Once again it is Easter and Convention time, and the Science Fiction
Club of London sets off for Gloucester. The duplicators are stilled,
the stencils shoved aside, the unanswered letters lie forgotten...except
those of one smug member who holds her answers back and posts them on
the way to the Con, a sly trick learnt from Terry Jeeves.
As they travel they are all laden down with various things, this Combozine,
Vector, the Galaxy Checklist, some odd back numbers of zines past, auction
material, displays for our club table, and oh yes, bottles! Let you and I
take an unflinching look at them....
Leading the way is Ella Parker, she it is who remembers all the vital matters
of the club, such as who takes tea, who prefers coffee, how many take sugar,
and how many teaspoonfuls for each cup. She is our hardest worker and our most
staunch fan, she has done all the duplicating for these zines we bring. Generous
to a fault, she will end up dead broke if she does not stop putting her hand
into her pocket. I doubt if any fan anywhere has spent more money giving to
fandom than Ella. Or more time and energy for that matter.
With a pack on his back comes Jimmie Groves our indefatigable Secretary. He
keeps the Minutes neat and translates our discussions into English. He whispers
to the Chairman what to do next, for which she is profoundly grateful. A handy
guy with his hands this, he frames Atomillos in a worthy way, and he conjures
up beautiful stylii out of glass.
Jostling behind are Ted Forsyth and Joe Patrizio, down from Scotland to show the
Sassenach the way to fannish glory. Ted, eyes gleaming, hand outstretched, makes
an admirable and efficient Treasurer. Confidentially, when it comes to collecting
money, he has no peer. He is also very nimble on his feet. Joe has, as yet, no
official post, but you can tell he will be another efficient one, even if he does
have a twinkle in his eye. They are plotting a fanzine out, and as a start have
bought a large giant-sized stapler. Each night they sit and write letters of
comment to every fanzine, except SCOTTISHE. The dirty dogs.
A booming sound heralds Bruce Burn, fondly stroking his beard which he has nobly
donated to the TAFF auction. He hails from New Zealand and alternates between
homesickness for his own beautiful country and jubilation at being in London. The
latest thing he has found to delight in is the fact that there is no longer a six
weeks delay betweeen his publishing a zine and receiving a letter of comment.
Starting off from Oxford, and hitch-hiking no doubt, is Chris Miller, Newly started
at the University, I gather he spends most of his time in heady talk, and gets hardly
any sleep. He is well set up in his chambers at Oxford, with Atomillos on the walls,
he is bound to be a big success.
At an Army camp the form of Don Geldart is to be seen, straining at the leash, it is
not yet known if he will be able to come with us. Quiet when first he came among us,
we have found out gradually that he is a first rate humourist writer and are now all
breathing down his neck for material.
We will have with us Pat Kearney, a young lad found through the BSFA, The club is
looking him over, and he is looking over the club, perparatory to the decision, shall
he become a member of our band or not. Any minute now... seconds out of the ring...
and when the dust settles down, I'll let you know what happened He is a lover of
Horror stories, so we know he has a strong stomach.
Expected any minute now is Arthur Thomson, slightly out of breath, and with a head
full of glorious cartoons. Having a pair of clever hands and a nimble wit, he is our
best all-round fan. He is able to do most anything from making us all fall off our
chairs laughing, to making our amateur zines look real professional.
Sitting woefully in North London are the Potters, Irene and Ken. They would be woeful,
that is, if not being with us, but that they have a bouncing baby daughter to make
them chortle and are both blessed with the sunniest of natures I suppose really it is
we who are woeful, missing their zany fun.
Way out in Nairobi, stalking a lion, is George Locke. He pauses to wave his topee at
us with his usual big grin, before resuming his determined hunt. I hope he knows what
he is going to do with that lion. He has such a vivid imagination, I wouldn't put it
past him to think it a suitable pet for Ella and what those claws will do to our nylons!
That tall Englishman who just told you he has hitch-hiked round the world twice, is
telling the truth. He is Brian Burgess. That is a beanie he is wearing, He has worn it
to every Con since the Mancon.
Well, there they are: the SFCoL, and for my sins I am their Chairman.
- Ethel Lindsay
Geoff Lindsay's interesting assessment of various members and his lengthy appreciation of
Ella Parker can be read here: