The first person I met in Newcastle was a blonde Swedish girl. Life can be like that upon occasion.
The Critical Animals symposium went fine, I guess. Okay, I do have a few reservations. The fiction I heard was a bit on the-lets-recreate-beautiful-landscapes-and-have-nothing-happen-in-it side, which is fine if that's what you dig, but I want more content and weight to it. Putting the story of your family, or a made up family, and their trials and troubles, just isn't it for me. I'm not the audience, and I don't think they were my audience. For example, I read out a bit of the large crime story in A Walking Tour of the Dreaming City, which contains nasty violence and the continual use of the word fuck in escalating volume and tension. It should be said that I'm not a total shit and that I did advise the woman holding the baby that this might not be the place to be with him, but she replied, "That's okay, he's asleep."
She left about three minutes into the fiction.
After I had finished, the following guy told everyone he had cut out the two offending words from his reading, so as not to offend anyone. Especially his parents, who had also come along.