Report on Waycon ’79 – Part 1A

Transcribed by Doug Burbidge


Published by the Gonzo Journalist Review
Prejudiced views on the issues of our time.
Editor/Reporter/etc….Rob McGough
(a “Rumours Behind the News” report.)


My name is Robert McGough. (Da, da-da-dum!) I arrived in the big little City, Perth, on Monday the 12th of February, 1979. (Da, da-da-dum!) On Monday night I contacted Bob Ogden the WASFA Boss. (Da, da-da-dum!) It was then I offered my services to help with the final organisation of WAYCON ’79! (Da, da-da-dum,-Daaah!)

On the night of Wednesday the 14th of February, I was invited to a public meeting of Science Fiction supporters (predominantly WASFA members) held in an underground (below street level) “speakeasy” called the ‘Golden Rail Tavern’. There I was introduced to background members of the conspiracy to commit WAYCON ’79; the cover name for what was really SWANCON 4! The old organization was still pulling the strings! (Dah, dah, da-da-dah, dah-dah-dah, da-da-da-da-dah; Ding-Dong! Bang!! Clang!!!)

Thursday night, 15th of February I attended the second – last committee meeting to see how things have been going, ask a few questions and make one or two suggestions. Having earnt my laurels in the SWANCON Fan Uprising of 1976 (the “October Revolution”) and as an engineer of the subsequent formation of WASFA, I Found that the committee was willing to listen to my opinions and, indeed, welcome my services. But then most of them were old friends of mine.

The next two weeks were spent periodically procrastinating over working out my parts for the two panels I would be on and two more Wednesday night meetings at Ye Golden Rail Drinking and Warbly Music Establishment. These informal gatherings always transfer themselves to a nearby suburban coffee house when the “Rail” closed at 10:00. These continuances at the ‘Good Company’ usually last until past Midnight and often end up at a private abode. By joining these activities I was quickly able to re-establish any position within the “Group” and gain the trust of its newer members. (Bum, bum, ba-ba-ba-bummm!)

Monday February 26, 6:30AM. I arrived at the City Rail Terminal toting my trusty secret 8mm pocket Movie Camera cleverly concealed in a bulky camera case slung over my shoulder. Dangling from the crook of one elbow was a folded tripod. Accompanying me was my trusty assistant, Dolores Bačanović. We were met by the rest of our welcoming committee: Bob Ogden (WASFA President), Caroline Strong (his personal confidant), Roy Ferguson (Treasurer), and Bevan Casey (Mouthpiece). As 7:00 clicked up on the electric clock we moved casually, with a lot of rushing around and waving of arms,

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out onto the main platform to await the train. As the long, silver beast loomed nearer a moment of concern passed over me about the success of our mission; would the pickup go smoothly? Would there be any trouble? Was everything ready? NO. Hurriedly I unleashed my tripod on the unsullied platform. My “shooter”, glinted dully in the early morning light, as I fitted it onto the tripod. Now we were ready to roll.

The train squealed to a stop in a cloud of electric steam. It was a very long train.
“Which end are they going to come out of?” asked Bob.
“Would they be travelling first or second class?” wondered Bevan.
“I’m not sure,” answered Roy, who knew about these things. I waited tensly for the right moment to shoot. Caroline and Dolores stood back wondering what we were at. Finally someone spied a long-haired, bearded head looming darkly above the height of the dispersing passengers. Advancing menacingly we soon discerned the second member of the entourage next to him. I set up the camera and took many traditional shots of Leigh Edmonds’ back, but this time on moving type film, and managed to frame Valma Brown whenever her “cover” moved out of shot. They appeared to be a very silent couple, even when they spoke; I wasn’t using a sound film. Leigh and Valma found all this most confusing and as our own plans weren’t coming off too well so did we. The only ones not confused were the lovelies, Caroline and Dolores.

Before the film ran out we managed to co-ordinate ourselves enough to assuage our desire to welcome our Guest of Honour to Perth with his own ‘Ornithopter Song’. With more waving or “up and downing” of arms, Roy, Bevan and Bob proceeded to act out this “song with motions” for the benefit and amusement of our guests. Dolores and Caroline were also amused. Then we went home.

I’ll end here, though there’s more — I’ll keep that for a future article or articles.

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