February 22nd, 2006

Portrait as a Renaissance artist-enginee

On writing a guidebook about Barcelona

Tonight at the BSFA meeting was delightful: Steve Cockayne's trilogy emerged, in various ways, from the familial marionette theater he grew up with, a family business. He brought a spaceman, a flying saucer, and a major character from his fiction (Rusty) for us to meet in marionette form. His books sound fascinating, clearly, from fjm's enthusiasm for them, and his own quixotic descriptions. (Trivia: he was also a cameraman for some of the '70s Dr. Who episodes.)

In addition to the guest interviewee, I also met another guy tonight, A., and conversation eventually turned from scaffolding and his recent trip to Barcelona to Jerusalem, the Holy Grail, and more of my medieval mill anecdotes. (I had no idea I had so many of them.) One poem recounts how the crusaders erected a windmill in Jerusalem, and the locals marvelled at such a strange and alien device. A. was enthralled at the vision this painted - especially after the grail discussion preceding it - and asked how Jerusalem was described in the poem. I told him that the poem's description of Jerusalem would probably be as informative as if I were to today write a guidebook to Barcelona. I've never been there, haven't gone too far out of my way to read about it, and have only heard anecdotal information about it. Perhaps I should try writing the guidebook, just to see how wrong I am....