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LEEDS 1979
DRAGONBURGER BOOGIE
or Confessions of a Convention Secretary

by Alan Dorey
First Published in NABU 8, edited by Ian Maule



THURSDAY

"There's a sweepstake going on amongst the hotel staff as to how much booze you lot are going to get through this weekend" says Tony, the bar manager, looking at me with all the knowledge and experience of one who's dealt with drunken Swedish soccer supporters, paralytic Allied Irish Bank free-loaders and 'high' punk band roadies. His features are unmoving save his eyebrows which flash out morse-code messages like one possessed by some quiescent demon. "How much do you reckon you'll get through then, chief?" beat his eyebrows in hypereactive rhythmic time. I look at him and he looks at me; my eyebrows must have unwittingly conveyed something other than facetious ignorance because he then says: "0kay, 200 kegs it is then..." And with 18 gallons to a keg, that sounded like a lot of beer.

But it certainly didn't look like a convention. I mean, there was I sitting in the bar, in a convention hotel, with a convention programme sheet, a convention book, assorted convention progress reports and a strange, magical, blue convention committee badge which should have meant instant service at the bar if I'd been able to deal with the innumerable convention enquiries in mere seconds instead of hours. Sure, there were other committee members around, mounds of yellow packages, impatient dealers and signs indicating "Book Room", "Fan Room", "Stairs" and "Art Show", and a registration desk but it didn't seem right. Perhaps it was because I lived only a ten minute bus ride away; possibly because the hotel was familiar and most probably because if was a Thursday, a day I seldom consider as being part of a convention, but despite all this, it still felt wrong.

For example, there was the need to watch everybody arrive and wait for an atmosphere to be built up, rather than being plunged straight into some heated fannish debate at the bar; and of course, initially, you had to be polite to everybody. And then, quite suddenly, it dawned on me. I was in control. I was (helping] to run a con. Me. All that responsibility what if it all goes wrong? Will fans dare to speak to me again? Will Ian Williams reminisce about how successful Tynecon was? Will I get thrown out of the B.S.F.A? Will I get sand kicked in my face and have to resort to replying to embarrassing adverts for Bullworker in Titbits and Weekend just like Rob Hansen? Fortunately the bar then opened and salvation was at hand. Okay, so I was running a convention, but I wasn't going to let this minor fact disturb my enjoyment. Little did I then realise that this flippant dismissal of the situation was as effective as ignoring a severe attack of gastric flu. I soon discovered that a whole now perspective is thrown on to what a con is when you're on the committee, the biggest dilemma being whether or not, to stay sober (and thus be able to salvage the situation if all else collapses) or to enter into the spirit of things and become caught up in the whirlpool of sin and debauchery that is signified by week long post-con blues. Having decided on the latter course (by virtue of the fact that you can't blame a drunk for his failed actions), I threw myself wholeheartedly into the approaching maelstrom.

"Where's bloody Williams?" screams Mike Dickinson. "I thought we weren't to let him know that he's the scapegoat until afterwards" I said, realising that Ian was probably lying in a comatose state somewhere. He had flu, you see, not an ideal start to a con that was to see several of the committee fall foul to such strange and wonderful ailments as Putrefaction of the Inward Parts and blight of the Tripes. I found him in the fan room, clutching in his hot little hands the committee room keys on their large chains. "Been ripping off bog-chains again Ian?" chortled Roy Kettle, who then tried to ascertain whether the two chains were linked via the marvellous mechanics of Ian's tasteful jacket. "0h come on Roy, stop messing about. Some of us have got to work." Somehow Ian wasn't very convincing, so I went off in search of drink.

D. West arrived late; ill, drunk, dying or a combination of all three. "I am on the committee, aren't I?" he croaks hopefully. I nod carefully, hoping few have seen or heard this little scenario. "Where's my fucking committee badge then?" he starts, his voice hurt by our apparent neglect. "You don't honestly think we're going to let you have a special blue badge just so that when you start deflowering some young lady the committee gets blamed?" With all the dignity of a Grand Master of the Astral Leauge, he haltingly agreed with my point of view. "But you've got to buy me a drink... I've got to chair a panel on Saturday afternoon which means being polite to John Brunner." I stand back in amused amazement, accidentally bumping into the Dragonara Sales Manager, my elbow catching him in the stomach. "Hi, boss!" I venture, hoping he hasn't noticed the damage to his body. Since he immediately offers me a drink, I decide to go around and similarly assault, injure or kill other members of staff in the vain hope that I get bought more drinks. Perhaps they'll cut me in for ten percent of their sweepstake.

"Only one keg left chief" says Tony for the first time that weekend. "But it's only bloody Thursday!" I reply, not appreciating the subtlety of his wit. Perhaps he ought to try for a post as resident comedian on Basil Brush. There had been a slight problem with drink a couple of weeks before the convention. All had gone well when the assistant manager informed us that the hotel would have to restrict its bar opening hours to those of ordinary Leeds pubs - 10.3O p.m. "Surely you jest?" I spluttered, spilling half of my vodka and lime. But no, assistant manager Murphy was adamant - the kiss of death for Yorcon. In desperate attempts to rectify the situation, I went over to Bradford to discuss licensing laws and the like with hotel managers there, and they gave me the impression that the Dragonara was mistaken, I went to see a solicitor, saw a lawyer and everything seemed to be in our favour. At least we could sue the hotel and have a bit of fun. As it happened, they backed down at the last minute before we had a chance to unleash our grapeshot. This mysterious relentment at the eleventh hour is still a cause of speculation amongst us: I believe that Simone Walsh had something to do with it, along with Malcolm Edwards and a reporter from the Yorkshire Post, Campbell Spray. Upon our informing certain selected people at the last Tun before the con, Simone agreed to phone the hotel on behalf of 'The London Science Fiction Group', who were "absolutely horrified with regard to the news that Yorcon was going to be turned into some second-rate Vicar's Tea Party with full support of the local Temperance League". Anyway, whatever machinations went on in the management circles of Ladbrokes following this, we were allowed full bar facilities. Apparently part of the problem was due to the fact that practically no alcohol had been consumed at a Star Trek con the hotel had hosted two weeks previous. Still, I was slightly disappointed that I didn't have the chance to confront the hotel with our evidence for having the bar open all day perverse though this may be, but running a con does give you an artificial feeling of power and confidence over various people. "Alan, I need a drink!" shouts someone, and I ponder about this apparently mistaken idea of increased power over people. Shouldn't they be buying me drinks?

An interesting point about having to be Sober and Responsible during the day is that you notice a lot of people you'vo never seen at a convention before. And yet a quick glance at their name badges shows that they've been attending cons for some while; is it possible that a high proportion of con-goers don't even make use of the bar facilities or fan room, since this is where I am usually to be found? But, since I'd been in charge of running registrations and hotel bookings, a lot of the names I did recognise, and I was most disappointed to find that many of the single women I had noted down in my records as being likely 'companions' (based on presentation of hand-writing and general literary personality), were in fact either aged spinsters or desirable young females accompanied by pretty fair likenesses of Piltdown Man in all his primeval glory. So much for graphology. I decided to go around amongst these people and inform them of their names, numbers and home towns. Now whilst I was perfectly aware that most of them knew this, it did bring out gasps of amazement from those I guessed correctly once given a suitable frame of reference. These miraculous acts also earned me several drinks, so it is a ploy that I might sell to D. West one day. Strangely enough, these feats of memory recall backfired on me the Friday after the convention at our weekly pub meeting in the West Riding Hotel. A very pleasant young lady came in, sat next to me and started talking about the convention, and eventually she twigged that I could no longer remember her name and number, even though I had informed her of these facts several times at the con. Perhaps there is some truth in the fact that alcohol destroys the brain cells after all. (Although when she told me her name was Wendy, I soon remembered her number as being 396 - Pavlovian reaction? I ain't going to say whether or not my mouth was drooling.)

Strange to report, but despite all my D. West-type promises that I would retire to bed early each night so as to be able to devote all my energies to helping the con run smoothly each day, I was the last up on Thursday night and almost the first up on Friday morning.

FRIDAY

The problem on Friday morning was the registrations desk. Kate was in charge, but was so far a day late in arriving, and so I made John Brunner wait until 10 a.m. before I signed him in. Then it was as if the proverbial flood-gates of hell had been opened as all manner of persons rushed in, just like a crowd of Halifax supporters paying to be allowed out of the ground. I escaped when the Leeds University people turned up, and helped out by transforming the boxes of packages into a pretty fair imitation of Rest Leeds Refuse tip.

The hordes of people milling around the hotel left me feeling paradoxically uneasy and pleased. Uneasy because every extra person diminished my apparent degree of control over affairs, and pleased well the more people, the more successful had been our campaign. And that blue committee badge did mean problems: "Where's the telephone?" - In the phone box - "Where can we park our car?" - In a Car Park -"Where can we eat?" - In a restaurant... I was trying my best, but after a while the hilarity of the situation just overtook me, and like some young version of Reggie Perrin, I became tempted to say anything in reply to the barrage of questions being fired at me like I was some latter day Naginot Line. "Where's John Brunner?" - Lecturing the John Brunner Fan Club (Traditional Brunner quip; no more, honest) "Where's Chris Priest?"- Not arrived yet - "Where's the Guest of honour?" - On a train near Birmingham - "What's he doing there?" - Coming to Leeds, there's an S.F. convention going on... And so it goes.

The scruffy, but eager figure of Julian Rush appeared, darting out of the lift like some young child escaping from the truant officer. "We're all ready outside for the interview". Julian was from Radio Leeds and wanted Mike and myself to set the scene for his listeners. This was our chance; a live broadcast. We'd lay it down the line; none of this sci-fi junk just good solid fannish fun, drink, women (or men), talks and more drink. Things didn't quite go to plan. It's not that we were tongue-tied or anything, but in our efforts to try and justify the holding of the convention and lending it an air of respectability, we sounded like some pretentious article in The Listener or T.L.S. God knows what the listeners thought about it; not that we cared. I'd already had an argument with some cretin who believed that Isaac Asimov's S.F. Magazine was the best thing since Jimmy Armfield left Leeds United. Still, there was always the Yorkshire Post special to look forward to: "The Trekkies? Oh, they're our Irish joke" (Mike Dickinson).

"Where's bloody Williams?" screams D. West, his right hand wrapped around a pint glass after his usual fashion. "Need drink" he adds in an attempt to clarify the situation. "Oh, but you're always drinking," says Simone Walsh as she strolls up. She continues: "It's been a good convention so far but then it hasn't really started yet. You've got another four days to go!" Well, she needn't have looked quite so pleased about it. Still, I'm not complaining, especially since that evening the lovely lass gave me a half pint glass almost full of Southern Comfort. Things like this make running a convention worthwhile especially in the evenings when I can stop being responsible to the convention members, and decide to have a good time, which means doing all those fannish things like drinking, going to room parties, interfering with people and placating the bar staff. "0nly one keg left chief" says Tony. "That's all right," I chortle, "There's only enough cash for one more pint between the lot of us." Tony seemed intent on polishing his comic performance since he believed me to be a talent scout for Emmerdale Farm (I would normally cite Crossroads, but this was Yorkshire, after all). Again, whatever I did, I still felt slightly responsible towards the hotel at parties, and this caused my enjoyment to be somewhat tempered. No damage must be allowed to occur. If Dave Langford hurls me across the room (as at Novacon) I must not break tables, windows, beer glasses, radios, TVs or D. West. I must behave and set a good example. To enable me to carry out this programme of conservatism, I returned to the bar several times. "It's a good con, isn't it?" I said to Kev Smith and John Harvey in my usual non-committal style. Kev, remembering Skycon, shuddered. "You wait" he said. John laughed, but coming from a guy who actually looked like the drawing of him in the Skycon programme book (people thus being able to search him out if anything went wrong and point at him like he was Jack the Ripper) that was fine. I looked nothing like my illustration, so I reckoned I was okay. Just anybody dare to come up to me and say "J'accuse!" which is French for "Where's John Brunner?" (Sorry...)

I didn't get hurled across any rooms that night, although I did succeed in locking John Collick into a cupboard, and Joe Nicholas has the photographic evidence. D. West didn't remove the clothing from any scantily clad female; Joe didn't fall asleep and get drawn upon; Steev Higgins didn't get drunk this time (an occasion in Leeds soon after saw him taken to hospital; silly boy); Greg didn't assault anyone; Mike didn't feel ill; Graham James kept his hands to himself; Chris Atkinson was with Malcolm Edwards; Dave Pringle was trying to; others weren't. In fact, it was just an ordinary run-of-the-mill, Friday night room party cycle, except it was now Saturday.

SATURDAY

There is only so much that a body can take before the brain is told of the imminent danger of collapse; there must have been a go-slow in my motor-nerve network, for I managed to awake on Saturday morning bright and early. I even partook of breakfast and began looking forward to directing operations once more. This was the Big Day; me chairing a panel (for which I still hadn't worked out panellists or questions) and the GoH speech. Fortunately Richard Cowper had arrived the night before, looking remarkably unlike the photograph we'd published, and several inches shorter than I'd imagined and since he drank vast quantities of gin and tonic, we were in for an expensive time. On the other hand, he did seem rather disposed towards having a good time, so it would all be worthwhile.

The Yorkshire Post published their S.F. special, and much to my horror, they'd actually used the worst photograph from their session with us the day before. I thought we'd convinced them of the fannish approach to S.F. and conventions, but they insisted that we go down to this old underground car-park to have the pictures taken because it was more "menacing and science fictional". Menacing it certainly was. Even with our 'Sunday Best' con gear on, we managed to look like some evil renegades from a punk band that even Johnny Rotten would be revolted by. Dave just looked evil: Mike rather statuesque, a sadistic smile concealing his inner thoughts: Kate rather butch and overbearing, and... wow... myself. Christ, Hitler would have been quaking in his little black boots if he'd seen what I looked like. And all this was opposite their traditional ultra-tory leader advocating capital punishment. On seeing us, some readers might have agreed.

My panel went off okay, even if I was told that I was rather dictatorial by Andrew Kaveney; I introduced it as an S.F. Brains Trust, and the first problem was either spotting the brain (Graham Charnock, Joe Nicholas, John Harvey you've got to be joking) or the S.F. content, since none of us knows much about S.F. I was okay; if asked an awkward question by the audience I just passed it on to John Harvey, who generally woke up in time to reply. Joseph, on the other hand wanted to answer everything, so I asked him a question about the role of sewage in science fiction. When my third drink ran out, I called the panel to a close; you've got to keep a proper sense of proportion about such things.

After lunch, I get talking to Anne Ryan, one of the many of that family that had descended upon the hotel. I wanted to know why the drink in her pint glass was a sickly green colour, and frothing over the rim. "Oh, it's a vegetable dye; we've been going round dropping them in people's drinks, and then they suddenly stop wanting them. It saves having to buy rounds; we just go round collecting the coloured glasses". At this point, Tony comes over, pushing his way past the person hovering around the sandwich bar like an admirer round D. West. "Okay chief only one keg left now!" "Is that why you're dispensing cleansing fluid?" I replied, pointing to Anne's pint glass. Tony did a quick colour impression of the liquid and made a rapid retreat. Thirty-fifteen. It transpired that Anne was very much interested in astrology and magic, and I was most surprised to find that we shared the same birthday and the same year of birth. So, there was something significant behind it all; I had been destined to run a con from my earliest days; my whole life would be mapped out in the heavens; I would consult my horoscope regularly, avoid black cats crossing my path, avoid Ian Williams crossing his fingers, keep away from tall dark strangers, cast my Tarot every day and usurp D. West's position as Grand Master of the Astral Leauge. Suddenly it was all so clear! "Hey, committee member! Why the fuck is thore only one key to my room?" my hands stopped wandering, and again I am thrown into reality. "What do you want - an extra door?"

A major problem in being a committee member is that you don't get to see the programme. Ordinarily, I wouldn't be worried about this, but being denied something I don't want, paradoxical though it may seem, is a very strange feeling. Here I am, running this whole damned show for all these folk, and I can't even find out if they're having a good time. So this is why I didn't get to see Richard Cowper's GoH speech; I did have a legitimate excuse though; there was a body lying outside one of the rooms upstairs and I was despatched by a member of staff to go and deal with it. On arriving outside room 319. I saw the guy, middle-aged, slightly overweight - an obese D. West if you like slumped against the door, his legs splaying out into the corridor like molehills rippling up through the carpet. His eyes were closed, his mouth open; beads of sweat glistened on his forehead and cheeks, and he didn't appear to be breathing. "0h God, he's been talking to Gerry Webb" I thought, still not totally aware that this could have been a corpse. I left Dave Pringle with the guy and rushed downstairs to get a doctor. I couldn't find one, so I paged Rob Jackson, who's been practising for years but still hasn't got it right. Back at the body, one Milton Strain, Jackson blanched visibly, but managed to find out that the guy was breathing by prodding him in the side and listening for the strangled moan that came from the spittle-flecked lips. Apparently he was just stone cold drunk and had decided to lie down in the corridor because he couldn`t get his key, number 219, into room 319. When we lifted him up to take him to his room, he recovered consciousness and said: "Are you Rob Jackson?" "Yeh, yeh," says Jackson. "Do you still do...uhh...Maya?" "Yeh, yeh," says Jackson again. Milton Strain falls unconscious once more. The price of fame. Apparently, Peter Roberts had found the guy the day before lying in the gutter in the main road outside the hotel, which is something that not many people can do and live.

"Where's bloody Williams?" shouts Dave Pringle, still main-lining on adrenalin. Ian was supposed to be running the fan-room party after the disco, which meant we had to check up to see that it was being organised. When I found Ian he had all the symptoms of diplomatic flu, and he thought we were organising it. "But it's your fan room, Ian" I said. "I mean, you've run Tynecon, haven't you...or was that Ian Maule?" Ian was not impressed, and the rest of us began running round to set things in motion. Downstairs I was collared by Rog Peyton who wanted to know how we were organising the fancy dress: "But I though you were..." I said as it began to dawn on me that he wasn't. He looked somewhat anxious and very gallantly ran around getting things set up. It's moments like these that really push home the problems of being on the committee; you're busy doing one thing, when suddenly you have to concentrate all your energies oxo-cube like into doing something else. And it's twice as bad when half the committee is suffering from some ailment. Only Carol, Dave, Paul & Jan and I now survived.

Come the disco, I began to relax... and even started feeling like a fan again instead of some jumped up administrator. The band were into their second set which went down well; lead vocalist (singer is not a word I would use) Paul Marchant is the only guy I know who can get to a pub twenty minutes before closing and still get enough down him to go home pissed. Mike was upstairs bathing his swollen feet in water, watching TY and being visited by various females. I was bathing my mind in music, watching my hands and dancing with various females. And all too soon, the thing finished, but not before I'd won a bet that I wouldn't be seen dancing with Joe Nicholas. We ponced about the floor after some fashion, posing as much as possible and breaking into some surreal ballroom set at times. Ann Pringle looked bemused; Carol almost collapsed, and Paul Kincaid began counting his money. "Damn, I never thought you'd do it!" he said when I claimed my several drinks. "I didn't think you would either" I retorted, smiling sarcastically at Judy Mortimore.

The round of room parties, corridor parties, shifting furniture and kaleidoscopic insanity on a grand scale whirled ever onwards. Chris Atkinson came up to me as I sat talking to Anne Ryan. "Do you want some gingerbread?" she asked, her eyes saying more about her than American Express ever can. I accepted, remembering some fudge at a party the year before. "But you've got to have at least five pieces...promise?" I nodded faithfully, and began consuming gingerbread. Anne took some too, and so began an amazing evening. People's voices seemed to slow down to half-speed, and yet I was still totally aware of what was going on around me. "What"s in this stuff?" asked Anne. "Flour probably" said I, helpfully. "I like it." she said, and took another swig of orange beer.

SUNDAY

Gingerbread induced sleep is certainly a cure for insomnia, and I overslept, not getting up till half-ten and being confronted with two pint glasses of grass-green beer on my desk. My mind wasn't working in its normal fashion; I didn't know what the drinks were, but the 'Stop-danger' sign in my brain had been uprooted days before, and so I drank them. I felt really good, despite the drink only turning out to be beer. But danger had arisen; D. West was ill, and he was supposed to be putting on a bid for the next Eastercon. Ann West told me that it was impossible to get him up, so we were pretty much stuck. The cool, clinical brain of a concom member went into action, and came up with nothing. To add to this problem, assistant manager Murphy told me that they'd lost the names of those who'd paid their deposits; they'd got all the cash, but no names, and this was to result in me slaving away over my accounts book for 3 hours clearing things up for them. And there was supposed to be an auction that morning too, and all the stuff was in the fan room. "Where's bloody Wi1liams?" I scream, leaping into action, and being surprised to find him up and working. The pleasure and contentment of the night before left me like some bouncing bomb had breached my panic button; I was chairing the bidding session, so I cou1dn't put over the case for Don's con, but fortunately Dave Bridges volunteered; the deposits could wait until the evening, and the auction was in hand. Sigh of relief, and wait for the bar to open. "Guess what chief?" says Tony. "Go on, tell me you've only one keg left..." say I. "No, there's eighty-six." Thirty-all.

I went off in search of Mike to remind him that he was chairing a panel that afternoon. He was in his room taking stock of himself, and as far as I remember, most of him was still there, but not necessarily intact. "I trust Ian Williams knows about the next fan room party tonight?" I ventured. "He'll know about it if he has forgotten" replied Mike, in what proved to be his first complete sentence that morning. Food was consumed before I returned to the bar and discovered there was trouble with the banquet tickets. Kate had neglected to include the committee in the final tally of numbers, and this meant a hurried re-allocation of bodies, including asking Gerry Webb and company to dine elsewhere. I must admit, he took it all rather calmly; perhaps he didn't like the menu anyway. And the banquet itself went off quite well. Ian had remembered the fan room party, but still hadn't got himself together. "I've got flu, you know" he said lamely. Greg's choice of music was working well, and the drink was flowing freely. Carol and I started the dancing off, but not knowing Greg's music, this proved to be difficult at first, but what the hell, con responsibilities were almost over now, Gerald Bishop had kept his hands off Carol, and I was still remarkably fit... so we just kept on boogying. Although still possessed by a strange desire to be responsible to the hotel, these thoughts soon flowed away as easily as my glass was being refilled with all manner of drink. Once the alcohol had loosened my mind, what the hell does it matter if somebody throws up, or damages something? The hotel must be used to this sort of thing. I've got to let myself go completely free and enjoy the con for what it is, and being unable to do this for much of the day, the opportunity to let all go in the evening seems far more attractive. It's almost as if you're experiencing the feelings and emotions of your first really good con every evening. And with good music, fine company and plenty of time, everything works well.

Whether or not I'd made some conscious decision that evening to be swept along with the tide of enthusiasm and emotion, I'm not sure. I certainly felt as though the whole effort had been more than worthwhile... even when Ron Bounds chased me round the hotel after I'd acquired a bottle of scotch from his room party. Richard Cowper was having a ball running after various women, Simon Ounsley was deep in talk with one of Brian Parker's girl friends, Dave Pringle was lusting after Sheila Holdstock, Mike Dickinson (still in banquet suit and tie) although lusting never looked the part, Andrew Stephenson was trying to win the heart of Carol, Joe Nicholas was lying on one bed with Helen Eling, Graham James on the other talking to Ann Pringle, D. West was looking ill, and I was having a superb time thanks very much. I even came back to the room party afterwards. I won't describe what transpired since John Collick might mess up the carpet.

Cathy Ball's room party spilled out into the corridor and lift landing, but unfortunately I was brought back to reality at about 4 am when some people started complaining about the noise. Cathy and I shunted everyone back into her room, and with mission accomplished, we soon discovered that nobody could breathe and so folk started pouring back into the corridor like lumpy cream out of a tin. The people complained again. It turned out that they were British Airways staff who stayed on a regular contract; I said we couldn't really quieten everybody down. "But I've got to work tomorrow" "So have I", I replied, realising the hotel bookings I had yet to sort out. "... And I definitely won't fly you" I continued, hoping that she would retire back to bed and stop disturbing us. The rest of the night is but a strange collection of odd incidents, half remembered, most forgotten, all tremendous fun and no doubt bound to be recorded elsewhere. Putting furniture in lifts and dumping all items on the top floor; playing musical chairs, only using women instead; strangling Alun Harries (and being thanked by all concerned...even the victim); watching Mike Dickinson watching the sun-rise (still in his suit): watching Graham James watching Ann Pringle watching Chris Atkinson....And so it goes.

MONDAY

Deciding to retire at 6.30 am was a good move, but I had no time for sleep as I then spent until 9 writing out all the con members, their addresses and what they had paid as a deposit. I went downstairs and was prepared to grudgingly hand over the documents, lambasting the management once more for making me do it. I saw their accountant, and almost lost what self-control I had left. The bastards had found their list the day before, but hadn't told me. "Well, only one keg left chief" says Tony. "You'd better buy me a drink then" I said. Forty-thirty. "0kay chief...vodka and lime isn't it?" Game set and match.

Just the clearing up to do; remnants of posters, the books, the badges, packages, the clutter of glasses and plates, the half-eaten sandwiches; the fans lying around in the lounge, the fans dying inside, film reels, stale beer, stained carpets; writing expensive cheques, phoning taxis, saying goodbye and regretting the end of such a nice affair. It was only now that I realised how knackered I was; work was over, my muscles relaxed and at last, I genuinely felt tired. Simone said it was a great con; so did Greg, the Harveys, Rog Peyton and various others. These more than welcome comments added to my euphoria; we had organised a convention and it had come off; nothing serious had gone wrong, people were saying nice things and I was absolutely bowled over. Okay, so successful cons have been run before. But now I've helped run one... success city Arizona.

I wish I could have said that it was a great contrast waiting for my bus to take me home that evening, a whole world away, the strangeness of reality, ordinary people again, the intrusion of real life over which I have little control. But I got a lift home... stopped off at a fun-fair in North Leeds and then made it to a party. Would I run a convention again? Most certainly.... but next time I want to be chairman!

-- Alan Dorey



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