COVENTRY '75 (SEACON)
"A TRANSATLANTIC CON REPORT HURRAH! HURRAH!"
By Brian Parker
(Reprinted from Parker's Patch 1)
(Or how I met Harry Harrison and blew my mind (out through my ears))
N.B. All your names have been typed in BLOCK CAPITALS to save eyestrain.
For reasons best known to myself and Yehudi and too tedious to go into here I found myself in Coventry on Tuesday, Various things happenned and I ended up on the streets of the above named,city at 9.01 am. Thursday morning. I held out for as long as I could but at two o'clock I was forced to enter the Con hotel. ( Mainly by frostbite of the nether regions, about which I can't be too explicit if I want the BBC to take up the serial-rights but are described by a word beginning with and used when talking about HOWIE ROSENBLUM.) Immediately I was affectionately accosted by a number of old reprobate buddies known collectively as Ratfandom who welcomed me with cries of "Oh! Christ! It's that Parker character again!" ,*Shit!* and "Blwaugh!"... but I knew THEY DIDN'T REALLY MEAN IT so after a few rapid blows to the goolies etc. I adjourned to the pit (downstairs lounge).This was a mistake due to the total absence of that indispensible accessory to any fannish gathering, you guess it; booze. After what seemed like months JOHN JARROLD announced (in a thunderous whisper) his intention to go and buy some drink and some months later he and the bottle of whiskey returned. The fight was fairly brief, little blood being spilt and only one eyeball sent into orbit. For some reason GREG PICKERSGILL commanded (he does a lot of that you know) the rats share and to use his own words "I drank 2/3rds of a bottle of whiskey in 6.5 seconds" a detached observer would have reported a 1/3rd of a bottle in an hour, even so he managed to get very pissed. A fortunate state of affairs as he proceded to provide whole seconds of harmless entertainment by threatening SAM LONG with instant death if he went down the wrong corridors on his own! Sam then entertained his audience by his commanding use of embarrassed silences and incomprehensible retorts. (I should mention that Greg did this from unselfish and would you believe chivalrous? motives, in defense of a lady's honour.I'm now going to let you in on a closely (guarded-secret which will be of interest to every fan at some time or another. HOW TO SHUT UP GREG PICKERSGILL AND INDUCE GREAT MORTIFICATION WITH VERY LITTLE EFFORT A couple of hours after the events related above (or below if you are an idiot and you are holding the zine upside-down) I repaired to the bar in a vain effort to stay a little bit drunk and met SIMON WALSH. It seems that Greg was sleeping it off and Simone thought it was time to eat. So, we went to roust him out, unfortunately the silly,little bugger had pushed the pin in and it required no little effort to get at him. Having entered we found Greg still spaced-out on the bed after a few (98) quick pummels he woke up but hecouldn't speak.Was this some new undiscovered side effect of Johnny Walker? No, by dint of perceptive questions from Simon and dumb mime from Greg we discovered Pickersgill's dread secret..... HE WEARS A DENTAL PLATE..... and is constitutionally unable to speak without it. So the next time he siddles up to and starts to pile the excrete high apply a short sharp tap to the back of his head and catch his appliance as it falls out. This novel event turned out to be the high point of the evening, in fact the most exciting occurrence between then and bed-time was receiving a 2,000,000 Volt shock while taking a pee and listening to the musak in the bog. Probably due to the resemblance between certain parts of the body and lightning rod, both being long and pointed and highly conductive. Thus it seemed a good idea to join everyone else in bed at the unfannish hour of one o'clock. "A TRANSATLANTIC CON REPORT HURRAH! HURRAH! II" Friday was unbearably boring until I managed to get smashed out of my skull at the Swedish room-party. These Swedes, about six or seven of them were exceptionally nice people except for a diminutive blonde AND female one called EWA, and she was bloody fantastic but more about the lovely Ewa later. Speaking of Harry Harrison his speech on Saturday was, as you might expect, fairly loud and humorous with plenty of knock-about comedy, and was all about how he and his book 'Make Room! Make Room! Were screwed while making Soylent Green. However, his speech aside good old H-H can be a bit of a drag, especially when he is pissed out of his head and standing between you and the drink at a room-party and apparently stone-deaf. Also a lot of fans thought taking a drink from each of the fancy dress prizes before handing them over was a rather gauche way to get a laugh.....Speaking of bores I and the afore mentioned Swedes went along to John Brunner's room party after their drink had run out. We gained entry by the simple expedient of jumping up and down shouting" Swedish Fandom has descended upon you", and pushing past as he stood dazed in the doorway. (There's not a lot of panache knocking about at three o'clock in the morning.) Now John does tend to be a bit of a pretentious poser at times but I like to be fair and give credit where due. One of the Swedes picked up a slim, elegant book of verse from amongst several conveniently placed around the room by John and came across a type of poem called a flyting. Now it seems that in the 17 Century, when two puffy poets fell out with each other they would have a verbal battle to the death, in verse, and called a flyting. No, I didn't believe it either but its all true I swear as our continental guest couldn't really understand it and, having a considerate nature and trying desperately to ingratiate myself with the lovely Ewa, I took a deep breath and asked John to read it for us. A deep red glow bloomed in his eyes and he began. I hate to admit it but he was bloody good, the verse itself didn't mean much being nothing but a collection of rather weak derogatory terms but his sense of timing and rhythm were excellent. Admittedly he'd probably spent hours in front of one of his mirrors practicing, butstill, never the less....not half bad. P,S. I later discovered the party was held for the committee and PAT AND GRAH CHARNOCK turned in the company of GREG PICKERSGILL AND SIMON WALSH, whereupon Brunner said they could come in but not Greg. Needless to say l wouldn't have bothered going had I known. It's manners like this which give Brunner his most deserved reputation as a self-centeredcrashing bore. Sometime later;...I hove back to the bar where I met the amazing MIKE GLICKSON in the company of PETER ROBERTS. Mike is a great guy who managed to keep smiling while I, in a beautifully drunken state, bored him to death(just as I am doing to you) with two, count 'em, two very long anecdotes, one of which told the brutal and heart rending story of how a young country boy (me) was savagely attacked and raped by a callous Glasgow street gang. Peter was seen to turn green and rapidly leave the room. Shortly finding myself alone in the bar apart from the last remaining Swede and I thought this would be an excellent time to go to bed. Alas,PER SOHETHING UNPRONOUNCIBLE said this was unfannish and announced his intention to walk a the corridors until breakfast,and believe it or not he did. "A TRANSATLANTIC CON REPORT HURRAH! HURRAH! III" (Or how I dreamt I met Harry Harrison in his Maiden-Form Bra) Saturday dawned and with it no breakfast and a hangover.Another very slow day during`which I met a German fan, HOLGER MEULLER a pleasant chap who persisted in calling me Paddy for no apparent reason, except possibly the mistaken impression that it annoyed me - he did not like being called Fritz. The time of the Fancy Dress Parade drew nigh and the excitement in the bar was underwhelming. This event was full of incident and high drama BRIAN BURGESS made his usual guest appearance as Guess Who but nobody did. One fan arrived in a truely astounding alien make-up (lifted from The Famous Monsters Of Filmland handbook) and I was so intrigued I went across to find out who it could be. He refused to come clean but his voice was instantly recognisable.I was so astonished I said to Pete Roberts who was nearby You'll never guess who that is, its the last person you would imagine, naturally he replied Howie Rosenblum, it just goes to show you just can't win, not even when HR's involved. One girl came as CHRIS PRIEST an almost perfect impersonation right down to the shambling walk. Many fans felt it was a damned shame when she was disqualified because she was the only entry in this category. Enough. On to the drinking and socializing and drinking. Saturday was a good night, everybody was well cut and having a GOOD TIME. Various fans held room parties, the Swedes held their second, and they were all alive and jumping. ROB HOLDSTOCK threw another of his "I hate Mr. X because everytime I turn round Mr. X is standing next to SHEILA HOLDSTOCK" (the use of is not to protect the guilty but to indicate that it could have been a variety of people). He also threw at least four gallons of beer all down my shirt front, which required its immediate removal, my shirt that is.This was another mistake of the first order as assorted cretins preceded to scribble all over me with a blue felt-tip pen. By this time I was too euphoric to resist, but when I awoke the next morning and looked in the mirror I thought I'd haemorraged during the night and I nearly had a stroke. The following tale comes to you courtesy of BRYN FORTEY. To set the scene ROB HOLDSTOCK has allowed his attention to-wander and ROG PEYTON is doing his best to fondle the adorable SHEILA, when up staggers yet another highly smashed Swede and precedes to collapse on the floor. Unfortunately it seems that, either by accident or intent he did erotic things to Sheila on the way down. Fairly conventional so far, but this is where the element of fantasy creeps in as Rog goes into his impression of Robert A. Heinlein and starts hopping up and down in a karate stance shouting 'Let me at him' and 'I'll kill him'. Anyway somebody held Rog back (probably much to his relief) and the Swede picked himself up and wandered into a convenient room party. To add to the confusion Rob now turns up and gets Rog's version of what happened. Now as I understand it Rog's story didn't bear much resemblance to reality and went something like this "This Swede came up and did unspeakable things to Sheila, I (Rog) am an innocent bystander and I was only defending a lady's honour" To which Rob replied (approximately) "Where is he?--Let me at him.--I'll kill him."--- and then Rob charged over to the room-party still shouting "l'll kill him etc." At the door he ran into SIMON JOUKES who was managing, without much trouble, to block the doorway and Simon did his over my dead body bit. Rob now does a complete about face, says any friend of yours is a friend of mine etc.,reaches down and pats Simon on the head and finally ambles off stage left. This is definitely weird, weird but faaannish. At_this point in time I'd already gone to bed. "A TRANSATLANTIC CON REPORT HURRAH! HURRAH! IV" (Or how I met Harry Harrison and 957 filk-singers in a closet) Sunday and the banquet to which I didn't go--no money; and the awards which I missed, as I was trying to-buy booze for a room-party which RITCHIE SMITH and I decided to hold as we had a suite and it seemed a shame to waste the space; which I also missed, though I did-manage to salvage a bottle of gin. I DIDN*T MISS THE DANCE. This was a tremendous idea (vote of -thanks to the committee) and should definitely be made an annual event. The lovely Ewa now makes her re-appearance. I like dancing, I really, really do, so a couple of minutes after the music started I shot over and asked the lovely Ewa to dance, which we did for the next two or three hours. After an hour or so while breaking for a well deserved drink JACK MARSH came over for a chat and told me that due to the astounding (to Ratfandom) speed of my attack they were thinking of increasing my Ratstatus however I think they later revised this opinion when I didn't drag Ewa off to the band-stand for a public quickie as soon as the music stopped. By the by the music was too much, too much Rock and Roll and not enough variety, but this carp aside pretty good. Right on Grah. I was going to tell you a little about the dancing styes, but I can't be bothered. However, the fans named below deserve special mention. JOSEPHINE SAXON for the obvious reasons,ROB HOLDSTOGK for his version of Kung Fu Fighting/epilepsy and GERRY WEBB for his peculiar off his head stance while jiving. During the dance the only award I can remember was presented, accompanied by much mirth and assorted chortles. This was the Prick Of The Year award and was presented to ....right first time....IAN WILLIAMS.... for going on at excruciatingly boring length about his novel. Keep up the good work Ian, and who knows to what heights you may yet rise. The room-parties on Sunday night were a very mixed batch. Mine and Ritchie's seemed to consist entirely of people I've never seen before or since indulging themselves in excessively puerile songs. The committee party was very quiet and didn't seem to have any committee members present, still never mind. DAVE ROWE had a pleasant little party going, I dropped in four or five times, whenever I felt in need of somewhere to sit -down and take a break from the frantic activity occurring everywhere else in the De Vere. Looks like Dave's in love... Again? The most memorable thing about Dave's party was RAMBLING JAKE and his BOTTLE OF VERGUTZ, or to be more honest his bottle of Vergutz. This was-the first time I had sampled this amazing beverage AND IT WILL NOT BE THE LAST. It is absolutely bloody fantastic, a sort of blend of polish spirit and Novocaine; its good for what ails you. Nothing particularly memorable happened that night until the-lovely Ewa and I went to bed. What happened you ask? Well..... as I replied to IAN MAULE the next morning after his seventeenth enquiry..... a gentleman never tells. THE END CURTAIN A THUNDEROUS APPLAUSE (please) Well that's the difficult bit finished, not as bad as I-thought it might be and not as good as I hoped it would be, and it occurs to me now that it is finished,that I didn't mention several topics that I intended to mention. The program was mentioned only briefly and I particularly wanted to say how much I enjoyed BOB SHAW'S talk, "The Time Travellers Amongst Us". Like all Bob's speeches it was well thought out and very witty, a good time for one and all, its just a pity that Bob is so obviously nervous in front of an audience. Also the auctions were a big success this year, with fantastic sums of money being extracted from the assembled fans....would you believe 40 pounds from the fanzine auction? The films were a pretty reasonable selection, although that bum JOHN BROSNAN wouldn't re-run SLEEPER on Monday and I missed it on Saturday. Up yours Brozzie. I think I can wrap this up by saying it was a great Con, I had a brilliant time and I think it was even better than TyneCon. Onward to ManCon 5 I've just realised I didn't mention Roy Kettle's name. So . ROY KETTLE ROY KETTLE ROY KETTLE ROY KETTLE ROY KETTLE ROY KETTLE ROY KETTLE ROY KETTLE ROY KETTLE ROY KETTLE ROY KETTLE ROY KETTIE ROY KETTLE ROY KETTLE ROY KETTLE ROY KETTLE ROY KETTLE ROY KETTLE OK roy (well you've had all the capitals I can stand) Promise you won't send round THEMENWITHBIGSTICKS? No PIGGOTT I didn't take your threat seriously even if it was your birthday. Well OK just a couple JOHN PIGGOTT JOHN PIGGOTT JOHN PIGGOTT Narcicism rules ok?