Notes from New Sodom

... rantings, ravings and ramblings of strange fiction writer, THE.... Sodomite Hal Duncan!!

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Belfast, Nottingham, Austin...

So I finally bit the bullet and signed up for WFC in Austin (in November) and Fantasycon in Nottingham (in September), so with Mecon in Belfast (in August... or to be more precise, from Friday!), all I need now is an excuse to go to Octocon (in, of course, October). Cause then it would be a con a month which is just silly enough that I'm naturally tempted.

On the other hand Octocon would probably be a bad idea, because I do need to save my money for when I go on the lam in Austin, Texas. Because let's face it: the prospect of returning home to Scotland in the depth of winter is enough to make even the maddest of Mad Schemes seem a better option, when that Mad Scheme involves not going back to where it's bloody Baltic and only light between, oh, 9:00 am and 4:00 pm. OK, so there's the whole Visa Only Being Valid For A Limited Time thing and the Country Being Ruled By Neo-Con Nutjobs thing, and I know I'd eventually do something stupid in Texas like, I dunno, leave Austin. But, listen, I have a plan. See, after I've accidentally burned down the Alamo, or asked the wrong cowboy if he's a fan of Brokeback Mountain, or mistakenly roared antichristian sonnets and random insults outside some Baptist church ("Westbury, you say, not Westboro. Oh. Well, I take back what I said about the goats.")... anyway, after I've done whatever it is I'm bound to do that will mean I have to hightail it out of Texas, then I shall follow the plan of every self-respecting renegade: head south for El Mexico!

Cause if I have to hire an unscrupulous speedboat-owner to smuggle me across the Rio Grande, or swim the fucker myself, a Scottish wetback in search of sunlight and tequila, frankly it'll probably still be a more tempting option than spending winter in Glasgow. And they'll never catch me. I know some Spanish. Mi estomago Europeo es debil. See? I've been watching Don Juan De Marco and practicing my fake Spanish accent; it's now really bad. Muy mal. I'm not saying I'll blend in, but I'll be entertaining.

-- Who is this gringo loco with the bad Spanish accent? they'll say. Why is he even speaking with a bad Spanish accent when he is in Mexico?

-- I'm no gringo, I'll say. I'm Scottish. I too am of an oppressed people with an overbearing, imperialist neighbour! I too understand that life is hard and short but that this, yes, this is all the more reason to celebrate its brief and fleeting joys with the rapture of drink and song, mes amigos. Give me a tango beat on that guitar, my friend, and I shall show you that I am truly your brother.

They'll have to let me stay, once they realise that Scots are really just Mexicans without the Catholicism and the weather. But how will I survive once the money runs out? Why, I shall join a mariachi band. We'll work the bars and cafes, regaling rich American tourists with the Alex Harvey version of "Next", confusing them with my bizarre pseudo-Castillian lisp and guttural Glaswegian drunk-in-a-pub incomprehensibility. I shall set the poetry of Lorca to music, sing his sweet Gypsy Ballads to newly-weds on honeymoon, serenade them with such sensuality that the woman will tremble in anticipation of the pleasures which await later that night. And while she dreams of the satisfaction of her deepest desires, the man will sweat, squirming with the not-quite-conscious-and-yet-still-unsettling vague sensation that these songs of love are not for her, oh no, but rather aimed at him. Yes, I shall try them in the crucible of passion, and if by chance some of the men they find themself transformed, the cold steel of their heterosexuality melted to a more mercurial temperament... well, I shall try not to be shot dead by a jealous wife, but death-by-romanticism is surely a better end than old age. Either way, these lovers will return to their homes with stories of this strange Spaniard-Scot of a singer, with his wild eyes, wild hair and even wilder hand-gestures, this man known only as... Don Loco!

It's a plan. It may not be a sane plan, but if it was sane then they would not call me Don Loco.


Anonymous Jessie said...

Enjoy Austin. I've got a friend in a jam-band there; they're working on a concept album about Gertrude Stein and the expatriates, which should sort of explain his character. He says Austin is an oasis of culture in the vast wasteland that is Texas.

5:27 am  
Blogger neil williamson said...

Al, your brain is leaking again...

Btw it looks like I also will be going to Austin. I got *persuaded*.


9:50 am  
Blogger Neal Asher said...

Imperialist neighbour? Do you mean us lot down south who are ruled by scots? Start complaining when we stop subbing you to the tune of £1000 per scot.

11:59 am  
Blogger Hal Duncan said...

Jessie: Yeah, I've heard a lot of good things about Austin. Sounds like it rocks.

Neil: Hurrah! On both counts.

Neal: Well, three hundred years of forging yer empire, mate... going off round the world for ye, building bridges and blowing them up... *hands on hips*... *sucks air through teeth*... it's gonna cost ye!

Should've asked for a full quote before the Act of Union.

2:34 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Some Scots do have the Catholicism, of course. You should be aware of that, living in Glasgow.

4:17 pm  
Anonymous MartIn McCallion said...

That point about Catholicism was me. Sorry about the accidentally-anonymous, and unfinished, post.

I meant to go to say, another excellent piece. And I'm currently half-way through Vellum. And hi. I'm an old university friend of Andrew Wilson and Paul Cockburn.

4:25 pm  
Blogger Hal Duncan said...

Hi Martin. You're right, of course a la Catholic Scots. But then it's not exactly the dominant religious paradigm in the homeland of the Orange Eedjits. Besides, when you add the Catholicism, don't you officially become Irish? And then when you add the weather, see, you become Mexican. (Hmmm, *thinks*... so if you add the weather but not the Catholicism, what do you get? Australians, maybe?)

Wait a minute; does this mean I need to convert to Catholicism to be accepted into Mexican society in my new identity as Don Loco de Guernica? Or is Santeria close enough? Cause I'm all for the latent polytheism stuff with the "saints" and all; that's neato.

5:01 pm  
Blogger Jim Steel said...

Hey, free wine.

6:42 pm  
Blogger Neal Asher said...

You bloody Celts (sucks air through teeth) "My grandpa killed your grandpa ... etc". I wasn't building any empires, and the wealth of empire was expended keeping the jack boots from stomping along, amongst other places, the shores of Loch Lomond. Get over it.

8:11 pm  
Blogger Hal Duncan said...

Feh. We saw off the Romans, so a few copy-cat eagle-fetishists would have been piss-easy. And what's this with the English *always* harping on about the Germans? Aren't all you Anglo-Saxons just Germans, anyway? With yer Saxe-Coburg Queenie and Co.? Honestly, we're happy to have ye here, but if yer going to be a guest in our country ye'll just have to adapt to our culture. After all, we were perfectly happy to let you have a wee corner down there in the South; that's just good Celtic hospitality. But, oh no, before ye know it, half the country's gone, and we're all labelled "Welsh" or "Scottish" -- "foreigners" and "pirates". I mean, OK, so we stole a few sheep, so the latter's probably a fair cop, but "foreigners" -- that's just rude!

But look on the bright side. Give it a few years (and a bit of elbow grease) and you Germans -- sorry, English -- should have yer own devolved parliament too. Then you too can have an extra layer of faceless bureaucrats with nothing better to do than, oh, ban smoking and cover up fingerprinting fuck-ups.

9:00 pm  
Anonymous Martin McCallion said...

Hi Hal. Not exactly the dominant paradigm? I suppose not, overall, but it wis in ma hoose. Well, my parents'. I grew out of it a long time ago, of course.

Scottish + Catholicism = Irish? That's an interesting theorem. But now that I think about, my high school was called St Patrick's, and St Columba was supposed to have brought the faith over from Ireland... and like many, I have a fair bit of Irish in my background. So you're not far off, at that.

I'd never really thought about the saints as 'latent polytheism' before, but I see where you're coming from. Put it together with the symbolic cannibalism (eating your god FFS!) and where does that take you?

Not sure what you get by adding good weather, really. I can only tell you that I find whisky less appealing in hot weather, which is an argument in favour of a bit of chill in the air if I ever heard one.

12:28 am  
Blogger Neal Asher said...

Hah, you saw off the Romans but we kicked your sorry asses. And what’s this about forging our empire? Everyone knows the scots were down in the engine room moaning about the bonus scheme while the essex-boy Sharpe’s were out on the battlefield wasting frogs and krauts. Harping about the Germans? Well, maybe a few sub-episilons wrapped in George crosses and full of beer during the world cup, but they’re not a patch on the hard-done-to northerners whinging about the sassenachs. And a devolved parliament? We too can spend half a billion on knocking up some monument to bureaucracy in the the centre of Basildon. I look forward to seeing the residents nicking the roof tiles.

9:41 pm  
Blogger Neth said...

I grew up in Austin - great city.

A fun way to make friends is to remind people that the 'Neo-Con Nutjob' in charge actually isn't from Texas but was born in Connecticut, educated at prep school in Massachusetts, and went to college at Yale and Harvard.

Get yourself a Kinky Freidman for governor shirt.

9:10 pm  
Anonymous Jessie said...

Kinky Friedman is unbelievably cool.

2:01 pm  
Blogger Sean Wright said...

I'll see you in Nottingham, Hal. You better buy my bloody books, and not piss all your hard-earned advances up the wall!!!

This should be a bumper year at Fancon.

6:54 pm  

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