drcpunk (drcpunk) wrote,

In the Meanwhile

Last weekend, we were at Contata, as part of concom. Friday, I helped out at Registration. Saturday, we found out about our building, and, during a Staples run, I was on the phone with insurance when I wasn't bouncing off the walls. We came back from the run and right into a rehearsal of the Rocky Horror Muppet Show, as we were both in it.

The concerts we managed to make were great, and I gather the RHMS was well received. As it got late at the open filk, I started doing what I've tried to do at chaos filks when it isn't clear who has right of way: I say, "Okay, you, then you, then her, then him, then you. Then me, then you." I'm not the only one who does this at filks, but I was the one doing it then, so mneme drew a Q on a large piece of paper and gave it to me, naming me Keeper of the Queue.

We stayed up until the restaurant opened and had breakfast, then got a few hours of sleep, managing to make the performance of "A Walk in the Day". After dinner, I went back to the room before going to the rotten apple filk, and, for a giggle, picked up my Q.

"Ah good," said mnemex, when I arrived, Q in hand. "You brought the Q."

There was already a queue of more people than I was confident I could remember, so I wrote down names. And then, people asked to be added to the list. While this lasted, it occurred to me to write down what folks were singing, so I have a few hours worth of list of who sang what.

This is not the perfect way to handle chaos filks. There is no perfect way. Anyone thinking, "No, this is perfectly fine" needs to realize that a lot of performers want to be able to do followers at once, rather than putting their name on a list and waiting an hour, at which point, the follower is no longer relevant. Anyone thinking, "Well, there shouldn't be a list -- chaos works fine" needs to realize that there are many of us who respectfully disagree and feel squeezed out in large chaos circles.

Telling either group, "Well, you're wrong" or "Just deal with it" is not going to help the thing that is an actual problem: Unhappy people.

The best compromise I can think of is to mix and match types of circles so that everyone gets at least some time with the type of circle he or she likes best, although that too has its flaws. I like bardics myself, and am not sure how well the poker chip variant scales. In theory, poker chip bardic allows spontaneous follower songs while still making sure no one is squeezed out. I've only been in one poker chip bardic, and it was the smallest of the circles at the San Francisco WorldCon. Many performers prefer chaos, and many listeners prefer it as well.

The best theoretical answer is that everyone should have a finely tuned sense of how often everyone has gone and when it is one's own turn and just have it work out. This sometimes happens, especially in small circles.

At Contata, at the rotten apple, it is my hope that most folks did not mind the queue while it lasted, as it was not my intent to foist it upon people. There was a definite point where the question of shifting from the queue was raised, and a general agreement that this should happen, and the queue was allowed to reach its end. This does make me wonder if the queue should have been ended earlier. If one person is speaking up, I tend to think there are at least a few others who felt the same, but kept silent.
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