Transcribed by Elaine Walker, maintaining all spellings as given in the text
February 27, Tuesday; Night. A dinner was held for our guests at the home of the WASFA Boss. The repast was sumptuous having been prepared by Bob himself, cooking being an old hobby of his, along with the art of Framing and other photographic skills. Having eaten well we all settled back to enjoy witty conversation only to find that one more item was to be sorted out before the Con could get under way. Thus, punctuated by exlamations of amazement, stunned looks, and general eye-brow waggling from Leigh and Valma, we got stuck into the plaguing problem: “what event, first thing on Friday night, can we use to warm up the crowd and get the neofans relating to the actifans?” A special “socializing” period after the opening was warned of as a possible chance for groups to form cliques and leave new-comers sitting quietly all alone. So, what we wanted was indeed an event. With Ian Nicholls in the “chair” we thrashed around opinions and needs and even a few ideas until our investment in an experienced GøH paid off. Faced with the spectacle of a room-full of Western Australians desperately in search of some way to “save-the-convention-at-the-last-minute”, Leigh fell into the trap and spilled the beans. A debate! A humorous debate! With people arguing a point of view opposite to that which they usually supported! What genius! (What exclamation marks!) All we needed was a topic. I’m not sure, but in the hubbub of ideas (silly to serious) I think it was Valma Brown who came up with the Clincher. “Science Fiction Prepares People For The Future”. We selected as many participants as we could at the time. By then some people had already gone home and one of them was elected “in absentia”, to be told at the next Golden Rail Meeting; the next day in fact. One other “ghost-elected” debater was only informed on the night of the event itself. I was the initial choice for Chairman of the debate as the other most likely choice was also our best mouthpiece (
loudmouth speaker). However the Convention Chairman or “Beanbagman” as he called himself, Tony Peacy, decided that it would be safer at such a crucial point to have an experienced debater controlling things and Ian should be the debate chairman. Confronted with some “humms and haas” Tony took emergency action, revealing the secret power of all chairmen, and threatened to resign as Beanbagman if it wasn’t done his way! (an event which would throw the printed program out the window.) He had us over a barrel and was prepared to roll it. This showed him, despite earlier protestations to the contrary, to be as excellent Chairman material as we’d hoped. I, for one, was not about to jeopardize my careful infiltration of the “Group” with a powerplay so I smartly backed up Tony’s view and resigned the position in favour of Ian. This, I think, was the first command decision by our Beanbagman for the convention, even though it was not actually on for another two days.
- An aside: The dating of a convention; for me it would start the moment the Guest of Honour is delivered into the hands of the Committe. One of a committee’s rewards for having to work during the Convention proper is that for them it starts when their GøH arrives. The Convention ends the moment said GøH leaves. Thus SWANCON 4 started at 7:00 AM Monday the 26th of Feb. and ended 11:00 PM Monday the 5th of March. WAYCON ’79 happened for three days of that period. Back to our story.
(to be continued…)