EIGHTIES LETTERS AND FAN DIARY

This is an experiment. Whether anyone other than me will find it interesting remains to be seen.

Like most people, I have at various times in my life tried to keep a diary, and from 1983-1997 I succeeded. At some points the entries are little more than a listing of names and dates, at others they also record my thoughts at the time. The period the diaries cover was the most socially and fannishly active of my life and I think they give at least a hint of the social whirl that was London fandom in the 1980s. From mid-1982, I also started keeping copies of my correspondence.

I was 25 years old when I moved to London at the end of May 1980 to take up a position as a draughtsman at the Southwark head office of supermarket chain J.Sainsbury Ltd. For the first few months I stayed with Greg & Linda Pickersgill at their Lawrence Road flat in Ealing, West London - a Famous Fannish Address - before buying my own flat at Greenleaf Road in East Ham, East London. One of my first purchases was a Gestetener 466 duplicator. It was a beautiful machine, but having it meant that as well as my own fanzine EPSILON, I also ended up running off fanzines for half of London fandom.


(For coloured version of this cover see here. NB: Email link to me no longer valid.)


The following were the main regular events on my monthly social calendar back then:

  • The first-Thursday meetings at the One Tun pub on Farringdon's Saffron Hill. These regularly attracted hundreds of people and at the time were almost certainly the biggest regular fan-group meetings in the world.

  • The BSFA meetings. These were held in the King of Diamonds pub in Holborn on the third Friday of the month and sponsored by the British Science Fiction Association.

  • The North London pool sessions. A monthly meeting of North London fandom and guests to play pool and drink beer in the Salisbury Hotel in Harringey, North London fandom at the time initially consisting of couples Malcolm Edwards & Christine 'Chris' Atkinson, Leroy 'Roy' Kettle & Kath Mitchell, and Rob Holdstock & Sarah Biggs, with Pat & Graham Charnock moving into the area later.

  • Friends In Space. A third-Sunday meeting of that fan-group at the Queen Victoria pub in Ealing. Group name was taken from a TV drama of the same name (which I've never seen).

  • Westminster Comic Mart. Actually a bimonthly event and held in Westminster Methodist Central Hall, which is within sight of the Houses of Parliament. Only now does this strike me as odd - like having a mart in DC across the street from Congress. Local pros used to also show up at these, much like SF pros used to show up at the One Tun. Those were the days.

There were also occasional visits to Ortygia House in Harrow. At this time Chris Evans lived in a flat there, as did then-husband-and-wife Chris Priest & Lisa Tuttle.

TAFF - the Trans-Atlantic Fan Fund gets quite a few mentions. You can find most things you might need to know about it here.

An overview of UK fandom from the beginning of the decade to the 1987 Worldcon can be found here for those who need background on the period. It's taken from the booklet giving a brief history of UK fandom that I wrote for that convention.


DRAMATIS PERSONAE (well, some of them):


Rob Hansen, Greg Pickersgill, Linda Pickersgill (previously Karrh, later Krawecke)


Kev Smith, Rob Holdstock

Malcolm Edwards

Roy Kettle


Sheila Holdstock (Rob's ex-wife.)

Chris Atkinson


Chris Evans

Pat & Graham Charnock, Harry Bell

The entries that follow are lifted from my letters and diaries mostly verbatim. Where additional commentary has been added this appears in italics. Names have been expanded in the fannish sections, and surnames of my work colleagues reduced to an initial where I've included entries about them. The names applied to people herein are the names they went by at the time.

1982
1: LATE-1982
1983
2: JAN/FEB 3: MARCH 4: EASTER 5: APRIL 6: EARLY MAY 7: LATE MAY
8: JUNE/JULY 9: AUG-OCT 10: NOV/DEC
1984
11: JAN-MAR 12: APR/MAY 13: JUNE 14: JULY/AUG 15: TAFF TRIP
16: SEPT/OCT 17: NOV/DEC
1985
18: JAN/FEB 19: MARCH 20: APRIL 21: MAY 22: JUNE


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