3. THE 1960 EASTERCON

Nearly a year earlier, during their visit to Cheltenham for a joust, Ken Bulmer had committed the London Circle to run the 1960 convention. Following the split in London fandom that had resulted in the formation of SFCoL, the formally organised LC had effectively disintegrated. This being so, Ella Parker had felt duty-bound to get involved. A full report, with photos, can be found at the link. Note especially 'The Lost Hotel' which details a major difficulty she faced.

Ella Parker was Chairman of both the Eastercon and SFCoL. In the Combozine which had been produced for distribution at the Eastercon and which she edited (see below) she explained the latter to attendees at the former:

As Chairman of The Science Fiction Club of London and editor of this, our first attempt at a "Combozine," I am supposed to present us and our aims to you as lucidly and impartially as possible. Never having chaired a club or edited a clubzine before I hope I make out alright.

Many of us in the club are the kind of fan who want activity of some sort. By this I don't mean we are averse to spending an evening sitting around talking and/or drinking, we aren't; but we don't want to spend all our meetings in that way. There were high hopes that when the London Circle was reorganised it would give us the chance for more than sitting in a pub. That we were disappointed in this is old hat and the final collapse of the L.C. gave us the opportunity to do something about it ourselves. Thus was born The Science Fiction Club of London....

Our aims? Nothing very pretentious or ambitious. Only to participate in the kind of fan activity most to our taste. We have plans for the future but these are dependent on us being able to find club premises to which we can invite fen visiting London, and which will house the rapidly growing club library of S.F. Until now we have been meeting at Inchmery through the generousity of Vin¢. As our membership is growing beyond the capacity of the room he made available to us we are now meeting at my house, the front room of which is much larger.

Meetings are held on the first and third Sundays of the month. Any fan in London for the weekend on the dates meetings are being held would be made welcome if they wished to visit us.

I suppose by now you are wondering just who the members are of this new club. By an odd coincidence we have in Our ranks the majority of those who are active in the London fnz field, whether editor/publisher/or writer. They are:

Founder Members New Members Hon. Members
Chair:
Hon. Sec:
Treas:
Publicity:
Ella A.Parker.
Jimmy Groves.
Sandy Sanderson.
Joy Clarke.
George Locke
Ethel Lindsay.
Vin¢ Clarke.
Paul Enever.
Arthur Thomson.
Chuck Harris.
Ron Buckmaster.
Daphne Buckmaster.
(Joined after
the inaugural
meeting)

Ken Potter.
Irene Potter.
Don Geldart.
Ted Forsyth.

Sid Birchby.
Walt Willis.
Ron Bennett.
Eric Jones.
Norman Shorrock.
Ina Shorrock.

As well as fanzines we have a fair number of camera and photographic enthusiasts among us, to say nothing of a couple of eager beaver types who are impatient to try their hand at a film script. This sounds like fun.

It's a great pity that one of our lads (George Locke) has been pounced upon by the army to do his National Service just as we looked like getting down to some intensive fanning in the club, but he knows how we feel about it. At the last meeting he was able to attend we held a formal 'expulsion' ceremony with suitable expressions of regret for the army in their misfortune at being stuck with him for the next two years. There was no shortage of advice to George on the advantages to be gained by signing on for the full twenty years, such as: foreign travel - at the taxpayers' expense - free clothes for the term of his service, suitable occupation to keep him out of mischief and the like. I can't understand why he left the meeting feeling, as he said, "unwanted".

We did much the same thing when Ted Forsyth came to live and work in London. He attended his first meeting as a guest of the club and as part of our business we discussed the desirability of having him become a member. Was there any advantage to us in having him? What had he done in fandom? Where did he come from? And in fact who was he? All this I may add with Ted sitting there trying to look as if we were talking about someone else. From the Chair I asked the members individually, whether they had anything to say that would indicate Ted's eligibility for membership? Having drawn a blank, things looked pretty bad for him so we asked him if there was anything he could say in his own favour. He upset us thoroughly by admitting he read quite a number of fanzines like SKYRACK, APORRHETA SMOKE and FANAC; I mean, who reads these things? I then called for a show of hands and no-one moved a muscle. He pacified us by donating to the club funds the not inconsiderable contents of his wallet plus two pints of new blood. This persuaded us that he was indeed a worthy recruit to our ranks. It was a near do tho.

I and the rest of the club able to attend the Convention are really looking forward to renewing old friendships and making new ones. If you are attending your first con and see our names in our lapels do come and talk to us.

I hope you all enjoy what we have given you in this zine and will write to me at the editorial address with comments/praise/and/or criticisms. If it proves a success there is the possibility that it will be done on a regular basis. Mainly it depends on your reactions to yet another clubzine.

Have fun.... I shall, and a Happy Easter to you all.

SKYRACK 17 (25 Apr 1960):

AT THE ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING OF THE BRITISH SF ASSOCIATION, Ella A. Parker, editor of ORION, was elected as BSFA Secretary, and after appreciation had been expressed for the magnificent job done by Treasurer Archie Mercer, an appreciation echoed even by a non-member present, Archie was voted into office for the third year in succession. He stated that while he was honoured, he wished to make it clear that this would be his last year as Treasurer.

The election of BSFA Chairman caused some little discussion. Eric Jones and Arthur Thomson both declined nomination and finally Ina Shorrock beat Doc Weir on a straight vote. Ina is the wife of Liverpool’s Norman, a wonderful mother of three wonderful children, a marvellous cook and a hostess par excellence. The moment the BSFA introduces a weekly meeting at the Shorrock household, I’ll be the first to join.

Brian Aldiss narrowly defeated veteran H. Ken Bulmer in the ballot for Association President.

***[LINK]***

SKYRACK 18 (1 May 1960):

THE 1960 CLUB COMBOZINE OF THE SCIENCE FICTION CLUB OF LONDON was produced by this newly formed group for the con and is the best shilling’s worth to come out of British fandom for a long, long time, The duplicating and layout is little short of perfect, and copies may be obtained by contacting Ella Parker, 151 Canterbury Road, West Kilburn, London NW 6. The material is entirely by members, and what a list of contributors make up its 52 pages -- Ella Parker, Paul Enever, Ethel Lindsay, George Locke, Ken and Irene Potter, Don Geldart, Arthur Thomson, Joy and Vince Clarke, Jim Groves, Sandy Sanderson and Honorary Member Sid Birchby. Vince writing on fandom and Sandy writing on fanzines are two items which are especially notable. Recommended enthusiastically.

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