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CONRUNNER 18 - Editorial

Ian Sorensen

This is Conrunner 18 from Ian Sorensen, 7 Woodside Walk, Hamilton, ML3 7HY, UK. (Phone 0698 282288). Although aimed principally at convention organisers this fanzine is available to anyone who wants it while stocks last. Published November 1992.


Cover and other cartoons D West
What Makes a Star Trek Con Tick? Lynn Hester
Conmunications Your Letters

The Editor Joins the Press Gang to Avoid Becoming Part of the Crew

So, the Worldcon is coming to Glasgow in '95 and will be called Intersection. What can be said, what can be done, to make it a great convention, a great success? The first thing to say is congratulations to the team that carried the bid and hope they get all the help they require. The next is to encourage anyone who thinks they would like to help to get in touch with the Intersection committee as soon as possible as all the jobs are being assigned now.

And then we wait.

Three years is a long time to hold your breath, but it flashes by when you have a big con to organise. The last year goes by in about two weeks, deadlines whizzing up to you at warp speed and past in an instant. So the crucial test for anyone involved is this: can you do the job you have to do in time? If you can't, then get help either from above (your line manager) or by recruiting and delegating. It was in this crucial area that Conspiracy fell down: people thought they could do tasks themselves that they failed to complete; worse still, they didn't tell anyone they hadn't completed them, or, in the worst cases, said they'd done it and nobody checked. You end up with a house built on sand - it looks good on paper but collapses when put under any pressure.

The good news is that Vince Docherty has made it his life's mission to organise and administer Intersection to perfection and knows about the problems of the past. (The bad news is that he seems to be leaving the country for a couple of years.) Whether Vince is here or not the question remains: do they have enough dependable staff to give every job a backup person to ensure it gets done? If not, then they may have a great organisation chart but nothing happening on the ground come August '95.

So, volunteer now. If you get a job with a deadline in March, do it before Christmas. If you need help, shout loudly for it. If you screw up, 'fess up - don't cover up. You get more brownie points for working that way, and the convention is more likely to be one you will be proud of.

Oh, and remember to enjoy yourself - it is, after all, just a goddamn hobby.

(The contact address for Intersection is Bernie Evans, 121 Cape Hill, Smethwick, Warley, W. Midlands, B66 4SH.)

Eastercon, Eurocon, Smofcon, Elydore: Channel Islands Corner Con Market

I got a letter from Fiona Anderson asking me if I would have a Conrunner out for Smofcon on Jersey next Easter. The answer is yes, but I still can't be sure if I'll be there myself: two cons on successive weekends in an out of the way place is simply too expensive to contemplate at the moment. I will certainly be at the Eastercon/Eurocon but may have to miss out on the Smoffing. I got another letter from Donna Laughlan to let me know that Elydore (a media convention at Easter '94) and Greenwood (Robin of Sherwood con August '93) were making a comeback. Interestingly, Elydore is moving to Guernsey in the Channel Islands and offering a complete package deal, as set out below.

Elydore, the Ultimate Travel Consortium, invite you to join "One Alien and Its Dogoid" for the complete convention experience. Over the Easter 1994 period, on the Channel Island of Guernsey, we would like you to share with us the next step In conventioneering: a full package holiday! The holiday will run from the Thursday before Good Friday to the Tuesday after Easter Monday.

The cost of the holiday will include: return flights between Gatwick and Guernsey, coach transfer between the airport, and the hotel (both ways), an optional trip to the town of St. Peter Port on the first day, five nights accommodation in a modern, three star hotel on the coast, full English breakfast (or a continental breakfast in your room) every morning, a buffet lunch or packed lunch each day, a three course evening meal with wine, coffee and mints, holiday insurance, the services of a "fully trained" Elydore courier, oh yes, and a full, weekend, S.F./Fantasy media convention!

Full details of the cost of the holiday should be published by May 1993; but we envisage that it should cost no more than five pounds per week over sixteen months.

I make that something over 320, about what I reckon Helicon will cost me. Perhaps it's time we started thinking seriously about booking a package holiday to Majorca or similar place for a big convention. I'm sure we could do it cheaper than a similar event in Britain. Mind you, the logistics of getting equipment and other operational stuff to the venue might be too awkward to be worth the effort.

Any takers?

Sou'Wester Change of Direction

The successful bid for the '94 Eastercon, Sou'Wester, has announced that it is unable to agree satisfactory rates with any hotel in the Bristol area and has thus relocated to the Adelphi in Liverpool. Never being one to shirk from stating the obvious, I'll say "I told you so at the bidding session" and leave you to ponder if there is any point to bidding sessions any more. I believe that there will be some sort of event organised over Easter '94 in Bristol to cater for people who voted Sou'Wester just to have an excuse to visit the area, but suspect it will take the form of a party rather than a con.

Fear and Trembling in Glasgow

As some of you may know, erstwhile fan and convention drunk, Iain Thomas was elected to Glasgow city council last May. He was given a job on the Licensing Board - a committee that awards drinks licenses to pubs and hotels in the city. At the time I facetiously suggested that any convention held in the city might do well to have him as fan guest of honour to ensure the hotel's drinking hours would be extended. At the Trek con Contagion in July the Central Hotel imposed a membership limit of 700 to conform to fire regulations and the committee had to turn people away from early on the Saturday morning unless they were registered members. On Saturday night Councillor Thomas turned up, was told the con was full, and then began an argument that may yet have to be settled in court.

The committee allege that he became abusive and, at one point, threatened to use his influence with the licensing board to prevent the Central Hotel renewing its drinks licence. At some point the hotel duty manager, seeing the councillor in difficulties, apparently intervened on his behalf but had to concede that, as the hotel had imposed the fire regulation limit, it was unreasonable to expect the committee to let someone in after turning back hundreds of others during the day. As a result of this, the committee wrote to the chairman of the Licensing Board complaining about Councillor Thomas's behaviour.

Iain Thomas alleges that the whole of the above is untrue, particularly that he threatened to use his position to cause the hotel difficulties, and has had his lawyer send a letter to the committee charging them with defamation and inviting them to retract or face legal proceedings. The committee has been advised to ignore the threat.

The newspapers reported the affair when Iain Thomas was asked to resign from the Licensing Board by the chairman and, coincidentally, was suspended from his Conservative group for failing to pay his Poll Tax.

The whole affair stemmed from the imposition of limits due to Fire Regulations, the same reason cited by the Royal Angus for limiting Novacon's membership. It would be interesting if someone out there knew about this subject and could write a piece for the next Conrunner. Who knows, your convention might be next.

The Next Conrunner

Out at Easter '93, I'd like it to have articles on Fire Regulations, organising a registration desk and anything else you care to send.

What I also hope to do is put together a "Second Best of Conrunner" to flog to Eurocon and Smofcon attendees and thus help pay for the trip(s). (It would probably be cheaper to come home than stay on Jersey for a week). I reckon that it's time to do another compilation as the first one came out after only 6 issues. Instead of reprinting articles I'm hoping to do the whole thing in checklist format - a sort of DIY guide to conrunning using the distilled wisdom of all the contributors over the years. I may even do what D West does, and offer reduced price copies for advance subscribers to rake in enough cash to get it printed. Watch out for adverts in Critical Wave, Matrix or Ansible.

And in the meantime, have a Happy Christmas and Jolly New Year.


This page updated on 09 July 1999