Some readers will know that I am a self-confessed conference junkie. I thrive on the academic and social interactions that conferences facilitate. To me, a conference is like a giant party of all my old friends (and many friends I haven’t yet made), all of whom are interested in the same stuff as me, and have deliberately gathered together to talk about it over several days and a few drinks (or, let’s be honest, many…). It gives me ideas and it gives me energy, even though it is also completely exhausting. Add in the opportunity to go crazy at the bookstalls and to galavant about the countryside in good company ogling the local medieval remains, and it’s simply so much fun and so stimulating, there’s probably a law against it somewhere.
And so – as strange as it may sound to the uninitiated – it’s especially heartbreaking not to be in Leeds this week, where the annual International Medieval Congress is taking place. I suspect it’s true that taking part in these extravaganzas matters much more when one is normally separated from the majority of one’s colleagues by several thousand kilometres of ocean, but it certainly matters to me. This is the first time I’ve missed it in four years and, as I have discovered, having a Really Good Reason doesn’t make it any more bearable.
So by way of a rather poor substitute for being present, this is a small shout out to those of you lucky enough to be there and an injunction to dance your little hearts out on my behalf. Don’t forget, also, that next year’s call for papers is already out, and you can put it in your diaries for 1-4 July, 2013. The theme will be Pleasure, which could hardly be more apt. Be there or be very, very sad.