Captain Honario Harpplayer, RN
Evolution Wins! Mr Darwin's theory was vindicated in a public debate with fundamentalists. Also, the 1996 Eastercon (Metropole Hotel, Brighton) is now taking memberships at £17 (£20 after Sou'Wester).
Service With A Smile. Neil Gaiman reminded us of a Sunday paper's British hotel survey. A reporter was despatched with instructions to be really awkward, finally ringing the night porter and claiming to be 'lonely'. (Thog know other word for that.) Most hotels couldn't help; some offered an escort agency; only at the Adelphi did the intrepid hack get, 'Well, hold on for half an hour and all the tarts'll be in the bar.'
Warning -- Broken Glass There are bits lurking on the floor in and around the Hypostyle (and maybe elsewhere). Please don't walk there barefoot!
Sonic the Hedgehog Pyjamas! Well, JR from Moats Tye, you may wander around in a pair of Virtual Sonic the Hedgehog pyjamas if you wish, but we can't be responsible for the consequences.
Teardown. Could any gophers or willing people (interesting distinction -- typist) with strong backs and weak minds who are going to be here for teardown please leave their names with Ops. (Says Omega, failing to mention when this exciting stuff happens.)
Lost Items Found. Own any of the following? Please collect from Ops: Solger (it says here) of Fortune Manual (A5 Army manual) an umbrella diary with name S.Wardle woollen black/white-check jumper mixed, er, bumf in a Barbara Hambly folder Harrods bag of fanzines black comb Gordon Brignal's badge black bag containing pad addressed 'Jean' plus Ace Cooks carrier JJB sports carrier with empty Puma shoebox bunch of keys Gary Stratmann ballpoint pen Lisa Allcock's Read Me small key (for suitcase?) Simon Spanton's con pack. Also Ops has 60 Official Wooden Clothes Pegs and would welcome suggestions as to what the Censored to do with them.
Tariff News. So the hotel ran out of Diet Pepsi and it was arranged that we could bring in our own. 'There's a corkage charge, though.' Chris Bell, with a fearful, frightful, frantic frown: 'WHAT!!!' 'Two packets of Cadbury's Mini Eggs for the duty managers....'
Captain's Log: Updates
Sunday. One last time ... 9pm: Fanzine Panel (was 4pm) has been moved to 9pm.
7pm, Workshop 2: Elementary Sensuality REVISITED (by throbbing popular demand)! To learn more about Bobby MacLaughlin's bodywork (Muscle Effect Therapy), contact her on firstname.lastname@example.org, or at 33 Wellington Lane, Dublin 4, Ireland.
Roger the Rhymer. Neil Gaiman warns (quite genuinely) that his Fairy Story reading at 9.00 this evening is NOT for the kiddies. Parents may bring their sprogs at their own risk, but ...
Monday. 1pm: The Knights Templar -- cancelled.
12-2pm (1 hour earlier than Read Me says): DIY Colonization workshop. Note extension to 2 hours.
Two related developments threaten our interests. The opinions here are those of our contributors.
Harry Payne writes: Those who have been reading current newspapers will know that David Alton MP is proposing an amendment to the Criminal Justice Act to Parliament on 12 April. If this becomes law, it will apparently become a criminal offence to rent, sell, or own a video which provides 'inappropriate role models' for children, or which 'a reasonable person would find offensive on grounds of excessive violence or sexual explicitness'. I say 'apparently': Mr Alton has been very coy about revealing what exactly he plans to lay before Parliament, other than through the press.
If you would prefer not to face a prison sentence for owning or renting a 15 or 18 video, I suggest you make your views known to your MP. Write to him/her at The House of Commons, London SW1, and ask him/her politely what his/her stance is on this would-be curtailment of freedom. Make no mistake; this is not about 'video nasties'; it is about whether adults are allowed to act responsibly, or be treated like children.
Thog write: John Gullidge, editor of the horror magazine Samhain and part-time playgroup assistant, is being witch-hunted by the local Exeter Express & Echo, who in the interests of sexy journalism are trying -- with hilarious unsuccess -- to link the mag to such tragedies as the Jamie Bulger murder. Absurd ... but not funny for John: he's getting abused in the streets.
This attack on one of the nicest, most generous and shyest of men (as all who met him at Microcon '94 will agree) and on basic press freedom seems to be sustained not through any philosophical conviction on the part of the E&E; their hacks just have a markedly provincial idea of what makes sexy journalism, and don't give a toss about the consequences.
One of which, of course, is to assault a branch of the imaginative literature we're all here to celebrate.
John may have to sue to get the E&E to shut up: less robust methods have so far failed. If so, he'll need money ... and he'll never ask for it himself: it'll have to be thrust on him. Interested in fund-raising for a potential SAMHAINBALLS (echoes of the successful MJ-BALLS campaign a few years back)? Please leave Thog your name/address at the Newsroom or (preferably) send the details to him at 17 Polsloe Road, Exeter, Devon EX1 2HL: he'll reply if the campaign proves necessary. E-mail junkies go via email@example.com.
Into Something Rich and Strange
Overheard. 'It was Kipling, not de la Mare. John was drunk.' -- Jenny Campbell. 'People are saying the pink one wasn't funny.' 'If Thog can be replaced by cigarette packet, cigarette packet not live long.' Matt Williams: 'Well, they never seem to last long when you're around anyway.' 'There are people selling J*hn N*rm*n books at this convention! We call them -- "pushers".' 'Garry -- your batteries are running down.' 'That's odd, Linda hasn't complained.' 'Neil Gaiman's not sinister -- he's a cuddly bunny!' -- Chris Bell. 'My years as a waitress have given me very manipulable elbows.' -- Jilly (Handmaiden of Thog) Reed Maureen Speller, eyeing D.V. Barrett's Destiny and Your Dreams, after long pause: 'Oh! I thought it said "Dentistry".'
Oh God Not Again ... 'There is strong evidence that Neil Gaiman is the villain behind the FT Hobbes murder.' Tiger Hobbes was assassinated by the Zhargs because of his known association to their dreaded enemy, spaceman Spiff! (This crucial evidence was discovered in a school wastepaper basket by schoolteacher Miss Wormwood.) -- Trace Bullet, P.I.
Buy Now or Rue Forever! Newsroom stocks of the limited-edition Thog Chapbook sold out almost immediately, but there are still copies (some low numbers) in the Dealers' Room at a mere £2.00.
Bastard Yourself! 'You bastards -- you haven't insulted me in issue #5!' -- Stephen Marley.
PubWatch. David V. Barrett, our pub correshpondent, shlursh confidenshu ... oh shoddit: Rosie O'Grady's (Wood Street): Irish cellar-bar/pub with loud Dubliners medley tape, live band and cheap'n'cheerful food from around 9.30pm (e.g., chicken'n'chips with plastic cutlery: £2.25). Surprisingly good fun. ('Real Guinness? In real glasses?' -- Tom Abba.)
Fame at Last! Sally Ann Melia popped by to thank us for having produced the Newsletter.
Colin Mascetti, alias Hugh Fine, wishes it to be known that he is not the same person. Anybody caught mistaking him will be blown up in Lojban.
Our Sponsors. TAC is printed with a Gestetner 5375 copyprinter, an amazing beast which shoots out millions of copies without complaints, breakdowns, or squirting black ink all over the editors. All fans who are with major (or even minuscule) companies, or make purchasing decisions about office equipment, definitely need to see this creature in action and sign up for further information. Come to the newsroom! Write your details in the Great Tome! Improve your career prospects and make our sponsor happy! Please....
Fannish Fortunes. Fans are now safe from being cornered by Wincon's roaming Fannish Fortunes researcher, the magic number of 128 people now having been researched. Preliminary analysis shows that 116 people supplied a total of 26 replies when asked to name a book by Heinlein. The only answer given to escape the tight security surrounding the final data was 'Foundation'. More to be revealed in July.
Dutch Nov Conseal Chair Redeems Himself. Witnessed and supported by a host of close friends, he managed to perform the trick of the disappearing T-bone steaks again.
Gamma Reviews TAC 5. 'In the little um er bit at the er um shit end it says um um um "Totally wrecked: Gamma, Peter Morwood". Er. I just er fuck um er saw Peter on the things, you know, what you call them, stairs -- AND I WANT TO KNOW WHAT HE'S ON! Erm um dribble. He doesn't understand it either ... but I've um got lots of good stuff on audio tape.'
Famous Fan. Penny Heal has been mentioned on the business pages of the Independent on Sunday. She won the competition (and a bottle of champagne) to think of a nice fictional bank manager (with George Bailey from It's a Wonderful Life). Some people seem to think we'll print anything. (Now, a competition to find a nice fictional hotel manager in Brighton might be worth winning.) LATER: Abigail Frost tells us that The West Pier by Patrick Hamilton features the Brighton Metropole. Unfortunately, she spoilt her appearance of omniliteracy by being unable to remember anything about the hotel manager in it.
Local Politics. Item: The Supreme Ruler is dead. Item: A successor must be chosen by democratic election. 'Behind every great universe, there's a woman.' Vote Chris Bell for Supreme Ruler of the Universe. 'Why settle for the lesser of two evils?' Vote often!
Aepoeloegies. Herea hi'T'lashu [Thog knows how to spell this?] would like to apologize to Fiona Clark-without-an-e for accusing her of being Fiona Anderson.
Sou'Wester Postcards. Artwork by Graham Higgins and Tom Abba -- plus S'W Compass Rose! A snip at £1 per pack of four (Thog get only three from machine in gents) -- two different packs to collect! Get them NOW from Info Desk (opposite Registration).
Thog's Masterclass 'The wagon lurched forward like an armadillo trying to mate with a very fast duck.' -- James P Silke, Frank Frazetta's Death Dealer, Vol II Lords of Destruction. (Some say this quotation is deliberately funny. Typist think, with title like that, author has sense of humour?) '"It was not sex!" she snapped in sudden fury. His moustache writhed in a sneer. "Oh -- forgive me!"' -- Strings by Dave Duncan
Credits. North Utsire: Dave Langford. South Utsire: Paul Barnett. Shannon: Jilly Reed. Fisher: Mike Abbot. German Bight: Jan van't Ent. Dogger Bank: Abigail Frost. Faeroes: Stephen Marley. Irish Sea: James White. Finisterre: Neil Gaiman.
• Copyprinting courtesy of Gestetner Ltd, Lincoln House, 100 Broadway, Salford, M5 2UW. Contact Peter Maddocks: 061-872-8511. •