Picocon Post-Mortem: Thursday 23rd February

Present: Present: Alex(Chair), Tim(Treasurer), Peter, Malc(Web Editor), Dave(Publicity Officer), Smithers(Wrym Editor), Ben(Picocon sofa), Ian(Head Librarian), Christina(Chair of Vice), Adam, Kath AWOL: Shuri
Meeting opened 1733

GENERAL PICOCON STUFF
  • Ben: Overall Picocon was great, but there were a few points from feedback. Kendo/Karate above the UDH were disruptive to talks. (Not much we can do about this though). Visitors said there didn't seem to be much room for the traders, though we did have more traders than usual this year.

    Peter is a choco-deity.
  • Alex: Went very well, feedback was good. Sellers are interested in coming back. Were some problems Ð College were evil about parking, and it was difficult to use the road because of the police for the Mountbatten festival. In future we need better internal communication, more email contact so everyone knows what's going on. The timetables were useful, but more info on what had and hadnÕt been done was needed. Summary: Great success in spite of some adversity.
  • Peter: Tell authors who to look out for at the station (distinguishing features eg: giant pink snake), and make the meeting point more specific (by the ticket machines or whatever).
  • Tim: We made £730 from tickets, but need to pay VAT on this.
  • 43 T-shirts were sold.
  • Only two new members were signed up, and with incorrect paperwork.
  • People should check the forms when they take them, to make sure everything's done right.
  • For future Picocons, need float of at least £100, we had £50 and this caused problems.
  • Well done to Jem for pushing the T-shirts
  • Maybe it wasn't obvious that people could sign up for the society
  • Quiz in bar was very good idea, better turnout, use of PA system, people moved out of DBs so we an clear up
  • 117 attendees, last year 104
  • Front desk rota should match shifts with talk times, so you don't have to miss two events to do one shift
  • Possibly have a third person at front desk, to give out programmes
  • People coming at 8o'clock is very helpful
  • Eldritch trader was very happy, plans to come back next year
  • Some problems with library key, library left unlocked at one point, which is bad
SETTING UP
  • Hurray for Simon and the coffee he brought!
  • South Ken station was on fire, but it got better! Authors should be told what to do in event of station being closed
  • Problems with getting power in DBs, because events the previous night had caused switches to trip. We had a few problems with Security getting this sorted. Got fixed in time for opening.
  • All our printing (Wyrms, signs, etc) was done beforehand, which is good
  • Red ribbons for committee members and other People To Ask Questions To worked really well, also stylish.
  • LAN setup in time, functioned all day
  • Need something to doorstop the DBs doors, which isn't easy
  • Not very many card/boardgames running Ð mostly some Munchkin, plus House Munchkin
  • Someone should do a sandwich shop run for the committee and people on the front desk rota, so they can stay on site
  • We could buy lunch for people who volunteer for the front desk
  • Maybe borrow a coffee machine for Picocon, but there are coffee facilities in the MCCR
  • Some difficulties getting liquid nitrogen, but since we need to get it on the day not much can be done
  • Aside: Complaints being made about Rupert Neate to the Chair of the Media Group (biased reporting) and the Elections Officer (bias in campaigning)
  • Union Elections soon, someone should send e-mail to the society list telling people to vote, but not for a specific candidate!
NATASHA MOSTERT TALK
  • Interesting & engaging talk
  • If an author is late, their babysitter should not attend other talks and be unreachable
  • Should have better briefing for babysitters at the start of the day
  • Alex: Chair should not ad-lib the opening speech, apologies for any incoherence
  • More authors should give away books
DoDM
  • Glad we had liquid nitrogen
  • Some of the lots werenÕt sufficiently dodgy/funny
  • We had to hurry and leave out some lots Ð 7 or 8 items is a good number
  • Mysteries of the Gods (with Bill Shatner) earned £70 this year, for a total of £115!
  • Jar-Jar netted £70 Ð good year overall!
  • Ben was a superb auctioneer!
  • Kudos to Steve for being our PA all day
  • Check if thereÕs an important football match on in the bar that day, could cause probs
  • Warn bar to stock up on Pies & Ale
  • Tell security about Picocon in advance, give them a written document, mention Number of People, Times, Rooms we need to unlock
  • Alex: Thanks to Kristine, Union Facilities Manager, for all her help
  • Kristine can help us to book Picocon well in advance of the standard booking rules if we talk to her nicely
  • There's the risk of Union refurbishment next year
IAN WATSON TALK
  • Alex does a deeply terrifying impression of him
  • The talk was less structured than others, but the feedback was good from the non-student attendees
MARK ROBERTS TALK
  • Consisted of excerpts from the book he edited
  • An entertaining chap to have around
PANEL TALK
  • Simon (who hosted) said it went well, the three authors got along well, talked about the editing process among other things
  • Maybe authors should be introduced before Picocon or at least earlier on in the day, to find the points of commonality for the Panel talk
  • Simon was a good choice for host, with his Union Council experience and so forth
  • Malc: Picocon stuff was mostly done by undergrads or recent graduates, not ICSF Elder Things, which is good. Dave Clements is a permanent fixture as always
  • Thanks to Lorna for all her help, bringing computers on the day
  • Thanks to people who lent computers and everyone who turned up at 8 to set up
SILLY GAMES
  • Steve & Peter: Best. Team. Ever. Particularly in Just a Minute, hilarity ensued
  • Picking the teams in advance was a good idea
  • Alex: No charades title should have 11 words!
  • Some clues were too cryptic
  • We don't need so much Just a Minute, maybe 1 topic per team, or 1 per team member at most. This year it went on for far too long
  • Ben: We should have a Mornington Crescent commentator
  • Cristina suggested for this role (to commentate in Spanish, naturally. Scorchio!)
QUIZ
  • Babelfish-ed book title questions were good, maybe do a whole round of those next time
  • Having secretly themed rounds then later asking what the themes were was a bit confusing
  • Though, theme rounds are better than topic rounds, for people who donÕt know anything about eg: Dr Who or Buffy
  • Overall questions were at a good difficulty level
  • Quizmaster should be explicit about the question numbers
  • We should help people organise into teams
  • Kudos to a team of non-ICSF, non-Picocon-attending quiz team who did not come last!
  • Random people joining in is another good reason to use Da VinciÕs for the quiz
FISH DUEL
  • What fish duel?
  • A toast to Ben for winning!
  • We need a third uni to take part
  • Ben: Dublin might be good, we've made links with them this year
  • Dublin's & Aberystwyth's contact details should be passed on for next year
  • Kath craves men's pocky
END OF DAY
  • Losing the authors was not good!
  • Again, we should brief babysitters better
  • Peter: Do we email lots of other SF societies about Picocon?
  • Ben: Yes.
  • Dinner went well
  • Ask in Gloucester Road was a good choice of restaurant, located next to tube station, well priced
PUBLICITY
  • We should have more bookmarks, say 100 (about 30 for BSFA, 50 for the Ton, the rest for miscellaneous people)
  • They should be made in one go
  • Thanks to Smithers for very cool bookmark design
  • Tim: At 11p per bookmark, plus a lot of effort, question their usefulness as publicity. Do we give them to people who would have come to Picocon anyway? The Union will help to finance bookmarks, which is not the case for flyers
  • Cristina: It looks cool, and it is permanent publicity eg: for future Picocons
  • Thanks to Daniel for the art on the posters, he's very good
  • We should be more aggressive with postering, do more poster runs, get more into halls of residence
  • We should send people to more BSFA meetings & Tons, not just the one before Picocon
  • Dave, Alex, Peter interested in going to these
  • Good that the publicity, particularly flyers, was done nice and early
  • We should update the website early, including paragraphs about the authors
  • As soon as theyÕre confirmed, we should ask the authors for short bio & picture, as they may have a standard spiel for this kind of thing
  • Cristina: Should there be two Picocon Sofas?
  • Much agreement
  • One Picocon Sofa and an Assistant Sofa would work, one to be the public face, talk to authors etc and the other to do logistics
  • Assistant Librarian position is not necessary, since the Librarian can minion people for help when they need to
  • Ben: Mad propz to Cristina for organisation!
  • Alex: And to Ben!

Meeting Closed 18:27