Friday, April 27, 2007

Elfie 2007

Where to start?... The Netherlands. Holland. The Dutch in general and Elvish folk in particular... All good fun. Honestly, the Elf Fantasy Fair is quite a thing. Of course, I wasn't at my best on arrival, sixteen hours of travel with little sleep will do that to you, and then adjusting to a nine hour time difference doesn't help. So I walked around in daze that first day. Stayed awake, though, enough to take a tour of the grounds that the fair was going to take place on (at Castle de Haar), which were quite wonderful... This is them empty.

The next day, however, the... um... well, the hordes of strange ones arrived. I forget the numbers exactly, but they were talking like 25,000 or some such incomprehensible number. My understanding is that this dressing up and parading around in costume isn't a very Dutch thing to do. Strange, though, that for this event that translates into them doing so with a fury. The costumes were amazing, and abundant...

There were lots of elfish young lady types around - you'll be glad to hear, Scott... They all spoke the native Dutch and delicately accented English to boot. Very nice.

This guy may look a bit intimidating, but he's really quite approachable... Nice to be able to make friends across obvious cultural boundaries.One of the best parts of the whole thing, though, was hanging out (um... drinking and talking nonsense, I mean) with other VIP's. Oh, in case you didn't know. I was there as a VIP. I wore a shiny gold bracelet to prove it! Had a great time talking and drinking with Brian Froud (illustrator extraordinaire, creature designer on movies like Labyrinth and The Dark Crystal, and well versed in all things Faerie), Julian Glover (amazing character actor who's been in tons of films and theater productions, like - Cry Freedom, For Your Eyes Only, Tom Jones and, last but not least, he was Maximilian Veers in Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back!), John Picacio (artist who, among other things, designs Hugo Award winning book covers) and his wife Tracy (generally lovely on her own account), Chris Geere (a wee English hunk of a young actor, most recently seen in Blood and Chocolate, but also seen on The Bill and Casualty [okay, you kinda have to live in Britain for a while to know those shows] and he's been the face of Coca Cola in Britain... Anyway, he's a lovely guy and the young ladies like him).

Loved meeting James Clemens (published in tons of languages around the world!) and getting veterinary advice, and hated that I somehow didn't speak to Scott Lynch (whose The Lies of Locke Lamora was an impressive fantasy debut recently). Oh, Lou Ferrigno was there too (Yes, the Incredible Hulk! Not exactly a late night drinker, though - preferred working out, actually). We were all kept in order by a British gentleman of the highest order, Professor Doctor Roland Rotherham (much loved by the Dutch, former camel-mounted officer, close servant to the Queen - geez, he was well slumming with us, but man could he tell a story!). It was nice being a VIP, no doubt about it.

On the other hand, I should in all honesty admit that I wasn't personally much a crowd draw. (So much for VIP status...) Actually, I could count the number of people that came to my two events on my two hands... Ach, well, humility is ever a good thing. It may have drove me to seek out carnage, though, which is why I joined the mock battle between the Carthaginians and the Romans. This is me and my fellow "Barbarians"…

Notice I'm the only the one with my sword up! I took this stuff seriously. These other guys are slackers. They got a bit more serious when we met our foe...

Okay, so I know what you're thinking, but, honestly, I was doing exactly what I was supposed to by staying in the back ranks. Look at that wide-legged stance, sword in hand and semi-erect. I was ever-ready to slip past an injured comrade and take up the battle. And I did do that. I promise. Took a few Romans down before falling with my own fatal wound. Fortunately, there were healers on hand...

This is me after being healed of my injuries, working up a fury to return to the battle. It must have worked, because in a strange twist of fate and overturning of recognized history the Carthaginians won the final battle! Very glad to have been able to change history that way.

Anyway, now I'm back and sorting through emails and raking in bits of news. I'll be blogging about some of that stuff shortly. I'm glad to say things are staying exciting for this book.

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Blogger Scott Oden said...

Great pics! Especially the fair elfin lasses (I'm adding the Netherlands to my itinerary of Places to Visit Before I Die) ;)

I'm fairly certain that after June the line of people who are going to want to attend one of your appearances will be significantly greater. I would guarantee it.

Isn't James Clemens also James Rollins? Pen names drive me batty . . .

4:38 PM  
Blogger Gabriele Campbell said...

Now, that's one askew Roman turtle. Germanicus would have made those slackers exercise for several extra hours.

Looks like you had fun. Oh, and Scott, aren't you missing one of your Orcs? Seems the Dutch give asylum to about everyone. :)

5:05 PM  
Blogger David Anthony Durham said...

The Netherlands are definitely worth a visit, perhaps, Scott, on your world tour for the Orc novel…

Yes, Clemens is Rollins, and neither is his real name... Jim mentioned jokingly that one reason he doesn't want to write in any other genres is that he's not up to having yet another pen name.

The deficiencies of the turtle aside, it was still impressive to see them snap into formation. Intimidating really, and a quite a nice show.

11:40 AM  
Blogger Constance Brewer said...

You make an intimidating barbarian. *g* Way to kick some Roman butt. Period play always helps me with writing scenes later on - just in case I forget how heavy sword and armor really are!

I spent a week in Amsterdam when I lived in Italy. Awesome museums, a week was not enough time to soak up the great art.

10:37 PM  
Blogger John Picacio said...

Hey, Big D --

It was a helluva good time. Loved your writeup. I'm sure we'll be in should have some photos sitting in your inbox, by now. Traci and I got home late Friday night and I think my body's still on Europe time. I'm sure we'll be in touch....

4:12 PM  
Blogger David Anthony Durham said...

Hi John,

Good to hear from you. I guess I forgot to mention on my post that the VIP crew took to calling me "Big D" in the Netherlands. A term of endearment, I'm sure.

I liked your post, too, John. Great that you have pictures of all of us. Folks can check it out at Be well, John. I look forward to seeing you again somewhere out there in the fantasy world.

11:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi David,

What a great blog! You guys must have had so much fun!!! And you do look like a fierce warrior.

It's nice to see you all had a great time and even promoting our tiny country!

Hope to see you all again (relatively) soon...with or without a wild costume. ;)

All the best, Coca.

7:20 AM  
Blogger David Anthony Durham said...

Hi Coca,

You bet it was a great time. Thanks for helping to make it happen. I'd be happy to come back some time - as a real fantasy writer by then! And I'll definitely wear a costume of some sort...

1:53 PM  

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