Swancon XII – Who Is This Guest Of Honour Anyway ???

This is from page 5 of the Swancon XII Programme Book. Transcribed by Doug Burbidge.

I have known John McDouall for forty years. I have always said that, and I do not intend to change now.

It seems strange when I look back. I can almost recall his first words to me. It was a Pacific campaign game, WWII (*the big one*), and you had to buy your own models. Said McDouall, proffering me a model amphibious landing craft, “Wanna buy a duck ?”

We have gone from strength to strength ever since. Of course, there were years which I spent in desperate envy of the endless steam of young and extraordinarily beautiful young women in whose company he was inevitably seen. (McDouall was the man at the centre of the five-female-one-male lunch, and other debauchery.) However, he assures me that not even half of the goings-on rumoured about him are true — except, of course, in the context of D&D. I have tried to forgive him, but it’s not easy.

John was (I think) the first of us to make the crossing from wargaming to fandom. He’s still involved in both pursuits, and has been up to his neck in every Swancon since 2. It was his boyish charm, and probably the ingenious way in which he admitted that he hadn’t enough money to pay the restaurant to which we were supposed to have taken her that got Anne McCaffery intrigued enough to come to Swancon 5. She found it difficult to believe that someone so open, so naive, so conniving, could be walking about without a minder, and I think she wanted to find out if we were all like that, so she could warn the rest of the Science Fiction Writers of America off. Fortunately, we’re not. There’s only one McDouall.

There is much to McDouall I could describe. His teetotality; his famous tightwaddedness; the rich, full-blooded nature of his snores; his way of extracting money from unpromising auction attendees; the size of his feet; why he always wears black in formal dress; and how he came to be a lovely little mover, but with no ball control. It is too much to manage here however. I shall leave it to the well-known McPoet McLaureate of his ancestral glens, Red Harry McLegs, to give a portrait:

Whisht, yon hielan lad, for here comes one of the McDoualls,
Run! Hide your family siller, and even more, your family jewels.”

This is a description with which those who have known John can easily concur.

Dave Luckett.

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