Swancon XV Report

From Swancon 16’s Progress Report 1, here’s:


Transcribed by Doug Burbidge

(Well at least it’s out before SwanCon 16!)
the usually late
(but better late than never)
IT was the best of times, it was the best of times. Who’d a thought, thirty year ago, we’d all be sat sitting supping Chateau de Chassily……?

I wasn’t at SwanCons 1 to 4 (nearly made it to 4, but I was new to the big city and not entirely trusting in the MTT to get me from point A to point Z via points B to Y in their inimitable fashion: “Will this bus get me to Hay Street?” “Buggered if I know, love, I only drive the thing.” But I digress.), but having attended SwanCons 5 onwards, I can state unequivocally that they’ve come a long way, baby.

SwanCon 1 was held in Tony Peacy’s house. After that, the venues got larger and larger, until SwanCon 5 successfully bid for the Natcon. SwanCon 5 was a watershed. Big Name GOH, big flash hotel, big crowd…….. Ten years later, SwanCon XV (ghod, five hundred years since western civilisation discovers the wonders of Arabic numerals and then WE get a bunch of reactionaries in charge). What can I say? Medium name GOH, medium size, non flash but comfy hotel, big crowd……


Terry Dowling, GOH ——– what great value for money, as the ad people tell us. A riveting and exceedingly amusing speaker, very approachable, and what other GOH can claim to having worked on everybody’s favourite TV program, Mr Squiggle? I can’t remember when I’ve enjoyed a banquet more (and I’m positive the restaurant staff will never forget us), two long tables of (ostensible) grown ups singing “Roger Ramjet” and all the other theme songs of our childhood (but we forgot “Spiderman”!). I tend to make a habit of missing GOH speeches, as they’re often boring unless you are familiar with the speaker’s body of work, and now I’m kicking myself for missing Terry’s. Having heard him speak at other times, I’m sure it would have been terrific.

Grant Stone, Fan GOH ——– well. Anyone who has heard Grant speak will know how witty and erudite our Grant is. I could sit and listen to Grant waffle on speak for hours and hours and hours. Just as well, for he frequently does! Give Grant a topic, any topic, and he’ll produce a speech that will have the audience begging for more, with references to books on the subject, names, dates, the lot. Stephen Dedman claims Grant is a time traveller. This may well be so, as I’m sure Grant must have some sort of computerised encyclopaedia directly feeding into his brain. Definitely a top choice for fan GOH.

Miss Maud’s European Hotel. The almost perfect fan hotel, limited only by its quaint lift, which wasn’t really up to lift parties (but awfully fun to use). All those stairs and corridors, and the odd little room (Mike’s) on the service landing. The breakfasts! The challenge to test one’s stamina by partying (or watching the well-programmed videos) until 5am, then getting up at 6.20am to be ready for the smorgasbord breakfast at 7am……On the first morning I tried to get my four year old daughter Eleanor to eat more than one pancake and half a croissant. The next morning she looked at the spread and asked “Why does it always have to be the same things?” No pleasing some people! The hotel staff were friendly and helpful too, although I admit to having been a little disturbed when the receptionist said, as Adam and I checked in, “You’re the first normal people we’ve seen so far!”

One small drawback was the walk to the Swy Theatre where the Con was actually being held. Any other weekend there would have been no problem, but we chose the one when there was torrential rain in the middle of summer! Well, I guess it added a little to the challenge. I did have an umbrella, but unfortunately it was in the car, which Adam wasn’t quite sure where he’d parked……

The programming. Does anyone ever attend a Con to go to the program items? Well, this Con had a higher than average percentage of program items which looked interesting on paper and were even more fun in the flesh, so to speak. I never knew Greg Turkich was into cross-dressing until I saw Fannish Impros. The things you learn. The panels were, on the whole, a lot of fun, too, generating a fairly high quality of witty comment. The masquerade, with its impressive range of clever costumes (gee, WA fen are a talented bunch), and the traditional pie-ing……..but no Fan olympics! Sacrilege! They were scheduled, but in trufan style all the potential competitors were doing what comes naturally—-eating. Didn’t the programmer know that breakfast didn’t finish until 10am? And Robin Pen’s video program, well worth the money. I hope Rob will be doing this at future cons.

I can’t say that I related to the theme awfully well, but in spite of it (or perhaps because of it) I really really really had a good time. Everyone involved, give yourselves a bit pat on the back. Next year should be a real knockout, with GOH Barbara Hambly. While Swancon XV could be thought to be a hard act to follow, I’m sure the new committee is up to it. In fact, I’m so looking forward to SwanCon 16 that I’ve already bought my membership (now there’s confidence for you!) and I urge all the rest of you to do the same!

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