Friday, August 7, 2009

Worldcon Day 1

Alysse Kullikowski and I drove up from Rochester to Montreal without getting lost more than twice, and then only mildly. Alysse chose better than I in hotels. I had picked La Tour de Cente-Ville, under the impression that a charming French pensione would be...well, charming. Instead, it's a slightly seedy room with blindingly blue walls and a great view of the parking lot. Ah, well -- one doesn't come to Worldcon for the room.

I spent the evening in the bar of the Intercontinental Hotel with a group that included Jack Skillingstead, Daryl Gregory, Walter Jon Williams, and a lot of others. The bar offered absinthe -- the real thing, with wormwood, newly legal again in Canada. We ordered it for our table. It came with a multi-spiggoted fountain of water, a bottle of the absinthe, little strainers, and a bowl of sugar cubes. You put some of the absinthe in a glass, lay the strainer with a sugar cube on it on top, put this under a spigot, and turn on the water. The water flows through the sugar cube until it dissolves and everything ends up in the glass. The absinthe changes color. It's a lovely performance.

Then you drink it.

Absinthe, it turns out, is powerful stuff. It led to toasts ("To Hemingway!" "To Worldcon as a moveable feast!") It led to several people missing the Opening Ceremonies. It led to Jack's spending ten minutes attempting a back flip, although fortunately not in the bar.

Tomorrow people will actually pay attention to science fiction.

1 comment:

bluesman miike Lindner said...

My Bronx Science pal Bob Arvanitis got us a bottle of absinthe last month when I visited him and his family in prosperous Westport, CT. And we went throught the ritual. The taste of the forbidden liquor was strange and inviting. I reported the experience to my cohort at work, Glenn N. He is a =master= bass player. Been round the world, touring. I asked him if he'd like to invest in a bottle with me. And he said, "No way, Blues!" Which kinda nonplussed me. Shouldn't every creative soul--writer, musician, actor, artist--be able to say, "Yes, I am an absinthe drinker"?