So, I have this thing about karaoke. I don’t like it. If you’re a karaoke fan, don’t hate on me . I don’t dislike the people that do karaoke (for the most part), just the thing itself. So, how did I wind up in a Missoula bar singing some Queensryche and Journey. The answer is Ty Franck.
Now, before I get to all that, I have to tell you that this con, Miscon, is pretty awesome. The organizers are absolutely top drawer. Bob, Justin, if you ever read this little blog post, guys, your really do rock. Models of efficiency and caring you are. I find that rare.
Also, I’ve been given plenty of opportunity to feel all kinds of humble. Firstly, I’ve been honored to sit on some panels with George R.R. Martin. I mean, on a panel about “What Makes a Monster,” George gives this incredibly erudite and witty answer to the opening question. Then he hands me the mike (yes, that’s how you actually spell mike, not mic). Now, what am I going to say after this master of the genre? I went with: “I agree with George.” Then he and I proceeded to get into a really interesting conversation about Jekyll and Hyde–a favorite of mine. Twas awesome!
But Ty–half of the hugo-nominated duo James S.A. Corey (the other half being the equally awesome Daniel Abraham)–well, Ty and I have been kind of chillin’ a lot. And once or twice, as we stand chatting with one con-goer or another, Ty asks them, “Hey, I’ve been looking for Peter Orullian, I really want to me him. Have you seen him?” To which these lovely folks show him a puzzled brow and apologize that they haven’t. I, of course, am standing close enough to smell the rum on their breath. So, y’know, thanks Ty.
Actually, it’s funny as hell. And really, the crowd here is four times its normal size with all the fans who’ve come with the expressed purpose of meeting George. Who can blame them, right?
For my part, I’ve had the good fortune of taking a few meals with the man, and Ty, who’s Mr. Martin’s assistant and muscle.
Now Ty is funny. Sarcasm is kind of his schtick. And it’s a good thing he can make you laugh. Otherwise, it’d be easy to be bitter about just how unfairly the universe has endowed this walking vodka tonic with every gift imaginable. He’s the first one to tell you this, too. It’s storybook. As he says, “It’s like the universe feels it owes me something.”
And this is how we get to me doing karaoke. I’m still not sure how it happened. Because, as I said, I have a visceral dislike for it. And yet, there we are, in a rather unremarkable bar, amidst a handful of barflies, listening to some incredibly caucasian guy named Tito doing rap tunes. And there’s Ty, without actually sounding whiney, convincing me to go pic up the crappy mike and sing. Of course, both Eldon Thompson and J.A. Pitts were there to pile on.
Before I know it, I’m doing “Another Rainy Night” by Queensryche. Then later I did “Don’t Stop Believin’” by Journey. And later still, I do “Silent Lucidity.”
I’m pretty sure that the $40 that he and Eldon put up if I would sing sealed the deal. But still . . . And I have to tell you, the little sound system must have cost all of $4 at Radio Shack, as I was clipping the speakers with my high notes. But, I guess that was probably part of the charm of it all.
An hour later at a room party, we get talking about it with George. Mr. Martin reminded me that he doesn’t treat singers too well in his books. Something about tongues being cut out and the like. I made sure to let him know that the music in my books isn’t whimpy sopranos prancing about and singing a whole lot o’ purity. No, I say, it’s rough and raw and filled with anguish and hatred. That got a sage nod from the man. Then we talked of other books with some music in them. Kind of a great moment.
So, I guess what I’m saying as that Miscon has been filled with a tonnage of delightful surprises. Mostly it’s been about cool people. In the middle of moderating panels on “The Psychology of Evil” and sitting on panels about monsters and villains and the like, I’m reminded–by these people I’m exploring these topics with–that humans aren’t all bad. More than that, some of them are like a fine song: enjoyable again and again, and pretty much anywhere. That’s all maudlin sounding. But I’m leaving it in.
So, there you go. A couple of cool guys, and a brief bout of karaoke. My Miscon memories.