dramatization of Brunner’s story, “The Last Lonely Man”, and a montage of images of pollution with a soundtrack of music by Eno. Neither segment is vital to the episode.

Time Out of Mind – Episode 1: Sir Arthur C. Clarke

OK folks, here we go with the first of the full Time Out of Mind episodes. This one features Sir Arthur C. Clarke. It runs for about 25 minutes.

For those coming new to this, the series was first broadcast in 1979, following a UK Worldcon in Brighton at which a lot of footage was shot. These videos are digitized from VCR recordings kindly supplied by British fan, Arnold Aiken.

If all goes well (meaning that no one objects) I’ll post the other three later this week.

Time Out Of Mind – Michael Moorcock Clip

Here is a clip from episode 3 of Time Out of Mind, the 1979 BBC2 series about science fiction. It features Michael Moorcock, with a little bit of supportive nodding from M. John Harrison, complaining about what a bunch of conservative old fuddy-duddies the science fiction community is made up of.

The amusing thing from my point of view is that I was reading Moorcock and Harrison as an excited teenager, so I see them as an older generation. And yet I have already been consigned to the bin of “evil old white man”, so goodness only knows what they are now. Heck, Moorcock lives in Texas, which probably makes him an ur-conservative.

By the way, Fred Pohl is interviewed during the program, and is quite gracious about the whole thing.

Time Out Of Mind – John Brunner Clip

Following up from yesterday’s clip of Sir Arthur, here’s a clip from episode 2 of Time Out of Mind, featuring John Brunner. In it Brunner explains why he has taken to writing near-future SF (books like Stand on Zanzibar, Shockwave Rider and The Sheep Look Up) instead of the space opera he was writing early in his career.

In another part of the show Brunner talks about Stand on Zanzibar and notes that in it he predicted a world population of 7 billion. We are now past that. The book is set in 2010, and we are past that too.

Time Out Of Mind – Sir Arthur Clip

I’ve talked before about the BBC2 series, Time Out Of Mind, which was made in 1979 and featured several science fiction writers. I’m lucky enough to have digitized video recordings of the programmes (thank you, Arnold Akien!). The final episode, filmed at the 1979 Worldcon in Brighton, has been made available on YouTube and has not yet attracted the attention of any lawyers, so I’m thinking of doing the same with the rest.

While I’m getting the material uploaded, here is a teaser from the first episode in the series. It features Sir Arthur C. Clarke and in the clip he is holding a press conference in a hotel room. Look out for a young journalist there with his camera. You may recognize him, despite the fact that he’s not wearing his now-customary black clothing.

Update: Neil says it can’t be him because he wasn’t there. So know I want to know who it is, and why he has stolen Neil’s hair.

Some Words from Brighton

The latest episode of Claire Parker’s Time 4 T radio show is now available as a podcast. It includes a segment featuring Brighton-based poet, Alice Denny, and a lengthy interview with a trans woman who financed her surgery by working as a dominatrix. In between these is a segment featuring James Marcus Tucker who, together with Michael Urwin, has been producing a fascinating series of videos interviewing the QUILTBAG community in Brighton. The most recent two episodes feature Fox from My Transsexual Summer, Alice Denny, and E-J, whom I met when I gave a paper in Brighton last year. There are also a couple of guest appearances by a very cute cat whom I believe is Fox’s owner. They are quite short and worth a listen if you are interested in trans issues.

On the Gender Binary

On Stealth

Eurocon TV

You may remember me tweeting from Stockholm that the Friday panels at Eurocon were being filmed. Well, the results of that are now available online. You can watch the following:

Ian’s speech is the only one of these I arrived in time to see, so I am very grateful to the Stockholm folks for making these available.

The Cory & China Show

On Tuesday evening I got to attend a reading by Cory Doctorow and China Miéville. It was organized by the Clerkenwell Tales bookstore in London and took place in the nearby Church of the Holy Redeemer. The moderator was Robert Sharp. I videoed both readings. The audio quality is a bit dodgy due to the poor tech and the bad acoustics in the church. Here they are:

After the readings there was a Q&A session, featuring questions from the floor and ones tweeted in beforehand. There was no live interaction with Twitter, but not every moderator is as mad as I am.

During the discussion Cory made a very interesting point about the current attacks on the BBC. He noted that the big media organizations are lobbying hard for laws that will effectively prevent any news organization that isn’t big, rich, and stuffed with lawyers, from operating, things like the Digital Economy Act being only the start. The BBC, a large, publicly-owned news organization, would be able to continue operating under such conditions, making it a threat to any cartel of privately-owned media organizations. It all sounds a bit paranoid, but I have a fair amount of experience of how regulatory politics works in other industries and that makes it a lot more plausible.

China got thrown some real curve balls. The best one was (from memory), “Do you agree that writing novels is a bourgeois activity, and if so should Marxists write them?” China was in the process of a long and sensible answer in which he admitted that novels were pretty bourgeois but refused to abandon any potentially useful weapon, when the event came to an abrupt stop.

An older lady, who it turned out was on holiday from Vancouver, was taken ill (I believe it was a blood pressure problem) and an ambulance had to be called. Robert’s wife, who is a doctor, provided immediate assistance, and a paramedic on a bicycle arrived a few minutes later. By the time an actual ambulance arrived the patient was fit enough to stand, but she was taken off to hospital for checks just in case.

Meanwhile the boys headed back to the bookstore, put a table and chairs out in the street (Exmouth Market is a pedestrian precinct) and did their signing there to keep the crowd clear and allow the medics to work. Here they are in action.

Cory & China sign al fresco

Car Football – The Semi Finals

With the action winding down in South Africa I’m sure you have all been wondering what has been happening on YouTube at the Hyundai car football championships. Well, here are the semi-finals.

Brazil v Italy

England v Spain

Well, there’s a surprise, England beaten again. But Spain v Brazil in the final. That should be entertaining. Give what the Dutch have been saying about their plans for Johannesburg, it might provide the best entertainment tomorrow.