As I'm currently at a loose end, having no convention commitments post Speculation, I've been having some fun doing other things like putting out fanzines and attending cons without sitting on a desk all weekend.
I particularly enjoyed Albacon 91. It was nice to be back in the Central Hotel. It was also nice to attend a Glasgow convention and not have to do anything, although I did help out a couple of times when the first-time committee discovered what all us old hands know well: there are times when you simply need to be three places at once...
Apart from Robert Rankin cancelling at the last moment through illness, the con went very well and the 340 pre-con members were joined by 100 attending and 200 day member walk-ins. Most of the walk-ins gave flyers and posters in shops as their source of info about the con. The convention had all the features of old Albacons and the benefit of a hotel management bending over backwards to be helpful - a far cry from the open warfare between committee and hotel in '87 and '88. Although there were the usual problems of getting audiences to fill the main hall the programme ran a good mix of talks, films and quizzes. The highlight was undoubtedly the chemical fireworks item on the Friday night which got the con off with a bang or twenty. As usual, the small (40 person) rooms were given over to video: the Star Trek room was packed solid whenever it was showing Next Generation imports and the Anime room was also busy. The Dr. Who and Gerry Anderson rooms had smaller audiences and the mixed media room was only packed when it had "special editions" of films like Alien or Bladerunner.
Alan Dean Foster was a good guest, wandering round the convention and being approachable. Artists Chris Achilleos and Colin McNeil both proved interesting and the artshow benefited from having their material.
The convention has made a profit, some of which will go to the con charity and some to setting up next year's event which will again be in the Central, although so far it hasnot been announced when it will be held.
You may be interested to know that the Glasgow Film Theatre has a seat in its new cinema which bears a plaque with "Albacon 1980 - 1988" on it. The seat was sponsored to the tune of £1000 from the remaining monies of Albacon 88 and previous cons. The GFT has always been very good about advertising conventions and running SF films to coincide with them, a practise they continued this year for the new Albacon..
I expected Twentycon to be like Fifteencon, a con I always rate as one of my favourites, but it fell well short of the expected attendence. Only 120 turned up instead of the hoped (and budgeted) for 200+. This leaves the con in a deep financial hole which the BSFG will have to get them out of. At a convention that is really just a big party the programme is relatively unimportant but it is vital to have enough people to keep the conversation interesting for the weekend, but by Saturday night the lack of bodies in the bar meant I was getting desperate to talk to someone new. The venue, the Holiday Inn, was very pleasant and had prepared lots of reasonably priced food which, sadly, went uneaten. One good point: the £1.80 a pint bar prices made Speculation look good!.
As far as I know there are two possible bids for the 1994 Eastercon: Sou'Wester for Bristol and an as yet unnamed bid for the Isle of Man. Sou'Wester is chaired by Marcus Streets and has Pat Silver (formerly Pat Brown), Chris Bell and Gary Stratmann amongst others on the committee. The Isle of Man bid is being prepared by Nic Farey, Bob (fake) Shaw and Douglas McCallum.
Next year's Eastercon, Illumination, reports that their hotel has successfully changed owners and the much needed renovations will be completed for Easter. We hope so too! They have negotiated room rates down to to a more acceptable level of £28 per night, but only if you stay 3 nights. As Rhodri James was at the Speculation bitch session he will be very well aware of the need to get drink prices down to as low a price as humanly possible. I wish him well.
As a result of the highest voting figures ever, Winnipeg won the right to host the 1994 worldcon. I reckon this hurts the Glasgow bid's chances as the US fans wont want an "out of the USA" con two years in a row. That said, the Glasgow bid has a great many pre-supporters and its parties were well attended at Chicon.
It was decided by the last Speculation committee meeting that we would spend part of the profits of the con on sponsoring an award to be made each Easter to the person who has contributed the most to the running of the convention. The award will be in the gift of the con Chairman. Further details will be available when the actual award is finished. Most of the remaining money was assigned to Fans Across the World.
Many thanks to all of you who sent stamps or gave me money in response to my gentle hint in the last issue. As a result of your generosity I was able to send many of the overseas copies by airmail. My finances are currently OK so I should manage this one without too much fiscal strain.