Addendum to the conference write-up, Liverpool.

I will be writing a column on the conference for Strange Horizons, wherein one may expect to find my overall thoughts.

But I can’t move on from the conference without mentioning dinner on Monday night, which I ate in the Philharmonic Dining Rooms with Dan Franklin and Zoe Johnson. It was a delightful dinner, and they were delightful company: the Phil serves wild boar burger.

Comes dessert, and the offer of a dessert menu. The lovely waitress-type-person clears her throat, looks embarrassed. “Today instead of sticky toffee pudding, we have something called “sticky dicky,” which is a cross between sticky toffee pudding and spotted dick.”

Sticky dicky. No sooner does the waitress-type-person leave than the glances went around the table. And the giggling and jokes began. Made worse, naturally enough, by the fact that the dessert menu also offered an Eton Mess.

Most memorable line of the evening, after we’d got on to Roman dick jokes: “Pet the friendly phallus!”

The waitress-person came back. We were still laughing. It took another five minutes for us to calm down enough to order, and by then we’d made “chocolate orange cup” manage to sound dirty. And I ordered an Eton Mess, and when it arrived the jokes began again, to the point where it was another five minutes before I could swallow any of the whipped cream.

…Right, that still sounds rude.

In other contexts, with other people, that would’ve crossed the line past appropriate and into sexual harassment long since. But in that company it was friendly and hilarious. Seriously side-splittingly hilarious.

And I still can’t come across the word “sticky” without giggling.