CYTRICON 4 - 1958
CYTRICON 4 - 1958
THE LONG HURRAH
from TRIODE 14, Summer 1958 (edited by Eric Bentcliffe and Terry Jeeves)
The sound of breaking crockery echoes through the hotel, and I wake thinking; 'The con's started.'
Someone in the kitchen has dropped a good selection of what is most breakable, and with such accuracy that I can identify each casualty by sound, starting with the hollow clonk of teapots .and ending with the rattle of spoons. I should say that the teaspoons and maybe, the tray are all that survive.
Cyrtricon started for most of us on Good Friday. The Devil's Kitchen, the nearest lounge to the entrance, is the centre of activity from lunchtime till supper, when there is enough of an audience to make it worth while playing over a tape from Dale R. Smith. There's a most pleasant air of greeting, and as I sit beneath the assorted weapons adorning the lounge Walls, I can ask for nothing better than to be at Kettering for the Con.
Should one analyse a good time ? Isn't it a leetle fugg-headed to try ? Maybe it's just there to be enjoyed, like jazz.
Have a statistic. First at the Con, beating Ron .Bennett by hours, are Clacton fans Welham and Hall, who arrive so early on Thursday that as time passes and no-one else shows up, they begin to think that the con has been called off.
Friday evening. Ivor Mayne, Ron and I go to see 'Pal Joey’ under the impression that Frank Sinatra will sing, Rita Hayworth dance, and Kim Novak act? If this were not a decent family magazine I would describe how our eyes were opened. It takes a two-hour tape session of the Goon Shows and Little Richard, back at the Hotel, to stop me twitching.
We mostly turn in about midnight, so as to gather strength for the next.two nights. A few choose to wait up for Brian Burgess, who has phoned the hotel to say that he is hitch-hiking very slowly in the wrong direction, and that, having reached Scotland, he is now back on course, and will they leave the front door open. I hear that when he arrives at 4am. his first action is to chase one of the girls along the passage, but I can hardly believe that. Who can have so much energy ? When I breakfast with him at 9am., he is perfectly fit and talking chiefly about having had trouble with a Jaguar's big end.
We are last in for the meal, and I notice with alarm that there are no other fen in sight. Have they all left during the night, hitch-hiking slowly, perhaps, towards Scotland ? I realise how the Clacton boys feel on Thursday and hurry down the street to search for someone. Happily, after several awkward situations due to grinning at total strangers, I use my intuition and make for the local Post Office. It is, as I hope, full of fen milling brightly about, buying stamps for the despatch of fannish mail.
"This," says Dave Newman, " will be the first time I've been thrown out of a Post Office"....as everyone changes their mind and decides to buy stamps at the hotel instead.
Norman Shorrock is carrying an enormous curly balloon, four feet long; "What's this for?" I ask, touching it.
“You like it ?" he replies. " It's yours". And they all move off, pretending not to know me, and leave me trapped among strangers in the main street, clutching.the damn thing, and whimpering. My friends.
A long time later, I scuttle off the streets into a small untidy bookshop crammed with old magazines and fans. This is the collector's shop, new to me since I have not been to Kettering before, but a major attraction for those who have. Between conventions, a fair amount of s-f accumulates here, and in one weekend the fannish locusts descend and raid the lot. Everyone seems to be here. Who says we no longer read s-f ?
John Roles finds a book of Victorian poems titled 'The Works of Willis', including one on the 'Death of Harrison'. This is at once snapped up and enriched with suitable quotations. Proxyboo Ltd has been busy.
The Saturday night party goes with a rhythm-and-blues beat. Your editors whirl each.other round their heads; laughter and music fill the air in the Basket Lounge; Bill The Barman ( a really likable gentleman who it is a pleasure to meet) bustles back and forth with trays of bottles, and at midnight a fanfare of trumpets announces the entry of Formula Four Blog. The party grows livelier yet. Laurence Sandfield hands out copies of a comic song written for the occasion, and I put my elbow in my beer. TJ and Bob Richardson fight a duel with plastic cocktail sticks. These little sword-shaped items, first seen in the bar, are now in every lapel.... a fannish motif clearly ordained by St. Fantony to mark the occasion.
At 4am. the party tails off and the survivors either totter off to bed or begin to make the rounds of the room parties. Gradually the numbers shrink until by 5 am. only a dozen hard cases are left. Allow me to describe the scene at this time. It may help to convey some of the Marx Brotherish atmosphere of the night.
A smell of coffee drifts up the stairs...that's Bill brewing up, I suppose. A little while ago, someone has locked me in a pantry, and while getting the door open again, I have made tea. Through the skylight I watch the…uh…sky lightening and hear a thrush singing. All is peace. Then with a wild shriek, Ina Shorrock flees past the pantry door hotly pursued by Sandfield and the mob. I never know why. Staggering along in the rear is Ron Bennett, roused from slumber, but fast relapsing. I shrug, and go back to my pantry for a second cup. Peace again… thrush singing like mad. Thunder of footsteps. Bennett races past. There's no one else in sight.
“How d'you do ?" I say politely, putting my head into the dark corridor. “How d'you do ?" he replies, not pausing to see who it is, and steams into the distance. Again, I don't know why, because by now the hotel is at last asleep, apart from a groaning far off, like the unquiet spirit of Archie Mercer's accordion.
After breakfast with my patient room-mate, Jack Wilson, I join a camera shoot in the square. This is Sunday, the official business day, starting with an OMPA meeting at which a tape is played from Vince and Co. Me ? I feel frivolous. At lunch-time, some of us go to a cafe where Ron Bennett knows the waitress, one of those places where, each table has a battery of condiments and sauces on a check cloth. Barry Hall exchanges glances with me. Silently we begin to play surrealist noughts-and-crosses with the sauce bottles. Whenever anyone else begins to guess the rules, we switch to salt-shakers.
Engrossed in such far-out pursuits, we return to the George almost with regret. In a smoke-filled lounge a warming-up session is in progress. Most people are already there, and the rest, like us, are arriving as lunch finishes or as the bar closes.Norman and Archie are murmuring a commentary on the scene for the States. Mr. Wansborough sends a message to Dick Eney, complete with a background of lowing cattle, given free by the audience. There is a raffle for some paintings.
The open discussion which now begins, and which ends in the formation of the BSFA, is the outcome of Vince’s OMPA appeal for Something To Be Done about the Incredible Shrinking Fen. In other words, there aren't enough of us in Britain. With only a break for dinner, this meeting lasts until 10.30 pm.. The recruiting problem is in everyones mind, and Vince has clearly said what many have been thinking. Suddenly the spirit of the con has changed. You know the way a cat plays with a mouse, batting it this way and that ? Just when it looks like escaping the cat pounces, and you know that all the time it has meant to, even when it is playing hardest. Well, for 'cat' read 'British Fans' and for 'mouse' read 'Fandom'.
For a moment we see that fandom is slipping away, and with a unity of action and lack of heroics that is rare in fan politics, we do something about it. The feeling of the meeting is extraordinary. This is the third national fan society I've seen, and the most likely to succeed where the SFA and the BFS have failed.
We stay talking in the lounge till 2 am, when Bobby Wild and Ella Parker invite Jack Wilson, Ivor Mayne, and me to a room party. Somehow, after settling in with sandwiches and coffee, we find Brian Burgess in a corner, reading the Bible aloud. We feed him the sandwiches, to stop him. He hides the crusts in Ella's bed, where she finds them, with a merry laugh, at 6 am, and he begins anew. In desperation, we turn off the light. So he quotes from memory. We light up again, and give him some s-f to read. That quietens him. He goes to sleep. At 5 am Phil Rogers taps on the door, says hello and falls to the floor asleep, the weakling. This signals the invasion of everyone left awake in the hotel...final count 24 in a room for two. Uproar, flash photos from Peter West, Bennett handing out beer and swapping stamps with Norman.
As daylight shows through the curtains, we turn off the gasfire and lights, and the mob goes off on a mission of vengeance with Barry Hall, whose room-mate, Bryan Welham, has locked him out. Most then turn in, leaving only eight of us to take coffee, brewed by the kindness of Bill, in a Devil's Kitchen eerie in the flat dawn light.
So the good times pass. Monday is all departures. We check out of our rooms and get the use of the Commercial Room, where Archie and I take turns as disc-jockeys in a non-stop jazz session. As a last group effort we make up a souvenir box for Ken Slater, absent through illness. Among other items it contains a sheaf of hotel bills, the receipts torn off, endorsed 'Please Pay At Once'. I hope he feels better for it, but I doubt it!
From PERIHELION 3, 1958 (edited by Bryan Welham and Barry Hall)
Kettering. To me, that name now has a definite meaning and significance, but three months ago I'd hardly heard of the place and didn't even know where it was. In fact, I still don't. All I know is that you pay 37/6 at a Booking Office, change at Marks Tey and Cambridge and you're there. Actually, it’s not as easy as that because I lost the tickets, but that's another story.
After five boring hours, Bryan and I arrived at Kettering, where we immediately searched out the George Hotel. We gave the register a quick once-over and found that we were the first fen to arrive, thus winning a private race with Ron Bennett. Ron was our first contact with extra-Clactonian fen, and he wasn't forthcoming until 4-15 in the afternoon. I found Ron a sincere fan with a streak of humour in him that makes him doubly nice to know. He invited us up to his room where we perused photographs of past Ketterings and got to know each other a little better. Ron told us what to expect over the coming weekend, But it wasn't anything like what actually did happen.
Not long after this, Ron introduced us to Dave Newman, that most likeable of characters who must get his energy either by direct link with a power station or a bheer barrel, for I didn't once see him relaxing. Thursday evening, Gillian Adams and Ken McIntyre arrived, both of whom we came to know better over the weekend.
Things wore a bit slow Friday morning, but we passed the time before lunch playing a weird game of Brag involving ump-teen packs which Dave Newman had found in some dark recess.
After lunch, Bryan and I retired to the Devils Kitchen - a form of lounge facing the Hotel entrance (from the inside) - to wait for the main bulk of fandom to roll in. One minute there was hardly anybody about, the next we were surrounded by a veritable flood of fen. There was Archie Mercer, John Roles, Sid Birchby, Eddie Jones, Terry Jeeves and dozens of others, including Eric Jones and Bob Richardson, who came enmeshed by masses of electronic apparatus such as tape-recorders, mikes, loudspeakers and Humph. Introductions became such lengthy processes, that they were finally given up and people came to know each other over the communal drink.
Friday evening was most enjoyable. Groups of fen collected in the Devils Kitchen and, going from one group to another,Bryan and I soon came to know many of them. Fannish names became fannish faces, and fannish faces became definite personalities; we didn't find one person out of all the 48 attendees whom we didn’t come to like. Terry Jeeves was one pleasant shock: I found him an extremely nice chap with a tinge of an accent in his voice which gave him added character. Looking at him, you just can't convince yourself that this bloke actually draws the soggies you see climbing all over TRIODE. Sid Birchby was another fan I enjoyed talking to, although you had to watch what you said in his presence because his pencil and notebook were always to hand. I recognised John Roles from the cover of the Fan Directory; I'm going to send John a sub for SPACE DIVERSIONS,which is the highest praise I can give. Archie Mercer Was Always On The Pun, and you can see that the ideal place for Archie is under the shadow of a Malleable Iron Works. I met so many new fen that to describe my feelings on meeting any separate one is a very difficult thing to attempt; suffice it to say that I found everyone excellent people to know.
I decided to stay up that night to meet the indefatigable Brian Burgess who wasn't arriving till late. This is an understatement as he didn't get in until 3-30 on the Saturday morning. However, meeting him, I think it was worth it. Brian is slightly eccentric, and shares his one bad habit with my brother, which is his ability to drop off to sleep at the slightest provocation.
There wasn't a great deal going Saturday morning, but in the afternoon Bryan and I joined the fen who had conglomerated in the residents lounge, and when someone suggested a game of Brag, we sat in. This was when I first met Chuck Harris and Ted Tubb who also joined in the game with the foolish hope that they might win some money. My idea that Ted Tubb was Ghod shattered and fell to pieces when I beat him in a couple of hands, but I still think of him as an intelligent BNF with a forceful character - two qualities that showed themselves to the full in the discussion on the Sunday afternoon.
After dinner out at the Gaumont theatre, all fen collected in the Billiards room where a party had been scheduled. It was soon after this that fandom and the Con really began to go with a swing. Amidst flashing camera bulbs, Eric Jones tape-recorder playing back a mixture of Jazz and Goon music, dancing and jiving, people shooting each other with starting pistols and Brian Burgess asleep in the corner, I remember drinking one of Dave Newman's special brews of potent quality. The next thing I remember is being interviewed by Eric Jones for a tape the Cheltenham group were preparing. With my aesophagus still twitching from Dave's fiendish brew, and someone shouting "Rubbish!" at the top of his voice into my ear, I bravely tried to make sense for Eric. Thank Ghod I didn't hear the play-back.
After a guitar session with Sandy Sandfield, we returned to the Billiard room only to find it decimated of fen. On enquiring we were told that the fabulous room parties had already started, whereupon Bryan and I hastily rushed off to find where the first one had gathered.
We piled into someones room, had hardly got ourselves settled before someone - who shall be nameless – shouted “Room 28!" With a ragged cheer the fen moved out and we found ourselves swept along by the mob to Sandy's room again. It was here that Terry Jeeves had us all enthralled for half-an-hour whilst he told the shaggiest dog story I've ever heard and balanced a glass of bheer on his nose at the same time, Brian Burgess came in full of life, promptly plonked himself down on the nearest bed and dropped off to sleep. Sandy tried hard to get everybody to sing his latest composition, "Charlie Mopps", but nobody seemed interested and the room gradually emptied of fen.
Passing that way several hours later, I saw my very first example of Norman and Ina Shorrock’s handiwork. Sandy's bed had been turned upside-down and inside-out and the bedclothes were scattered all over the floor. Together with Sandy we tracked down the two guilty Liverpudlians, who hotly denied being the cause of such goings-on. If I'd had any sense I would have locked our bedroom door then, but I was too busy bringing ruin to other sleepy fen.
It was about this time that we mislaid Sid Birchby. We later heard that he had gone to earth in a kitchen to write his conreport and spy on the nefarious activities of Dave Newman. Throughout, the evening Sid had been following us around with note-book in hand taking down masses of notes, and everybody frantically tried to remember if they'd said anything that could be used for blackmail. All through the evening I can best remember Norman Shorrock saying over and over again in a form of ritual of his own: "SSSHHS! Be quiet, we might hear something!" We never were and we never did.
A group of fen including Norman and Ina Shorrock, Humph, Archie Mercer, Pete West and several others,all went back to Sandy's room to help straighten things out. When we arrived Ina Shorrock, that Queen of trouble-makers, had disappeared. Frantically I ran back to my room - just in time to see Ina and Humph trying to make themselves inconspicuous beneath our beds. At that moment I was pushed from behind by some ruffian called Pete West, and soon our room was full of screaming fen giving it the same once-over treatment Sandy's had taken. I valiantly went down with my bed, fighting to the last. I was rolled up in some blankets and then some clot sat on me. I scrambled out just in time for Pete West to take some photos of the shambles; it was only when everything had been put to rights that Pete discovered he hadn't had any film in the blame thing, so that small piece of fannish history was lost to us, as well as one of Ron Bennett being dragged feet first up the stairs. Ina Shorrock felt some little remorse and helped us remake our beds, on which Bryan and I swiftly collapsed.
An OMPA meeting was held on the Sunday morning, which Bryan and I missed as Bob Richardson had invited us up to his room together with Ina Shorrock, Eric Bentcliffe, Sandy Hall and Eddie Jones. We looked through some photographs showing Dale R. Smith in his natural surroundings and discussed Bob's ARMS AND ARMOUR venture. It was in Bob's room that I came to know Eric Bentcliffe, and I personally consider him a damn nice chap. Same as everybody else was.
In the afternoon everybody gathered in the lounge.pending the arrival of Dave Newman who had the difficult task of starting a discussion on the forming of an SF Society. At first, the atmosphere was very sleepy, but within five minutes I saw a most dramatic change come over all fen present. In under 24 hours I saw fandom change from the lighthearted mood of the room parties to the deadly serious manner of the discussion.
Dave Newman did an absolutely grand job of getting it running smoothly, for he had been relying on a tape from Vince Clarke and Walt Willis to set it going. The results of the discussion far surpassed anything hoped for, and at the end of the afternoon a vote was taken of all those in favour of setting up an SF society. This was practically unanimous, there being only 2 dissentions - that of Brian Burgess and NGW, both of whom were asleep. In the evening a few of the basic problems were thrashed out, the chief one being a name. Finally, it was given the brave title of THE BRITISH SCIENCE-FICTION ASSOCIATION.
Everything that had been said during the complete proceedings had been taken down on tape, ably managed by Eric Jones, which was to be sent to Vince. This tape finally ran to 2hours 40 minutes and I have feeling that it's going to make fannish history.
For me, the morning of the Monday was just as enjoyable as the rest of the weekend - in places more so. This was because I had now got to know nearly all the fen and could talk to them without searching for words and feeling embarrassed over the long pauses in conversation. Bryan and I didn't rise till eleven, and on coming downstairs we found that a great many fen had already left, but. those who were still around had gathered in the Commercial room where Jazz was being played on Archie Mercer's temperamental record-player.
My last jumbled fannish memories of Kettering include Sid Birchby expertly placing a glass of bheer on the lid of Archie's machine in an effort to get some response out of it; Norman Shorrock taking cine shots of Pete West blowing bubbles past some cardboard spaceships; Eddie Jones passing a box around for people to put in any rubbish they could find so that it could be sent to Ken Slater as a memo of Kettering; and, finally, Norman Shorrock buying us a last drink just before we left.
After a few touching farewells to Gillian Adams, Ron Bennett, Terry Jeeves, Norman. and Ina Shorrock, John Roles and many more I can't remember, we left the George Hotel - perhaps for the last time.
As the train pulled out of Kettering, we left a wonderful experience behind us, but took some wonderful memories home with us.
CYTRICON IV REPORT
First published in FEMIZINE 10 (aka DISTAFF 1), 1958. (Edited by Ethel Lindsay)
I know it’s usual for most fen to be exhausted at the end of a Con, but this year I reversed the process and was exhausted before I even arrived at Kettering. Ella (who has the makings of a Truefan except for one thing - you have to stand over her with a blunt instrument before she will put pen to paper) told me that she would be catching the 12.30 train from St. Pancras.
It was twenty to four when I left Tresco, and I honestly didn't expect to arrive at Kettering until some ungodly hour as with my usual foresight, I hadn't looked up the timetables. I was lucky as I didn't have to wait anywhere and much to my surprise (and Ella’s) I walked into the George Hotel at six thirty. Ina Shorrock saw me at the desk and immediately breezed over to bid me welcome. You know, if ever I throw a really big party, to ensure its success I shall ask Ina to be hostess. She has the most wonderful knack of putting the shyest persons at their ease and making them feel welcome and thoroughly at home, which must help to bring them out of their shells.
Friday night, of course, was the gathering of the fans, many of whom hadn't seen each other since the last Con. I was sorry to see that none of the Belfast contingent were present, and very, very few of the London Circle. Brian and Barry from Clacton were there and a couple of very pleasant and intelligent chaps they are, too. However the rest of British fandom was well-represented. For someone who was dog tired I managed fairly well as I seem to recall it was halfpast one in the morning when I suddenly realised that by some oversight I hadn't had a cup of tea since before I left Tresco. Ella hadn't had one either, and Bill, that wonderfully kind night porter, said he would bring some to my room. He did too, and after that it was easy to tumble into bed and drop straight off to sleep.
Saturday, after breakfast, Ella wanted to see the town and it wasn't until we were halfway up the street that I blithely informed her that this was only my second time in Kettering and that I hadn’t the slightest idea of the geography of the place. After that, she looked round rather grimly for likely places for tea. So intent was she on this search that she absent-mindedly stepped in front of a vehicle that came out of a side road. Fortunately, I saw it and hauled her back to the kerb - she'd said that she'd pay for the tea and I wasn't going to let her take such drastic steps to get out of her promise. The vehicle turned out to be a hearse - of all things! - but although it was empty of cadavers, the driver looked so mournful you'd have thought there were half a dozen bodies in the back. Maybe he was just driving round practising or maybe some peace loving citizen had heard about the Con and had hired him to winnow the ranks of fandom.
On our return to the hotel who should be sitting on a chair outside the main lounge but Harris himself! He had already written to say that it was unlikely he would be at the Con, but when he found out that Vince Clarke would not be there, he had come up so that he could write the Conrep for Hyphen himself, "Come and eat" were his first words and Ella withdrew before I could tell her it was customary for fans to form up in crowds and take eateries by storm. A dozen of us set forth eventually including Paul Hammett and his wife - and I must say that Paul talked far more sensibly about the horrors of the H-bomb than did the pugnacious pacifists who marched to Aldermaston and tried to overturn a car (with the occupants inside) because the people in it disagreed with their views.
Back to the hotel and the peripatetic way that is so much a part of a Con. I recall being in some room for awhile - I think it was Ted Tubb’s - with some fen. John Roles and I discussed OMPA while absent-mindedly drinking from the glasses that were thrust into our hands. Ted Tubb was trying to persuade Norman Wansborough that he had started a marriage bureau and was offering to find Norman a wife for a small fee, "You know the sort of thing Norman. Young country gentleman seeks wife with similar tastes," He also offered NGW a drink which he assured him was quite innocuous, but had all sorts of mysterious ingredients in it with the result that Norman, who doesn't drink anything stronger than cider, was quite ill later on.
Eventually most of the fans gathered in the main lounge, prior to adjourning to the Basket Lounge, where the party was to be held. Throughout the day John Roles and Ina Shorrock had been collecting money from the sale of raffle tickets for TAFF that I had brought with me and they were still doing a brisk sale with them. It was originally intended that the draw for the cover paintings should be held at the Saturday night party, but those fans who were there will no doubt realise why it slipped my mind. There were several tapes to be played - mainly jazz and much too much of Elvis Presley. I was sitting with Harris (he had a bottle of Scotch), as it was getting low, we were getting high. Paul offered his last cigar to Phil Rogers, who had already appropriated Joan Hammett. “You’ve taken my wife, you’ve taken my last cigar - there's a bottle of liquor in my room, would you like that too?” asked Paul. “What’s the number of your room?" asked Phil, immediately losing interest in Joan and the cigar.
In the meantime Harris was pondering on the mating habits of snakes. I don’t know what put the idea into his head unless it was the fact that I’d wrapped myself round him in a half-Nelson so he couldn't get away (there was still some Scotch in the bottle), ''Perhaps they lay out flat - or maybe they coil up together" Since I had never thought about it I couldn’t tell him. Besides I was too occupied in trying to tell him that blasted chair-back was digging into me every time we went into a clinch. We solved that problem by only using one chair, though at one point I had to shove Ina off his other knee. Just as the last the Scotch, which Chuck assured everyone was made out of old space socks, disappeared, Ina and Dave Newman appeared with the punch. It looked and tasted quite mild, but Ina told me that the base was 140 proof Polish white spirit. She forgot to tell me that the other ingredients included rocket fuel and a dash of Brasso, I came out of another clinch to find Ron Bennett regarding us in rather a bewildered way. “But, Bobbie, you're really puzzling the Ompans," he said bemusedly. For those who don't know, Chuck and I tore each other up in the last OMPA and no doubt a few thought battle would be joined when we both turned up at the con. Well, you saw a wrestling match, didn't you?
Suddenly all I wanted to do was go to sleep. Maybe it was the punch or maybe it was the fact that I'd felt tired even at the beginning of the con. Harris was bidding me farewell in the approved manner when his mind suddenly reverted to the problem of snakes. “Maybe they tie themselves in reef knots," he said into my ear. That did it! I suddenly had a mental picture of two unhappy and puzzled snakes trying to untangle themselves, and sitting on the ground I burst, into a fit of the giggles. "This isn't the sort of moment to get the giggles" he said indignantly. But I couldn’t stop and it was his fault anyway, for bringing the subject up again. In the end, he stalked away muttering "I'm going to get you some coffee.," This was a mistake as by the time I got to bed after drinking it I couldn't sleep.
This year the fans had a new idea, not room parties, but corridor parties and I lost count of the number of times they marched up and down. It sounded like the Afrika Korps and the Montgomery lot fighting to get the front row at the Folies Bergeres. I recall that round about six o'clock I bellowed shut up to some fans near my room. Sorry, Archie, but I was so tired I was on the point of screaming with fatigue.
I could have sworn I hadn't been asleep for more than five minutes when I was awakened by a knock on the door - and there was Harris with a teatray in his hands. I dived back into bed, just as well I wasn't sleeping raw, he might have had some breakages to pay for. “What's the time?” I asked, "Half-past six!” he grinned, then took a look at my face and said hastily, "No - half past eight – don’t throw the tea at me.” Then he poured his own, tossed me the uninteresting part of the Sunday Pictorial and sat down with his feet on the windowsill. I wondered if this taking tea off the maids and bringing it in to other fans was an old Con Custom that I'd missed out on until now and since Harris was ignoring me I was also wondering if I should be relieved or insulted.
Later Sunday morning we held the traditional OMPA meeting and listened to a tape from Vince Clarke anent waking up British Fandom which was the subject of discussion later in the day. The meeting concerned the state of British Fandom, and it was finally decided that a Science Fiction Association should be formed. Dave Newman was voted in as Chairman, two members of the Cheltenham group as librarians, Ted Tubb as editor of the OO, Archie Mercer as Treasurer, and Eric Bentcliffe and Terry Jeeves as joint secretaries. At the annual membership fee debate Tubb surprised some of us by being against having the youngsters in at a reduced fee, If we don't encourage them who is going to take over when we are old and tired? Next came the discussion for the venue for the annual meetings and a seaside resort was voted for.
That evening we once again clustered into groups. Towards five in the morning, Barry decided he wanted to go bed? So we all decided to take him. H e was sharing a room with Bryan Welham, but for some reason or other when Jill sang out that we wanted to put Barry to bed Bryan wouldn’t unlock the door. We all pretended to go away, but Bryan refused to be fooled. Five minutes later, when we were momentarily off our guard. the door was suddenly opened, Barry was yanked in, and the door locked again before we had a chance to get a foothold, Those boys have makings of true fans.
Monday of course, was farewell day and Ella, Jill, Ina and Norman, self, Jean and Peter piled onto the train, calling out to Archie on the platform and asking him to send on the various things we had left at the hotel. I hadn't made a really outrageous remark for the whole of the con so at the very last moment I bawled one to Archie, then turned round and found a parson staring at me in horror… Thank Ghod I’d had the sense to ask for Tuesday morning off from the office.