Saturday 14th JanuaryANNE STEUL:
Ellis was up early for once to come along to the station. We decided to wait for breakfast until Jan was there and my brother drove us down. Jan was supposed to be heavily burdened too, since he would be bringing 170 copies of FANTUM. He only brought 100, the Schlauberger! I checked up on the train schedule and was amazed to see the train Jan was arriving on was a very slow one. Was it slow! And did Jan have a lot to say about it? You should have heard him! We recognized immediately and grouped around his luggage while he got rid of his tickets.
Most of the time Jan and Ellis were busy discussing things and ordering me to go on with my work. I was still slaving at my typewriter while they were taking it easy, drinking wine, smoking, laughing and generally making themselves at home. Whenever I wanted to know what they were talking about, Jan chased me back to the grindstone. At that same spot I was still typing my fingers down to the very bone when the Benford twins came in. We had supper and a coke and then settled the books for the exhibition. My brother had agreed to drive us to the Convention hotel.
Today was the day. And a feverish one, at that. My semester geography assignment had to be finished, some letters written, the place put into some kind of order, and then there was a little job of packing to do. The geography passed the way of all homework (no, I *finished* it this time), Jim took to throwing clothes in a suitcase, John Hitchcock got part of a reply and I stuffed junk into a closet. No work a'tall.
A week before we had managed to run off a batch of quote cards on the school mimeo, of course using a school stencil, paper and ink. We might have made a *few* more than we needed, since we had a large box half full of the things. About 60 copies of each. I stuck some of these, along with an interlineation book which was to become the carrier of the first correspondence between ISFCC members at a con, into my vest pocket and hoped they wouldn't fall out. Jim insisted on bringing along ten copies of VOID to sell (ha-ha) and some food in the form of two candy bars and a box of pretzels.
After a quick lunch we piled into the car and drove over to Wetzlar, a scant 13 miles away. Usually we can find Ann's place easily, but for some reason we managed to lose the way and wander around for an extra ten minutes. At last, tho, Jim noticed the (in)famous Falkenstrasse hiding behind a building and we had arrived. The directions as to where everyone would be weren't too clear, and for that reason I jumped out and followed the path to the front door. No noise could be heard from within, so I rang the doorbell and hoped. Jim followed me up with the luggage as Ann answered the door, and I walked in. After the customary greeting with Ann, we entered the study (her workshop) and there, sitting in the couch, were Jan Jansen and Ellis Mills, The New Gerfan. Ann introduced Ellis (I'd already met JJ; see VOID 3) and I found myself liking him almost at once. He's what I would call the "typical Amerifan", though it's doubtful that there is such a thing, stands about 5'9", wears glasses, says he's 25 years old, and cracks puns every now and then. Ellis impressed me as a quiet sort of person who occasionally raised his voice to either laugh or shout across a smoke-filled conroom.
People were sitting around talking in groups, getting generally acquainted and tossing insults back and forth. Ann hauled out her new fanmag, FANTUM (German for "fandom"), and I paged through it, noted the egoboo, and set it aside until later. Ellis had come up from Frankfurt Friday afternoon so they would have time to translate the tapes he was going to play, something on fuels by Willy Ley. It took several hours for Ann to translate the thing and type up some copies with Ellis standing standing by and stopping the tape every five seconds. Jan had arrived that morning after riding all the way from Antwerp on a night train. JJ was quite tired from the ride, and I, knowing trains, don't blame him.
Being all Trufen we made for the prozine collection on the wall and soon Ann was yelling at us about "Tearing down the house". But the only thing that came close to tearing down the place was a collection of jazz by Ellis. He insisted on playing the tapes while Jan stood around and listened. Personally, I thought the rhythm was a bit hackeyed, and the whole set of tunes didn't sound right.
But I'm more of the "smooth" class, and wouldn't appreciate any of the off-on-the-wrong-foot stuff. Ellis told me all about the ISFCC, which I later joined, and all about the EXPLORER and the fact that Racey Higgs never cuts a letter. Shortly afterward we picked out Ann's collection of "Captain Marvel" comics. Among other things, she collects "Donald Duck", "Superboy", "Super Rat" (don't look at me) and a bunch of others I've forgotten. Anyway, we were sitting around looking at fanzines, promags and the forementioned comics and every now and then Ellis would pop up with a quote such as: "Whew! I'm bushed! said the world." or "Holy holey, my spaceship is out of whack!" These amused me to no end, since I love verbal satires. Especially such nonsense as this.
Ellis entertained us a bit further with a story about Ellison and the test tube, a tale which has probably been repeated many times before. However, none of us had heard it, and got a good chuckle out of it. Also he imitated the "Tucker Public house" speech at (I think) the '52 world con. Really good, if you hadn't heard it.
Around six o'clock we ate supper and collected a few more quotes. JJ and Ellis had an argument about what Germans and Flemish call berries, and Ann laughed through the meal.
On Saturday afternoon, a battered Volkswagen was winding its way up the Lahn valley, carrying a load of fans. This was the "Rhine-Ruhr" contingent, which had snowballed along by train from Wattenscheid (Ernst Richter and wife) through Duesseldorf (me) and Siegburg, where we had transferred to Walter Ernsting's car. After Trude Ernsting had put her son onto a train bound for his grandmother, we drove out to the Autobahn and sped southwards, taking turns to spout the latest gossip and swig at my bottle of cheap brandy and Walter's awe-inspiring mixture of cherry brandy and Underberg 'herb' bitters. Before we turned off the Autobahn at Limburg to follow the Lahn up into the hills we had eaten our sandwiches, cakes and oranges and thus discovered that we could well skip lunch... Outside we could see little: the refuse heaps of the ore mines looming out of the mist, the black waters of the icy Lahn, and the hoary trees of the Westerwald....
We were disgorged into the market place of Wetzlar. After stretching our cramped limbs and harnessing ourselves with scarves, hats, bags, flasks and other belongings we staggered up the narrow Pfaffengasse to the Deutsches Haus hotel. Unfortunately, I did not discover until weeks later that this might well have been the very 'Lottehaus' or Lodge of the Teutonic Order which had been kept by Lotte's father. For us it was just another respectable and solid furnished, dark but clean and well tended German Gasthaus.
The owner or manager welcomed us and displayed a pencilled list he had been given by Anne Steul: rooms had been reserved for all except me! This led to some witty comment from the others, who theorized that I was due to stay at Anne's place (she had written me way back in May that 'in an emergency' she could put five people up), and someone gave me a dig in the ribs to see if I wasn't after all some kind of 'wooden horse'. While the others were unpacking in their rooms I telephoned Anne from the bar (I'd ordered a fine foaming bheer as soon as we arrived); in the receiver I could just discern Anne's voice above roars of laughter. "We'll be down in an hour or so." Asked where I was supposed to be staying she hesitated and finally told we to take Ellis Mills' room. I hardly knew whether to feel relieved or offended.
Soon it became time to leave; Julian Parr called and informed us that everyone was down at the hotel, and hadn't come over to her place because they didn't know the way. So we packed up and Ann went looking for the person who was to drive us over to the hotel. She had a huge suitcase that would have passed for a midget tank in the dark, and the rest of us had about seven bags altogether. After a short time she and the car, an Opel, came along the road together. This zine goes to many fans who have never seen an Opel. It's one of the smallest cars made in Germany for the family, and judging from the size of it, Germans are either very small or have few children. We debated the possibility of taking the baggage over in the car with one of us (to unload it) and the rest walking. Without even trying to fit into it, Jim and I flipped a coin (we were the smallest) to decide who would walk and who would ride.
I wanted to walk, mostly because of a fear of Ann's huge bag. But luck was nil, and I had to ride. After loading the luggage I climbed into the back seat, and then noticed that there was some room left. Misery loves company, so I called for someone to come along with me. To this day I still believe there was room for just one more in that car. And I'm probably right. Ellis piled in, called to Jan, he came, and Ann got in front beside the chap who was to drive us over. But this didn't work too well, because Jim was left standing outside. No problem at all. He simply crawled over JJ, Ellis, and stretched out over the three of us. There were a few efforts to strangle him as he lay there, but Ellis soon gave up when he found his arm pinned beneath someone's leg. No one suffered much, tho, or at least there were no broken ribs.
The car jerked to a halt and JJ started moving, so I came to the natural conclusion that we were there. We were. Only I couldn't tell because there was a solid wall of arms, legs and what appear to be a head next to me and the suitcase blocking the window on the other side. But I managed to get out after everybody else and found JJ brushing off his pants (which received a good brush with a mudcoated shoe, and the rest of them looking around. For some reason which wasn't explained I was chosen to haul out the bags. With Ann's "tank" full of prozines out of the way it was fairly easy - but what a stack of mags! Everyone sorted out their bags and we looked at the hotel. It was one of the chain "Altes Deutsches Haus" type, a good chain, too. And looked very respectable. My heart went out for it, thinking of the things it had unknowingly committed itself to......
As a body we shuffled in. The desk was a bar for some reason, and lucky for us, 'cause *we* had *Jansen*. By agreement we checked in first and got our room numbers. Or should I say Jim and I did, for Ellis and Jan were staying at Ann's house. We all felt it would be better to get squared away with the conroom and our suitcases inside before we met any fen. It seems everyone but I heard a low buzzing of conversation coming from the dining room, and everyone knew it was Julian and crew. Everyone but I. We got the key to our reserved room and Jim and I went up to put our bags away. For some reason we had room 6, on the *third* floor. It was a good room. I think - there wasn't much chance to see it - but it held our bags, anyway. Jim and I walked back to the second floor, where the bookstall stood deserted (no books) and then found the conroom. It was located halfway up the stairs from the first floor, and only about ten steps (stair steps of course) from the bookstall. Jan, Ellis and Ann had their coats off and were getting out the prozines while waiting for us, and then we joined forces to hunt out any fen in the area.
At the hotel we met all the bigshots of German fandom, who are herewith introduced, to you:
Walter Ernsting, founder and president of the SFCD - Science Fiction Club Deutschland. He is co-editor of UTOPIA, one of the only two promags on the German market. The smaller volume is exclusively kids' stuff, the larger one translations mostly of American and British authors, but there, too, the space opera is overwhelming, The Sonderband is new and prints a few articles, short stories, mostly on space-travel and similar subjects.
Heinz Bingenheimer, second chairman of the SFCD, but not professionally interested in UTOPIA or fandom as far as I know.
Ernst H, Richter, author who writes under a pseudonym. A very nice and friendly fellow.
Wolf Detlef Rohr, also an author.
Walter Spiegl, editor and young enthusiast for SF.
Many others too were present and attending the Convention.
The five of us met again at a large round table in a corner of the dining room. We rubbed our hands and licked our lips and ordered food, hot FOOD, - and a round of drinks of course. Suddenly two persons appeared round the open door and stood gazing at us. The man was very smartly dressed in a black suit, dark blue shirt and silver-grey tie; he had dark hair and clearcut, handsome features, and wore heavy horn-rim spectacles. With suave courtesy he introduced himself: Wolf Detlef Rohr. His companion was Fraulein Frohlich, a pretty young lady whose name kept evading me during the weekend and whose role and background still escape my memory. We ordered another round and began to listen to Wolf's account of his hazardous dealings with Erich Pabel His voice died away as he saw that we were all looking past him towards the door where a group of people stood.
I'm afraid my immediate impression was of a stage version of a radical political meeting! Anne Steul wore very little or no make-up, her hair was cut short, and her imposing figure was clad in a tightly-belted trenchcoat buttoned up to the neck. Behind her, like a uniformed bodyguard, stood the Benford twins: tall, slim, bespectacled, with Teutonic "crew-cut" hair and identical dress: dark trousers and bright green tunic shirts! Rather taken aback I turned to the other two arrivals: Ellis Mills was medium-size, a sturdy figure, wearing a comfortable looking sports-jacket. He seemed younger than his reputed 25 years. Jan Jansen was tall and thin, with rimless glasses and light lank hair, which he had to brush out of his field of vision at times. Both were grinning widely. The spell was broken and the room was soon full of noise as the introductions began. More drinks were ordered.
The usual handshaking all around and we settled down at another table. Julian came over and talked for a short while until his supper arrived. JP is exact the type of person I thought Walt Ernsting would be, and when I mentioned this later he wanted to know if it was a compliment. I wonder. Like many British fen he wears a moustache along with glasses and a conservative suit. An interesting and humorous personality comes along with it, making quite a bargain. Walt Ernsting is quite a nice guy all around, tho I didn't get much of a chance to talk to him about his plans and soon we were finished with supper.
We talked and drank chola. Julian, Walt and the others came over and sat around the table we were at, as it was the largest one there. Julian, who was sitting next to me, handed over a manuscript which proved to be the review of ANDRO. I read it a little and gave it to Jim to look over. For some reason he passed it around the front end of the table and the thing drew such comments as: "He should pay for the advertising." and "The end paragraph is good." After glancing at it for the second time I noticed a few things that should have been cut out, and mentioned them to him. He noted them and asked me to mark out what I didn't want and give it to him later.
As I look back on the Wetzcon I believe I can see an imponderable Fate operating to keep these two groups separate from the very beginning, although there was certainly no trace of conscious Apartheid. We had the dining room to ourselves, The waiter set a row of small tables together to form a long one, where Anne and her coterie sat and conversed in American-English - that is, all except Jan. How I enjoyed his disarming voice. The rich, genuine English accents made me quite homesick after eighteen months in Germany! For our part we (how distressing to have to use this 'we' here!) remained at our table, where the meal was now being served, and continued to speak German. After eating we moved over to the main table. The waiter brought me another bheer. As all the Gerfen could speak some English I suggested that the two groups intermingle, but no action was taken, so that they occupied the two ends of the long table and only the fans in the middle could get to know each other. (As usual, I was one of these "fringe' fans!)
Talking went on for a while on various subjects until Walt Spiegl and another fan (whom I didn't know) arrived. Ellis pointed out Walt as soon as he was inside the door and was the first... no...second person to shake his hand. Julian is quick on the draw. The Frankfurt fan is around 21 years old, about the same height as Ellis - 5'9", and has a constantly working sense of humor. If you want a sly remark, Walt's your man.
Anne remained at the head of the table far away from us. With the arrival of Walt Spiegl, a youngster of twenty-one, dressed to perfection and very good-looking (in envy I nicknamed him "Pretty-Boy" Spiegl, but in this account he shall be "Walt" to distinguish him from Walter Ernsting), together with Heinz Bingenheimer, a bluff and hearty ex-sailor, the SFCD (SF Club Deutschland) executive was almost complete. Only Rose Ebert and Dieter Reiss were unable to attend. A little later a young man was shown in and looked around appealingly. He was taken in hand and then introduced as Guntram Omacht - surely the real hero of the con, for he had travelled all the way from Hanover to attend, the only SFCD neofan who had responded to the call in ANDRO. The last to arrive were two Wetzlar youngsters of about fifteen, who were shown in by the waiter and shyly seated themselves at a distant table.
Shooting the bull was the main pastime for another half hour or so until two obviously neofannish German boys walked in and sat down at a nearby table. One could tell at a glance they were for the convention, and Ann was too engrossed in her conversation to get up and greet them. Being a member of the committee I got Julian to come with me to start introducing them. JP got them started off into a conversation and they fitted in perfectly.
It was now that Anne's puzzling inadequacy as a con hostess became really evident: she refused to go over and welcome the kids (who had turned up in response to her slide announcement in the local cinema) but asked Greg Benford to do this. Poor Greg was at a loss, for his German wasn't up to the task; Anne than suggested that I go with him to interpret! This lack of resourcefulness manifested itself more than once during the weekend and I'm still puzzled by it. The forceful personality Anne had displayed in her letters and in FanANNia had led me to expect her to dominate the scene, and in fact I had even steeled myself to resist any attempts to sweep us off our feet! But rather than being carried away, we were left to drift too much... In all fairness, it may have been Anne's effort to avoid treading on anyone's toes which made her so passive; we ourselves, knowing how touchy she could be, were leaning over backwards to avoid interfering in her con arrangements.
It was obvious that no more guests could be expected, and Anne disappeared upstairs. While waiting her call the twins unloaded hundreds of tiny slips of paper and passed them round the table. Ernst Richter, a most upright Gerfan, studied the quote-cards very seriously and asked what he was supposed to do with them. "They're too small for *that*!" cried Walter. Amazed at this quantity, I asked the twins if the programme for Sunday included a paper-chase. "You ain't seen nuttin'" said Greg. "We run off 500 invitations to the Wetzcon!" I still can't imagine where 300 of these went to... We were all chattering away like madmen: I sat both next to and opposite a Benford twin, and soon found them in my hair, for their conversational style was based on a series of friendly insults. As befits fannish characters they showed a complete lack of respect for me, a fossilized remnant of Second Fandom, so that I was forced to counter-attack, forsaking my polite and dignified British reserve, with such weapons as nicknames ("Gin" and "Dregs" Benford, for instance) and scorn at their drinking so little Cola after their violent campaign on behalf of this their national drink. At first I kept confusing the two, but by the end of the con I could distinguish Jim, not from his appearance but because I sensed a bitterness behind his insults; furthermore, Greg was the more self-possessed of the two - although both were shockingly nervous.
I suspect that the rigorous demands of fanac are too much for youngsters still at school - and the con itself was no doubt quite a strain, for they put up a very good show among us adults. They played their parts well: and kept stiff upper lips a Limey could envy! On the other hand I could not help shaking my head over their astonishing height for fourteen years; and when I heard Jim complain to Greg about pains in his knees I almost felt ready to believe that old misnomer "growing pains".
Ann motioned to Jim and I and we noticed it was about time for the official program to start. I remained downstairs in a conversation for about five more minutes while Jim went up to the room for our case of promags and books. After dragging Jan away from the table we walked upstairs and met Jim coming down with the mags. Setting them up didn't take long, and a good thing too, for the rest of the fen were at our backs as soon as they were up. A bookseller from Wetzlar had a display ready and I'll bet he cleaned up, 'cause everyone there had a sizeable stack of books. Jim, who keeps track of our collection, found a few items we didn't have and had them paid for before anyone else could get their paws on them.
At about half-past-eight Anne called us upstairs to the meeting room. On the stairs and in the corridors we found cardboard arrows pointing "To the SF Exhibition". These had been put up by a local bookseller who had laid out a small display of books for sale, and Anne passed strong hints that we should spend as much as we could spare in appreciation of the trouble he had gone to. Anne's own collection, which seemed to contain only American and British promags, was also on display, and I earned her reproachful smile by trying to buy part of it. I dug up a few marks for some British promags which served to illustrate the talk I was about to give on "SF in England" (sorry you others, but in Germany no one speaks of Great Britain and Northern Ireland). The Benfords must have got rid of a mound of marks, for I saw them wandering about afterwards with their arms full of mags and pb's. Another commercial venture launched at this stage of the proceedings was Anne's FANTUM, a new fanzine in German, at 70 pfennigs each (1s2d or about 18 cents).
Jim helped me gather up the zines I had to use in my speech on stf in America and Julian came staggering in under the load of his own. After lumping them on the table for the concommittee all of us went back to the piano near the door and watched Ellis get his tape recorder ready.
It had been previously arranged to have the con committee sit in front along with Ellis and Julian - since each was on the program - Ann, Jim and Ellis preferred to sit off with the others. In other words, chicken out. About this time everyone was settling down and ordering drinks. JP got another bheer and I asked for chola. My drink never arrived, tho I did see Jim sipping on a coke which I know he *hadn't* ordered. Julian's collection of British pro and fan mags for his speech was resting on the table by mine, and throughout the speech he kept holding up the Amazing. I'd like to know why he had to display that so much, and even more what he said, but it was in the Deutsche Sprache and consequently Greek to me.
In the adjoining room there were two long tables down the length of the room; at the head was a small table, where Greg and I settled in to give our talks, Anne once again abdicated and took her seat at the head of one of the long table, accompanied by Jim, Jan, and Ellis, and the Wetzlar youngfen; the SFCD delegation took over the other table. My talk was tendentious, I suppose, in that I tried to draw parallels between the trials and errors in the past development of random and pro SF in the U.K. and the problems which still face Germany.
Time came for me to give my speech, and as Ann made the introduction unscrambled the prozines I was to use. Julian had left the table covered with rubble in the form of mags, books, cards and all sorts of stuff and it's a minor miracle I even found my speech. But then the introduction ended, and I rose to pronounce the pear-shaped tones. Not exactly pear-shaped, as any student of the German language will tell you, but tones nevertheless. One paragraph into the thing I had to stop and ask Ann to stipulate that the TIME TRAVELER wasn't the first fanzine, but the first *true* fanzine. Three pharas found me floundering around in foreign tones and disconnected sentences. Walt Spiegl had agreed beforehand to take over at this point, so I let him, and Walt finished it without a single hitch. Three cheers for my friend. The speech ended, I thanked Walt, and passed out the zines to be looked over.
Greg read a carefully prepared account of SF in the U.S.A. in halting but courageous German. I thought I could detect a Steulish Influence not only in his classic German but also in his statement that the disapproval of the "fans" had forced American pro-editors to refrain from overstressing the science component in SF. I was itching to tackle this confusion between "fans" and "readers" in the open discussion which I thought would follow, but despite my efforts to dissuade her, Anne insisted on playing back a recording of Willy Ley's address to the CleveCon - a talk forty minutes in length! We listened to the opening sentences, which revealed both Ley's sense of humour and his noticeable German accent, but soon we fell into whispering groups of fans anxious to get acquainted, for it was already ten o'clock and as far as we knew the only item on Sunday's programme was a visit to the cinema.
Every now and then the waiter appeared with a new tray of bheers...
I was with the twins, Ellis and Jan. Ellis was a quiet, pleasant fan, who was at his best when he forgot that he was supposed to act like a "fannish" fan. Jan, the doyen of Continental Fandom, was still pale and drawn after his wearisome overnight journey in a "Slow Train to Wetzlar".
The two of them tried to explain to me how the "Explorer' was somehow quite different from other fanzines; and they astonished me with their plans to take over and reform the ISFCC. This sercon missionary spirit seemed to me most unfitting for two who profess and call themselves "fannish" fans. We had our heads together like conspirators, but my eyes kept returning to the painful gap between the two long tables. As yet, although both Anne and Walter had been on their best behaviour and had exchanged the usual pleasantries, there had been no real personal contact between them, and as time passed the prospects of a remarche towards cooperation grew fainter. I had fears that the con might fizzle out without even a whimper, an appalling prospect.
The main interest after the speech for a short while was a bunch of movie stills WE had brought along with him, so the pros efforts remained untouched for a while. Ellis and his tape were all set, and Willy Ley started his speech on fuels. I caught the first ten words of it and gave up, not because of a bad tape, but it was far more interesting to talk to each other. Ann, in the rush to get to the hotel, had forgotten to bring the translations of the speech, and since most of the people there couldn't understand English started conversations. Ellis apparently thought the same way, as he soon was sitting around our group too. I remember speaking with Jan, Ellis, Julian, Jim and someone who is a little hazy - can't remember his name - about FANTUM, Ann's new fanzine. Ellis and Jan decided to rewrite the ISFCC constitution by putting up a platform from the continent. JJ is supposed to be running for secretary, the point of power in the organization, Ellis for vice-president, and I the club organ, the EXPLORER, and Racey Higgs, who never cuts a letter. After about two hours I got tired of this and started walking around and talking to anyone I happened to run into. Walt Spiegl was wandering around the same as I and we both walked out to the bookstand, since neither of us had bought the items we wanted. While standing around looking at mags Walt told me a few things about UTOPIA and the plans for a new German promag sometime this year, possibly this summer.
I could see that by this time Anne herself was no longer listening to the Ley address but had her head down among the jungfen, so I plucked up courage and asked for the recording to be switched off and the tables brought together to form a rough triangle. We rang for more drinks.
I picked up a few copies of TWS I didn't have and decided to leave them there while I checked downstairs to see if any other fen had shown. We were expecting the Eberts, but unfortunately they couldn't come at the last minute. To me it was a great loss, for Rose was one of the people I wanted to meet and speak to. No one who looked like a fan was sitting downstairs, so I returned once more to the stand. Walt found some pbs he wanted but they belonged to Ann, so he tried to borrow them. I waited while he arranged it and found Ann long enough to discover that the THRILLINGs were hers. Walt and I talked for a while longer and then I returned to the group around the committee table. By this time it was late and Julian was trying to get somebody to sample his cognac he had hidden in his room. Since Jan and Ellis had to leave soon for Ann's haus, they both decided to take a sip (?).
Jim went on to see what would turn up (something was bound to) and I stayed behind to speak with Walter Ernsting. But Ernsting was engaged in displaying prozines, so there was nothing to do but find Julian's room. This is where I got mixed up. It seems I remembered Julian's room number and not my own. And besides that, I thought his was mine. In other words, I was under the impression that Julian's room, 2, was mine and the problem was to find his. So I walked out into the hall and stood in front of what I thought was my room. Faint voices were to be heard.
Faint voices were to be heard saying things like “Hmmmm. Very good.” and "How much is there left?" The voices came from *my* room. Well, I thought, something is up, and opened the door. When I saw Ellis, JJ, Jim and Julian standing there it dawned on me that 2 might not be mine after all. Mine was 6. Having thus thought it out in two seconds - plenty of time - I walked in and acted like nothing was wrong at all. They never suspected a thing. Jan wanted a smoke with his drink but I didn't have any matches, and no one else did either. Julian had no filler available. After a few moments of meditation Ellis came up with the idea of lighting it with cognac. Entirely innocent of the fact that cognac isn't alcohol, Julian attempted it several times and got nothing but a burnt smell for his efforts. Jan went looking for a match, finally, and we followed him down to the program room. Ellis asked me to keep his tape recorder in his room for the night to which I consented. A few minutes later he told me that Walt Spiegl would do it, since we were going to have to carry in the movie, and Walt didn't have any bags, as we would. Jan, Ellis and Ann had to pack up and leave at twelve, so Julian and I started collecting the prozines we had handed around earlier. Having found them, we mapped plans for the following day and got everything arranged. Ann, Ellis and JJ left, we said good night, spoke for a while with Julian, and went to the room.
It was already nearly eleven, and Anne and the others prepared to leave. With Jan's support I persuaded her to meet us again at the hotel on the following afternoon for a heart-to-heart talk before our departure.
Alas, we were not able to hold out very long after midnight, since the movie was important for all of us and it was scheduled for 11:00 in the morning. So Jan, Ellis and I went home for a bite to eat before retiring, watched by the cat, a nice red and white fellow.
I tried reading for a while and managed to finish Julian's review before paging through FANTUM and a few other things. At about 01:30 we quit and went to sleep. Around six in the morning someone falling down a flight of stairs woke me up. Probably a nonfan, I thought, and went back to sleep.
We hotel guests continued to talk and drink and eat sausages until the manager came in at about 2am to hint that we break up the party ...
My bed was the usual German contraption with a three piece mattress and at the head the notorious hard wedge mattress, which I immediately flung into a corner. The only covering was a "Federbett" (known back in the Rhineland as a "Plumeau") - a ridiculous linen sack full of feathers, which is supposed to leave only the sleeper's head uncovered. In fact the average Englishman finds either his feet or his chest protruding (do all Germans revert to the foetal position in sleep?), and each time he turns over a draught of cold air finds its way under the sack. I could *not* get to sleep what with the bed, my excitement, my bheer-logged system, and the confused mumblings and outbursts of song from tipsy revellers who were still to be heard stumbling along the cobbled Pfaffengasse - despite Anne's parting shot that we should not expect to find any night life in Wetzlar....