EIGHTIES LETTERS AND FAN DIARY
14: JULY/AUGUST 1984Thursday 5th July - One Tun night
Avedon and I get to the Tun via a visit to Pimlico and a meal at the Indo-Pak with Lucy Huntzinger, Joseph Nicholas, Judith Hanna, and Pascal Thomas and his new wife, whose name I can't recall.
To my amazement they've actually refurbished the Tun so that people can now sit down. Astonishing. Greg Benford was at the Tun and was a creep. Disappointing after how pleasant he seemed last time we met.
Saturday 7th July
Went to a party at John & Eve Harvey's house in Carshalton that started at 2.00pm. It was a blazingly hot day and as we neared 43 Harrow Road we encountered two bare-chested cyclists who turned out to be Jimmy Robertson and Alan Ferguson. Because of the heat, everyone spent much of the party out on the Harvey's back lawn. Also present were Malcolm & Chris and their offspring, Paul Kincaid, John Jarrold, Lucy, the Oborns, the Maules, and the Langfords.
Monday 9th July
There was a party this evening at Roz Kaveney's, the first time I've ever visited her flat. Avedon and I took the tube to Mile End, got wet, travelled by bus a very short distance ("It's too far to walk!" - Avedon), trudged through the decaying splendour of the Victorian East End, and finally ended up at the grubby block of council flats where Roz lives. By the time we arrived Roz had a black eye and a smashed pair of glasses, having shot herself in the face when opening a bottle of sparkling wine.
The fannish contingent included Greg & Linda, Lucy, Kate Davies, Abi Frost, Nick Lowe, and Geoff Ryman, but we were outshone by Roz's transsexual friends. Afterwards, we set off home from the party with Gamma, Colin Greenland, Lucy, and the Pickersgills, and decided to try an alternative route by taking a bus to Liverpool Street and the Central Line to Mile End. Unfortunately, this proved no quicker or more convenient.
Wednesday 11th July
Met Avedon during my lunch break at the George, a galleried pub near my bank. I'd assumed this was a cute, out-of-the-way little pub and was mortified to discover it listed in tourist guides and so pretty busy. Still, their chili was very good, though Avedon stuck to bread and cheese.
The pool session that evening at the Salisbury was Lucy and Avedon's last chance to see Kettle and Brosnan this visit.
Sunday 15th July
I finished the cover for RUDE BITCH #2 (aka DEAR RUDE BITCH) that I started yesterday, and Avedon spent ages staring at it. It was also much admired at Friends In Space that evening, where we were joined by Martin Tudor and assorted students.
Wednesday 18th July
Avedon and Lucy were waiting for me when I got in from work because this was the night we'd pencilled in to duplicate RUDE BITCH. However, simple arithmetic revealed they needed another couple of reams of paper, so after a hastily arranged 'buy' Lucy headed off to Harringey to procure this from Malcolm Edwards. While she was gone, I started duplicating with the materials to hand, but not before first corfluing out all the page numbers. Avedon and Lucy had gone outside the clearly marked area on the stencils and these needed to be removed in order to fit the paper.
Somewhat to my surprise I ran out of paper before Lucy returned, and though I expected her to show up at any moment it gradually became apparent this wasn't going to happen. I phoned Malcolm and discovered Lucy was still there, chatting away to Rob Holdstock, the clock at Duckett Road allegedly running very slow. She vowed to leave immediately, and turned up a little later having been driven back by Chris Atkinson. I was mortified at Chris seeing my flat in the state it was in, but soon got over that and got stuck into the duplicating, running off all I could before it was time for bed.
Lucy stayed the night again.
Thursday 19th July
Avedon was supposed to go over to Carshalton today and collect the printed RUDE BITCH covers from the Harveys but arranged instead to lunch with Eve in town tomorrow and pick them up then.
After getting in from work I ran off the remaining pages, and was annoyed to discover Lucy had knocked over a coffee before leaving. I checked the stacks of comics about the place but couldn't find any damage. (A couple of weeks later, while cleaning up after Avedon's departure, I found the coffee-stained comics, carefully concealed.)
Friday 20th July - BSFA night
Went straight from work to Holborn, where I met up with Avedon and the Langfords. From there to the 'My Old Dutch' pancake house, which was much beloved of Avedon and Lucy since Pam Wells had introduced them to it. Being men Dave and I had a full pancake each, while Hazel and Avedon split one. They also split one for dessert - this having peaches and cream on it - but Dave and I, feeling a little queasy after our main course, each settles for waffles, cream, and maple syrup. We were joined by Linda and Lucy later.
At the King of Diamonds we endured a boring panel on 'What's Wrong With SF?', featuring Judith Hanna, Abi Frost, Paul Kincaid, and Avedon (sorry, baby). As well as the panellists, Malcolm Edwards, Chris Priest, and the Harveys were present, so Avedon and Lucy got to hand out a few copies of RUDE BITCH and Avedon got to show off her new V For Vendetta T-shirt. It was a smaller than usual BSFA meeting since many of the regulars were up in Glasgow not seeing Harlan Ellison, the advertised GoH, who had sent Norman Spinrad along in his stead.
Given that this would be their penultimate public appearance this UK visit, Lucy and Avedon made a point of saying their goodbyes to everyone. We left relatively early because I was feeling a bit unwell, possibly because of the pancake.
(Confusingly, ALBACON was used by the Glasgow group as both the name of their regional con and of the Eastercons they ran. This ALBACON was one of the former, of course.)
Saturday 21st July
I somehow managed to finally finish the fanhistory article and get it off to Joe Siclari (hooray!!), before we headed for Paddington and the 12.20pm train. When we got to Cardiff, I rang my parents, who picked us up outside the museum.
We didn't go straight back to their house but instead drove to Roath Park and ambled around the lake and its environs for an hour or so. Avedon was much taken with the picturesqueness of it all and the carnival atmosphere about the place. Later, we drove over the mountain to Caerphilly. The castle was shut, alas, but Avedon seemed pretty impressed by it. Of the castles in or near Cardiff it's always been by far my favourite.
In the evening we had a barbecue in the back garden of my parents house, attended by my siblings and their partners. When it got too dark we retired indoors and played charades.
Sunday 22nd July
In the afternoon my father, my sister, Avedon and I visited Castell Coch, after which she and I caught the 6.25pm back to London.
While in Wales we saw the effect of the place not having had any rain in almost three months so, naturally enough, as soon as the train left Wales we saw the storm clouds a'gathering. It then absolutely pissed down and the hail hitting the carriage roof was so loud it was like being inside a drum. Someone had left on of the windows open, and some hailstones got in before I closed it. These were a good quarter inch across, not huge by global standards but you still wouldn't want to be out in the open with them raining down on you.
Paddington station was awash when we arrived, and by the time we got over to the Seven Sisters in Ealing we both had wet feet. I had expected it to be just us, Lucy, and the Pickersgills at the restaurant, but surprise guests were Joseph & Judith, Pam Wells, and Paul Kincaid. This was it, the last time those there were going to see our visitors, so the goodbyes were fulsome.
Monday 23rd July
I was in such a rush to get home to Avedon after work (this being our final night together) that I failed to see a discarded ballpoint pen on the platform at Blackfriars tube station. As I ran for the train my heel came down on it and I fell hard, landing on my elbow.
(Decades later, and I still get occasional twinges from this injury so I may well have cracked a bone.)
Tuesday 24th July
Travelled out to Heathrow with Avedon so we could say our goodbyes there. She was taking BA 277, which was an 11.30am flight, but they boarded her an hour before this. After Avedon vanished into the departure lounge I hung around for a while, wistfully watching planes take off, then headed for the tube. I had only taken the morning off work and so had to be there that afternoon.
26th July 1984 - letter to Chuck Harris
This is a letter that is lo-o-o-o-o-ong overdue but it's only really now that I've finally got some time to myself again. What with the work I had to do prior to MEXICON, entertaining Avedon Carol for the past two months, and finishing the fanhistory article for Siclari (finally completed last Friday and something that took far longer than I'd thought it would) I had precious little before.
As you will have noticed I'm acting as UK agent for RUDE BITCH and I must admit I think Avedon and Lucy have come up with a highly entertaining little zine there. I had mucho fun drawing the cover to their specification (no kidding!) as well. Now that I've got the time I should soon be able to get on with the next EPSILON. I figure on having it ready in time to take the US copies across with me next month, but then I've been known to make rash promises like that before.
Speaking of my trip....I'm starting to get a little bit worried that the American Embassy hasn't returned my passport yet. If it's not here within the next few days I'll have to start making enquiries. Anyway, assuming I actually get to the US, I'll be flying into LA on the 30th; travelling up the coast to San Francisco on September 3rd and staying with Rich Coad; flying across to New York on the 6th; and then bussing it down to DC for my final week during which time I'll doubtless visit fabulous Falls Church. To say I'm looking forward to all of this would be to understate things by several orders of magnitude. Got any special messages for the folks over there, Chuck?
Yeah, Ted Tubb did rather let himself down at the last KTF meeting. he got into an argument with Avedon over Feminism (as I knew was bound to happen as soon as I saw that Ted was there) and was almost immediately out of his depth. Unfortunately for Ted, his arguments were all old ones to Avedon (who's been active in the women's movement in America for many years) and she had answers for all of them. Things got quite heated. Any chance of seeing you at the next KTF meeting? If you let me know beforehand I'll see if I can talk Langford (who's been to a few) into coming along.
Monday 6th August
Set out to see INDIANA JONES AND THE TEMPLE OF DOOM (having taken in STAR TREK III last Monday) but couldn't get in, so ended up seeing SUPERGIRL instead. God, what a stinker of a movie! A real turkey. Ludicrous plot ( heroine and villainess fight over the affections of a gardener), bad acting, terrible pacing, no drama, flat 'humour'. E-.
Tuesday 7th August
Passport finally arrived back from the US Embassy with visa stamped inside. This is an indefinite one valid for multiple entry, which is neat since I imagine myself going to America rather than anywhere else if I leave the UK again.
10th August 1984 - letter to Avedon Carol
It was really weird, the first week or so, getting used to sleeping alone again and to not having someone else around the place. The only positive thing about all this is that the air in the flat is a lot healthier now, but still....
Sounds like Bergeron has surpassed himself this time. What is wrong with that guy? It's like Ted and Patrick and others have been saying - that he painstakingly constructs fandom from the various bits of paper that arrive in the mail and that construct becomes sacrosanct. Since, according to the picture of fandom he's built up, D West couldn't possibly have lost to me in a fair TAFF race the result must have been fixed. Having reached this conclusion he then needed to find the fixer and I'm afraid, my love, that you fit his requirements perfectly. Funny thing is this whole business with Bergeron is eerily reminiscent of the Graham Boak affair over here in the mid-70s. Book was a reasonably respected BNF of the day who took it into his head that Ratfandom (or various members of it, anyway) had been fixing the results of the annual Nova Award (which was then voted on by a panel of 'experts' rather than by the membership of NOVACON, as it is today) and began making all manner of allegations. This culminated in a rather unpleasant attack on Pat Charnock and her fanzine WRINKLED SHREW, (which a lot of people rate the best British fanzine of the 70s) that resulted in a lot of fury being directed against Boak by all manner of people (see the West piece from TRUE RAT 8 reprinted in his collected works). Boak was rather hurt by all this (probably couldn't think what he'd done to deserve it) and rode off into the sunset never to be seen again (which was fine by me since I was there when his fanzine collection was given away and that was where most of my collection of TRUE RAT came from). We've now reached the stage where people are lining up against Bergeron and it'll be interesting to see how things progress from here. For my own part I'll probably soon be sending him a card telling him he's no longer on the EPSILON mailing list and asking that he send me no more copies of WIZ. Life's too short for me to want to squander any of it on reading any more nonsense from Richard Bergeron esq. WIZ 11 hasn't hit these shores yet (tho', strangely, I imagine my own copy will be one of the first to get here) but when it does I'll try and make sure everyone reads it (it's amazing how many fans hereabouts, having given up on Bergeron', never even open their copies). Maybe then one or two will take the positive step of cutting him off. I won't be twisting any arms, but then I probably won't have to.
V was screened on TV over here last week and, like most of local fandom, I watched every episode but felt kinda guilty about doing so. It was junk and, as seems par for the course with American TV shows, you are hit over the head with the parallels with Nazi Germany (the use of concentration camp survivors and such like made all this about as subtle as a kick in the head) but it was also bizarre enough. to be interesting. That whole bit in El Salvador at the beginning of the first episode quite clearly takes the side of the rebels (unlike the US government) while there were distinct overtones of lesbianism in the chief villainess' approach to other women. Given that she's actually a giant lizard behind those beautiful false features this is a little odd, to say the least, as in fact is the attitude of those other lizards who seem to find human woman attractive. Still, even Chris Claremont tried that number on in X-MEN Annual 5 with the lizard-like Badoon - and I didn't believe it then either.
Urrrgh! I went to the dentist earlier today and the feeling is just now returning (also, my elbow still hurts from falling over the day before you left - maybe I oughtta see the doc....).
My passport finally came back from the US Embassy on Tuesday (I was starting to get worried. about it getting lost - like most fans I have a dread of the post office) and it's now neatly stamped with a 'multiple-entry' visa that has 'indefinite' in the 'expiry date' area. Seems I can come and go as I please in future, though I can't stay any longer at one time than the officials at the airport stamp in my passport, of course. Speaking of which can you do me a favour and send an aerogramme listing the following:
The times and details of my SF to NY ticket (all of which I've forgotten, I'm afraid, and I've lost the scrap of paper you jotted them down on) and where I pick it up; something along the lines of what you jotted down on that spare AMNESIA REPORT concerning the amount of money that's theoretically available to me as TAFF-winner; details on where and how I pick up the money you'll be getting to me in LA (and how much it is, of course).
Obviously I need to know all this anyway but laid out in an aerogramme it's in a neat form to present at the airport and clearly from the US and not something I've typed myself. Make this fairly formal and save any personal stuff for an ordinary letter to me. My reason for asking this last of you is that a girl in my office flew over there last year to visit a male friend and the officials seemed convinced she was trying to get in and marry him so she could stay, which led to quite a lot of hassles.
The reservation slip from the Anaheim Hilton also got here last week and is quite interesting. Room rates are $63 per night + 8 per cent tax making $68 or $272 for the four nights. The really interesting thing, however, is that I'm down for a double room and listed as two people. Now, if there was some way you could get across cheaply, like maybe getting a lift with some fans who're driving over, it could be a lot of fun. Something to maybe think about.
12th August 1984 - letter to Avedon Carol
I went out and had dinner with your mother last night at Maxwell's in Covent Garden, whose manager had apparently been the manager of another Maxwell's elsewhere in London when your sister Sally sang there. Queenie chatted with him, got his address for Sally, and photographed him outside the restaurant. I like your mother. Her eldest child ain't too bad either.
I'm afraid I'd already sent copies of DEAR RUDE BITCH to Bentcliffe, Shorrock, Owen, and Berry before your first missive arrived. I had also airmailed a dozen copies to Lucy for distribution to US fandom. Since your letter arrived I've sent 40 copies to Anne-Laurie and two packages of about 36 apiece to you, all by sea. I've still got about another 25-30 to get to you and will probably see if I've got enough spare luggage capacity to bring them over in person. If I have, those particular copies could be distributed at Worldcon and I could give you a list of those who've had them. It all saves postage. As well as European copies I've also distributed Ortlieb's copy (Ackroyd was writing to him and took a copy with his own) and have used my discretion and distributed one or two copies to people not on your list .ie: Alex Stewart, Kate Davies, Mike Hamilton and Mike Dickinson (this last because Abi was taking most of the Northern copies up to a party in the area and asked for one for him).
Have given your mother a set of the photographs I took while you were over (which you've probably already seen by the time you read this). Since you're in all bar one of them I know you'll love them. Keep your spirits up and don't let that jerk down in Puerto Rico get to you. If not before I'll see you on September 10th.
Friday 17th August- BSFA meeting
I was sitting with Greg and Linda when Chris Priest and Lisa Tuttle arrived with a visiting American author in tow. This is Dave Bischoff, who I've never heard of, but when he's introduced to me he says:
"Oh, so you're Rob Hansen! I've heard lots about you!"
Saturday 18th August
A party at the Atkinson/Edwards abode, complete with cocktails. Many of those present have come from the 6th anniversary FORBIDDEN PLANET celebration. Faith Brooker reveals that she's pregnant ("It must have happened at MEXICON."), and so does Kath Mitchell. She and Leroy will be getting married in October.
Sunday 19th August - Friends In Space meeting
Me, the Pickersgills, Pam Wells, Dave Hicks, and Helen Starkey.
Tuesday 21st August - Intro from EPSILON #16
Toothache, as someone once said, is a real pain in the arse and while it isn't actually giving me any pain yet the tooth disintegrating at the back of my mouth is giving me Some Cause For Concern. If I don't get it fixed up before my trip to America - little over a week away as I write - I may have to pay the horrendous sums charged for dental and medical treatment in the land of the free, a prospect which doesn't thrill me.
Here in Britain, as we enter the final week of August, the temperature has topped 84 degrees and the humidity is at levels where all but the most sedentary activity requires Herculean effort (and no, that's not a sly allusion to the Augean stable-like outpourings in recent issues of WIZ). Not that I can blame the almost nine month gap between this issue and the last on the weather, of course, since that issue came out mid-winter. No, there are other reasons....
In the first part of this year the energies I would otherwise have devoted to EPSILON were diverted to such things as helping to get MEXICON together, entertaining Avedon Carol during the two months she was my house-guest, and working on a short history of British fandom. I've enjoyed myself in the long months since issue 15 appeared but I'm still first and foremost a fanzine fan and the urge to once again experience the sheer masochistic pleasure of pubbing my ish grew to the point where it could no longer be ignored. Which is why you are holding this issue in your hands now. Of course, the fact that SILICON is this weekend and LACON is next weekend - meaning a great saving on my postal costs - doesn't hurt too much either.
Finally, my thanks to all those who voted for we in the recent TAFF race and to all those past and present who've contributed money and material to be sold off for the fund. Thank you one and all.
Thursday 23rd August - from FISH HELMET #7
Before this night is out I have to both type and run off this issue's two pages; run off the final five pages of EPSILON #16 and collate around 30 copies for SILICON tomorrow; pack for the con; take a bath. This being so I suppose I'd better get on with it....
(I've just realised...one week from today I'll be in the closing stages of a fifteen hour flight. Fifteen hours? That's far too many....)
Thursday 30th August - letter to Avedon Carol
As I write I am aboard the 747 carrying me to L.A. (via Minneapolis where I change planes, which no-one told me about beforehand). We're about four hours into the flight, which puts us about halfway over the Atlantic, and try as I might I just can't sleep. Since I didn't sleep too well the last few nights (mainly because it was so hot and humid) I started this journey feeling jet-lagged so Christ knows what I'm going to feel like at the end of it. The things I do for fandom!
re: Bergeron. I'm enclosing a xerox of a letter D West sent last week which just about says it all so far as I'm concerned. I'm taking a couple of copies of this along with me and will be showing it to anyone who brings the subject up. Might even pin a copy to the fan room wall if interest is sufficiently burning.
Later that same day...
According to my watch it's now 5.20pm L.A. time but my body thinks it's 1.20am and is letting me know. Be that as it may, I'm determined to stay awake until midnight (which will make 24 hours awake, I think - brain's not firing on all cylinders at the moment). Oh yeah, I'm presently over the middle of the US having changed over to a DC 10 at Minneapolis. Had to wait there two hours and got a little pissed off that I had to charge around like a maniac trying to find where I was supposed to make my connection. Surely they could have let us know on the previous plane? Poot. God, I hope I don't embarrass myself and crash out straightaway.