Checkpoint 26

"This is the best Nudes &
Revue zine I've ever read!"

C:H:E:C:K:P:O:I:N:T 26

Checkpoint is a fortnightly news and reviews zine published by Peter Roberts, 87 West Town Lane, Bristol, BS4 5DZ, UK. Subs are 10/40p (2nd Class & Europe) and 4/$1 or 8/R1 (foreign airmail). Sample copy free – free copies are also provided for news gatherers. Agents: (USA) Charlie & Dena Brown, 3400 Ulloa St, San Francisco, Calif. 94116; (Aus) David Grigg, Box 100, Carlton South, Vic.3053; (RSA) Nick Shears, 52 Garden Way, Northcliff 4, Johannesburg. Back issues available @ 4/10p or 6/50¢.

Cartoon by Don Allen, lovingly cut onto stencil with a dart and safety-pin by PJR.

News this issue from Jan Janson and Nick Landau; Mi 3/2 is a flier with Checkpoint.

Restormel Press Publication: 70.

4th November 1972.

NOVACON: OVER, GONE... The second issue of Novacon arrived last weekend to brighten up these drear November days and to revive fannish flames left smouldering since Easter. The con was arranged, as last year, in the Imperial Centre Hotel, Birmingham, and the programme covered Saturday and Sunday with many fans arriving on Friday night for an unhindered bout of drinking and chatting. Guest of Honour was Doreen Parker, now transformed into Mrs Phil Rogers, and other luminaries (professionals by any other name) included Bob Shaw, Brian Aldiss, James White, Ken Bulmer, Anne McCaffrey, Chris Priest, Philip Strick, Josephine Saxton, Mark Adlard, and Rob Holdstock (that'll cost you 50p, Rob...). The programme was fairly light and ill-attended (by me, that is): two films (Marooned & Island of Lost Souls) were shown and various panels were held, including Brian Aldiss reading some unpublished short stories (and very good too); the auctions were sensibly divided into book and fanzine sales – something I recommend for the future.

So much for the serious bit. I arrived, with attendant angels and seraphim, late on Friday afternoon and was met with a dubious wave of hands and soft cries of "sshush" by a group of fans listening to the Last Goon Show; consolation in the form of Checkpoint subscriptions was, however, quickly offered and I retired with the proceeds to chat over coffee with Gray Boak until such time as the bar opened. Fans were beginning to arrive in quantity and as opening-time drew near others came out of the woodwork for the first drink of the evening. Bob Shaw, however, had had the envious good fortune to have been chosen as a test subject for various brews of Guinness earlier in the day – I looked around eagerly, but no such welcome to Birmingham was offered to me. Nevertheless, I must admit that I lasted the better part of the evening on the results of "Hello, Peter! Can I buy you another?"

Eddie Jones and Eric Bentcliffe tried to con me (and Checkpoint readers) into believing that Jack Gaughan and John Schoenherr had arrived, whilst Marsha sang a welcoming aardvark song; I quickly returned to the upstairs bar where a congregation of rat and gannet fandom were jeering happily at passers-by. Ian Maule was the only representative from the North-East, John Brosnan represented Australia, and there thus remained the three heavies: John Piggott, Greg Pickersgill, and Roy Kettle. I spent most of the evening in the comfy chairs of the bar with these fellow faneds and Gray Boak, thus forming a circle of British crifanac. Encouraged by this latter thought we considered the state of Anglofandom; "What British fandom needs..." I said, " a flamethrower," finished Greg. Such was the level of conversation: there will be no great projects or innovations in the near future.

Pete Weston came over and, after a while, told us of his grief and annoyance at the pile of letters he was receiving from loud-mouthed neos who were furious because they hadn't received a Speculation by return post (Pete has no back issues); at that moment a neo came up and said: "Mr.Weston? I sent a sub to you, but never received your fanzine..." He was, perhaps, slightly surprised at the reception that his innocent question received.

In the early hours I wandered off and joined a 'dealer's choice' card session which included Bon Bennett, Norman Shorrock, Phil Rogers, Eric Bentcliffe, Tony Walsh, Tony Edwards, and Ted Ball. Eric had just won some incredible sum on three superb hands; but it didn't seem to deter the players too much. Virtually every game possible was attempted, the favourites being Red Dog, Brag (naturally), and Ron Bennett's 'Greedy Poker' – Harrison Chang was also played, without too many ill effects. About 4:00am I went downstairs to get some cigarettes; the hotel lobby was ill-lit and deserted of guests and staff. All I could see in the dim silence was a policeman, leaning on a counter and enveloped in a large cloak; he didn't look up at me, but just stared at two cats fighting, and giggled occasionally. I didn't stay down there long.

The Saturday was pleasant, except for a succession of rather unlovely meals in Birmingham, but uneventful. Ken Bulmer hurried over at one point, tears streaming down his aged cheeks, and said "Jan Jansen's just arrived, though it won't mean much to you youngsters..." As regular Checkpoint readers will know, however, Jan is a fine European news-gatherer and we managed to meet later on. The small Belgian contingent at the Novacon represented the only foreign fans present; most will be saving up for a trip over to the 1973 Eastercon.

Gray Boak held the first of two fanzine auctions on Saturday and prices, even in the absence of American competition, were high. Ian Maule, for example, paid 90p for three issues of Axe – though he may well have been three parts drunk at the time. Half a dozen early Yandros fetched £2 and batches of Energumens, Outworlds, Shaggys, and Granfalloons reached similar prices. I finished up with some Axes, Discords and Canadian Fandoms (from the 1940s) – others, principally Ian Maule, John Piggott, Darroll Pardoe, and the Mearas, took away much larger bundles.

Just after midnight the Fancy Dress Party was held, an event which, for once, I actually entered. Tony Walsh, British fandom's acknowledged master of fancy dress, had ingeniously wired up several sets of Norman Lights – the pink, flashing emotion-indicators from Brian Aldiss's The Primal Urge – and had gathered together a group of eight people to wear them, Tony and Simone Walsh, Gerry Webb, Norman Shorrock, Dave Kyle, Pete Weston, myself, and one girl unknown to me duly mingled with the other contestants and visitors, pinking when the fancy took us; Marsha Elkin, clad in a bikini, was probably dazzled... We also surrounded Brian Aldiss himself who enthusiastically cried "They like me! They like me!" and presented us with a bottle of kummel; other winners included Vernon Brown and girlfriend in animal masks of some sort, and an unknown fan in a pumpkin suit. An honourable mention should go to Fred Hemmings, brightly dressed in orange with a massive clockwork key protruding from his chest.. Damn punster...

Further drinking was done until late into the night and there seemed to be a considerable amount of singing and rushing around (up to the roof, and suchlike) , so the next and final day was somewhat subdued. Eric Bentcliffe offered me a lift back to the Potteries and we loft early in the afternoon to avoid falling asleep. If anything occurred thereafter, I'd be happy to hear about it.

Peter Roberts

NOVACON III ALREADY? I don't want to rush you through the year, but the Birmingham Group have set up a committee for next November's con. Membership is again 50p, this time from: Hazel Reynolds, 40 Portia Av, Shirley, Solihull, Worcs. This year's paid attendance was over 190, by the way.

FIRST FANTASY MINICON: Though primarily a get-together of comic fans and hucksters, I thought I might mention this event; it's scheduled for December the 2nd at Lyndhurst Hall in Kentish Town, London. There's no membership charge and, as far as I know, no programme (beyond the business of selling). Further information can be obtained from Nick Landau, Room F-22, Rootes Hall, Univ. of Warwick, Coventry, CV4 7AL.

EUROCON PROGRAMME: Jan Jansen has sent along a provisional list of items for next year's – sorry, I'll type that again – 1974's Brussels Eurocon. It's described as a "congress" , I gather, and seems aimed at attracting Eastern European delegations – in fact the first group of Russian fans are expected, amongst others. For a fortnight or so there'll be the following exhibitions: sf and fantasy painting; statues; 'strange art'; sf illustrators and designers of comic strips; UNESCO children's sf drawings; and sf films. The con itself opens on Wednesday, August 28th, and closes on Sunday, 1st September. There'll be speeches and films on Wednesday and Thursday, Friday is a "fan day", though this seems doubtful, since speeches, debates, and films are also programmed, and Saturday is dominated by the Banquet & Awards and the business meeting (though there are to be unspecified "happenings"; finally, there's a trip to a haunted castle on Sunday. Attending membership will be over £4; Fred Hemmings is the British Agent (20 Beech Rd, Slough, SL3 7DQ).

a few fanzines received

Idiocy Couchant 2 (13pp:¼o:d) Arthur Cruttenden, Idiocy Couchant, 31 Heath Lodge Site, Welwyn, Herts. (10p) Rather a thin issue with a non-descript 'diary' editorial, a poor (in quality & quantity) letter column, and a short piece on fandom as a haven for extrovert people. Saving grace for this issue comes in some fairly good fmz reviews from Keith Bridges, though I'm perplexed at the review of Maya 2 which appeared at Easter 1971 and has since changed editors.

Les Spinge 25 (19pp:¼o:d) Darroll Pardoe, 24 Othello Close, Hartford, Huntingdon, PE18 7SU. (free) Another thinnish issue, but a very well produced one, attractively laid out and with a good Dave Rowe cover. Contents can hardly be described as good or bad – they're just light-weight: the editorial rambles, as it should do; but the letter-column has little to say and an extract from a journal of the 1830s has less. Les Spinge finished with a few fmz reviews which I and several others at the Novacon disagree with – perhaps they'll stir up some comment in what has otherwise become rather a placid and a backwater fanzine.

Locus 125 (10pp:A4:d) Charlie & Dena Brown, 3400 Ulloa St, San Francisco, Ca.94116, USA. (10/$3.50 – airmail) UK Agent: Pete Weston. Yet another issue of the Hugo-winning sf newszine. This issue is largely given over to book and prozine reviews with some 2½ pages of news. Headlines concern Avon's annual US reprint edition of New Worlds. Recommended.

Media 20 (2pp:A4:d) John Mansfield, PO Box 830, CFPO 5056, 757 Baden Baden 1, Germany. (10¢) News notes on Star Trek and The Avengers – for aficionados [sic] only, though even they must reconcile themselves to the spelling which is atroashusse.

YET MORE CONS: The British Fantasy Society is apparently planning a convention in the north of England next year: more details will be available later, I trust. // The annual Belgian con noted last issue will, I believe, take place in Ghent on the 19/20th of May 1973.


Peter Roberts....
87 West Town Lane
Bristol, BS4 5DZ,
United Kingdom...

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