EIGHTIES LETTERS AND FAN DIARY
13: JUNE 1984Friday 1st June
More lazing about the place doing nothing, topped off in the evening by a visit to the Indian restaurant Avedon and I ate in last time she was over. Since this is the only full restaurant - as opposed to takeaway - on Green Street, I suppose this isn't too surprising, though it seems pretty mediocre to me.
Saturday 2nd June
Took Avedon to her first Westminster Comic Mart, where she insisted on telling Alan Moore how wonderful he is after having read a few issues of his SWAMP THING the night before. Moore was gracious and accepted this praise as his due (only to be expected given how much has been heaped on him of late, I suppose.) I bought very little, as usual.
We had expected to see Linda, Greg, and Lucy, but they didn't show, so instead we went for a drink with Steve Higgins, who did. Avedon stole drags on his cigarettes, despite allegedly having quit.
Later, we went over to Duckett Road to visit Malcolm Edwards. He was alone with baby son Thomas, Chris Atkinson having gone off to be briefed on NVDA (Non-Violent Direct Action) tactics for next Saturday's CND march through London.
Sunday 3rd June
Visited the Nicholas/Hanna flat in Pimlico for a gathering that included Ian & Janice Maule, John & Eve Harvey, Justin Ackroyd, Brian Smith, Phil Palmer, Linda Pickersgill, and Lucy Huntzinger. Chris Atkinson showed up with her baby later. Avedon drank little, but got tipsy anyway. Truly, she has all the capacity for alcohol of a gnat.
Monday 4th June
Intending to visit Kensington Gardens ("The name of a low-rent housing project where I live" - Avedon), we first stopped off on Queensway where Avedon bought a watch, earrings, and two T-shirts.
In Kensington Gardens themselves, we were stopped from progressing too far by a newly- erected wooden fence which closed off Kensington Palace entirely. Avedon asked a policeman what was going on.
"Security for the visit of your President," he said.
Later, in Kensington High Street, she bought cigarettes. Four days she managed to last. Pathetic!
Tuesday 5th June
Went on a pub crawl today. Avedon and I met Lucy in the Black Friar at 1.30pm (she was a half hour late due to "oversleeping"), and progressed from there to the Ludgate Cellars. From here we went on to the Cheddar Cheese ad this was the one that really impressed them since it was rebuilt in 1667 (after being burned down in the Great Fire the year before) and was originally built before Columbus set sail for America. They were so impressed in fact that they wrote a postcard about it to Patrick & Teresa Nielsen Hayden there and then. I added a few blase lines about how easily impressed colonials were.
Our trip to Camden Town after this could have proved a flop, since the markets only open on weekends, had it not been for a couple of things. Firstly, Avedon was delighted to find copies of Valerie Solanis's SCUM MANIFESTO in Compendium, a book long suppressed in the US, and then we encountered pop-group Madness enjoying a break in filming of their latest music video at Camden Lock itself. Since Madness were her favourite group, Lucy was overjoyed by this encounter, and declared that lead singer Suggs looked "really neat!"
Wednesday 6th June
The fortieth anniversary of D-Day, and my first day back at work, *sigh*.
The girls went on a pub crawl with John Jarrold, and the ever-cool one deposited the contents of his stomach on most of the stations of the Piccadilly Line afterwards. Nice one, John!
6th June 1984 - letter to Sue Williams
You asked me to itemise my outgoings for MEXICON but since I didn't keep any records as I went along this is kind of difficult. Anyway, it involved paper and materials for producing the first three Progress Reports, and a fair bit of postage when I was getting things together for the Programme Book and sending them out piecemeal to Kate Davies. At a rough estimate I figure this probably all came to about £10. On to other associated matters.....
I have a photo of Russell Hoban I have to return to Jonathan Cape's publicity department and they'll doubtless want a copy or two of the programme book, as do Penguin. Since, as I mentioned after MEXICON, I'd like a three or four extra copies of this myself could you send these down and I'll forward any you haven't already sent to those publishers.
Lucy was saying that MEXICON was the best con she's ever been to and now, a week-and-a-half down the line, I'm able to look back at it fairly objectively and say that it ranks pretty high on my list as well. Y'know, I think we did something right....
Thursday 7th June
First Thursday of the month, and so the One Tun. ATom, Vince Clarke, Dave Wood, and Mal & Hazel Ashworth made it seem like fifties fandom revival night (not that Hazel is that old...). Then again, there was one point at which I realised I was entirely surrounded by American women - Avedon, Lucy, Linda, Leah Zeldes. So it goes.
Friday 8th June
On getting in from work I discovered the flat was infested with fans, Lucy and Martin Tudor having called over prior to our visit to tonight's Surrey Limpwrist meeting, which we all travelled to together.
This was the first of their meetings I'd been to in three years and so we had some difficulty finding their new pub, the Royal Oak in New Malden. When we did, those present included the Maules, Joseph & Judith, Brian Smith, and George Bondar. After a mere two pints Lucy was pissed again. What is it with these American women who can't hold their drink?
At the end of the evening, we departed with Joseph and Judith, Avedon and I leaving them at Victoria and boarded the tube to continue our journey back to Upton Park. Avedon fell into a doze on my shoulder, which was fortunate as it hid the CND stickers we were wearing from the pair of thugs who sat down opposite us. Their own NF badges identified them as members of the National Front, a fascist group. They began making lewd comments about most of the women in the carriage (but not Avedon), and took particular exception to one guy across the way from us ("Whatya think you're lookin' at, sunshine?") I whispered in Avedon's ear that we should get off next stop and move up a carriage. We did, and so did the guy being threatened, along with his girlfriend.
Saturday 9th June - from fanzine report
Well, on June the 9th I did it again. Once again I found myself on a CND march, this time in the company of Avedon Carol and Martin Tudor. We started off by meeting outside FORBIDDEN PLANET and originally there were supposed to be four of us...only Lucy "I'll march by myself if no-one else turns up" Huntzinger didn't show. Had some wimpy excuse about having ate too much meat, smoked two much dope, drunk too much (about two pints), and overslept.
The march set off from Hyde Park and as usual there was the problem of which banner to march behind. Last time the Pickersgills and I had marched behind Scottish CND (Lord knows why...) but this time me were looking for something more appropriate. So naturally enough we ended up in the Welsh CND section only for some inexplicable reason or other Avedon and Martin didn't seem terribly enthralled by this choice. After a while of having to put up with Avedon's cracks about "...lousy Welsh cooks..." (don't ask) I was about to ask her just-who-she-wanted-to-march-behind-and-it-didn't-matter-to-me anyway-as-all-I-wanted-was-a-bit-of-peace-and-quiet when the answer presented itself. Marching up through the column of groups waiting to leave the park area a small banner-carrying group who were being applauded by most everyone when they saw the name on their banner: EMBARRASSED AMERICANS AGAINST REAGAN
"Them," said Avedon, "I wanna march with them."
This was fine with Martin and me (it was a cool banner after all) so we wormed our way up to where they were starting from and fell-in with the banner carriers. As if to prove the theory that there really are only a few thousand people in the, world (the rest being cardboard cut-outs) one of the them turned out to have been a student at the same Washington DC college where Avedon had learned sign language (not that Avedon is deaf, y'understand, but she wanted learn how to easily communicate with deaf people) and in no time at all their hands were flashing about, making the sort of arcane gestures not usually seen outside the pages of a DR.STRANGE comicbook. Since the only two signs I know are used to tell someone to 'fuck off' or to indicate that the person next to me is a wanker I didn't play too large a part in the conversation.
The really neat thing about marching under EMBARRASSED AMERICANS AGAINST REAGAN was watching the reactions of the bystanders. For the most part they Seemed delighted by the banner and either burst into applause or cheered or both, but some didn't. Certain elderly people, who looked like American tourists, watched stone-faced as we marched on by. This aside the response of the spectators was heady wine and the Americans around us, as well as those marching under AMERICANS AGAINST AMERICAN NUCLEAR IMPERIALISM, were all in favour of splitting off from the main body and marching on the American Embassy until it was pointed out to them that this sort of thing could result in them being deported.
In spite of her multiple nameless ailments Avedon held up pretty well through most of the march but by the time we all assembled in Trafalgar Square she was beginning to flag and was in dire need of Coke. There was only one thing for it: McDonalds.
While Coke was enough for Avedon, Martin and myself partook of their famous fare - he had a fishburger while I feasted on an Egg McMuffin ("The perfect food" - M.Edwards).
"Jeez, I just can't believe you guys are actually eating that stuff!" said Avedon, nose wrinkling in disgust.
Since Egg McMuffins are not usually taken nasally or intravenously this seemed a pretty strange observation; but there y'go.
An evening around at the Pickersgills spent mocking Lucy, sitting drinking beer on the balcony, watching Concorde fly over and Saying Things about Dick Bergeron seemed the perfect end to the day. Although travelling home on the tube and not encountering Nazis (as we had the night before) seemed pretty, good as well.
Sunday 10th June
Avedon and I got up at some ungodly hour to meet Dave & Hazel Langford when their train from Reading arrived at Paddington. From there we all travelled over to the Armenian church in South Kensington for reasons related to Avedon's ethnic background that I didn't record. While Hazel and Avedon went inside to watch the service Dave and I waited outside and discussed fannish matters.
Following a pleasant pub lunch we headed back to East London. A brief stop at Greenleaf Road was followed by a bus and Ferry ride to South Woolwich, where a smiling Arthur Thomson was waiting to drive us to Welling and the KTF (Kent TruFandom) meeting in Vince Clarke's house. Vince and Ted Tubb were there when we arrived, with Johns Jarrold and Harvey joining us later. Ted was unwise enough to begin expounding his opinions on women and so got into a heated argument with Avedon about feminism.
Dave and Hazel had to leave at 6.30pm in order to get back to Reading at a sensible hour, but Avedon and I stayed 'til late. ATom gave us a lift back to Woolwich in the evening and we got to the Woolwich ferry just in time to see it close at 9.30pm. This meant we had to cross the river by means of the eerie, echoing pedestrian subway under the Thames.
Tuesday 12th June
Lucy called over during the day to work on RUDE BITCH with Avedon. When I got in from work we went up town for a drink, Lucy coming back to Upton Park with us and staying the night.
Wednesday 13th June
Went straight from work to FORBIDDEN PLANET (where I picked up AMERICAN FLAGG! #12 and WARRIOR #20) then home. When I got in I was surprised to see Lucy and Avedon since I'd been expecting them to have already left for tonight's meeting of the women's group. Turns out Lucy couldn't afford to go to a restaurant beforehand, as the group does, so they were going along later. In fact they didn't depart until after I'd left for the monthly North London pool session.
Also at the Salisbury for pool and alcohol tonight were Malcolm Edwards & Chris Atkinson, the Charnocks, Jimmy Robertson, Anne Warren, Phil Palmer, Cyril Simsa, Dai Price, Paul Kincaid, Chis Evans, Roy Kettle, John Brosnan, and Rob Holdstock & Sarah Biggs - quite the turnout. I left early, and purely by coincidence met Avedon on the platform at Embankment. She was delighted to see me.
Thursday 14th June
Since the pool session and women's group meetings are on the same night every month I'd arranged for an extra pool session tonight so that Avedon could experience one. Thus, for the second night in a row, I found myself travelling over to Harringey. We were late getting there, arriving at 8.30pm, but Lucy, Malcolm & Chris, Phil Palmer, Leroy Kettle, Pam Wells, and Chris Priest all showed up.
Friday 15th June
Tonight's BSFA meeting at the King of Diamonds featured a talk by John Clute. Due to a double-booking we were once again back in the upstairs bar which, since its conversion to a cocktail bar, carries no beer. Going in search of that glorious fluid, the Harveys, Lucy, Avedon and I set up shop at a table in the downstairs bar We were later joined by ATom.
At the end of the evening Lucy, Avedon, and I travelled over to Paddington with Dave Langford, and thence to Reading where we were staying the weekend with him and Hazel.
Saturday 16th June
At midday, after a good night's sleep, we set off along the canal towpath on a leisurely walk into town to eat at a pub that served a peculiar array of pies (pheasant, chicken & sweetcorn, lamb & mint, kidney & fennel, etc.) Later, we picked up some wine (Asti-Spumante for Avedon, a box of Riesling for Dave and me) and headed back to the Langfords' London Road abode via the scenic route. This took in the ruins of Reading Abbey and a park that had a large stone lion, complete with genitals.
"He couldn't have those in America," observed Lucy.
Back at the house, Lucy insisted on starting in on the editing of RUDE BITCH #2 but was hampered by the fact that Avedon had drank all the Asti and was now pissed. Slumped in a corner, she drunkenly demanded cheese and crackers, which the ever-obliging Dave rushed out to get. Later, when Dave, Avedon, and I went upstairs to play computer games, Lucy retired sulking to her sleeping bag.
The evening trek to The Pheasant ("Just a short walk," lied Dave) failed to produce the expected Hoares, Hughes, and Huxley, but we had a good time at the pub anyway.
Sunday 17th June
When we woke, Avedon could barely move because of her arthritis. I volunteered to rush down and prepare a pot of tea so that she could take the coated-aspirin that would relieve it. Downstairs I met Hazel, who was pottering about. After taking the tea to Avedon I returned and chatted to Hazel until Dave made his appearance.
When we were all present and accounted for Avedon, Dave, Lucy and I made our way to a towpath pub for a few pints of Directors. This being summer, heavy rain kept us in there until closing time. It also kept us in the tandoori takeaway place where we went for food on the way back.
When we finally got back to the house, Lucy claimed tiredness and slunk away to her sleeping bag again, leaving the rest of us to the arduous task of playing computer games. Lucy did stir later, managing to type up a few pages of RUDE BITCH before she, Avedon and I caught the 6.15pm back to London.
Taking a local line train back out to Ealing Broadway we discovered when we got there that - surprise, surprise - it was raining! We stopped in at a pizzeria then made our way to the Queen Victoria for the Friends In Space meeting, which only Greg, Linda, and Pam Wells showed up to. We had a good time, though.
At South Ealing station while we waited to catch a tube train back to east London, Avedon, having been much annoyed by Lucy's attitude all weekend, threatened to "deck" her. Oh these macho women!
19th June 1984 - letter to Joe Siclari
Here is that fanhistorical article we discussed at SEACON 84...or most of it, anyway. Things, you see, haven't gone quite as I expected them to. Originally we'd decided that I'd send you a copy of the fanthology the piece was appearing in first and you'd reprint it in FANHISTORICA, only it didn't appear in the fanthology. As MEXICON (which was a terrific convention, by the way) came rushing towards us with the speed of an express train, Harry Bell decided that the fanthology was outgrowing its budget and a major cut was needed. Guess what? As it happened this suited me just fine since I hadn't finished it (tho' I've written more since) and was experiencing my own budgetary problems and deadline crisis on the Programme Book. So you actually get to publish it first. However, Avedon Carol, who came over for MEXICON, has been staying with me ever since and I've been rather distracted and haven't actually finished it yet. I'm certain I'll now be able to finish it before the end of June but since I don't want to squeeze your production schedule on FANHISTORICA I'm sending along as much as is done (about 3/4) so that you can start getting stencils typed.
Which is about it for now. Since I've given myself the end of the month as an absolute deadline you should have the final bit no later than the end of the first week of July. Hope that's OK and that what I've done so far meets with your approval. See you at the Worldcon.
Thursday 21st June
WIZ arrives in the mail with its snide comments about Avedon. Oh that Bergeron!
Saturday 23rd June
The Pickersgills, Lucy, Avedon and I went for a walk around Camden Town, the first time our visitors had seen it when the markets were open. These proved the attraction I knew they would and Avedon and Lucy bought earrings, Lucy favouring spiders and skulls. Didn't see anyone famous this time, but watched people dancing on a barge with bemusement.
Friday 29th June - from FISH HELMET #6
You may recall that when the last FISH HELMET appeared, many moons ago, it was a xeroxed edition due to a technical fault in the mighty Greenleaf Road presses. You do? Good. Well anyway, what with MEXICON an' all I've not had time to give the problem the attention it deserved and for long months my Gestetner has lain in a state of disrepair. Recently, however, I noticed a nut and washer lying in a depression under the paper feed tray and I wondered if this might be the source of the problem (not for nothing do I have an HNC in Mechanical Engineering - it cost plenty). I discovered where these went, replaced them, did a test run, and found that all appears to be hunky-dory once more. Which is why this is once again a mimeoed production.
Saturday 30th June
An all-day party at 7A Lawrence Road, and the biggest there in years. Down from Newcastle were Kev & Sue Williams, Harry Bell and Mike Hamilton, while Martin Tudor had travelled from Birmingham, and Alun Harries from Wales. In the early stages of the party I noticed there were more women than men present - very unusual for a fannish party - but when I pointed this out I was met with some derision, most of it from Chris Evans.
Some great music was pumping out from Greg's 'ghetto blaster', and at one point I found myself dancing out on the balcony with Faith Brooker, watched by a group of open-mouthed kids who'd been playing tennis down in the street when we began. When we finished they clapped and cheered, so we took a bow. It seemed the only thing to do.
Though we'd originally intended to stay over, Avedon wasn't feeling too good so, alas, we left early.