Meissen is a wonderful town, mostly famous for its porcelain manufacture which started out in 1710 at the somewhat brutal instigation of Augustus the Strong (Elector of Saxony and King of Poland). The city also has a marvellous literary festival. Four years ago, I did a reading there. The sun was shining just as brilliantly down on the late medieval buildings which are lined up in perfect historical harmony all the way up to the cathedral hill. Quaint and wonderful. The town looks a bit like the best effort of a mad modeller to whom you would like to give the advice not to overdo it because real towns just aren’t that pretty. You’d be wrong, though.
Our reading was set at the Meissner Obscurum. This is a medieval dungeon-like vaulted cellar and the venue for quite some events. Two vaults invite the horror-fans to stay and enjoy. The larger room was the location for the readings, stylishly arranged in candle light and next to a cut off hand. The other room houses the bar and a nice morgue slab with cut off limbs and an ancient foot pedal driven dentist drill. Fluffy toy rats are livening up the ceiling right above you. And Aunty Kaethe is sitting in an old wicker wheelchair thinking back to those enlightened times when she was more than just a bare skeleton. Well, not totally bare, she is wearing a nice hat which would look well on any (preferably female) steampunker.
The original schedule included for readings by three Olivers and myself. Unfortunately one of the Olivers got sick and I had to make to with the remaining two.
I don’t think I have ever read in a more horror inspiring setting. It was great fun. And what’s more: the place was packed. They had to turn people away because the dungeon could not hold any more people – not even if we could have arranged them on the slab which we rather used as the book selling platform. Morgue slab, black velvet and good fantasy books – that was truly stylish.
Another nice thing that happened was that I met someone I’d met years ago at a filk con. C. invited me for breakfast the next day and we had a lovely time chatting. It’s great to get reminded that the world is a) a small place and b) full of wonderful people. (Comment from the Olivers: And who is she? –The Lord Mayor’s wife. – And how do you know her? – Filk. – Oh. Filk.)
The journey back was a bit of a drag because my train was delayed by one and a half hours. But what the heck? I had a lovely time. And I do hope they’ll invite me again to Meissen some day.