Well folks, the title really tells you everything you need to know here. But I'm gonna go ahead and tell you a little story anyway.
A few days ago, I decided to organise all my Facebook friends into lists, by how and from where I know them. I was secretly getting a bit worried that most of my "friends" were really work colleagues and that I'm turning into one of those corporate types and will eventually replace my profile picture with my cat in an Intel t-shirt or something. So I broke it up into family, work, friends from back home, people I know from when I lived in Dublin, people from the old alt.fan.pratchett community, misc, and noders. And you know what? After my old school friends, the noder list turned out to be the longest.
And then I sort of went down the list and started remembering all kinds of fun stories I know about these people, all sorts of adventures we shared... Like the time I went to a residential gaming convention in deepest darkest Irish countryside because some bloke on the internet was all "you should come, it'll be fun". Or the time in 2003 when we had this crazy hot summer and dope was reclassified as "you won't get arrested" and we had that meet in Hyde Park that I honestly can't remember any of because some people took the reclassification pretty seriously...
Then there was that crazy bunch of noders clambering all over the Wiltshire countryside and getting bogged down in huge quagmires and having to jump fences and that's how we know certain noders definitely wear pants with pink bats on them... And then once somebody flew in to a meet just for the weekend and I had eleven noders sleeping like pilchards in a can, all in a row on my front room carpet. Oh yeah, and do you remember when there was this handfasting on Hampstead Heath, and I carted a wedding cake all the way from Swindon, and then we did readings in Hebrew? Plus there was my birthday, when we set up a production line of Goth make up in the Camden Tup, which has closed since but I hope we had nothing to do with that.
But then the stories begin to resolve. And they're not stories about crowds anymore, but about people: Katie and I looking for a coffee shop in Soho at midnight because the pubs have closed and we still had so much to talk about. Meeting Daniela's grandmother, who is awesome. David giving me the most amazing line drawing of me he did from a photo. Graeme saying thank you for things that are a bit personal so I won't go in to them, but hey man - you're totally welcome. Christine driving for an hour to pick me up from Sacramento and then cooking me poached eggs for breakfast. Haje catching the train from London to keep me company for an evening because I was lonely. Catherine telling me jokes all the way on the ferry back from Calais so I don't get seasick. These aren't just noders, they're not just screen names - they're friends. And I'm sorry to all the friends I might have left out, people I love dearly and some of whom are still very much in my life and some of whom are a bit gone, but hey, that's life. Just believe me when I say I remember you all, and if I wasn't afraid I'd run out of space, I'd tell all the stories.
So, E2 is going to be ten years old in a few weeks. And you know what? Normally I'm not a sentimental gal. And I've tended to cock an eyebrow at people who say they love E2 "because of the community". I don't know how much of a community we are, online. But offline? We are so totally a community now. And that's why I want to step up and help celebrate E2's birthday in a real life kind of manner.
What I'd like to do is go back to every place we've ever had a good time together and do it all again. Such is the way of nostalgia. But that would be, how shall we say, maybe not the most practical. So instead, DEB and I are inviting you to come and have a pint with us in some of the more memorable, traditional, convenient or simply good London pubs that we've had nodermeets in over the years. All credit for devising the route, working out timings, remembering the names of the pubs and deciding where we should eat - in other words, for the real work - goes to her lovely self. Below is the intinerary we propose, approximately divided into time slots so that if you can't join us at the beginning, you could still catch up with us later, on
Saturday, November 14th 2009
- 11:00 Meet at The Freemason's Arms, Hampstead.
- 12:00 Fitzroy Tavern, Charlotte Street
- 13:00 Bricklayer's Arms, Gresse Street - lunch
- 14:30 The George, Wardour Street
- 15:30 If weather permits, and we're not running short on time or light, a stroll up to and through Hyde Park
- 16:45 Penderel's Oak, High Holborn
- 17:45 The Knight's Templar, Chancery Lane
- 19:00 The Plume of Feathers, Park Vista, Greenwich - dinner, and a nice quiet rest after all the rushing around.
I think after all the work DEB's put in to this, I'd better turn up even of nobody else does. But hey, it'll be way more fun to have y'all along for company. You should come. It'll be fun.
So far, we've got: