This was the Liverpool group's first 'tapera' and debuted at CYTRICON I, the 1955 Eastercon held that year at the George Hotel in Kettering for the first time. It was inspired (obviously) by the 'March of Time' radio and newsreel series. It began with an announcement from the stage of which there is no recording:


Ladies and Gentlemen we bring you now "THE MARCH OF SLIME", and to introduce this programme - Professor Hezekiah 'Butch' Doppelganger.

Dave Newman as Professor Hezekiah 'Butch' Doppelganger, introduces the tapera (ns)

Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen.... Before commencing my lecture, I would first like to express my gratitude for the great honour done to me by the Liverpool University School of Fandom in inviting me to give this 91st Sir Norman Wansborough Memorial Lecture....

Now, I do not intend to speak for very long as I have some material to present to you which I am confident you will find more interesting than anything which I might have to say. But I do feel that a few words of introduction are necessary...

Those of you who have some knowledge of Fan Archaeology will know that during the period 1955 - 1970, there was a golden age of fandom which finally culminated in the great fannish renaissance when fandom took over the reins of World Government. Between the golden age and the time when fandom became the acknowledged arbiter of world affairs was a period of considerable instability and chaos, during which national governments declined and fell.

We of the 31st century can have little comprehension of the confusion which reigned during this period and, it is our loss, that, due to war and violence, the greater proportion of the records of the period are irrevocably lost to us.

However, we have some clues to the way in which the fen of those bygone days behaved in the invaluable records preserved for posterity by the Keeper of the printed Books in the erstwhile British Museum. These relics, together with a few recordings of radio broadcasts, and an occasional film, have enabled us to piece together a fairly homogeneous picture of the fanactivity of the pre-renaissance period.

Recently, a team of archaeologists working in the ruins of a commercial radio-station in Savannah, Georgia, found a tape-recording of a broadcast which covered a great convention in England. Incidentally, it is believed that this particular radio-station was the one in which Lee Hoffman worked when she re-entered fandom around 1960.

We are going to play this tape for you as it will show you, far better than I can, a picture of fandom in those archaic days. Our laboratories and literary research teams place the period of this recording in the region of 1959 - 1962, and we believe that the convention covered was the fourth or fifth convention to be held at Kettering....

I now pass you over to my Electronics Technician [probably Norman Shorrock - Rob] who will play the tape for you.

Ladies and Gentlemen, the tape....


Running time: 30.22 mins File size 27.8MB. Tape digitised by John Harvey.

The best way to enjoy this is to download the file (click on link above, then right click on the three dots) and listen to it on the audio device of your choice.



It isn't easy to set the scene for that which you are about (I hope!) to read. To do so properly I would need a time-machine or a mind-implant device, and despite the fact that science is rapidly catching up with SF, I don't have either to hand. I need that kind of help because somehow or other I have to transport you back in time some 22 years into a fannishly alien time and place. How alien? Well, can you imagine a con hall full of hyper-active fans, all of whom sat silently, completely absorbed by a square, box-like thing that hadn't even a flickering grey-blue screen. Yes, that's how alien. But it was that sort of atmosphere in which THE MARCH OF SLIME was presented, on tape, and enjoyed. The perpetrators, The Liverpool Group (LiG), stunned the attending fans with a witty, entertaining, expertly recorded TAPERA (tape opera) full of wild and wooly fannish allusions and ear-blasting special effects. Naturally, it is now esoteric as all hell, and you miss much by not hearing the tape itself, but it's still, I think, an amusing piece and deserves the reprinting Stu and Larry are giving it. And, at the very least, after reading it, you will know where/how/what BLOG is! I think.

-- Eric Bentcliffe, 1977

  • PDF version (TRIODE #4, ed, Eric Bentcliffe and Terry Jeeves 1955)
  • HTML version (RAFFLES #1, ed. Stu Shiffman and Larry Carmody, 1977)