Yesterday, a letter had arrived in the post from Dave Locke. Locke, a Cincinnatti fan, had decided to leap into the fray of the fast developing feud (that I thought of as 'the Bergeron Affair', and American fans then referred to as 'Topic A', but which would ultimately be labelled 'the Taff Wars') through the interesting gambit of a letter professing impartiality while clearly supporting Richard Bergeron, a ploy that fooled no-one. This had arrived while Avedon and I were out so we didn't get to see it until we got back, late that evening. We had plenty of time to brood about it during the night, however, and neither of us slept too well. I awoke after a fitful night's sleep, worrying about the effect all this was going to have on TAFF, only to find Avedon already up and storming around, invoking Locke's name in connection with all manner of inventive if anatomically improbable procedures.

"Grab your jacket," said Avedon, abruptly, "we're going to Safeways."

"It's over ninety out there," I protested, "what the hell do I need my jacket for?"

"You'll soon find out."

And I did, too. American supermarkets are equipped with the same vicious air-conditioning as their airliners, and even with my jacket on I actually started shivering in Safeways. In Britain we keep food fresh by means of freezer cabinets; in America they refuse to have any truck with such effete half- measures and freeze the whole store instead. We eventually emerged with supplies for tomorrow night's party, momentarily stunned by thermal shock as we stepped out of the arctic conditions of Safeways into the blistering heat.

That evening, two old friends of Queenie's, Avedon's brother Rick, and Rick's wife, Maryanne Murillo, came over and the eight of us ate a superb meal of ethnic Armenian food. Avedon had always boasted about her mother's cooking, and it lived up its billing. Afterwards, with Rick on guitar, he and Avedon sang songs from the late-1960s and early-1970s. Since they (and their sister, Sally) had been professional musicians earlier in their lives this was no simple family singalong but a pretty high-quality performance. Rick called for requests, so I suggested Led Zeppelin's 'Communication Breakdown'.

"Oh, sure!" he laughed, while Avedon gave me a black look.

Rick and Maryanne had brought along their dog, Coda (so called because he has a tail), a large and very friendly beast who decided I was going to play with him and wouldn't take 'no' for an answer. Oh well, at least he didn't want sex with my leg.

My sleep cycle still skewed, I didn't wake 'til 11am the next morning. This left me just enough time to shower and dress before we had to climb in the car and shoot over to Ledo's, where we were meeting an old pal of Avedon's for lunch.

Jane Noll, described by Avedon as "my radical feminist friend" turned out to be a tall, thin, heavy-smoker, with a high-pitched voice. Though blonde and less manic, she reminded me strangely of Abi Frost. She ate sparingly, settling for a toasted cheese sandwich while Avedon and I got stuck into another huge tray of that delicious Ledo's pizza. Jane belonged to a group called WOW (Women On Walls) which spray-painted political slogans on walls. One of their recent actions had involved painting 'FEED THE POOR, NOT THE PENTAGON!' in three foot high letters opposite that august institution.

"It'll last for a coupla days until some general orders its removal,"said Jane, "and since they take almost all our tax money they don't have to worry about the expense."

But then the Pentagon, like the Mormon Church, is not an institution known for its sense of humour. Back in the 1960s, the Yippies announced that the Pentagon, having five sides, was obviously Satanic and that they were going to exorcise the evil by levitating it. And since they loved twitting the authorities, they applied for formal permission to do this. The authorities duly announced that "permission to levitate the Pentagon is denied".

Despite Jane not being a fan, she and Avedon also got into an argument over how modern day fans should respond to the homophobia in the writings of Francis Towner Laney, something that raised a laugh when I related the tale at the party of sorts we threw that evening in Avedon's folks' basement.

Linda Blanchard

The people at the party were a mix of fans and non-fans, but they got on together pretty well. The former consisted of rich brown, Linda Blanchard, Dave Bischoff, Ted White, Steve & Elaine Stiles and us, while the latter included Bob and Applesusan, and their friends Wayne and Walter. As usual, Topic A dominated the fannish conversation and, in a moment of inspiration, I suggested a new fan fund.

"It would be called BiFFF -- the Big Fist Fan Fund," I enthused, "and would send a fan to Puerto Rico to punch Bergeron on the nose." All laughed at this, particularly Ted.

"It would never work, though," he said, "because there'd be too many people wanting to stand."

"Certainly would," I chuckled, "in fact we'd better not mention BiFFF in print, even in jest, or people will start sending us money."

In more serious vein, we also talked about setting up a special fund to bring D West to the US, an idea that got lost in the turmoil of the following months, unfortunately.

rich brown

During a brief interlude when we weren't discussing the Bergeron Affair, Ted reminisced about meeting Doctor Daniel D. Light at the 1974 DISCON.

"He was the guy who wrote out all Lenny Bruce's false prescriptions," Ted explained, "and while we were talking he rolled a perfect joint one-handed, one that looked as if it had been machine-rolled!"

There was awe in Ted's voice as he related this anecdote, and wonder in his eyes. Forget your football stars and your olympic athletes, this was the feat of supreme physical achievement that had made the deepest impression on him. In fact it wouldn't surprise me if, purely from a desire to attain the same level of manual dexterity, Ted was practicing that very skill right now.