We'd all gone to this massive old Victorian palace-theatre-cafe thing by the seaside (squigglyruth took us, in her car). It had a huge ballroom, and all this deco ironwork, and a hallway which from the inside looked a bit like a fabergé egg but it was also all full of amusement arcade stuff and vending machines full of huge scary ugly soft toys, and a karaoke bar that never stopped, and loads of people having fun, fun, fun, very seriously as if it were an important job, something that had to be done.
Off to one side there was this room that looked like the inside of a steampunk flying saucer, with a bookfair in it and behind that an exibition in a maze of boards. One of the stall holders told me a story about going into a porn shop to buy books and I bought Dinner at Deviant's Palace by Tim Powers, and then I found a J G Ballard book with a unicorn on the cover. The art made me feel anxious, Jane kept telling me I should put my art there but the only thing I could think of was the velvet art Beowulf with all the green glitter. At the end were loads of locked doors which a woman kept shaking, saying "is someone trying to get through?"
The way upstairs went past a booth like a photo booth, except it painted potraits; every time we walked past, it would say, "Hi, I'm Leonardo, would you like me to paint your portrait?"
Upstairs was a big hall with a spanish village compressed against the walls, all the angles gone weird and little lights in all the windows, and everything smelt of gravy. All the colours were brownish, as if everything had been varnished or tanned, and the ceiling was painted with clouds. There were Caryatids on all the walls, they looked aggrieved, I wanted to apologise. (Later, we played Blake's 7 there, and pretended the stage was the Liberator; this guy I didn't know with long blonde hair and a monkey! t-shirt played Jenna, and I was cross because I was playing Cally and she's rubbish.)
Off the side of the hall there was a room which looked like it was covered with wood panels and had a big stone fireplace, but actually eveything was made of paint and plaster. Lionel Fanthorpe was there, dressed as a Templar (being a Templar?) and talking about the treasure pit on Oak Island; later, in the same room, Lucy (a scientist I know) was talking about how cane toad embryos develop and how you can make mice without heads and chickens with six legs. "Embryos like that aren't usually viable, though," she said, she was pregnant.
There was another room behind that where three women were talking about slash fiction, there was a man in the audience who was upset that they kept on saying it was something that women do for women, and they all seemed to be into Stargate and squicking (?).
Then Philip Pullman turned up, wearing a white suit and looking like the architect (?) in the Matrix Revomited. He said that Tove Jannson was a genius and that Moominpapa was a really good father, but then John Clute and some other people turned up and it turned into this sort of game of Literary Top Trumps. E. M. Forster's Aspects of the Novel was top trump; they weren't talking about slash fiction by then, this was about fairy tales.
Then we were looking for a restaurant, but everyone's maps were for how to get to hotels, even though every street was full of brightly painted hotels, with vending machines outside them selling pasties and crotchless knickers. We had instructions, too, but they were wrong. We went to complain, and twic, greengolux, coalescent and elleblue were all in a cupboard full of computers, making newsletters. They said they were in the third row.
Later, swisstone (wearing a frilly shirt) was making his friends recite scenes from films, but with one person being playing a swanee whistle and pretending to be a clanger, and cloudhigh, who was drinking champagne with authors (?), read out from an Orson Scott Card book that I had coloured in with gay porn.
We were staying somewhere else, to get there we walked along the beach and under the pier. The beach was only there at low tide, when the tide was out, a huge cloud of donkeys descended onto the beach, but at high tide it was just water and they had to go on the tram lines and roads with the rest of the traffic.
There was a wedding disco in the evening (Lionel Fanthorpe married some people) in this big Deco Aztec hall with constellations on the ceiling made out of small lights. There were panels that opened up on the wall, behind them there was metal and wires and flashing lights, and also a bar that was open sometimes. There was a big buffet, and a structurally unsound wedding cake, that had tilted over to one side but wasn't falling over quite yet, and a small dark room where three people were watching a video of people talking about Dr Who. mr_snips was pogoing to Eton Rifles, but I didn't feel like dancing.
Off down another corridoor (the whole place was full of these long, pink corridoors, full of pink-and-blue deco signs for toilets which always turned out to be along endless corridoors, or down tiny twisty staircases, or full, or pay-token) we found this big red-and-white striped marquee with an enormous car boot sale inside it. There was a stall with masses of Action Man stuff, and another selling old Morrisey videos; I bought a tiny yellow china sheep, and a superhero comic by Clive Barker. It was really badly drawn (not by him).
Mostly the ballroom (it was huge!) was completely empty except for some helium ballons caught against the ceiling like lost starfish, but one time we went in there and these two scientists were making lightning, and another time there were people trying to fly those toy airship things through balloons, while some women, a man, a dalek and an inflatable kangaroo dressed as flight attendants danced for a man with a big and obviously false moustache.
There were other rooms we didn't go into.
Further down the beach there was this thing that was like a cross between a Dr Who exhibition and a ghost train; there were cases full of claws and shoes and things like in the Pitt Rivers, and twitching monsters like in the exhibit that was at the Museum of the Moving Image, but sort of old and ratty and bulgy, as if they'd been badly stuffed with old tights, the black hole coin demonstrator from Jodrill Bank, and this case that was entirely full of heads, including a canary-yellow feathered mask-skullcap thing with a little bird's head on top, it didn't look very Dr Who. Matt and Lynn tried to buy a dalek and cyberman from the man on the door, but he kept on and on about how they ought to buy three differently coloured daleks instead, and in the end they caved in and bought the daleks.
Outside it was really sunny. There was a giant plastic parrot on top of a shop, and a big amusement arcade sort of place covered with mock rock pirate stuff and a huge grinning skull. I made damiancugley photograph some mating seagulls. The tide was in, and a futuristic tram was parked by the Pier, destination, "Pleasure Beach".
Then we went back to the big Victorian place, and a gigantic rabbit turned up, swinging its pocket watch, and I liked it at first but then I got scared, and then there was a really, really long play which was just like the rest of the dream but on a stage covered with gold glitter.
On the way back to where we were staying, we had to walk by this crowd of drunk guys (it was night by then.) One of them ran over and I was afraid he was going to attack us, but instead he grinned at us -- a big, shit-eating grin -- and then ran across to the far side of the road and threw himself againt the metal security blinds of a closed shop, bounced off, landed on the pavement, picked himself up and ran at it again, and then did the same to the next shop, and the next, again and again and again.
I was glad when we found a side street to go down.
The dream raised some questions, the questions needed answers. The internet in its infinite richness delivered Dirk Gently's i ching calculator to me, which answered my query most pertinently. No, no, no, no, no ...
(It also explained how to install Linux onto a dead badger but that's arguably less directly relevant to me.)