A place that surprised me. In a museum in Boston. The Peabody. I went there not expecting to be taken out of myself, because after all I’ve been to many museums. That’s a thing I do, and in this case we, my friend Joe Haldeman and I, were planning to study an exhibit on “Lakota Images of the Contested West”. Native American art in the 1860s. Incidentally it was fascinating: showing pictograph ledger book drawings done with newly discovered Euroamerican pencils and inks.
But upstairs in a hallway we found the place that blind-sided me. It was set up for the tenth anniversary of 9.11. It was reds and blacks and masses of orange chrysanthemums. There were candles and skulls and a central Aztec head. It was a Mexican Day of the Dead celebration set up to commemorate the many unknown illegal immigrants who were killed when the Twin Towers collapsed. Those from Mexico who died are likely to remain unidentified.
Having moaned in the entry – Peter Nicholls and Clare Coney visit Camden Town – that I hadn’t taken enough pictures at the party (27 September 2011) for the Encyclopedia people, I find that I actually had snapped more than I had remembered. (Wine, wine.) And to recap the names: Peter Nicholls; Clare Coney; John Clute; David Langford; Roger Robinson; Mike Ashley, Robert Kirby, Neal Tringham, Paul Kincaid, Maureen Speller-Kincaid, Graham Sleight, Nick Lowe and Malcolm Edwards.
It was delightful having Clare and Peter staying with us for a week in September. My rule of available light (no flash) still holds for me because, although there is very obvious camera shake here, I love this composition and the general feel of Peter and Clare inhabiting the space of 221 B.
There are more interior pictures. Once Clare cooked a delicious duck dinner when Tom Pollak and Andrea came by.
That particular meal actually started outside and I got lovely pics of Andrea. And also Peter.
But a previous dinner, again cooked by the amazing Clare (she was perfectly comfortable with my eccentric kitchen) provided more pics of Peter and Clare by candlelight outside in the garden. Tom was sitting on the other side. I seem not to have captured him that night.
But Tom is seen here earlier, larking in the kitchen with Clare.
Then there was always the ritual whereby Peter would gather up his smoking things in his bag and head out for the table in the garden. And here he is smoking and chatting with Clute.
Also I nabbed a lovely pic of Clare in the kitchen. We were about to join the others at the outside table. The weather throughout the Coney Nicholls visit was like the best of summer. I think they had brought it.
And that perfect weather prevailed throughout our little celebration of the launch of the sf-encyclopedia.com. Peter gave a thoughtful speech about how the sf encyclopedia had started back in 1979. My picture of him was taken shortly and then I took only a few very random snaps. I should have taken pictures of everyone who came but I was too busy enjoying the party. Here are the sf encyclopedia people attending of whom only the first five managed to be in a picture: Peter Nicholls; Clare Coney; John Clute; David Langford; Roger Robinson; Mike Ashley, Robert Kirby, Neal Tringham, Paul Kincaid, Maureen Speller-Kincaid, Graham Sleight, Nick Lowe and Malcolm Edwards.
Early in the party I snapped Clare thinking about the encyclopedia, and the green of that composition links to some flowers she gave us.
Then there’s the gift that Clare and Peter gave us that makes every writer who comes to visit smile wistfully.