Sunday, October 04, 2009

Back from Blackwater

My presentation was quite fun, considering it was essentially written in the 45-minute period immediately before I had to go on stage. As it turned out, I didn't get to most of my carefully-prepared enlightenment on the subject of memory competitions, since the surprisingly large audience of Mensa members (I was on immediately after the discussion forum with the committee, and the only entertainment available at that time for those who didn't want to pay £20 for a trip out to see Concorde or £8 for a trip out to see Bath) bombarded me with questions after I'd recited the first thousand digits of pi almost flawlessly as a thrilling opener. Despite the fact that I forgot to bring my lucky hat, the whole thing seemed to be well-received (very few people walked out halfway through, although again this might be because there wasn't anything else to do and the seats were quite comfortable), although I don't think I really persuaded anyone to take up memory competitions. And since that was essentially my only purpose in doing this presentation, you might argue that the whole weekend was wasted, if you were really the pessimistic type. Luckily, I'm not.

The person solely responsible for my last-second preparation, my hat-forgetting and my general failure to do anything productive on Saturday morning is, of course, Wilkie Collins. The big-bearded, compelling-book-writing, Victorian scoundrel. I've been so completely wrapped up in The Woman In White this weekend that I've ignored everything else as much as possible. Still, it was well worth it, it's a fantastic piece of work and I can see why it was such a sensation back in 1860. Although I was hoping Walter would ditch Laura and just marry Marian. Still, having finished the book, I'll now refrain from buying any more cheap classics until after the WMC. That way I might actually get some training done.

Oh, and remember me mentioning that I ordered some books from Amazon that I thought had got lost in the post? I checked, and actually they were sent to my old address in Derby because I forgot to change it. The punchline to this should probably be that they were books on how to improve your memory, but of course I never read books like that. They were actually the awesomely-illustrated "Miss Bindergarten Gets Ready For Kindergarten" and a couple of its sensational sequels. It occurs to me that I have quite a wide range of tastes in literature.

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