Date: Sat, 17 Nov 2001 10:04:48 -0800
simon poulter <email@example.com>
venue: Ars en Ré
This year's disenCHANT symposium was rather pale compared to last
year's extraordinary events. I was travelling in the company of
two fellow chaps from Brighton. Initially I found them polite and
their company worthy. On the train down they began a shaving foam
fight with the ticket collector. I asked to be re-accommodated into
First Class, on discovering the three of them wearing rubber masks
in the lavatory.
On arrival on the island we were quickly whisked to the symposium
hotel, next to the rather pretty port area. I observed many older
people coming and going sampling
the local sea food platters. Retiring to my room, I slept for several
hours and experienced a complex dream which I shall now describe
before beginning my turgid report:
éffete man in his late fifties erects a sign - 'East of Ship Monkey'.
It transpires that this is a computer game for gay men. A replacement
set of automotive
spanners are offered as a prize to the person who can guess the reason
to read this text. Five Jerusalem artichoke heads are placed in an enormous
vase, their weight only just held by it.
A group of men sit playing East of Ship Monkey on a large screen. They
argue about technique and eventually one of them jumps up from his chair
and shouts "Let's set up a complex legal nightmare". They drop the controls
of the game and assign various assets over to each other by way of legally
binding agreements. One of them, a solicitor, says "I think this will
am abruptly woken up by a knock on the door. The hotel boy brings me the
cherryade and sympathy bandages I requested on arrival.
I meet up with a number of colleagues from my Department. They all seem
convinced that this meeting is a waste of time. Like me, they have turned
up expecting trouble. We sit through eighteen Powerpoint presentations
and then retire to the bar. I order a cherryade, the others down whisky
and scarcely show an interest in my suggestions. I keep notes you see
- on everything.
We walked up to the northern port area. Very tourist laden. I conjure
up the courage to eat a basket of live eels, a local delicacy. Barry Harst
talks for two hours on the relationship between GDP and disenchantment.
We politely clap at the end and Barry chides us all on our lack of enthusiasm.
The joke is on me later as I receive a fax from the office ordering me
to complete work on the Lake of Enthusiasm.
I have switched hotels. Last night several youths set fire to a camping
car outside my window. The smell of burning curtains was unbearable. I
am now in the slightly more up-market 'Angleterre'. The service proves
to be considerably better. A small tray by the side of each bed offers
guests pink coated biscuits and copious quantities of dispirin.
Finally meet up with Harry. He is quite satisified with the quality of
the symposium. He will give his talk 'enchantment and mercury - ways forward
for the common people' later in the afternoon. I agree to attend. A nervous
Harry fluffs his way through to the end. His topic, ethnicity in communication,
is relevant and well researched - however the man is dull at the best
of times. I discover the two chaps from Brighton huddled up in some makeshift
dog blanket. They throw insults at me across the room, which I ignore.
My final day. We explore the limits of the town. The strange spire, visible
on the publicity for the event looks like an imitation rocket, not quite
credible. But it can be seen from the surrounding fields. Barry Harst
invites us to watch his annual ritual and naturally selects the most anodyne
looking field. The hole now complete, he eases himself into it and we
cover him with local sand. It wouldn't be disenCHANT without this oddly
repetitive celebration. We depart and I vow to commission a new version
of my life laid out in a manner contemporary with my favourite Eagle annuals.