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CONRUNNER 9 - Editorial

Welcome to CONRUNNER 9, the British convention runners' fanzine, from Ian Sorensen, 304a Main St, High Blantyre, Glasgow G72 0DH. Telephone 0698 826207 (evenings) or 041 637 1071 (9 - 4). This edition published in September 1988. PLEASE NOTE that as of October 28th there will be a new editorial address: 7 Woodside Walk, Hamilton, ML3 7HY.


Cover Michael Molloy
The Final Programme Michael Abbott
Programme Ideas Ian Sorensen
A Sideways Look at Congregate Cardinal Cox
After the Con is Over Mike Gould
Useful Addresses  
Backstage at the Masquerade Lisanne Norman
Con-munications Your letters

EDITORIAL - After Conscription

This copy of Conrunner is being published in time for Conscription, Britain's first conrunning convention, or rather, conference. Many people over the past few years have mooted the idea, it's only now that Henry Balen & Co have put it together. The next Conrunner should have the outcome from the various workshops and discussions that take place over the weekend, indeed, the article about masquerades in this edition was originally intended for the Conscription programme book, but it was decided to publish articles about Programme matters in Conrunner and on the other themes of the conference (Organisation, Hotels, Operations) in the Programme Book itself.

Although I like the idea of a convention devoted to conrunning, I am a little apprehensive of the possible effect that it might have on British fandom. Over the last 8 years it has become obvious that the demise of the fanzine has been matched by the rise of the convention as the mainstay of fannish activity. The conrunners have become the upholders of fannish traditions and pass them on to the new generations who may never see a fanzine. The trouble is that many conrunners are unaware of fannish traditions, or don't like them. I am also worried that a convention like Conscription may lead to the establishment of a new orthodoxy - conventions being shunned unless they meet the standards discussed at Conscription. It may even lead (Ghod forbid!) to someone proposing that we have a Charter.....

I'm sure common sense will prevail, but just in case I'll put in a little polemic here in the hope that someone at Conscription will read it and decide not to propose a motion to set up a committee to investigate the possibility of giving Eastercons a constitution.

What is a convention? A gathering of like-minded people, or a programme of events? I know it's a mixture of both. But which did you think more accurately described your vision of a con? I'm firmly in favour of the gathering of people concept - the events should be selected to attract and entertain the "right" people. The "right" people are not some fannish elite: they can be any of the many fannish flavours from gamers to filkers via square-eyed film buffs, or any combination thereof. The important part is that you start with the people and design the events around them. If you start with a programme of events you run the risk of forgetting that they are being put together for an audience to see. A good convention is a social event rather than an entertainment event - more of a party than a filmshow. The idea should be to get people together and involved in the same thing at the same time. Just watching is not enough. As I think I've made clear in these editorials over the years, I like the idea of a concomm being a group of friends who put on a con for their acquaintances. That is, of course, an ideal! In reality there have to be compromises, but there's no point in doing it unless it is fun.

I guess I'm frightened that Conscription might mark the end of the old ramshackle, fun convention and the start of the cloned con. Gosh! I'm getting to sound like an old fogey - better stop now and make way for Mike Abbott's article which arrived the day after this CONRUNNER was printed. Ah! the miracle of time travel and wordprocessors........


This page updated on 09 July 1999