The Booze Passports


One evening, shortly before the Mancon, a little group of fen sat in a corner of the Globe Tavern discussing a matter of the gravest import. Little did they realise at the time what a morass of misunderstanding was to be conjured up by the results of their deliberations and what vile calumnies were destined to be heaped upon their undeserving heads... Regardless of any perils that the future might hold, the fen talked on, pausing only for essential internal lubrication. Argument, invective, and brilliant rhetoric flashed back and forth across the bheer-laden table..... The London Circle was formulating its Convention Drinking Policy.

It was decided that, as the cost of living tended to be rather high in hotel bars, it would be a good idea for the London mob to buy their liquor in advance, take it to Manchester with them, and thereby make themselves corporatively independent of local supplies. A little calculation made it evident that a subscription of ten shillings per head would ensure a fairly adequate supply of booze for those who chose to join the scheme and, just for the hell of it, it was decided to issue passports instead of the more conventional receipts. Of course anyone who wished to donate more than the stipulated ten bob was permitted was to do so, and a number of people availed themselves of this remarkable opportunity. It was clearly understood, or so we thought at the time, that the booze was not specifically for the purpose of throwing parties, but was to be regarded as an addition to the facilities provided by the hotel, and was to be available at all times (well, nearly all times) to those who had paid their share into the kitty.

It was then decided that in order to ensure that all concerned had their fair share the whole of the liquor supply should be placed under the control of one person who would be responsible for the issue and safekeeping of same.

Dave Newman, Joy Goodwin (jc)

For some strange and occult reason I was chosen for this honourable and onerous task, and I now find myself in the distressing position of having to write a convention report from my point of view as Custodian of the Cup. In theory this should be a very easy thing to do, but I labour under a very severe handicap - I haven't the first idea (apart from what I've already read in other peoples reports) of what really happened at the Convention. I gathered a lot of top secret information on the drinking habits and alcoholic capacities of various fen. I learned three new ways of opening wine bottles. I even learnt new reasons for the opening of bars and various unique ways of justifying end/or excusing sudden and apparently unquenchable thirsts. What I didn't do was to see much of the convention.

It was all very difficult - if I went into the convention hall I was promptly mobbed by a thirsty crowd of fen. If I left the convention hall or allowed myself to be seen going upstairs I very shortly found myself at the herd of a procession of fen all showing, the outward signs of a remarkable thirst. It got so that neofen were wandering up to me end apologetically asking who I was, and then going away mystified because they had never heard of me.... Oh well.