Sunday 2nd September 1984, and after breakfasting alone in the hotel buffet and checking out the fanroom, I wandered down to the huckster room and over to the tables provided at one end for the use of various convention bidding groups. Britain was bidding for the 1987 Worldcon, so throughout L.A.CON II the Britain In '87 table was manned by various of the British fans over for the con. This naturally included me, and so I relieved Peter Wareham, who must have risen very early that morning to have covered the first shift. No sooner had Peter left than I was joined by fellow-Brit Chris Atkinson and Australian fan Justin Ackroyd. Chris, impressed by Justin's selflessness in helping us, declared:

"I've never met an Australian fan I didn't like."

"I could introduce you to a few you'd hate." replied Justin, helpful as ever.

We sold a few memberships but businesss was slow, so at noon I wandered over to room Pacific 3B and to a panel titled 'SF and Comics -- The Mutual Influence'. This was chaired by Len Wein and featured Marv Wolfman, Marty Pasko, Gerry Conway, Mark Evanier, and Sharman DiVono, the last pair doing most of the talking. DiVono was very beautiful, and presumably reasonably bright if she was making a living as a writer, but this last was a little hard to believe given some of the nonsense she came out with. I found myself muttering quiet retorts to some of what was being said, but not quietly enough that they didn't get an amused response from some of those near me, that response in turn drawing irritated looks from the stage. At one point the various writers were talking about what influenced their writing, which were the sorts of things that influence everybody's writing, but DiVono was having none of this and claimed that she wasn't "... influenced by anything except what's inside of me", (her words).

"I'm a writer, and I write with my heart!" she explained.

"A typewriter would be less messy." I commented, much to the amusement of the guy next to me.

"I wish you were up there instead of some of them," he said.

When people start confusing low sarcasm with high wit it's time to leave. So I did. I'd had enough of the panel anyway. If all this sounds a little ill-tempered, well it was. I still hadn't recovered properly from jet-lag and so was grumpier than I should have been.

The TAFF/DUFF Auction held in the fan lounge at 2pm was a bit of an eye-opener. A few items were sold for TAFF but their number paled into insignificance against the vast amount of material being auctioned off for DUFF. This was due mainly to the indefatigable Joyce Scrivner who seemed to regard DUFF as some sort of pet project and had brought along piles of stuff. However, what little TAFF material there was fetched decent prices. My stick of CHANNELCON '82 rock was bought for some ludicrous amount by Jane Hawkins (possibly my description of it as "this big pink thing" helped the sale) as was my Welsh-English phrasebook, which was knocked down to Amy Thomson. Some months earlier, Graham Charnock had given me six assorted issues of WRINKLED SHREW (none of them the issue I was then missing myself, unfortunately) and these too went for gratifyingly large amounts with the most being paid, not surprisingly, for issue #7, which I regard as quite possibly the best single issue of any fanzine produced in the 1970s. Larry Carmody had deputised Stu Shiffman to go as high as $15 to get it for him, and in the end he secured it for $14. Larry later explained that he in turn had been agenting for Alina Chu, a curious arrangement. I wonder if he got an agenting fee?

With all the TAFF material having sold I left the auction early in the company of Rich Coad, Stacy Scott, Sheree Carton, Allyn Cadogan, and Carissa Enzenbacher -- the 15 year-old daughter of Allyn's huckster friend, Dale Enzenbacher. It was time for us to head over to the Magic Kingdom.

View of Disneyland from Harbour Blvd - really!

Although Disneyland was on the next lot to the hotel it was not as short a trip from one to the other as I'd have liked since the Disneyland car park lay between them. Bearing in mind the custom such a place attracts, and the fact that everyone in Los Angeles travels by car, you can imagine just how big it was. The heat reflecting off that black asphalt plain was murderous, and as we trekked across those endless acres I thought I was going to die. Nor were matters helped by the fact that I was wearing black shirt and trousers and hefting a heavy tweed jacket. I always wear much the same clothes regardless of the weather (which doesn't really vary vastly in the UK) but I was beginning to think that maybe this wasn't such a sensible policy after all. Disneyland was visible all the while, shimmering through the heat-haze ahead, and -- eventually -- we reached it. We had an unpleasant surprise waiting for us, however.

At the gate Sharee was refused admission because her mohawk haircut violated Disneyland's 'dress code'. We were all outraged by this and decided that if Sharee wasn't good enough for Disneyland then maybe we weren't either. Sharee would have none of this however, and insisted we go ahead and have a good time since she had been half expecting this reaction anyway. As I watched her set off back across the parking lot, I reflected on how odd it was that a style which wouldn't attract a second glance in London (if not for the fact that Sharee was an attractive woman) should be deemed so outrageous in California of all places, and particularly in Disneyland. Walt may have been a visionary, but it seemed that his heirs were the product of small-minded middle America. (Some years after this, Disney bought the Queen Mary and announced that henceforth all of her crew must be clean-shaven since this too was required by the corporate dress-code. I have nothing but admiration for those of the crew, many of whom who had been with her more than twenty years, who resigned rather than knuckle under to this infringement of their rights. I wonder what the moustachioed Walt would have made of it all?)

While the attitude of Disneyland may have left a bad taste in the mouth, the place itself was incredible. The entrance booths opened out onto 'Main St., USA', a highly picturesque representation of homey Americana that featured a series of shops carrying a wide variety of Disney merchandise and other goodies. The extreme heat made ice-cream our first buy. Croggled by the huge queues for most every ride (well it was Labor Day weekend after all, the busiest of the year), we decided to wait in line first for the monorail, all the while watching the submarines on the adjacent ride that travelled on tracks below the water. Actually, the monorail turned out to be a good first choice since its two-and-a-half mile ride out to the Disneyland hotel took in a fair bit of the park itself. From our elevated vantage I was particularly impressed to note how the various rides interacted with one another, a feature which added to the illusion of the park as an organic whole, part of one ride being an element of the scenery for the next.

The monorail and Disneyland submarine

For our second ride we chose 'Flight to Mars' not, as you might think, because of its obvious SF connection, but because it was close to the monorail exit and didn't have a large queue outside. On entering we were ushered into a room overlooking a full-size replica of NASA's flight control room at Houston where an automaton called 'Mr Smith' led us through the background to our 'flight'. This was my first look at one of Disney's automata, and I was impressed. 'Mr Smith' was obviously not a real human being, but he was still a lot more lifelike than most of Margaret Thatcher's cabinet. The 'flight' itself involved us being led into a circular room, supposedly the interior of a spacecraft, and taking our places in the banks of seats that receded, amphitheatre-style, into its upper reaches. With the aid of a voice-over and images flashed on various screens, we were taken on a short 'flight' to Mars, one given a certain added verissimilitude by the way our seats vibrated on 'take-off' and 'landing'.

"This ride is just an air-conditioned, audio-visual bum-massage!" I commented to Allyn after we'd 'landed'. While entertaining, 'Flight to Mars' was more in the way of an 'educational experience' than a proper ride, an accusation that couldn't be levelled at the next attraction we visited.

Back in Britain, both Alun Harries and Linda Krawecke Pickersgill had recommended I visit Disney's 'Pirates of the Carribean' and when I saw the sign outside ("See fun-loving Pirates sack and burn a Carribean Seaport") I knew that this was the ride for me. And Jophan found that it was so. We climbed into one of the cars and the ride started with a couple of water-chutes before we floated (actually, our car rode underwater rails) into the area where the pirates were sacking the port. The effect was total, a large galleon manned by pirate automata 'sailed' over to to the seaport to engage its automata defenders, cannons firing and explosions sending water shooting into the air around us. Overhead, stars appeared to twinkle in a night sky and it would not have been too difficult to imagine that you really were in the middle of a ferocious sea-battle. Amazing.

Allyn Cadogan

Still a little stunned after the last ride, we wandered along one of the paths bordering the circular 'river' around which a full-sized galleon and paddle-steamer rode majestically, even such large craft as these riding on underwater rails. Disneyland is divided into a number of smaller theme-parks called 'Tomorrowland', 'Frontierland', 'Adventureland', and 'Fantasyland' with smaller areas called 'Bear Country', 'Main Street, and 'New Orleans Square' in between. 'Flight to Mars' had been in 'Tomorrowland' and 'Pirates of the Carribean' off 'New Orleans Square', but now our wanderings took us into 'Bear Country' and specifically to something called the 'Indian Trader Shop'. We stopped to stock up on souvenir junk and I made sure to pick up enough postcards showing views of Disneyland to both send to people in the UK and to augment the photos I was taking. Allyn came up and began looking at the cards on an adjacent rack that featured early photographs taken of various American Indian tribes. She chose one and went over to the counter to pay for it. Watching her had made something click into place in my mind, and I turned to Rich.

"Is Allyn part-Indian?" I asked him, contemplating her striking features.

"No, she's French-Canadian," he assured me.

Seconds later Allyn returned and showed us her purchase: a photo of a Hunkpapa Sioux.

"Look," she said, "a genuine picture of one of my ancestors!"

Chortling, I jotted down this exchange in my notebook. Rich looked disgusted.

"Are you really gonna write about something that makes me look real dumb?" he asked.

"Yep." I replied, smugly.

After a round of cheeseburgers (called 'Lumberjacks') at the Hungry Bear Restaurant we started to tire of the relentless backwoods-style of Bear Country and so wandered back towards New Orleans Square. On the way we stopped at 'Haunted Mansion' and, after waiting in another huge queue, took a fascinating ride. It wasn't in the least frightening -- nor intended to be, I imagine, given the number of infants who visit it -- but some of the effects were very impressive, particularly the hologram ghost that materialized between you and the person next to you at one point, or at so it appeared in your reflection in the mirror.

By the time we emerged it was close to 8pm and we had to decide whether to rush back to the hotel to catch the Hugo Awards ceremony or to stay on in Disneyland. Being trufans all we had no real choice of course ... we stayed at Disneyland.

The Matterhorn

After riding the Mark Twain Riverboat, we realised that the moment of truth had arrived. It was time to ride one of the two rollercoasters, 'Space Mountain' or 'The Matterhorn', even though these had the biggest queues of any of the rides. We chose The Matterhorn, mainly so that we'd be in a good position to watch the firework display that went off over the 'Sleeping Beauty Castle' at 9pm every night, the same display that had greeted me on my way in from the airport three days earlier. This was even more spectacular up close than it had been from Harbor Boulevard, and in the middle of it all 'Tinkerbell' flew overhead, about 60- 80 feet above us, riding down a wire stretched between the tip of the Matterhorn and the top of the castle.

The rollercoaster ride, when we eventually made it to the front of the queue, was exhilarating if -- ah -- violent. I came out with a headache, Rich with a dislodged contact lens, and Allyn with a sore mouth where Carrissa's head had been thrown backwards and butted her. A great ride! Nursing our wounds, we wandered back to Main Street and joined a queue for food.

Rich Coad on Main Street

"This is just like Soviet Russia," grumbled Rich, voicing a criticism seldom if ever made of Disneyland. I asked him to explain.

"You have to queue for everything!", he wailed.

It was getting late, so Rich and I decided to return to the hotel for some serious partying. Carrissa was already in line for the Matterhorn again so Stacy and Allyn elected to stay with her. As we left the Magic Kingdom, Rich and I bought Donald Duck hats, baseball-style caps with Donald's bill forming the peak, his eyes peering over it, and a 'tuft' on top.

"Hey, these are really cool!" Rich enthused, looking as ridiculous in his hat as I probably looked in mine. I'd enjoyed Disneyland, but I couldn't forget the way Sharee had been refused entry. In its way Disneyland, for all its high-tech gadgetry, is a temple to the values of 1950s America and to that period's vision of the perfect family. Given such a rigid and conservative mindset, I was not surprised when, some months after I returned to the UK, those who make the fantasy work, the staff of Disneyland, went on strike citing such real-world concerns as low pay and lousy conditions. "Mickey Mouse is a Republican!" Roy Disney declared during the 1988 Presidential election. I rather fear he may be right.

Rich & Allyn in Adventureland

Rich and I parted in the hotel lobby and, having been in Disneyland when 'the word' was passed along the grapevine, I then spent ages wandering corridors in search of a party. Noticing movement on the fourth floor I investigated and bumped into Larry Carmody, who furnished me with a list of the night's parties. Thus armed, I dropped in briefly at the Australian party before settling in at the Britain In '87 soiree. Collapsing into a chair, I decided to let people come to me (and they did, too).

After a while a sizeable contingent of those present moved off to Ted White's room, and soon after we got there Allyn and Stacy returned from Disneyland. They insisted on telling me how much better a rollercoaster than the 'Matterhorn' 'Space Mountain' was. Yeah, sure.

This was the end of L.A.CON II. Tomorrow everyone would be going home and some of them, I realised in an uncharacteristic moment of misty-eyed sentimentality, I was unlikely ever to see again. This trip, and this convention, would almost certainly be one of the high points of my life, one of those memories that looms large for the rest of your days. Standing back, I gazed about the room drinking it all in, taking a mental photograph of an event that was all too fleeting. Already it was breaking up, and I found myself saying my goodbyes to those who were flying out early the next day, including Larry and Alina who wouldn't be returning to New York until after my visit to that city.

I stayed up as long as I could, taking in as much as I could, but the party like the convention was drawing inexorably to its close. At 2.30am, wistful but content, I retired to my room for the final time.