A further peril, I belatedly realise, is that in fandom one is too often writing for pig-ignorant Americans. Now the Blessed Nigel Richardson (whom you should nominate for a '95 Hugo) is being boyishly disingenuous when he calls Memoirs and its ilk incomprehensible (he should at least recognise Signor Figliodiricardo, Most Boring Fan), and I think anyone getting this should probably just about know the Welshman Mr L, Mrs B from the Colonies and Mrs W who sits on TAFF panels with her, and Mrs K who used to be Mrs P. Mr F and Mgr P, both of Leeds, are Mexicon supremo Mike Ford and resting fanwriter Simon Polley, singled out in this context for being (ugh) Liberal Democrats. Mr R of Bloomsbury should get a name check for being GoH -- Geoff Ryman, whose books you should read. Most of the other characters are just the usual drunks I hang around with at conventions -- you can probably replace them mentally with your own equivalents -- except the ones who are politicians. And I grudgingly suppose that some assistance in identifying them might not be utterly unreasonable. So, assuming you all know who Mrs Thatcher is (ie not repeat not Avedon Carol), here (in order of appearance throughout the fanzine) goes:
Scargill, Arthur. Leader of the National Union of Mineworkers. National hero since October. Not quite that before.
Heseltine [Michael], aka Prezza Hezza. Secretary of State for Trade and Industry, only he's opted out of sheer vanity as far as anyone can see for the obsolete title of President of the Board of Trade. Was instrumental in the fall of Thatcher, and produced the plan to close 31 pits, thereby one way or the other getting on the permanent shit-list of both right and left. If David Owen steps on a mine in Bosnia, Hezza will be the uncontested most loathed living British politician.
Kinnock, Neil. Former Leader of the Labour Party. Not really a contender with Hezza and Owen, though it was amazing the amount of bottled-up bile that came out of us all on April 10....
Owen, David, aka Lord Owen of Split. Former Labour Foreign Secretary, former Leader of the SDP, former ... oh, god, it's all too complicated. Nobody likes him, anyway.
Ashdown, Paddy. Gung-ho Leader of the Liberal Democrats. Has taken over Hezza's old slot as Man In Flak-Jacket.
Skinner, [Dennis]. See Grant, [Bernie]. Surprised to find him disguised as me in YIP; I thought my world-famous imitation of him was an Illumination one-off.
Bevan, Nye [Aneurin]. A Great Socialist, and dead these many years.
Wilkes, John. A True and Genuine British Radical, and dead even longer than Bevan.
Holmes, Ann. Aimiable Labour candidate for Kensington, in both the July '88 by-election (got c 5000 majority down to 815) and '92 general election (lost by rather more, but 'twas all a fix).
Fishbone, Deadly, aka Dudley Fishburn. Conservative MP for Kensington since '88 by-election. Improved majority by such devilish tricks as pressing for leasehold reform in a constituency full of mansion flats, arranging for election to be held when fewer Tories were on holiday, etc. Given his name in '88 by anarcho-punk groupescule Class War.
[Fraser or Pinter], Lady Antonia. Famous Champagne Socialist. Lives in Kensington, next door to Committee Rooms where I helped out in '88. Known to by-election scruffs as Antonia Not-Even-A-Bloody-Poster.
Prescott, [John]. Centre-left (if that means anything at all these days) Labour MP, Shadow Minister of Transport. Given to banging on and on about things; at the time of Memoirs, candidate for Deputy Leader and banging on and on about disastrous decline in party membership and how he and only he could arrest it. Succeeded in that, because I was convinced by his argument and joined. Did not succeed in Deputyship campaign.
Sheffield (ok, ok, I know it's a city not a politician). Massive, over-the-top, glitzy Kinnock victory rally, unfortunately held (and televised) before the election.
Grant, [Bernie]; Livingstone, [Ken]; Stansgate, [Tony Benn, formerly] Lord; Skinner, Dennis. Labour MPs, members of the (proper left) Campaign Group. All rather rated by me, with the possible exception of Grant, who seems only able to stop being terminally boring by putting his foot in it. Livingstone and Grant were at the time being a doomed Leader and Deputy slate. Livingstone, in fact, should be leader of a Clintonised Labour Party, since like Clinton, he can claim actually to have run a government -- the GLC, which had a budget greater than the GNP of several countries, and a hell of a lot bigger than Arkansas. But no chance. Benn is famous for renouncing a peerage, being a constitution bore and writing diaries, as well as being totally wonderful; Skinner is famous for heckling, getting thrown out of the Commons, and saying things like 'They wouldn't know t'truth if it were painted on their eyeballs.' Both also famous as Maastricht bores. (Don't even consider thinking about asking.)
Khan, Imran. Not a British politician, but a star in a field about which Americans are even more ignorant if that is possible. Captain (now retired) of the Pakistan cricket team that beat England during the election campaign. On Harold Wilson principles, I took that for a good omen, but 'twas not to be. Better-looking than the entire Campaign Group put together, not that that is saying much, so I shall make myself clear: unutterably, devastatingly gorgeous. And single, but said to be waiting for a nice Muslim girl....
Major, John. Z-z-z-z-z....
Wilson, Harold. [Enter the late Graham Chapman in army officer's uniform. Chapman: Stop this at once! This list is getting self-referential!]
Not previously published (1992)