Friday, 20 December 2013

UFP Con 1986 Part 2

The business meeting over ran by an hour. Several important points were debated:-

1. Should business meetings be abolished? Vote almost unanimously no.

2. Should all fans get a chance to vote on changing or doing away with the business meeting system, rather than just the ones who were at any particular con?

This was debated long and hard and it was finally decided that it would not be fair to put the whole future of Cons in this country into the hands of people who, for whatever reason, had not or would not in the future, go to them.

3. The term 'Official', as disapproved of by Paramount. It was decided that they would be renamed 'British' with the running number.

All in all, a very good, reasonable discussion, with no back-biting, bickering or other nastiness.

Finally the bid for Necon 87, from New Enterprise. This happened to clash with Conspiracy 87, the World SF Con, in Brighton. It was decided to defer the bid in an attempt to change the date.

David waited patiently through all this for his talk, and the entire programme was put back an hour. He told the leprechuan joke that supposedly got him thrown out of Ireland. He also read 'The Shaggy Dog Story', which was deemed too funny for the Twilight Zone. The computer printout manuscript was later auctioned for £50.

As Pat used to adore Ed Straker, we went to see 'Invasion:UFO', which appeared to be cobbled together from at least three different episodes. We noticed how 'terribly, terribly polite' Moonbase was, and the prototypes of Concorde and the Shuttle.

We watched the Klingon Hunt from the balcony for a while, while I was ceasing to be an elf and turning into a Tudor lady for the masked ball. Pat and Claire ended up feeding a pair of cheeky pigeons ginger biscuits while they waited.

The masked ball was simply amazing in terms of variety and elaboration of costume. Pat and Claire refused to even wear masks. However, Batman and Robin were there, together with Dangermouse, the Pink Panther, all of Parsec in pig masks, Elizabeth I and Lady Blackadder (could this be one of the first gender-bending cosplays ever?)
, Roj Peyton and co. in Andromeda paper bag masks, Janis and Kim in rather nice black and silver creations - and David Gerrold who, when he wasn't chasing Shona, the ScotPress dog, on his hands and knees, was wandering around carrying a masked banana. The infamous room party, by the way, was to be held later that night in Diane Duane's room, until whenever. (David suggested July).

Monday: Breakfasted in the main hall. Overheard in conversation: "I haven't been to bed yet. There was this room party...."

Pat's never even seen Planet of the Apes, and I used to think that Galen was wonderful, so we spent an hour watching Urko and Burke trapped in a subway station. It puts a whole new light on the thing when you know Mark Lenard is the gorilla.

As I was now out of costume, Pat complained she kept losing me in the crowd. I suggested a flashing light might help. She is now measuring me up for a Tardis costume!

Speaking of which, at very short notice John Levene (Dr. Who's Sergeant Benton) agreed to talk for twenty minutes, having arrived at the hotel the previous day on business. He came over as a very pleasant chap, who had hugely enjoyed his time as an actor, and who took great delight in answering questions in a very roundabout, and interesting, way.

He was followed by the Writers Panel, comprised of David, Diane, David's editor (who had been selling copies of his new magazine 'The Brass Cannon Report' all weekend) and a British writer who works for the Civil Service whose name I didn't catch. (A letter to the fanzine later, from Diane Duane, said that it was Peter Morwood, who she later married, and who is Northern Irish) 'The Brass Cannon Report' is a little bit of everything from computers to space to translating German. It came out during the panel that the woman who had written an excellent piece on the 'Challenger' tragedy is actually dyslexic, and it took the computer over five hours to correct the spelling.

The closing ceremony went as usual, and David Gerrold was presented with a giant inflatable banana covered in autographs and messages ("Hey, this one says 'Yankee go home'!"). Roj Peyton auctioned off some special items that David had brought, the usual percentage going to charity, and the American guests now have a hazy idea of panto:-

Chris Chivers: "Where's Roj Peyton?"


Roj Peyton: "Oh, no he's not!"


David Gerrold was asked if he would write a book on the English sense of humour, to which he replied: "How can you write about something you can't understand?"

And on that note, we reluctantly returned to the real world.

Looking back on this Con, I think it's the one I remember the most clearly, and one of the ones that I enjoyed the most. I was with friends, and knew quite a few familiar faces among the other Con goers, and I knew what to expect from the programme, so I could just relax and enjoy everything. Also, there was the writing tutorial, which helped my writing a lot. At the time, I was writing Star Trek fan fiction, most of which has mercifully disappeared into oblivion, though I was quite proud of one or two stories.

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