Report on Waycon '79 – PART TWO: THE CON – Friday

Transcribed by Doug Burbidge and Elaine Walker. All original typographical errors retained to the best of our ability.


The following events took place over March the 2nd to the 5th.
Friday (11:30AM) met Peter Toluzzi’s flight at the Airport. He wasn’t on it. Presumably to avoid sabotage this Eastern States Boss (head of SYNCON ’79) cunningly took the next one. He arrived at 12:30. His plane didn’t blow up. (Looks can’t kill). We took him for a “ride” up to the top of the hills overlooking Perth. The ‘zig-zag’ is a lonely stretch of one way road winding its way down the mountainside. One edge of the road often becomes a very sharp drop. I stopped the car by the highest and steepest slope. No one could see us, but we could see a marvellous view of the tiny city block, near the horizon, surrounded by a great expanse of flat, green (by Australian standards) land. Peter commented on the remarkable clarity of vision. We could make out the Swan River by the city and the sea on the horizon. Then we took him to our country hideout (on the toes of the foothills) where we served him sandwiches by the poolside. I left him talking to Dolores and continued packing my gear for the convention.

We arrive at the Ozone Hotel after 5:30. Leaving Peter and Dolores at the registration desk I rushed into the main hall to set up. Passing quickly by various welcomers I made my way to where Bob Ogden and Iain Henderson were setting up the speaker system. There was such a tangle of leads and equipment that my tape deck and box of goodies was easy to set up without undue suspicion. I borrowed microphones from the “boys”. My inside contact was Ian Nicholls; he passed me the camera gear. I ran around for an hour, then, shifting various sized extension cords from one part of the room to another trying to get power to the speaker system; my recording gear; our one piddly spot light; the powerboard for my camera and floodlights; the airconditioner; and the tea/coffee urn. I also had to set up two large tripods at the back of the room for the camera and lights. During this mad rush I half ate some food collected for me and took great refreshing sips from any iced drinks that happened to pass within range of my parched voice. Finally, just as the opening panel were gathering at the front I got the camera set up, the sound ready to roll and switched my movie lights on, to low, and found myself the centre of attention. I was providing the major source of light in the room! Curses! The last thing I wanted was to draw attention to my plot. Would people notice the rather large Super-8 movie camera perched on the tripod in front of me and aimed at the tressle table where the major events of WAYCON ’79 were to take place? I had to think of something quick! Dashing round to the table I spoke to Tony Peacey, the Beanbagman. “O.K., Tony, we’re ready to roll. You can start the Panel now,” I growled and ducked back to my post. There was nothing they could do to me now, not in front of Joe Public, who filled the seats and waited for the Con to begin. Tony rose to face the crowd and, under the sudden glare of my floodlights, startled started his welcoming speech. WAYCON ’79 was under way!

My camera whirred away now and then, punctuated by the brightening of my lights as I captured the members of the opening panel one by one. Each time I had enough I would plunge the room into semi-gloom as I switched the floods from high to low. Everyone seemed to get used to it, although it proved devastating to anyone (ie the Panel) facing them. Bob Ogden resorted to dark glasses and consequently looked a right Mafioso. Soon after starting I’d had to duck back behind the panel to switch on my recorder and fix the sound levels. Iain Henderson, who was recording directly through the table microphone, came up and offered me the use of his tapes to fill in any gaps in my own recordings. The committee’s own sound man offering his help! What strange double cross was going on here? Were they on to me? Perhaps they were playing me for a sucker! Could they really be good guys? Or were they buying everybody out? Having no escape, I had to wait and see.

I will now describe the convention item by item (those I saw) according to the program, a copy of which I now include:


7.00 Registration
8.00 Opening & Introduction.
8.30 Refreshments and First Contact – During this session we hope that the new fans will get to know the old.(who is this fan anyway ?).
9.00 Debate – Science-fiction prepares people for the future.
9.00 Registration (2)+ plus the feature film “Zardoz”.
110.00 Introduction (2)+
+ (for those not Reg. on friday).
11.00 Panel – Fandom and Fanzines.
12.00 Lunch (a map on the back of this sheet indicates the nearest eating establishments.)
1.30 Speech – Aspects of Early SF by Dr. Millech.
2.30 Refreshments.
3.00 Film – The War Game.
4.00 Panel – Close Encounters of the Strangest Kind – 1st contact with SF.
5.00 Talk by Ian Nichols – M. Moorcock.
8.00 Supper and Fancy Dress.
(Two films will be shown for non-attendees
1. Night of the Lepus 2. Duel.)
10.00 Book and Paraphernalia Auction – and a chance to recover.
11.00 Panel – The Future of Space Flight.
12.00 Lunch.
1.30 Speech by our G.O.H. Leigh Edmonds – Australian Fandom.
2.30 Panel – SF and the Media.
3.30 SF Quiz.
6.00 Dinner.
7.30 Feature Film Session –
  Dr Strangelove.
  The Rise and Rise of Michael Rimmer.
  The Night of the Lepus.
10.00 Book Auction (cont.) plus Documentary films.
12.00 Lunch.
1.30 Panel – Humour in SF.
3.00 Silly Competitions.
4.00 Farewell
5.00 End………

The “Opening and Intro” Panel were: (from the Audiences Left) Damian Brennan, Angela Donnelly, Sally Underwood, Bob Ogden (Chairman), Tony Peacy, Bevan Casey and Ray Respa.

During the first break I made a careful check of my equipment and discovered the camera’s light levels had been incorrectly set. So no film of the historic opening moments could be expected. In fact most of the shooting during the Convention was not guaranteed successful as the indoor lighting was so poor. Only the daylight stuff stood a good chance of coming out O.K. At this time the film has not returned from the lab and so I “jus’ dunno”.

As I was to be on the Debate at 9:00 I collared its chairman, Ian Nicholls, and explained that in all my rush of the last few days I had nothing prepared for it and was going to have to rely on bulling my way through. It was to be humourous panel any so he didn’t mind. I was saved, however, by over hearing Tony Peacy saying that he’d mistakenly prepared something for the Debate and was disappointed to find he wasn’t going to be on. I immediately offered him my spot. The Debate then consisted of: Sally Underwood, Roy Ferguson, Valma Brown, Ian Nichols (Chair), Tony Peacey, Bob Ogden and Paul Presbury. It went marvellously and, when I’d done filming, I joined in by sneaking up behind the Debaters and flashed cue cards at the audience. I’m pleased to say this was well received and that I did not overdo it. Also, I was as fair to the Debaters as I could be by awarding equal “SNEER”s and “LAUGH”s to each side. The other cards in hand were “CHEER”, “APPLAUD” and “HOWLS OF DERISIVE LAUGHTER”.

After the debate various room parties broke out upstairs. The Convention had the main hall of the Ozone Hotel, downstairs, and a function room and ballustrade area upstairs. Except for permanent residents the Hotel rooms were also booked for the Con. The upstairs function room contained art and book displays, the games computers, and book stall set up by our local one-man book-shop, Jason Cooper. The ballustrade landing had a wall display of “Star Trek Animation”, and some comfy seats and lots of room for crowds. This night, however, the party I attended was in the room next to the functionroom and a cheery time was had. I could relax now that the main hall was locked up and my equipment safe from prying spies.
To be continued

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