8. LONDON SCOTS
Jim Groves, Pat Kearney, Ted Forsyth, Joe Patrizio, rear of Ella's head.
(photo Eric Bentcliffe album)
That weekend and the following couple of days the tempo seemed to have slowed somewhat, which means we had an occasional evening to ourselves. It didn't last for longer because Andy was coming back from IF on the Wednesday and this would be his last visit to us before he returned to the States in time for the Pittcon. We just *had* to have a party. Cor! What a night that was. Nothing elaborate, just drinks and natter, but what natter. This was Bruce's first sample of an English fan gathering, I think he enjoyed himself; I know he's never been the same since, sorta tired and dazed. All the gang turned up for this with the exception of George and Arthur. I managed to coax the Bulmers over who arrived complete with baby daughter.
I'm not saying the Scots have taken over London Fandom, but they seem to be making their influence felt. Andy and Ron were taking pics during the evening as was Ted. Ted was the only one with bulbs for his flash so the other two rode on them for their film. Three cameras on one flash! Talk about synchronisation, It worked too.
After most everyone else had gone, the Bulmers stayed on for some talk. I made tea and we sat quietly listening again to Andy telling how he'd enjoyed himself with WAW and the others. Then the Bulmers too had to be on their way.
I didn't go to work next day as I wanted to see Andy off. It was then he offered to write the report for me, the first part of which is further back. We were sorry to see him go; he'd mixed in very well with our crowd and had become one of us. Need I say more? Except that we'd like to see him again one day.... Jean too.
Things really did seem quiet after he'd gone. Ken Cheslin had gone home the Sunday previous, Ron was leaving on Friday as school was due again. All of a sudden the flat seemed too big for just Fred and I. How he managed to remain as good tempered as he did through it all I'll never know; especially as we had invaded his room any time there was anything on TV we particularly wanted to see. But we paid him back.
Chris Miller was still in London staying with his grandparents but coming to my place in the evenings. Friday being BSFA night he came early as did Jimmy Groves. Ted, Bruce and Don Geldart had gone to see Ron off at the station and came along later. I was, as usual, loafing on the bed when these three came. They formed a line beside the bed and Ted was first. Handing me a box of peppermint creams he said:- "Ron knows you like these and he hopes you enjoy them." I made sounds indicative of thanks, and Don came next with *his* offering. He held out another box of peppermint creams saying:- "Ron sent you these, enjoy them." By now I was suspicious, even more so when I saw that Bruce was there with his hand behind his back. Thats right, *another* box of peppermint creams. By now I was rolling on the bed with laughter, but more was yet to come, When I looked up the line beside the bed had reformed and Ted and Don made grave presentation of yet another box each, both from Ron, and here was Bruce again. No, not a box but a third roll of Polo mints. Now I was past being able to say thank you or anything else On that note the evening set off and couldn't be anything less than a success.
We have Minutes in the SFCoL too. Jimmie writes them out neatly in a little
black book, and Ella initials them. However, we have fun too, and having seen
what havoc the lack of some proper procedure can do, I am all in favour of it.
The awesome thing about the story from George Locke is that it is all true, and
that Kyle sign really does hang on the wall.
Well now, instead of going on to tell you that this letter is great, and that
letter, heck they are all great reading, I'll tell you something about the
SF club of London.
Ella as you know, is Chairwoman, Jimmie Groves Secretary, and lately Ted Forsyth
is Treasurer. Other members are, the Potters, Don Geldart, George Locke, myself,
and at our last meeting Bruce Burn from New Zealand. Counting Bruce and the one
and only Atom, our membership now stands at ten. Of course we also have the
Buckmasters but they are immured in Scotland right now. So we have been debating
the extension of our membership.
We have few rules. Ella is a good chairwoman in that she keeps them all to the
point in discussions. Anything that we have organised so far, picnics, parties,
combozine, has gone off with a swing, and as I said, we have fun. The main
interest that we all share is fan publishing, and yes, we talk about sf, too! We
are enlivened from time to time by visiting fans; we have had Ron Bennett recently,
Archie, Chris Miller, and Brian Burgess; and at the last meeting Joe Patrizio
appeared as a surprise. I have great hopes of this club. It is the third one I
have been connected with and easily looks the most promising. The first in Glasgow
was really only concerned with the collection of SF, and although they were a very
nice bunch, not really interested in fandom at all, which is why it probably faded
out. The second was the London Circle. When I first came to London, I used to go up to
the Globe, but at first I felt very out of it. The Circle then *did* have a centre,
which mostly revolved round Sam Youd. He would sit on a stool at the bar and
around him would range a bunch and the discussions were really worth listening to.
However the first thing you had to be willing to do was stand. Now I work all day
on my feet, and by nighttime they get gey sair... so I only used to hear snippets
of it all. Gradually in the corner there formed a group who were interested in
fanzine publishing, and fandom as a whole. That is where I felt at home and could
be sure of a welcome. I have, as you can imagine, very much simplified the split
that went on in the Circle.
Now I am in a third club, and one which I feel will remain a happy one. This is
because we do take some pains to see that a newcomer will feel we are interested
- CRY OF THE NAMELESS #143
SKYRACK 24 (4 Oct 1960):
NEWS FROM LONDON
Ella Parker pleasantly surprised when Joe Patrizio rolled in. Everyone except Ella knew he was due and Ella says she wouldn’t be surprised had I had the news on stencil before Joe actually reached London. Well, er..... Joe has now begun work in London and is sharing the flat with Ted Forsyth.
The Sunday following the peppermint creams episode was a meeting day for the SFCoL and unknown to me a dirty ploy had been cooked up with the connivance of Bennett, Forsyth and Patrizio. The business section of the meeting had been concluded and I was laying out the vittles when the bell rang. (I must remember to have it removed.) I looked round counting noses to myself and all who were coming had already arrived. Wondering who the devil this could be but quite unsuspecting I watched Ted go down to open the door. As I heard him came back upstairs I looked out the door of the room to see Joe Patrizio smiling all over his face. The surprise was complete, Ted had heard from Joe that he was coming to London for an interview and Ted had told him of the club meeting suggesting he come to my place without letting me know he was expected. Everyone at that meeting knew he was coming with the exception of myself.... He got the job and is now living in London in the same house as Ted.
It didn't take long for 12 hungry mouths to dispose of what I'd got in plus the chicken the two boys had brought with them, They saved my life bringing that in. I just dumped everything there was on the table and let them have at it. There's no room for weaklings at a time like this; if you don't grab you starve. Jokes, puns, the lot went winging their merry way round the company to add any savor that may be lacking in the food. The sudden transition from the sercon to the wildly faanish was a bit startling, but brother, it was good. Irene and Sheila helped out with the washing up afterwards - it seems that every time Sheila comes to my house she ends doing the washing up. Anytime, you want a reference, Sheila, I'll provide one. You won't like it, but I'll provide one, - I went upstairs and brought the drinks down. It hadn't been intended, but this was obviously going to be a party. We broke into shifting groups and the babble of talk must have been audible for miles) but it hadn't reached the district where lived John Phillifent who turned up later in the evening unexpectedly. He thought to find the BSFA committee hard at work and here we were having a party; never mind, he stayed with us for a while and didn't take long to get into a heated
discussion with some of the others. That was one of the swingin'est parties I was ever at. I knew the Ashworths didn't have long in London so asked them and the Potters up for a meal on Wednesday of the next week. Fools! They accepted. We didn't break up the evening very early on Saturday, it was going too well But, all good things have to end and I did have the committee meeting to finish the next day. This was also the last time I would see Chris Miller for some time as he was going back home. Chris had been the only one to obey the embargo on visits for the Saturday so missing out an one of the best parties. Sorry, Chris. The meeting closed, Archie and Peter fed they went back to their respective abodes, Chris left soon after.
I was tired, but the memories I had garnered couldn't be bought for cash.
Digression here. While I was roughing this out yesterday, Sunday, I had a visit from Ted, Joe and Bruce. It transpires that Bruce has taken a room in the same house.