Let's begin at the beginning. When did you first become interested in
Well, I was about 2 and I started reading H G Wells'. The sort of
age everyone who's famous starts reading sf. No, I started getting
it from a travelling library that came round about every six months.
I think the earliest sf book I remember borrowing that was really
impressive was the Best of Startling or Thrilling Wonder edited by
Sam Mines. There were some remarkably good stories in that,
quite adult ones that actually mentioned SEX, which really turned
me on. I was only 15 at the time and I hadn't heard about things
like that. After that I got into Biggles, Capt W E Johns and all
that sort of stuff. Patrick Moore and Kemlo were a real turn on.
How did your interest in sf lead into fandom?
Well, I finally got hold of a copy of New Worlds and in the back of
it was one of those ubiquitous adverts about joining the BSFA so I
joined. I got a letter from that well-known dwarf, Charlie Winstone,
who said you're very welcome to join and sent me all these fantastic
lists - exciting! Through that I got involved in the first con
I didn't go to because I had appendicitis. Not going to that con was
one of the most exciting times of my life! Really ace. It was at
that con that I didn't meet Greg for the first time - it was his fist
convention - we met later.
What was your first actual contact with fandom?
When I touched Audrey Walton's knee. Audrey Walton was a large
lady with a husband who spent all the time laying around not doing
anything. I used to go round to see her because she put out a fanzine -
Wadezine - and in some obscure way I'd got in touch with
her through the BSFA. Every time I went round there we used to
talk about science fiction and her husband just used to lie there,
not doing anything. I'd look at him, and he'd look at me, and that
was it. Audrey and I put out a fanzine that was pretty awful, but
I must have enjoyed getting involved in it because I did a lot of stuff
for it - pretty rubbishy stuff, but it was my first venture into the
field. I think everyone starts off on a low level - Greg for instance
with his famous non-existent fanzine New Pembrokeshire Review,
which everyone here didn't get a copy of.
I put it out at the convention before the one I first went to.
So at what stage in your career did you decide to go to a convention?
I can't really recall why I wanted to go. It was advertised in the
BSFA literature... possibly in the bulletin Archie Mercer did ...
and I thought it sounded like a good idea but I got appendicitis.
When I finally did go I only knew one person...
No, Audrey didn't go. She gave me a pile of fanzines to give out
which were so abysmal I just left them in a little heap in a corner
and five minutes later they were all gone - that was really bizarre.
Which was your first one?
Which I believe was the first banquet. I think it was John Brunner's
idea for his trendy friends.
Well that's a bloody good reason for doing away with that then!
For those who weren't here, Stan was asking eariler when the first
banquet was held.
Yeah, that was the first time I was ever nauseated by John Brunner -
it was the first time I'd met him. He's not here, is he? No, he
really did, he got up and ponced around in front of everyone. When
he was on a panel with anyone he had this routine with a cigarette
lighter so attention was drawn to him, flicking away with it and
beaming at people and talking about his own books. If he was
introducing someone, say Brian Aldiss, he'd say "here we have Brian
Aldiss who is a friend of mine and I'm John Brunner and I wrote
this" (holding up a copy of one of his own books) and Brian Aldiss
would be sitting there thinking "cretin".
Do you recall from that convention since it was your first, anything
that particularly stuck in your mind as a brand new neo at your first
Yeah, it was fucking incredible that's all.
Incredibly good or incredibly bad?
Incredibly good, I'd never experienced anything like that before. I'd
only taken to drink a year beforehand.
And did you feel the "I want to get into fandom, I wish I was one of
those sorts of people", or didn't you even notice there was something
called fandom that you could get involved in?
No, there was certainly something different there - there were a lot
of cretins and there were only a few people of my age and younger
(Greg) but it was nice meeting those people and keeping in touch
with them. At that time, however, eighty percent of the people there were
a lot older, middle-aged, about my age now.
Who was the King of Fandom in those days and has the emphasis
Oh, it was Phil Rogers and John Brunner and people like that.
John, as a fan? No he must have been a pro.
No, he was trying to dominate the fannish sort of thing, and people
like Phil Rogers - people who haven't got an ounce of wit or sense
Were Charles Platt and Peter Weston there?
Charles Platt was there trying to steal the big poster they'd got up
He got there before us, the bastard.
It's true, Greg and I stole down in the middle of the night...
Gerry Webb stole it surely because he had it stuck on his wall.
Yes, Gerry had it on his wall but I think Charles Platt was the one
who stole it.
And do you find cons getting better over the years?
You're not enjoying them any more than you did then?
I enjoyed my first convention the most and then there was a big
hiatus around Chester and Bristol for some reason, I don't know
why. Mancon was quite a low, but this one's a good one at the
Does anyone have any questions they'd like to ask Roy on early
conventions? Any scandal from early on?
When was your first convention Simone?
Well, before him.
I should point out that when I first met Roy I was very impressed
by him because I was under the impression that he was someone
called Leroy Tanner who at the time was writing book reviews for
Amazing. I was really knocked out to be introduced to this
incredibly famous Leroy Tanner.
Right, can we get onto Fanzines now. At what stage did you
decide you wanted to start pubbing your own ish?
After I packed up doing one with Greg. Greg had been trying to pub
his own ish for some time and I went to see him for a few days,
and it was the one occasion actually that I went to see him and
neither of us got arrested.
Could you expand on you being arrested with Greg?
I'll expand on that in a minute.
It sounds more interesting than what you're going to say.
No it isn't. We suddenly decided we were going to produce a
fanzine and we did it in a weekend. We put out issue No 2 of Fouler.
It was a lot of fun, Greg used a lot of stuff he was going to put
into his non-existent New Pembrokeshire Review, and it seemed to
strike a cord in a lot of fandom of our age. It really irritated a
lot of older people, Graham Boak and people like that. He did
enjoy it to begin with I think and responded to it but it was
something very much of our generation. Greg did virtually all the work
on it after the second issue, he made sure Fouler was spelt right
and things like that.
And how come your meetings with Greg nearly got you arrested in
those early days?
Well, whenever I went down to see him we always got incredibly
drunk. On the first occasion we were just walking around and
Greg said he knew a woman who lived in a house we were just
passing and I said "you know a woman who lives in that house?"
We were with another friend of Greg's and so the two of us grabbed
hold of him and lifted him up like a battering ram and charged at
the door with him. He wasn't particularly happy about that. Just
as we reached the door it opened and we all stumbled inside past
this woman who was standing there. She said "I know you Greg
Edwards". Obviously she didn't. Apparently he'd been going
around molesting her daughter and giving a false name. We stumbled
down the steps while she was shouting at us and looked to the right
of the street to run away that way and there was a policeman there.
so we looked to the left and there was a policeman there - we were
surrounded. We had our names put down in their little books and
then we went home.
Then the next night we were sitting around next to the canal at 2 in
the morning, chatting drunkenly away when this policeman comes up
and wants to search us - to make sure we'd got our balls in the
right place, you know what policemen are like - and then he put our
names down in a little book.
We used to take it in turns to look after each other. One of us
would get incredibly drunk and the other guide him. On another
night it was Greg's turn to get incredibly drunk and he was lying
in the gutter, so I just tapped him in the stomach with my foot to
wake him up and he went B L E U G H - just like that - all over
the place. Then he stood up, got hold of this bottle, broke it on
the wall and held it in my face. I was a bit taken aback by this
because I had made him better, I'd made him throw up. For some
reason he forgot what he was going to do with the bottle and threw
it over this wall. Suddenly a policeman appeared and apparently
he'd been leaning against this wall just around the corner, listening
to us. He picked Greg for littering, but he didn't say whether it
was the bottle or the vomit. He got Greg to walk along the yellow
line in the road but it was one of those roads that was all curved
and Greg walked an absolutely straight line, totally missing the
yellow line and so the policeman said, "Right, you'll have to come
back with me". We were both a bit reluctant to go through this
routine of police stations and things so I tried to phone a cab to
pick us up but I couldn't. Eventually he let us go as long as I'd
look after Greg. I took him away and we stumbled homewards.
Eventually we stopped outside a machine that sold us milk at
exhorbitant prices because it was the middle of the night. As we
were standing there drinking this milk a police car came screeching
to a halt and this policeman said, "You were going to take him
home". "We'rejushhavinglilldrinkofmilk". "OK" they said and
zoomed off again. We got our names in books three times because
I got my name in only once. Then finally, the coup de grace was
that Greg's name in the final event actually got him in court and
fined - front page of the local paper - 'LOCAL BOY MAKES
Did you make any other friends in fandom ?
I didn't make him, he was created like that! Peter Roberts - I
met him at the same time I met Greg and he struck me as rather
peculiar - long hair and wearing pyjamas all the time. I remember
trying to impress him once by telling him about this famous folk
singer who was at university with me. He kept on saying "Are
you sure, are you sure?" It turned out that I'd got the name
completely wrong . . . I've forgotten who I was talking about . . .
name a famous folk singer, quick, quick . . . PETE SEEGER,
RALPH McTELL. . . Ralph McTell . . . actually it was: So I
was saying Ralph McTell was at university with me when actually
it was some cretin who used to get up and sing in the bar, name
was Bert Sponge or something. From then on Peter realised I was
a cretin and he's never looked back.
Transcript (Part 2)