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Douglas Spencer

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If you don't know what this is about, don't worry. [Oct. 5th, 2009|09:21 pm]
Douglas Spencer

In order to dispel any doubt that there may be over my opinion on the matter:

Firstly, It's my firm belief that the correct response of a convention committee hearing criticism of their convention, or its current or previous committees, is to prove those critics wrong by running a great event.

Secondly, it seems to me that banning your critic from your event, refusing to enter into any online discussion on the matter, and refusing to discuss it with any other persons, seems (on the face of it) to be a little odd.

Thirdly and finally, I'm trying to remember any occasion when a committee has banned a critic and then refused to discuss it, and then gone on to find that their public image has improved in any way. No success yet.

Anonymous comment spam:
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[User Picture]From: jon_a_five
2009-10-06 07:03 pm (UTC)
A lot of fan friends have tried to get me to go to Octocon and I've never been to Ireland so was tempted. Glad I didn't now. I'll stick to nice conventions like Redemption!
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[User Picture]From: jon_a_five
2009-10-06 07:16 pm (UTC)
Although now I've read more about it the guy who got banned sounds a bit of a tosser too.
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[User Picture]From: pierre_fermat
2009-10-06 09:21 pm (UTC)
I'll introduce you at Eastercon or somewhere sometime.
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[User Picture]From: annafdd
2009-10-06 11:01 pm (UTC)
I know Padraig, and I have a real hard time to see him as a tosser. He grumbles a lot, but then again, in this instance he was right.

ETA: and frankly, this is the thing that makes me angrier about the whole business. Throw enough mud at somebody, take a nuclear-option action against them out of personal feuding, and suddenly everybody will start thinking that where there's smoke there's fire...

Edited at 2009-10-06 11:03 pm (UTC)
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[User Picture]From: jon_a_five
2009-10-06 11:59 pm (UTC)
So basically the committee had a meeting where they said "Who's the loveliest person in Irish fandom? 'Cos then we'll ban them, seeing as we're eeeevillll!" as they twirl their moustaches.

Seriously, I'm sceptical. And seeing as I read in another blog how he threatened somebody with assault I reckon some of this smoke is fire related.
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[User Picture]From: captainlucy
2009-10-07 01:01 am (UTC)
Oh, Pádraig's no saint, and he'd be the first to say that. He's got on my tits more than once, but that's purely because he calls a spade a spade - when you ask him "what do you think about blah" he tells you exactly that. Sometimes, just sometimes, I suspect he may secretly be a Yorkshireman, but shhh, don't tell him I said that! ;)

As for the alleged threat of assault ... well, I don't know the precise ins and outs of that particular incident, but I know enough back-story to know that the Pádraig of 7 or 8 years ago is a very different man to the Pádraig of today and that, even if true, what happened 7 or 8 years ago should be left 7 or 8 years ago.
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Octocon Brouhaha - (Anonymous) Expand
[User Picture]From: annafdd
2009-10-07 09:40 am (UTC)
He used to run Octocon. He wasn't very happy with how it went lately and said so. Loudly (I mean loudly on Twitter). And repeatedly. And he's friend of lots of important people so he got listened to. But honestly, loads of other people were Not Impressed by the lastest Octocons.

As for threatened part, that may or may not refer to the incident at Octocon 2007, where the sound from a movie got piped in through the PA system in the other two rooms, one of which was the one in which the GoH was giving his GoH speech.

At this point various people, including Juliet McKenna, where getting up and threatening action. Commitee members were searched for and not found, apparently having left the con to run on its own. And not having conducted a sound check.

Padraig got the sound turned off by shouting, because at that point shouting was the only way to make oneself heard.
One famous author, btw, at the same con, took one of the commitee members aside and explained in a lot of detail all of the things they should fix if they ever wanted to run a con again. She has said that she won't set foot in another Octocon unless she hears glowing reports for two years running. Octocon used to pull in 300 people, and is now down to around 50.

Padraig meanwhile founded - and then stepped down from but keeps supporting - another con. In Dublin, although it moved to the spring not to crowd Octocon in. This convention, called PhoenixCon, is very successful, attracts a lot of people, attracts a lot of guests, and is basically eclipsing Octocon.

What I am saying is that Padraid is a pain in the ass, who will complain loudly, in details and relentlessly about what other cons do wrong, while running an extremely successful con himself. What he does not is assault people, spread rumors, attack for the sake of attacking, and being generally disruptive. I've read his opinions about Octocon. They are substatiated and widely shared.

By the way, he was singled out by the chair at the closing ceremony of Octocon 2008 for his help and contribution. So he can't be ALL that terrible. And the woman who decided to ban him did so without ever apparently having clapped eyes on him.

ETA: I obviously meant something metaphorically but in the current climate I realized it's better to be safe. Edited to this.

Edited at 2009-10-07 09:45 am (UTC)
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From: (Anonymous)
2009-10-07 11:27 pm (UTC)

Octocon Brouhaha

Seriously, I am his younger sister, I have known him all my life and he has never been a violent guy! Seriously, this is really pissing me off now! James and Padraig had a falling out years ago, James has a serious problem with Padraig, and I will admit that Padraig can be outspoken, a pain in the ass at times and yes, has been critical of the Octocon committee! But he is not violent! I even checked with our mother earlier just in case I'd forgotten anything but she laughed and said "You must be Joking! Our Padraig! Sure he couldn't fight his way out of a wet paper bag!" And we bough laughed!

James has now fallen on his sword/been thrown to the wolves and the octocon committee remains eerily silent, even though one of them is his very long time partner!!! Not one single person from Irish Science Fition World has come to his defense, whereas, I think it's running to hundreds by now, have come to Padraig's defese! Why do you think that is!

And, yes, absolutely, Padraig can piss on off, but is that really a reson to ban him? Ever heard of freedom of speech????

And as for any alleged insidents of violence 2 or 3 years ago, how come we only find out about it now? And, look, Padraig is a middle aged man, very happily married, works in Chapters book shop, loves books, loves science fiction, loves cons, is a perfectionist, and ran many octocons and p cons very successfully!

I'm tired now but I'm on facebook and know all about the incidents so feel free to ask if you like. Also, the committee have yet to clarify what he supposedly did to justify being barred! And bottom line is, you can't go around banning people cos you don't like what they said about your (the committee's)organisation of something! Again I say to you, Freedom of speech anyone?

You should check out Cheryl Morgan's blog, get there from live journal slovobooks...

Caitríona Hamman (Nee Ní Mhéalóid)
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From: (Anonymous)
2009-10-07 11:33 pm (UTC)
Yes, You are so right!
Caitriona Hamman (aka Bonsaii but I ca't remember my password...)
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[User Picture]From: dougs
2009-10-07 09:22 am (UTC)
I've held off from replying to this comment for a bit, to see what others have said, but now:

Yes, indeed, he's been known to be an arse occasionally. He has strong opinions, and he's not shy about expressing them. He cares about things, and is keen that people get them right. As I've said elsewhere, I warmly congratulate him and seek to do the same myself, sometimes with the same techniques. If we excluded people from conventions on those qualifications, conventions would be very nearly empty. I'd certainly have picked up a ban or two. But we don't -- in an ideal world we talk to them, explore what the problem is, and then both parties try to do better in the future.

> nice conventions like Redemption!

Redemption (aside from being the name of an episode of Blakes 7) is a technical term from Christianity and other religions -- it's the process whereby someone who's been a major arse in their younger life and who has managed to turn things around is allowed to set aside the consequences of their former actions and is accepted back into the company of civilised persons on an equal footing. Pádraig (although no longer Catholic) qualifies wholeheartedly for redemption, and has done for a long time.

James Brophy knows Pádraig from beforehand, fails to recognise those changes, and is unable to set aside his outdated feelings -- which is very sad.

The ban was introduced a couple of days ago. Since then Pádraig has behaved in a measured, polite and enquiring manner, while James has lost his cool all over Cheryl's blog and left the committee. The remaining committee don't seem to know quite how to handle the situation they've been left with.

If you get the chance to meet Pádraig, take it. I think you'd get on well.
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[User Picture]From: annafdd
2009-10-07 09:42 am (UTC)
What he said. With particular mention of how classily Padraig has behaved and what a swell fellow he is to meet.
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[User Picture]From: captainlucy
2009-10-07 10:06 am (UTC)
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[User Picture]From: davesangel
2009-10-08 08:41 pm (UTC)
Apologies for hijacking your journal, given that I think we've met only once (and very briefly!) in the past, at They Came and Shaved Us...a fab convention all round.

Anyway, I'm a good friend of James Brophy, and was directed here by a few people who don't have LJ accounts and who didn't want to spam your journal with anonymous comments or anything like that. Without wishing to add fuel to any sort of fire, I would like to say that he's one of the nicest and most dependable people I know, I've known him since 2001, and I think it's a little unfair for so many people to be making judgements on him and how he has expressed his feelings (for example), when a lot of them don't know him (and some of these people don't even know Padraig that well either), because none of us - no matter how close we are to either James or Padraig or the Octocon committee - can know for sure what has happened in the past.

Again, sorry for randomly appearing on your journal - and the good news is that it's all resolved, so hopefully everyone can move on and make it a great con :)
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[User Picture]From: annafdd
2009-10-08 09:34 pm (UTC)
As a matter of fact, I have seen a joint statement from P and Octocon in which they say that they have talked it over, each has grown wiser, each has done some thinkin', and the ban has been rescinded and it would be nice to draw a line under it now please?

To which I will gladly subscribe. I am really happy that this incident has been resolved amicably.
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[User Picture]From: dougs
2009-10-09 06:44 am (UTC)
I'm sort of half-convinced we met on another occasion -- I think you were at a Novacon once on James White business.

For what it's worth, I've met JB a few times, He's been to a couple of British cons and I've been to a couple of Irish ones, and from those occasions I remember him as being a sound and friendly chap. I'm sure the history between him and P is more complicated than many of us appreciate.

I'm very glad that Octocon and Pádraig have come to an understanding and that things are moving on. Warmest thanks to James Bacon for helping both sides find some common ground.
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