21: MAY 1985

1st May 1985 - letter to Avedon Carol

I rang the Langfords and Hazel tells me the wedding list you sent contains 70 people. This is too many. We have to prune it back to under 50 (and preferably to 40, if we can) unless you want to get in professional caterers and so make this thing a whole other order of magnitude from what we'd originally envisioned. I'll get a copy of the list from Dave and suggest who should be chopped and you can see if you agree.

Thursday 2nd May - One Tun night

Greg asked if I'd heard from Patrick & Teresa - which I hadn't - and told me how much he missed having them as house guests. Vince Clarke was showing around copies of photos Walt Willis had taken at YORCON III. Tony Berry tried unsuccessfully to wangle an invitation to our wedding.

Tony Berry, John Brunner at YORCON III

Dave Wood, Ashworths, Walt Willis & Vince at YORCON III

Saturday 4th May

At a book sale in WORDS & MUSIC I picked up both volumes of Asimov's autobiography for a mere £3.95. In spite of all I had to do this weekend, I started the first volume and it was to have me hooked most of the weekend. One of the things I had to do was the colour separations for the FANTASY ADVERTISER cover I'd drawn back in December. Skidmore said he needed these ASAP.

5th May 1985 - letter to Avedon Carol

Greg inquired after the Nielsen Haydens at the Tun last Thursday and I asked him how he figured I'd have heard from them so soon, then told him that you'd had a two-hour phone call from them and that they had a heavy dose of post-trip blues.

"Me too", he said, "having those two around was really great and I'm missing them already. Linda flying out a few days after hasn't helped...."

I rather suspect I may find myself sharing a few pints with him in various local hostelries over the course of the next few weeks. Should be fun. Actually, talk of the Pickersgills reminds me that I've become involved with the 1987 Worldcon. Linda, as you're doubtless aware, is the member of the bidding committee in charge of fan programming and on the Saturday before P&T left there was a meeting in the afternoon. That evening she asked me to join her team and I accepted with no hesitation. Since I spent most of the '79 convention in the fan room anyway I imagine I'll do the same at this one so I may as well have some official capacity since that gives me a chance to influence programming as well (it doesn't take a lot of foresight to figure out that I'll be called upon to come up with any programming involving fanhistory).

I'm certainly glad it's a Bank Holiday tomorrow and I don't have to go into work. As happens occasionally lots of stuff I've promised various people is all wanted around now so I really have to knuckle down and get it done. Top priority are a set of colour-separations (I kid you not) for a fanzine cover followed by a bacover for Pam and a title-heading for an article for Martin Tudor, all of which has to be with these people within the week. Must rouse myself and get it all done I suppose, even tho' I feel little enthusiasm for any of it at the moment. Still, mustn't let them down.

Monday 6th May - May Day Bank Holiday

Despite the weather forecast it was bright and sunny, but I didn't venture outside. As on Sunday, I spent much of the day reading Asimov, but I also managed to get all but one of the separations done.

7th May 1985 - letter to Martin Skidmore

Enclosed, at last, are the artwork and separations for the next FA cover. I'm later sending these to you than I thought I'd be, but then I grossly underestimated the time the separations would take - which was substantially longer than the actual cover art itself had. Now I only hope they work because, as I told you, I've never done any before. (There are four dots on the red and blue separations that line up with the corners of the frame, by the way).

If this cover works OK and is reasonably well received I'd like to do another for you at some point, tho' if you want me to do separations again I think I'll go for a rather simpler picture colour-wise.

Greg: "Why is Superman is fellating Wonder Warthog?"

Wednesday 8th May - 40th anniversary of VE Day & North London pool night

A fairly unsatisfactory pool session with only myself, John & Eve Harvey and Malcolm Edwards playing at first, though we were joined later by Phil Palmer, Chris Atkinson, Pam Wells and Rob Holdstock.

Thursday 9th May

Drew a back cover for NUTZ for posting to Pam tomorrow.

Saturday 11th May

Finished the Asimov autobiography. 1500 pages in a week!

12th May 1985 - letter to Ted White

Apologies for being a bit tardy in replying to your last letter but I was caught out by a couple of deadlines on various fannish bits and pieces I'd promised people. What took the longest to get out of the way was the separations for the cover I've done for the next issue of one of the UK's classier comics fanzines. I've never done any separations before - hell I've never even worked in colour before - but the editor somehow talked me into doing them and kept jollying me along when I phoned him midway through and told him I didn't really know what I was doing and would he please get someone else to do the seps. Oh well, on his own head be it if it doesn't turn out the way it should (actually it's only the brown in the picture I'm worried about since Letraset don't make the correct percentage Letratone screens to produce brown as described on the chart I used and I had to make a semi-educated guess as to what else would do the job).

I passed on details of STARDATE to Holdstock and Edwards at last Wednesday's Pool night and I'll hit others with it as I see them over the course of the next month. I wish you and Dave luck with the project, incidentally, and I particularly hope you get the chance to put together a 'Heavy Metal' containing stories with some substance to them as an alternative to what the existing HEAVY METAL routinely runs, ie. often beautiful artwork illustrating thin and empty tales, and lots of tits-n'-guts, a package seemingly designed to attract air-heads and morons. The only time that awful rag came to life was under your editorship so I have high hopes. Anyway, enough of this stuff and on to the real world of fandom (and just as I type that last word Greg rings and I leave my typewriter for twenty minutes or so to be filled in on the latest crisis. There's some disgruntlement in certain-quarters over the way the fan programming for the 1987 British Worldcon bid is shaping up and the posibility of a schism...this is DNQ but by the time you get here things will no doubt have reached some sort of a head and I can fill you in on the details). Anyway....

Yeah, obviously I'd print the UK edition of this proposed zine on quarto and I'd crowd the margins as much as I dare so that those on the US edition aren't too large. As for titles and other details we can hammer these out when you're here....maybe even put out the first issue (tho' you'll probably have better things to do than write fanzines). ALBACON, by the way, is July 19-22 and looking at the carbon of my last letter I see that I inadvertently said it was in June. Sorry about that. In actual fact there don't appear to be any cons over here in June (according to the list in the latest ANSIBLE) but a round trip flight to Belfast is only about £80 so a visit to the Willises is a possibility if you'd like to see them again.

Somewhere around here is the PONG Poll ballot I'd filled in and intended to send you but I can't find it at the moment so, if it's permissible, I'll list them here:

Fanwriter- Simon Ounsley ; Fanartist - Brad Foster (for his large pieces rather than his forgettable fillos); Letterwriter: D West; New Fan: Nigel Richardson; Fugghead: Richard Bergeron (how could it possibly be anyone else?); Single Publication - Dear Rude Bitch; and modesty prevents me voting in the fanzine cover and faneditor categories. I think that's all the categories there were, and maybe more.

Oh yeah, I put your proposition re STARDATE to Greg who just laughed and said "He must be crazy!". I rather expected this reaction since Greg doesn't even write for fanzines anymore. Of course you're welcome to try to talk him into it yourself when you're over but I doubt you'll be any luckier. It looks like 'filing clerks in space' will never be written after all (in-joke which you'll pick up if you read your STOP BREAKING DOWNs carefully).

Sunday 12th May

Greg rang while I was writing a letter to Ted White and told me the strange saga of our Fan Guest of Honour at Worldcon '87, I'd heard this was to be Bob Shaw, but apparently not. Committee members Paul Oldroyd & Chris Donaldson suggested the Slaters, and though Linda, Malcolm Edwards, and Chris Atkinson weren't terribly keen on this idea it somehow got passed. As Greg said, the Slaters - though fine people - are in no way representative of today's British fandom and since Linda - the person responsible for fan programming - has had this thrust upon her would I, as a member, of her team, stand with her if she resigned? I agreed, and will show solidarity with her in whatever she decides.

I had another call from one Matthew B. Tepper of Minneapolis, who is flying in on Monday and wondered if I might put him up for a few nights. He'd apparently been put on to me by Joe Nicholas and though I resent people I've never heard of doing this, I agreed.

13th May 1985 - letter to Brad Foster

Apologies for the breakdown in communications between us. I was under the impression that I had answered the letter you refer to and that you in turn had never replied to that one. It's possible I didn't however, particularly as March of last year was when the unpleasantness that blighted fandom for most of 1984 started (it took a while for it to come to the point where it involved half of fandom, but that's when it began) and as someone who was reluctantly, but inevitably, caught up by it all thoughts of more sensible and productive fanac tended to be crowded out. Anyway, I am still interested in contributing a page to your project and will see if I can interest Barker and Bell (Cath E having dropped out of things somewhat of late) and maybe even D West, whose style is simple but whose captions and dialogue are devastating. He's by far the best at this I've yet to see in fandom but being rather curmudgeonly I'm not were I could interest him in the project. Could be worth trying, tho'. So yeah, when you're ready send me state of the previous dozen or so pages, a deadline, and details of frame size (yeah, I know you've given me this already but I'm not sure I know where the details are - I'm more disorganised than you'd believe), and I'll see what I can do.

Congratulations on the coverage in THE COMICS JOURNAL, by the way. TCJ is one of my favourite magazines and I've been reading it for some seven years now (and have every issue from, I think, number 38) so it came as a surprise to see a feature on someone I know from fandom in its pages. It certainly gave me an insight into just how prolific you are. Clearly we should be celebrating you as the inventor of the 25 hour day.

19th May 1985 - letter to Avedon Carol

My mother just rang and asked, yet again, about the arrangements for the wedding. I told her, yet again, that these can't be finalised until you've been on British soil for 24 hours. She then went on about them booking in to a hotel, which they'll have to do of course, and that made me think about the arrangements for those coming to the wedding. At the moment I've only got the single fold-down bed here but they're not very expensive so it'd be easy to get another in. What I'm leading up to is the question of just who we put up at the flat. Since Ted is a fan that everyone will want to meet there are any number of people who'd be willing to put him up so it seems to me that we should give our space to your brother Rick and his wife Maryanne, unless they'd prefer the comfort of a hotel bed of course. Either way it would be a good idea for the US contingent to get themselves sorted out in this regard since even tho' quite a few people would be happy to put Ted up they may quickly commit themselves to putting up British out-of-towners soon after the invites go out and then have no space to spare. Just a thought.

Sunday 19th May - Friends In Space

Pam Wells, Greg, and I met up at the Queen Vic at the usual time for the meeting tonight, despite Greg declaring FIS suspended for the duration of Linda's trip to the USA. Pam had phoned me for a chat on Thursday and I'd suggested we get Greg out for a drink. She agreed, and managed to talk him into coming along tonight. A low key but pretty good evening with much talk about the Slater situation and my impending nuptials.

Monday 20th May

Matthew B. Tepper (henceforth MBT) phoned me in work to tell me he was in town. Since there was supposedly a tube strike on (I got into work easily and services were actually at around 70%) I told him to phone me back at 4.00pm when the situation would be clearer. He did, and we met up around 5.20pm in the Blackfriar and had a pint. MBT opened by quickly assuring me he voted for Rich Coad in the most recent TAFF race, Coad being an old friend from when he lived in San Francisco.

We later walked up past St. Paul's and took the tube back to Upton Park. Once there, MBT revealed that he was listed in the index of both volumes of the Asimov autobiography I'd recently finished - and sure enough he was. Amazing, astounding, analog! Not only that but he confessed to being the young fan who'd so reminded Silverberg of the young Harlan Ellison that Bob had said: "Let's kill him now!"

Tuesday 21st May

Judith rang, enquiring about the date of the wedding, and MBT discovered his arrangements for staying with J&J in Pimlico weren't quite as firm as he'd thought since Judith was working on an article for AUSSIECON and would be doing so through the weekend. Joseph had made the arrangements, but Judith needed quiet to meet the deadline. So that was that.

Wednesday 22nd May

MBT, not wanting to be "the guest who came to stay and didn't leave" - his words - found a cheap hotel in Paddington and checked in for the three nights that remained until he travelled up to Scotland on Saturday. Ordinarily I would have offered to put him up the rest of the week since he had turned out to be a nice guy and good company, but with Avedon arriving next week I just had too much still to do around the flat.

After work I bumped into Leroy Kettle in FORBIDDEN PLANET. He told me Bill Gibson was in town.

Friday 24th May

This was the day of our regular end-of-year meeting in work where the rumoured 'big announcement' proved to be nothing of the sort. Still, there was a good spread laid on in the staff restaurant and I put away a fair bit of pizza, much scampi, many sandwiches, some quiche, and a liberal amount of German Hock wine. I then phoned Greg and arranged to meet him in the Royal George for a few jars.

Our meet up turned out to be the sort of relaxed one-on-one chat I have all too rarely with Greg these days. In the course of it he revealed that he and Pam were heading up to Newcastle tomorrow for a MEXICON II meeting with the Gannets, who they're hoping to involve in the programming.

Saturday 25th May

Uh oh, here we go again! A letter arrived today from Tricky Dick demanding various documents pertaining to the recent TAFF race. I thought we'd seen the back of all this but it looks like Mr B wants to start the whole thing off again. Well, fuck him. He's getting no documents from me.

The cashpoint machine swallowed my card this morning leaving me with £1.40 to survive on 'til Tuesday. Damn.

Monday 27th May

Woken at 1.00am by a phone call from Linda Pickersgill in New Orleans. She couldn't raise Greg, Pam, or Kev & Sue Williams on the phone and was very worried something had happened. I promised I'd phone Greg from work.

Woken at 7.45am by a phone call from Avedon in Washington DC. She's at DISCLAVE - Patrick & Teresa Nielsen Hayden shout greetings in the background - and tells me about the con, the large and unbelievable going away card she's been given, and something about a pedestal (?).

Card front art by Taral in the style of Richard Bergeron

Interior of card. (Due to size, card photographed rather than scanned.)

Since there was no point going back to bed at this point I decided to wash my hair before heading into work. I was drying it when there was a knock on the front door to my flat. It was my downstairs neighbour who pointed out a large hole someone had made in the glass of our shared front door into the building. She said she'd get someone around to replace the pane and I agreed to pay half.

Barely 8.30am, and I'd already had more drama than I get most days.

Wednesday 29th May

As usual I was late getting to Heathrow Airport, but the indicator boards showed that Avedon's 8.30am flight wouldn't actually land until 9.30am so that was OK. I couldn't find Dave & Hazel at first, but bumped into them shortly before the plane was due to land.

After what seemed like hours, the boards showed the baggage from Avedon's plane had finally been unloaded so I positioned myself to get a good photo of her emerging from customs. Shortly after 10.00am the P.A. boomed:

"Will Mr Robert Hansen please go to the immigration desk."

I did so, and was taken into to a rear area where I found Avedon sitting in a chair. We hugged, kissed, greeted each other, swapped gossip, and were eventually called to a desk by an official who asked me my date of birth then ushered us into the country. So it was that Avedon and I emerged into Arrivals together to be greeted by startled Langfords. Hazel burst into tears.

(It was only later we worked out what my being called in was all about. When Avedon had been asked the purpose of her visit at passport control she had replied: "To get married." So clearly, when I was called through someone was watching to make sure we did actually know each other.)

Getting Avedon's luggage up to the car park was a drag, but I was pleased to see the IBM Selectric typewriter in the back of Dave's car, the one item Avedon had insisted she could not do without and which Dave and I had been hunting high and low for at a sensible price for weeks. I wrote Dave a check for £242 (£230 for the typer, £12 towards car hire). We decided we needed to dump all the luggage at my flat, but traffic was very heavy and getting across London was purgatory. Still, we got there eventually, had beers and rolls in the pub at the nearby market, then Avedon and I spent the rest of the day getting reacquainted and unpacking.

In the evening we watched some TV while sitting on the floor with our backs against the sofa. I had my arm around Avedon, who eventually fell asleep with her head on my chest. Not wanting to wake her this meant I couldn't move, and not having the TV remote to hand had to watch whatever came next. This turned out to be live coverage of a football match. Having zero interest in the game I mostly ignored it until I became aware that something strange was going on. Which is how I came to watch the Heysel Stadium disaster unfold in real time.

Thursday 30th May

We took the tube one stop to Plaistow then caught a bus up the road to the Registry Office where we booked our wedding there for 3.30pm on 21st June - which, we later realised, is the summer solstice. This done, we walked up to Stratford and took the Central Line to St, Pauls. We had lunch in a pub on one of the tiny streets near the Cathedral, after which we set off for Fleet Street.

As we arrived in Fleet Street, we were startled by calls of "Avedon! Avedon!" and Abi Frost rushed up to us, having spotted us from the upper deck of the bus she was on. We walked together to Covent Garden, Abi and Avedon talking animatedly all the while then turned up Monmouth Street, where Abi left us.

The reason Avedon and I had ventured into town was to check out COMICS SHOWCASE, FORBIDDEN PLANET, and BOOKS ETC., which we did, returning to 9A with our haul of deathless prose.

Friday 31st May

We had to go over to East Ham sorting office to pick up a parcel the GPO tried to deliver while I was at Heathrow on Wednesday that turned out to be two parcels. What with me being in work when they'd tried to deliver earlier packages Avedon had sent across the Atlantic, I'd become a regular visitor to the sorting office in recent weeks. Back at the flat we added these two to those earlier ones and spent much of the day unpacking Avedon's stuff.