(Happily, there were rather less by the end of the night.)
Last Friday saw the Mo-Bot High launch party at Blackwells in Oxford, and a very lovely time it was too. I was a bit apprehensive beforehand, as I had spent all day receiving a flood of apologies and last-minute cancellations from people who'd been hoping to come but had found themselves snowed in, iced up and generally unable to come due to the suddenly arctic conditions gripping Britain. I was starting to worry that the party would just be me, Di and Logan with some cardboard robots and a big pile of biscuits. (Although actually, that sounds pretty great too.) However, a bunch of people did manage to make their way through the icy wastes to show up, and it ended up being lots of fun.
Logan muscles in on David Fickling's speech, unwilling to miss an opportunity to have a roomful of people look in his direction.
L-R: Jenny Ashby, Wakefield Carter, Linda Sargeant
Check out my Mum's expression in background. What on Earth was I saying to prompt that?
After some fine and inspiring introductory speechmaking from David Fickling, one of the few men I would conceivably follow onto a field of battle, I did a bit of a live Robot Comics interactive drawy-thing. Appropriately given the setting and occasion, the story ended up being about a heroic Book-Bot and his battle against his nefarious and mind-robbing enemy, TV-Bot, before the day is saved and their differences reconciled by the timely intervention of Literary Adaptation-Bot. (And then, because I know my audience, there was a big explosion at the end).
We also had Mo-Bot colouring, robot comics activity sheets and a collaborative Cardboard Mo-Bot building project, which produced some rather wonderful results.
That's Jamie Peppitt, who came down from Orkney to be at the launch. You hear that, "it was too snowy" people? ORKNEY. I'm just saying.
I had prepared a nice shiny red pre-built card-bot to act as a 'here's one I made earlier' example, but unfortunately Logan grabbed it within 30 seconds of arriving and refused to let go of it all evening, as you can probably tell from his various appearances throughout these photographs.
David Fickling and myself, discussing TOP SECRET plans for Mo-Bot High Book Two? Or possibly, sandwiches.
The event ended with a raffle to win a custom bit of mo-bot artwork: a portrait of the winner with their own personalised mo-bot. And the winner was... Finn Carter, who you may remember form a previous appearance on this blog! It was very gratifying to see him literally jumping up and down for joy at winning, as I was kind of worried that like my Mum would get the winning ticket and it would be totally embarrassing. (Of course, when making the draw for the runner-up prize of some pre-made cardboard mo-bot kits, my Mum did of course get the winning ticket and it was totally embarassing.)
Proceeds from the raffle are going to SSNAP, so thanks to everyone who bought a ticket. The cardboard mo-bot kits will be available for download on the Mo-Bot High website soon, as soon as I get around to writing up some comprehensible instructions to go with them!
And, just thanks to everyone who came, both lovely Oxford peeps like Kate Brown and Paul Duffield, Jenni Scott and Richard Buck (and little baby Aphra!) and also those who ventured from further afield like Emma Vieceli and Andrew Ruddick who made it over from Cambridge, Kenny and Emma Ritch who managed it from Glasgow, and of course the long-distance award winner Jamie Peppitt, the Biggest Gangsta in Dounby. Thanks to my Mum and Dad, Hester and James, Di and Logan seem to go without saying. But extra thanks too to Di, Jamie and my Dad for taking all the pictures in this post. And ENORMOUS thanks, lastly, to Hannah Chinnery at Blackwells and Matilda Johnson at DFB for organising everything so marvellously. It was a really wonderful evening, we sold a bunch of books and made some money for a very good cause, and I then got to spend the weekend hanging out with several of my favourite people in the world. So that's pretty much a win. Bless you all.