Checkpoint 37

Harry Bell cartoon masthead

Checkpoint 37 is a news and reviews zine published by Peter Roberts, 87 West Town Lane, Bristol, BS4 5DZ, UK. Subs are 10/40p (2nd class & Europe), 6/$1, 8/R1, 8/$A1 (foreign airmail). Sample copy free.

Agents: (USA) Charlie & Dena Brown, 3400 Ulloa St, San Francisco, Ca.94116; (Aus) Robin Johnson, PO Box 4029, Melbourne, Vic.3001; (RSA) Nick Shears, 52 Garden Way, Northcliffe 4, Johannesburg, Transvaal.

Heading this issue by Harry Bell. News from Graham Poole.

Restormel Press Publication: 82. 5th May 1973.

NICE ONE, OMPA... The 24th British Easter Convention took place at the Grand Hotel, Bristol, over Easter weekend (Thursday to Monday). I'm not sure of the final figures, but 346 people had registered by the start of the convention and the final total must have neared 400. I should imagine that actual attendance was between 250-300, a figure which increases every year.

The convention was organised by members of OMPA, the British-based Off-Trail Magazine Publishers' Association, with a committee consisting of Gerald Bishop, Ken Cheslin, Fred Hemmings, Terry Jeeves, Mike & Pat Meara, and Brian Robinson. Guest of Honour was Samuel Delany; other professionals attending included Brian Aldiss, John Brunner, Bob Shaw, James White, Ken Bulmer, Ted Tubb, James Blish, Don Wollheim, and Chris Priest.

As far as I was concerned, things started on the Wednesday before the con when Fred Hemmings, Gerald Bishop, and Mike & Pat Meara arrived to pick up some auction material and sort it out – a process which took all of the evening and most of the night. "Never again, never again!" seemed to be the most popular phrase. After a bare four hours sleep, they all rushed off to prepare for the possible arrival of fans in the evening. In fact John Piggott and Rob Jackson arrived, together with two neos (whose name I'm afraid I forget), and (later) 'Gray Boak' – or rather, Pat Henderson. Ratfandom apparently attempted to journey out to Brislington, but were in no fit state to manage such a journey and merely wandered aimlessly round Bristol. Not that many people arrived on Thursday, most leaving it until the official start on Friday. Thursday evening chez Roberts was thus a lightweight, but pleasant enough start to the con – coffee, fanzines, and gossip took up much of the time.

On Friday Gray (who'd stayed overnight) and I managed to get up early and reached the hotel just before the convention programme was about to begin; more importantly, we reached there as the hotel bar opened – a temporary affair, but well-stocked in everything except cigarettes. We met numerous fans, including most of the foreigners who'd made it to the con; there weren't as many as usual, possibly due to the smallpox scare which made entry into Britain impossible without a vaccination. But I did meet Tom Schlück and his future wife, virtually the only Germans present (except Holger Muller who is now living in the UK), Simon Joukes, one of the organizers of the forthcoming Beneluxcon this May in Ghent, and Michael Feron, together making up part of the Belgian contingent; there were several Dutch fans present and one or two from Sweden, including Nils Andersson who is presently living in Britain. Banks Mebane and Danny Plachta were two of the American fans present – others included faned Matthew Schnook, the OMPAcon's US Agent, Sam Long, and several from the US forces in Europe (Al de Bettencourt, and so on).

As the only active fan in Bristol, I had to undergo an interview on Friday ("Do you read Superman comics?" &c) and even had a couple of photos taken – an unlikely pose of Jack Cohen and myself discussing a Silverberg novel that neither of us had read. I never found out the name of the paper or whether anything ever appeared – information welcomed! I also turned down an interview with Radio Bristol, being nervous of such things, and I think they asked John Brunner to speak as their second choice. I was a little swollen-headed on Friday... An attractive picture of Malcolm Edwards's wife, Christine, appeared in the Saturday Bristol Evening Post – she was described as "a wife of an sf publisher" which caused some guffaws amongst readers of Vector.

As usual, I saw little of the official programme. On Friday afternoon Dave Kyle chaired a panel, "Fandom At Random", investigating the effect fandom had had on various people's lives – June Moffatt, Ethel Lindsay, Tom Schluck, Terry Jeeves, and Keith Freeman listed certain notable personal and professional influences that fandom had had on them. Turning to the audience, Dave asked how many people had traveled more than fifty miles to the con (demonstrating one effect of fandom); a mass of hands rose. He then asked how many people had merely come from Bristol... I was alone in that peculiarity. He concluded the panel with a cunning question to the audience: "How many of you consider yourselves members of fandom?" This sounded very sercon and no one responded, so Dave reversed it: "How many of you don't consider yourself members of fandom?" This caused as much consternation and again no one responded. A nice point was thus made – I'm still not sure what, but it definitely made a point!

TAFF winner Len Moffatt started the first of an endless series of auctions that evening, together with Rog Peyton. The Bristol and District Sf Group Library was one of the items auctioned off at the OMPAcon. It had been rotting away in my garage ever since the BaD Group disbanded in 1968 and the Mercers, who'd previously housed it, moved to Helston. Sold in lots, the BaD Group Library (mostly paperbacks and magazines) raised £45 and the money was split four ways between TAFF, DUFF, the BSFA Library and the OMPAcon. A special fanzine auction was held later, Gray Boak auctioneer, but no notable items were sold – except for several thousand issues of Hell...

There was a Brum Group party on Friday night and an OMPA party on Saturday; since these were held in the bar lounge, they merged in with the general socialising and unfortunately failed to achieve any special identity. As per last year, room parties seemed few and far between (probably because the bar stayed open); I went to a Gannet party on Sunday evening but decided that more interesting things were happening elsewhere – as, indeed, most of the Gannets themselves did.

The Fancy Dress Competition was held on Saturday with Phil Rogers officiating; once again Tony & Simone Walsh (with help from LiG) had organized something of a spectacle which I, along with some twenty others, took part in; wrapped in cooking foil (over faces and hands) we marched into the end of the Fancy Dress display and demanded Robot Liberation – placards were held aloft and hundredweights of computer tape were strewn about the audience. Some trouble with a hotel underling on the way to the demo threatened to spoil the affair for the participants (though it was later cleared up with the aid of, I think, the Assistant Manager), but the final outcome was entirely successful and abundant praise for the entire operation came from most of the people in the hall – if not all, indeed. James Blish later proposed a toast to "the robots" at the banquet.

Films shown at the con included a couple of full-length features (Dr. Strangelove being one), the Delta Group amateur film competition, and, most popular of all, a couple of Star Trek 'blooper' films – an assemblage of mistakes and mucking around cut out of the tv series (people tripping up, actors forgetting lines, Spock laughing, and suchlike). I think these two short films were shown some four or five times during the con – by popular demand.

I managed to get home on Friday night, but on Saturday I sat in on an all-night card session – dealer's choice, as usual, mostly varieties of poker, red dog, or, of course, brag. The same school had been going for part of Friday night (when I'd won £8 and promptly lost it again) and was going on Saturday and Sunday night until breakfast at 8.00am – the ten of us on Saturday night comprised the only fools still awake. Final result? I think I gained £2, but several people may have walked home.

Sunday morning (the reason for me staying up) there was a fan panel chaired by Pete Weston with Malcolm Edwards, Jim Goddard, Ian Williams, and myself – there followed a discussion of the merits of fannish and sercon fanzines. It went fairly well and the audience weren't obviously bored. In the afternoon the quiz game "H.G.Wells' Moustache" was played; four teams (LiG, Brum Group, Gannetfandom, & Ratfandom) competed in an attempt to guess various unlikely things – The Mule, Dave Kyle's Beanie, Verguzz, & Tiger! Tiger! were examples – with Fred Hemmings as quizmaster. After a slow start, Ratfandom beat off its competitors and won. Foolishly the prize was drink... (awarded to Greg Pickersgill, Roy Kettle, Malcolm Edwards, & Rob Holdstock).

The banquet on Sunday evening was possibly more successful than most – opinions on the quality of food and service varied. Surprise of the evening was the first course: lettuce & rice pudding, I'm told. The various prizes were awarded after the catering (a partial list appears on the back page of this Checkpoint) – Dave Kyle was toastmaster.

Sunday night was the Grand Finale: a party in the bar lounge which lasted through until breakfast when there were still some 23 of us (according to Norman Shorrock, the only person still able to count) in the bar. Ted Ball bought the last drink before breakfast, appearing with a pint of bitter at 8.00am. Other stalwarts included Brian Aldiss (happily singing), Jim Blish & Samuel 'Chip' Delany – a mixed company of card-players, singers, and talkers making up the rest.

That's all I have room for! An enjoyable con, I do believe – no complaints from the management either, said Fred Hemmings on the Tuesday after.

fanzines received

Amoeboid Scunge 14 (4pp:A4:d) Jay Cornell & Seth McEvoy, Box 268, E.Lansing, Mi.48823, USA. (free) The editors have had a change of heart and are not asking for subs after all (though money would be appreciated); Scunge is a fortnightly mixture of fannish news and foolishness, this issue containing two bonus items: a flier from Aljo Svoboda and The Amoeboid Scunge Poll (in which you're allowed to vote for your Favourite Author – the choice is "Abner" or Sgt.Saturn...). Recommended.

Benjamin Disraeli 1 (6pp:A4:d) Hartley Patterson, Finches, 7 Cambridge Rd, Beaconsfield, Bucks. (free) This, says Hartley, is "a fanzine mostly to do with Conventions"; it's aimed specifically at the Eurocons and is intended to be some sort of forum for discussion, so most of the issue is made up of letters, though there's a Novacon 2 report as well. Good idea.

Benjamin Disraeli 2 (4pp – as above) Entirely a letterzine by now – write to Hartley if you have any views on the Eurocons or, indeed, what you would like to see at any ideal con.

Do Not Pass Go, Do Not Collect £200 12 (4pp:fscp:d) Hartley Patterson (as above) (free) Fanzine reviews – much the same length as these. I always find other people's opinions interesting (and I keep my eye open to see if I'm missing anything, too).

Gilbert's Goodtime Guide (4pp:¼o:d) Ratfandom, c/o John Brosnan, Flat 1, 62 Elsham Rd, Kensington, London W14. (free) One of the joys of the UK Eastercons is the 'Egregious Guide' produced for the puzzlement of the neofan by the unnamed Hosts of Ratfandom. This year there's the usual "Gilbert Awards" (including the famed James *sorry – no corflu!* "John Killian Houston Brunner Self-Sustaining Ego-Trip Bucket (Awarded Hourly) for Pretentiousness in Absolutely Everything") and the Guide also has plenty of "Fan Funnies" and an alternative programme. Lots of laffs – see if they've any left. Highly recommended.

Instant Message 123 (4pp:A4:d) NESFA, Box G, MIT Branch Station, Cambridge, Ma.02139, USA. (free?) This New England newsletter is mainly of local interest – it's a lot clearer both in layout and reproduction than it was.

Inworlds 4 (10pp:A4:d) Bill Bowers, PO Box 148, Wadsworth, Ohio 44281, USA. (UK Agent: Terry Jeeves – 5/40p) Inworlds is a monthly "fanzine about fanzines", containing reviews and news plus letters and other oddments. I find it extremely interesting and I hope it continues. Recommended.

King Kon (25pp:¼o:d) Brian Robinson & Paul Skelton, 9 Linwood Grove, Manchester, M12 4QH. (free) Most peculiar – the entire thing consists of a Chessmancon report from Thom Penman; Thom writes phrenetically of his time at the con which seemed to consist of an endless round of idiot pranks and slapstick incidents. It's mostly true and was funny at the time – reading the saga now will probably make the participants feel like prize tits, however. And if you're not mentioned, forget it.

Kwalhioqua 4 (21pp:A4:d) Ed Cagle, Route 1, Loon, Ks.67074, USA. (free) Though it's one of the nastiest looking fanzines you'd care to see, Kwalhiowua (like Fouler) is an active and highly entertaining fanzine with the editor in fine form (notably in his fanzine reviews – the most amazing I've ever seen) and with his mass of contributors up to the same mark (John Bangsund, excellent as always; Buck Coulson, efficiently squashing Anglofandom; and many others, nearly all entertaining). The damn thing is monthly as well. This issue is dedicated to Harry Warner Jr, for excellence in bat-herding. What can I say? Highly recommended.

Kwalhioqua 4 (11pp:A4:d) Ed Cagle (as above) A further collection of nonsense, including a passage where punctuation is substituted by words a la Victor Borge. All in all pootpootpoot a fine fanzine poot

Locus 137 (8pp:A4:d) Charlie & Dena Brown, 3400 Ulloa St, San Francisco, Ca.94116, USA. (UK Agent: Pete Weston – 10/£1.50 airmail) This issue is devoted to the Locus poll and survey; some 383 people voted – it sounds a lot, but it's roughly the same percentage as voted in the Checkpoint poll: 25% of the mailing list or thereabouts. The survey results are more interesting than the poll itself which is pretty predictable. 71% of voters, for example, receive less than five fanzines – 71% of voters in the Checkpoint poll publish fanzines... Ah well, very interesting and recommended. Must try a survey myself sometime.

Locus 138 (8pp: as above) Plenty of sf news and a few book reviews.

Locus 139 (as above) News, Jack Gaughan column, and fmz listing.

Malfunction 3 (19pp:¼o:d) Pete Presford, 10 Dalkeith Rd, Sth Reddish, Stockport, SK5 7EY. (free) A notorious product of the MaD Fanzine Factory, Malfunction has earned itself a place in the "Famous Crudzines" section of British fannish history. The third issue, however, is rather too good – it doesn't look bad and there are some amusements within. I'll have to loan Pete a copy of Viridiana to show how things should be done...

Muirgheal 2 (31pp:A4:d) Simon Joukes, Haantjeslei 14, B-2000 Antwerp, Belgium. (20p) The first thing to say is that Muirgheal is written in three languages (Dutch/French/English) with a fourth (German) appearing in the letter column; such chaos is almost unavoidable in a European fanzine which tries to be international, but it does make things interesting and the editor is fluent enough. Much of the discussion centres around the Eurocons and the projected European Sf Association – all interesting. The other odd, sercon articles are somewhat superfluous (though of probable interest to Tolkien fans). I look forward to future issues.

Paranoid 4 (9pp:¼o:d) Ian Maule, 13 Weardale Av, Forest Hall, Newcastle on Tyne, NE12 0HX. (free) Another 'final' issue of Paranoid appeared at the con; as usual, there's nothing much within – mostly rejects, I suspect, from other Gannet publications. Keery Chortle's "Whorelord of the Where?" is full of laffs, however, though somewhat esoteric. John Hall and Ian Williams also make an appearance. We're still waiting for Maya, Ian...

Sf Commentary 33 (50pp:A4:d) Bruce Gillespie, GPO Box 5195AA, Melbourne, Vic.3001, Australia. (UK Agent: Malcolm Edwards – 9/£1.50) SFC is an excellent fanzine, a Hugo nominee for 1972, and one of the most interesting amateur publications you're ever likely to come across. This 33rd issue is entirely devoted to the editorial cum lettercol "I Must Be Talking To My Friends", perhaps the most well-known and best liked feature of Sf Commentary. Highly recommended.

The Anything Thing 5 (40pp:A4:d) Frank Balazs & Matthew Schneck, 19 High Street, Croton-on-Hudson, NY.10520, USA. (40¢) TAT is a fairly typical fanzine – plenty of short articles, a letter column, and fmz reviews; but it's all fairly well-written, fannish and enjoyable – contributors include Donn Brazier and Ed Cagle. Only one more issue planned, however.

The WSFA Journal 81 (63pp:A4:d) Don Miller, 12315 Judson Rd, Wheaton, Md.20906, USA. (75¢) Rarely seen nowadays, The WSFAJ is a Washington clubzine containing a mass of material, mostly serious sf or general stuff; it's one of those things where you dip in and pick one or two articles or oddments out, the rest being non-descript. I rather liked Mike Shoemaker's unusual fanzine reviews, but you may choose the book reviews, fiction, 'Thoughts on Editing' (Ted White & Ed Ferman), and so on. Good.

Touchstone 2 (20pp:¼o:d) David Grigg, Box 100, Carlton South, Vic.3053, Australia. (free) Mainly an apazine, Touchstone is a rather fine, rambling fanzine – a sort of continuous editorial linked by letters and the occasional odd piece (Leigh Edmonds contributes, for example). Recommended.

Warm Heart Pastry 3 (9pp:A4:d) Neal Goldfarb, Box 902, Brandeis Univ., Waltham, Ma.02154, USA. (free) Another personalzine with a couple of letters; it's a little messy and rather short, but I always enjoy it.

Zimri 4½ (48pp:A4:d) Lisa Conesa, 54 Manley Rd, Whalley Range, Manchester, M16 8HP. (20p) Zimri is one of the most enjoyable of the new British fanzines; front and back covers are photos from Chessmancon and there are some fine graphics inside by Harry Turner, illustrating a piece on the rock revival from John Hall. The letter column is a strong point, but there are also book reviews, poetry, and some further fannish definitions; also quite a nice piece from Ian Williams. Recommended.

EASTERCON AWARDS: The "Doc Weir Award" was presented to Ethel Lindsay by the previous holder, Jill Adams. // The British Sf Award was not presented this year due to popular apathy. // Bruce Pelz, the only US voter through the UK TAFF agent Eddie Jones, received the prize of an Eddie painting after his number was picked out of a hat by June Moffatt in the TAFF lottery. // Terry Jeeves won the Delta Amateur Film Award for a cartoon of his shown in the competition at the con. // The "Ken McIntyre" fanart award was won by the cover artist for Shadow 18 – sorry, I didn't catch his name. // The British Fantasy Society's "Derleth Awards" (presented by John Ramsey Campbell who rose and promptly fell under the table!) went to Tales From The Crypt (film), Conan (comic), a de Camp short story (title someone?), Mike Moorcock's King of the Swords (novel), and a special award to the publisher of Howard's Marches of Valhalla. // Vera Johnson (the folk-singer) won a year's sub to Analog for a caption to a Jeeves cartoon (Hairy creature with bombed buildings in the background: "Why? Why?" Soggy astronaut holding the 'Join the BSFA' placard: "Well, the soft sell didn't work..."). // Fancy Dress Awards: 1) Vernon Brown (Something of the Seven Elves); 2) Hazel Reynolds (The Iron Chicken); 3) Chris Morgan (The Stainless Steel Rat); Jnr) Rachel Barrow (?) (Supergirl).

BOB SHAW, GUEST OF HONOUR: Bob Shaw will be GoH at the convention next year. The Gannet Group bid won fairly easily over Bram Stokes' bid for London, so it's Newcastle in '74. More information shortly. 107 people had paid their 50p to join by Monday morning – money to Rob Jackson (21 Lyndhurst Rd, Newcastle on Tyne, NE12 9NT.



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

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