Why on Earth ...
Abi Frost

... am I doing a Frank's contribution now? Well, for a start it seems like a good moment to reinstate the traditional Message to Simon Ounsley.

We had a great time without you, kid. No, I'll rephrase that -- we had a great time, but you were sorely missed. Weeping fans congregated in corridors, saying 'Why isn't Ounsley here? I was having such a great time till I realised he wasn't coming.' Heavy mobs from Newcastle University SF Society crowded round the fanzine programme organiser, indicating that they were NOT AT ALL HAPPY that Our Greatest Living Fanwriter was not, as promised, available for inspection on the programme. Several members of the Leeds Group committed suicide ... oh, all right, I exaggerate, but you were missed; yet we still had a bloody good time.

I must say, after Mexicon I think fans are bloody marvellous. I was really pleased by the way that the audience contributed during the fanzine programme items; especially the one I was on, which started off as four totally spaced-out individuals (that was one hell of a fanroom party) wishing the earth would swallow them and through the efforts of Ann Warren and others turned into something where interesting things got said. (I hope. A horrible threat hangs over our heads -- Chris Hughes taped it all for Matrix, Register your objections, if you have any, NOW.)

And then there was Riverside; a magnificent group of punks if that!s the word these days, from a local musicians' collective; they worked like fury all day -- always in on time -- running the PA; one of them came up on to the platform to talk about rock fanzines; at night they joined in the parties (they drank PINTS of Pickersgill punch). I think it was Snod who said 'This is what I like to see -- everyone getting totally pissed.'

Which brings me to Alasdair Gray; it's been suggested that we make it an Official Mexicon Tradition that he is always a special guest. No doubt reports of what a good time he had will be circulating elsewhere.

People, on the whole, seemed to arrive with the Right Attitude. Kate Davies decided that she wasn't going to deprive herself of the pleasure of dressing up, but Mexicon was not the place for Star Trek soft-porno gear; so she wore an amazing and for me envy-provoking selection of long dresses. The sight of an elegant Victorian lady swigging Newcastle Brown from the bottle and setting a fan panel right about key dates in Star Trek history was quite surreal and totally in the True Spirit, The Beccon lot, not being fond of discos, hyper-conversation, or drug-craved madness, took over the sofa on the landing for charades and light intellectual banter every evening, rather than sloping off to their rooms and depriving anyone else who wanted to join in of that sort of fun. I was astonished, going back to my room on Friday night, to find a bunch of idiots moving a bed out of their room so that they could pack more idiots into their room party. At a small con, that sort of thing should be totally unnecessary. There was every possible kind of party going on downstairs.

Anyway, thanks to you all. Special thanks to the Doc for medical advice; Kevin Williams for actually making it all WORK; Greg for astonishing me; Linda for being Linda; Mike for letting me play newshound; Ann & Jimmy for being good panelists and audience; Roz for returning my serve too fast; Eve, John, Harry and Rob for being good workshoppers; Barfoot for timing up; Jarrold for posing; Pam for biscuits; Rog for general principles ... who else is in this bloody apa ... Alun for learning what a semi-colon's for. We are WATCHING, mate. Oh, Langford for dancing.

Overleaf: Why I really did this contribution.

This bit is going into both FRANK'S and TWP; apologies to both administrators, and to all overlappers, but it's the only way I can make both deadlines and I want to say it to everyone possible anyway.

The next Mexicon will take place in Bristol, I'm not on the committee, which suits me fine; it's a lot of work and anxiety to add to my already staggering load, and everyone has seen AJF's friends discussing AJF's obsessions now, and it's time for someone else to parade theirs. But, madness though it be, I have volunteered to write a report on the con to go in the next programme book.

This isn't going to be a standard fanzine-type convention report, where events are reported from one viewpoint, and where the emphasis is on partying and the doings of secret masters/mistresses of fandom, all put together into some snappy experimental framework. What I want to do is give some sort of impression of what was going on for everybody, during every moment of the con; the highlights of the programme, the jokes in the bar, the expected and the unexpected. In my megalomania, I have this idea that I could mention everybody's name at least once ... I expect that one will fall by the wayside, but you get the idea. The panoptic vision.

So, send me your con reports. If you're writing one for a fanzine, send me a photocopy ASAP, since I want to get all the material together during June. If you're not, then just make a few rough notes. Imagine you're stuck in a van with Gregory for eight hours, being interrogated: 'Best moment of the con? Worst moment of the con? Most sordid and disgusting spectacle of the con? Surprise of the con? Who had the best time of the con? etc etc etc', and send me your answers. I don't need 'fine writing', but I will feel free to quote and attribute any particularly succinct, witty, etc statements unless otherwise instructed. If you can't face the typewriter while it's fresh enough in your mind, speak on to a tape cassette, which I'll return when finished with.

I'd like incidents roughly timed (eg 'very late Friday night', 'some time after Celine et Julie' etc), since I want to try and run the whole thing as a straight linear narrative, I especially want memories from the sercon programme, accounts of games and quizzes from spectators and participants, reactions to the films and the play; but don't leave out the parties, the little personal incidents, how you felt at breakfast or whatever. I want to know the LOT. It's up to me to make something coherent out of it,

OK? The democratic convention will get a democratic write-up if, and only if, the people respond in the True Spirit, Do it NOW, while it's all fresh in your mind. Don't wait for the consensus, don't wait for your hangover to recede; we all know where that one leads.

You can do it; the question is, can I? This is madness.

This comes from Abigail Frost, 69 Robin Hood Gardens, Cotton Street, London E14, ace newshound and megalomaniac. Produced for the June mailings of Frank's/TWP, but this page likely to be sent to anyone she's writing to in the next few weeks. Really idle FRANKERS could just about simply put in a few lines as a mailing comment to me, I suppose; TWPers, given the longer mailing period, are expected to do better, but anything really good, if used as m/cs, will be grudgingly accepted, I suppose.

FRANK'S APA 8 (June 1984)