Saturday 28th March - [Programme]


Saturday I awake with groan and rise with lurch (we're just good friends). Cleaners enter and leave immediately with haste. It is afternoon at best and Sunday evening at worst. Necessary cleaning, then down with thoughts of witty apologies for late entrance. But…it is 8.45am and the day is yet cold. I meet a fannish friend of the previous evening and enter the breakfast bedlam to sit eating fried eggs and hearing pleasantly of wartime grape jelly from Jill Adams and friend. They're replaced on leaving by Brian Hampton, attempting to gain coffee the second time around, Ho ho, no luck - even with fine look of innocence.

Front row: unknown, Bob Rickard, Jeff Hacker, unknown, Perry Chapdelaine, Don Wollheim,
Ruth Kyle, unknowns (lo)

Into the Con Hall for Publishers' Panel - sad tales of sf writers in the fifties (two novels per week at £5 per time!), entertaining talk of manuscript reading, cover designing, and hinted beauty of respective publisher's lists. Kit Pedler and Harvey Matusow follow with, serious and constructive thoughts on scientific ombudsmen -- I stay to marvel at Harvey Matusow whose amazing Jew's Harp Band is captured on a friend's Ip.

Harvey Matusow (gh)

Bill Burns records Dr John Clarke


I borrowed a Nagra portable tape recorder from the BBC for the weekend (although I don't think anyone in authority knew about it; its value was about £2000 at the time!), and I recorded a number of program items - you'll see me sitting holding a microphone in one of the photos.

((John Clarke's talk was immediately after the lunch break, and was followed by James Blish's Guest of Honour speech. Recordings of both are linked to above and below - Rob))


Lunch seems unpopular, but I venture out with Gray Boak and Ian Williams, a new fan of poor bridge playing and similar interests to my own. To the mock Wimpey bar, greeted by dark moaning from large group already ensconced, containing John Hall, Roy Kettle, and such specimens as populate conventions...

Afternoon I listen to quietly entertaining speech from James Blish and chat briefly to Tony Walsh and Gray Charnock who places EGG in inside pocket - "Next to my heart" Roger Waddington is met for the first time - so quietly that I fail to realize who he is at first. Hello Roger.

James Blish


That 'very aged' James Blish was in fact just 52 years old at TYNECON in 1974, though he did look much older. I always had a lot of time for him, not least because at my first convention, where he was Guest of Honour, he was one of the few people willing to talk to a new fan. I published a couple of pieces by him -- based on talks he gave in Cambridge -- in my early fanzines. After one of them he wrote to inform me gently that there was no apostrophe in FINNEGANS WAKE (apparently there are a multiplicity of Finnegans -- who knew?) so in the spirit of channelling him I pass this on.


Flurry of krumhorns and CRABAPPLE group appears. Mary Reed fails to recognize me for the third year - oy vey, such is fannish fame! But I am consoled with individually marked Crab - "Peter Rabbit" (bunny playmate of the month, perhaps ?). Roy Kettle wanders off muttering dimly, having been mistaken for Greg Pickersgill - a fate worse than death. Greg morosely considers that he might have been mistaken for Roy Kettle, a fate twice as worse as death. John Hall leaves for drag-racing or somesuch barbarity, stopping only to purchase a Mk.II pellet-gun from salesman, Keith Bridges, who is doing a fine trade (judging from the constant shower of pellets descending on me from the balcony).

The mock Wimpey is raided once more - in the company of Greg, Gray, Ian, Roy, and Ken Eadie (another newcomer with prized autographs and leering extrovert nature).

((Following Blish's speech was a talk on computers by Dr Chris Evans and Perry Chapdelaine....))

Dr Chris Evans (gh)

Perry Chapdelaine


(In re the Programme Book membership list....)) doesn't help for all the people who didn't make it on to the printed list. Malcolm, for instance. And, apparently, Jon Courtenay Grimwood. Claire and I were talking to him in 2009 and he said he'd attended a London sf convention as a teenager, although he didn't go to anything else for 20+ years. SciCon fits -- he was 16/17 at the time. So I guess he might be in the photos somewhere.


The list doesn't seem to mention Mike Moorcock or Dick Ellingsworth who, along with Pete Taylor, I spent some time with. Also missing from the list are Chris Priest and Graham Hall who I chatted to. I seem to remember meeting Ian Williams there for the first time possibly along with Pete Roberts. Marion and I took our very young daughter, Eleanor, to a panel on the Saturday afternoon and pointed out Mike to her because her favourite Teddy Bear had been christened "Moorcock". Dick and I went to a dreadful room party on Saturday night at which some American fan was holding forth at length. Afterwards the London Transport system had shut down for the night and I walked several miles back to Kew Bridge.

Graham Hall (mb)

Ethel Lindsey (mb)


Maybe that American fan was Perry C. Surely there can't have been two equally dreadful Americans in attendance?

I was very short of money at that convention (I'd probably mostly spent my grant by Easter). I think I scraped together enough for a hotel room one night; the other I spent on a bench at Euston station. I guess that would have been because the hotel chucked out non-residents at some hour, and I didn't know about room parties. I managed to get swept up one lunchtime by a group going to an Indian restaurant on Edgware Road, which included Brian Aldiss, the Blishes and Willis McNelly. I think Vic Hallett -- who was one of the two fans I knew prior to the convention -- must have been responsible. So at least I had one decent meal.


Evening rolls in.

The costume party starts vaguely with lights, projected films, noise, and Ted Tubb's ubiquitous wine - I stop only to admire Tony Walsh's fine costume of household rubbish.


Labelled 'The Real 1984', Tony's message was "this is the future, and it stinks!" and he had drenched himself with butyric acid to make his point. *Not* a good idea!

Tony Walsh (lo)

Marion Kearney (mb)


I return to the safety of the bar. Here rests David Redd drinking water ("It's free.") and avidly licking a breakfast square of orange marmalade. Uh, hello David.

Ken Eadie engages me in conversation with Gunther, bemused mundane of Swedish origin and sudden fannish tendencies. Guinness is consumed to ease explanations. The barmaid glares indiscriminately and curses "them" (being we) . Gunther turns slowly, clicks his fingers, and recalling English, barks "Hey you! Shanty!" The barmaid's stare burns through Gunther and shrivels me without fuss. I teach him English as she is spoke:

"I say, please excuse me, but would you mind terribly if you could kindly serve me with a shandy?"

Forty minutes later, by dint of £5 note waving, a shandy is finally procured - oh, and a Guinness please...

I return partywards, but am waylaid by Simone Walsh who decides to introduce me to "someone unlikely", gazes round and it's hello, Jim Marshall. Looks a rugger player, but is of genuine fannish nature and therefore cannot be ultimately "unlikely". I return to talk vaguely to Simone Walsh and Diane Lambert, also Mike Moorcock (of splendid hair, height, and girth) who offers whiskey. Fine, but I rush off for a Guinness to re-establish normal tastes before burn-out.

Jim Marshall (ns)

Simone Walsh, Ramsey Campbell (ns)

A conglomeration of fans is discovered led by mad Brian Hill and ever jovial Julia Stone. We (for reasons unrecalled) organize Queue Fandom, for the British love of same, and begin therefore to queue. Seven of us, in line, before open door - queuing patiently. Enter mundane. Bewilderment, hesitation, "excuse me ?" About turn quickly before she comes back: same queue, same patience, different direction. Re-enter mundane. Uncertainty, wan smile, then stumbles past and is not seen again. Plans are laid to hold queue of epic proportions in front of Gents' bog the morrow - never realized unfortunately, but next year?

Meanwhile Gray Hall is busy imitating Mike Moorcock with some vigour and success - others join in, forming a strangely garbling group...

Brian Hampton and Arthur Cruttenden, bristling in normal fannish beard (but not wearing autographed tea shirt!), announce a room party. Hola! This I must see - perhaps room 265 contains the expanding Tardis or mayhap he has invented a fiendish shrinking ray (a Manta-vani joke). The party is of modest dimensions, however, and of fairly short duration - fans being of lesser endurance than before, perhaps, and in cramped style. Dave Fletcher taciturnly bearded, Arthur and Brian talking aircraft, Jim Marshall (sleeping), someone camera-flashing (Norman Shorrock?), and Jill Adams chatting through a variety of subjects.

Arthur Cruttenden, Peter Roberts, Jill Adams (ns)

Films are being shown all night in the depths of the hotel, Brian and I decide, however, to outfan the film-fans and stay around longer than them without indulging in mere watching. This is doomed, however: the bar closes, lights are dimmed, the corridors extend into cold and soundless twilight. Hunger is paramount by 5.00am (Brian Burgess having long sold out and gone); an itinerant Bram Stokes, mane flowing proudly, kindly informs us through full mouth that a loaf of bread has inadvertently been left in the dining room. We consume same with tomato and Daddies Favourite Sauce.

All are dead, but the film fans. Brian disperses (a difficult feat), I join Ken Eadie and Ian Williams screen-gazing at Roger Corman shorts. I am entertained by Poe rehashing until a Topper film of singular lack of merit. I disappear to room, intending to return later and view The Trip. But I awake on...