From Winnipeg, it's on to Glasgow, Scotland, for next year's worldcon. Intersection will be the fifth worldcon that's been held in the United Kingdom, but the first outside of England. One of the people from this side of the Atlantic sure to be at Intersection will be Dave Kyle, who not only lived in England during the 1970s, but played a part in the conception of the very first British worldcon, 1957's LonCon. The following article collects some of Dave's memories of the people and events of British fandom.
'Scot and Eng, My Fannish Lands of Lore' by Dave Kyle; 
  title illo by Joe Mayhew
Scotland and Glasgow and 1995 and "Intersection" are coming. "Intersection"?? That's a funny name for a Worldcon. Where's tradition? No "con" in the name, not even "...vention"? Maybe we could think of it as "InterVention"?! (It's better than "Glascon" or "Scotvention"?)

Just think! The Worldcon will be in three different countries in three successive years, the first time that's ever happened. The remarkable 50th was in Florida in 1992. Then our next half century began in California last year, went to Manitoba, Canada this year, and reaches Glasgow, Scotland in 1995. If you thought Winnipeg was an off-beat hassle with money exchange, travel problems, and customs inspectors, you've got greater problems coming. And if you thought ConAdian was rather small, with 3,500 attendees, you might find the Scottish event even more intimate.

Intersection for me will mean another wonderful return to the United Kingdom, where my family and I lived for many years, two decades ago. ConAdian has already plugged me in. Dr. Jack Cohen was there, and reminded me, "It's your fault, you know, Dave. You brought me into fandom years ago." He once scared Ruth silly by sitting next to her with a live snake in his lap. He was the chairman of Novacon 4, in 1974, in Birmingham. The official attendance was 211 (wow!).

I hope to see a few fans at Glasgow in 1995 who were at the Kettering, England convention in the spring of 1956. I was there. What a fannish party that was! The small, intimate hotel was occupied by the U.K. forces of fandom; the bar -- the central point for con camaraderie -- was a crowded room filled with smoke, laughter, chatter, and the smells of English brews. The fans were the genuine stuff, youngish enthusiasts -- single, engaged, or married couples -- hardly stuffy English stereotypes.

It was in Kettering where I first met The Liverpool Group gang (LiG) and made many close friends for life. Once their names were synonymous with British fandom: Norman and Ina Shorrock, John Roles, John Owen, Stanley and Marge Nuttall, Eddie Jones, and Norman Weedall. There were also, of course, those from the South (London) and the West (Cheltenham). In point of fact, as the English say, that gathering may well have been the genesis of the Ancient and Honourable Order of St. Fantony. {{ed. note: see "The Most Noble and Illustrious Order of St. Fantony" in Mimosa 11 }}

illo by Joe Mayhew Two events at Kettering are etched in my mind. There was the overwhelming fun of the unpretentious night of costumes. The show was spontaneous, hardly organized, and humorous because of the off-hand simplicity of what was worn. In the courtyard that afternoon, I saw the comical trial run of something looking like a Arthur Thomson cartoon, an uncontrollable black blob with a brave soul inside. The greatest event, however, was the most hilarious room party I have ever in my life experienced. The room was small -- in fact tiny -- but scores must have been packed in there. The one bed was an island supporting a half dozen survivors. I discovered two shoes sticking out from beneath the foot of the bed. Was he a victim? I sought advice. The shoes were recognized and sternly addressed. The shoes waggled back a feeble reply, and a groaning voice asked for solitude. The party carried on. The room temperature had risen dramatically and, for survival, articles of apparel were discarded. Underclothing on display seemed quite acceptable and logical, but I shed only my jacket and tie. Then, to me, the funniest climax took place: Ron Buckmaster, Pamela Bulmer's brother, had managed somehow, with great force and strain, to open the door wide enough to slip into the packed room. I saw him take in the situation with one quick glance. How he managed in the crush of bodies, I don't know, but almost in an instant he was down to trousers and undershirt -- one of the revelers, no longer an outsider.

One other American was in that room, as inhibited as me -- my very best friend, Dick Wilson. We had made the trip together in the bowels of the Ile de France. Passage was cheap, but we had squeezed our finances hard to afford it. He would be hosted by the Parisian office of Reuter's News for whom he worked in New York, while I stayed with E.J. "Ted" Carnell, fan turned professional editor of New Worlds. Ted and I had planned for a London worldcon bid to be made at my convention (the 14th worldcon) in New York that summer.

The success of the London bid and my subsequent honeymoon flight to London in 1957 in a chartered airplane filled entirely with fans has been told elsewhere. It was Ruth's introduction to the garden of England and the wonderful people there, which whetted her desire to return for a holiday in 1961, and to make our move there in 1970.

For nearly seven years, my wife Ruth and I, with son Arthur and daughter Kerry, lived in England. Ruth and I -- and A.C. and Kerry if school permitted -- attended all the Eastercons and Novacons that we could. One Eastertime at Great Yarmouth was exceptional fun. Everyone breakfasted together on the inexpensive "all-in" (all-inclusive) rates. Most memorable was the special excitement in that seaside town that weekend, not because of the sf crowd, but because of the roaring engines and squealing wheels at all hours as two itinerant gangs clashed: the rakish mods on their motorized scooters and the rival raffish bikers on their motorcycles.

Although we had many friends other than the Liverpool group, it was LiG and its circle with whom we most often exchanged visits. We had been closely knit together by a common holiday in Ibizia, a Balearic island off the east coast of Spain, which began our pilgrimage to England in January of 1970 en route to Germany for the worldcon that summer. LiG had its own club rooms in downtown Liverpool in 1956, and its walls were covered with autographs of members and visitors. (I was there later, when the club was moving out, and the walls being demolished. I suggested the wall skin be preserved, but I don't know if it was.) In 1965, during my excursion to Liverpool after Loncon 2, I was introduced to "another John Campbell" (John Ramsey Campbell), a young LiG fan writer, now well-known as Ramsey Campbell. He later married Jenny, the daughter of Australian writer A. Bertram Chandler. That was the year, too, when I was plugging for another worldcon, this time for "Syracon" in Syracuse, New York (Cleveland, Ohio, eventually won the bid for the 1966 worldcon) -- and Marge Denton, Stanley Nuttall's betrothed, daringly wore two orange "I'm for Syracuse" buttons on her two most prominent places.

Ruth and I had a house on the Thames River, between Hampton Court Palace and Windsor Castle, and it became a custom for the Liverpool Group (as many who could make it) to come to our home for a long Whitsuntide holiday weekend. The living room became a dormitory for the men, while the women slept in the bedrooms. During the day, we picnicked in the garden and lawn-bowled or threw darts. The remarkable weather always seemed to favor us with sunny skies and gentle breezes.

illo by Joe Mayhew Many visitors came to our home of "Two Rivers", so named because the Thames was two dozen feet away to the northeast and the Bourne crossed our back garden from the southwest, behind our small garage on the Hamm Court private road. It was right there where H.G. Wells' Martian Fighting Machines crossed toward London. We kept a visitors' book for those years until we returned to the U.S. in 1977. That book now jogs my memory. At first, only close friends knew our whereabouts with its welcome mat. Dr. Watson Miller, now deceased, came with his charming wife Sue, who is still a member of First Fandom. H.J. "Bert" Campbell, for years editor of the British sf magazine Authentic Science Fiction, was an early regular because we were personal friends. Bert had been my guest in America when he came to Philcon 2 in 1953.

Other English fans at Two Rivers were Ted and Irene Carnell, Les Flood, Gerry Webb, Walter Gillings, Ramblin' Jake, Fred W. Clarke with Nora (Arthur's brother and mother), movie man Richard Aubrey, Dr. Christopher Evans, Ron West, and world traveler Trevor Hearndon. International visitors included Robin Johnson and Peter Nicholls from Australia, Waldemar Kumming from Germany, Leszek Jeczmyk from Poland, Anne McCaffrey from Ireland, and John-Henri Holmberg from Sweden. Americans who came to Two Rivers included Roy Meyers, Don and Elsie Wollheim, Banks Mebane, Jean Berman, Fred Prophet, Ron Bounds, Ed Cox, and Ian Macauley.

There were also Sam Moskowitz, Carol Pohl, Forry and Wendy Ackerman ("It's like old Thames"), Don Corbett, Verna Smith Trestrail, Florence Russell (who with her late husband Sam, had emigrated from L.A. -- Sam once kindly said, "How many people can see swans on the Thames from their front door? And deserve it?"), J. Ben Stark, and Theodore Sturgeon (who thanked us all... "for this stay in your healing place").

A typical Whit Weekend (starting in 1972) included Eddie, Stan & Marge, John R., John O., Norm & Ina, and Norman (W), as he always signed himself. Keith & Wendy Freeman from Reading were practically monthly guests (they became our daughter Kerry's God Parents). Also, there were Tony & Marj Edwards and Chuck & Lynda Partington from the Midlands (Tony and Chuck were film enthusiasts; they made fannish films, one starring Harry Harrison, published many issues of L'Incroyable Cinema, plus a semi-professional magazine called Alien Worlds and for a time owned a movie house), and Bob Shaw with his beautiful wife Sadie. One Whit weekend, Ina and Norman phoned from Ibizia to let us know they were with us in spirit. Whit weekend in England was our very best time of the year.

On June 13, 1976, our Two Rivers guest book has a page with the bold lettering across the top: THE MARTIANS ARE COMING! Philip José Farmer, of Peoria, Illinois, signed that page, together with all his nom de plumes: "Kilgore Trout, Jonathan Swift Somers III, Rod Keen, Paul Chapin, John H. Watson M.D., William Norfolk M.D., and Cordwainer Bird." This was the day Phil suggested I put a bronze plaque in the garden to mark the spot where the Martians crossed the Thames on their way to Shepparton and London. (Further details were reported in Mimosa 13.) And then there was Dannie Plachta from Detroit, who wrote on November 5th, 1976: "Today I waved at the River Police and they came in. Fortunately, the Novacon Guest of Honor was not arrested."

I wasn't "arrested" because only Dannie was at Two Rivers then. I was at Novacon 6 in Birmingham, the first time I had ever been a Guest of Honour (or "Honor", even) at a major convention. I have Stan Eling of the Birmingham Science Fiction Group to thank for that, along with Roger Peyton. Stan was Chairman, Rog was an ex-Chairman. Attendance was 317, officially that is, and I made my stirring speech about real science fiction being submerged by the New Wave. My big book, A Pictorial History of Science Fiction, had been published that summer and the British Science Fiction Association awarded me a "Special Award" trophy for it. I was generously complimented by BSFA members for the work (as also did Isaac Asimov and Robert Heinlein), but I did feel they might have been influenced by the fact that I had just been part of a rescue operation for the floundering BSFA, getting Arthur C. Clarke to be Honorary Chairman while I was Vice Chairman and Managing Director.

Memories flash across my mind like meteors...

illo by Joe Mayhew There were the monthly meetings in London at The Globe pub where you never knew who might turn up, or what amusing or noteworthy moment might occur, like when Arthur Clarke stirred excitement by showing off his novelty, the first pocket calculator... There was the day at the Chinese Restaurant in Liverpool when Phil Rogers, the St. Fantony GrandMaster, ate everything in sight, a prodigious undertaking... I remember the time I lost my wallet going to the ThirdManCon at Manchester University. When I returned in the middle of the night from my successful search in backtracking our auto route, Ruth was awake, changing rooms -- she had discovered a host of creepy-crawlies.

I salivate remembering the sf collections of "old" Ken Chapman and "young" John Eggling, who helped my research on my picture books. I remember the thrill of being an important part of the H.G. Wells Society; it was exhilarating driving frequently to Feltham to work with the Hamlyn publishing staff. I recall encountering Ted Tubb unexpectedly in London as he was making his sidewalk sales pitch (outside of sf life, Ted was a salesman). My whole family remembers the great sf television shows of Intersection's Guest of Honour, Gerry Anderson -- Captain Scarlet, Thunderbirds Are Go, and the underrated UFO.

In 1952, Scotland got its own science fiction magazine, Nebula. It lasted for seven years. Peter Hamilton, Jr., was the young, dedicated editor giving intense devotion to his project. He introduced many writers into the field, including Brian Aldiss, Robert Silverberg, and Bob Shaw. Glasgow was his home. Remember him and his magazine when you get there.

All illustrations by Joe Mayhew

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