Not Checkpoint 96

Results of the 1978-1979 TWLL-DDU Fan Poll

Twenty-six fans voted in this, the first annual British fan unpopularity poll since the days of as long ago as I can remember, covering misdoings from Easter 1978 to Easter 1979. All fans were eligible to vote, though not necessarily to receive ballots, which were only distributed through TWLL-DDU and similar arcane outlets.

The following fans voted: Jim Barker, Tony Berry, John Collick, Alan Dorey, Graham England, Rob Hansen, Steev Higgins, Coral Jackson, Rob Jackson, Paul Kincaid, Hazel Langford, Gerald Lawrence, David Lewis, Ian Maule, Janice Maule, Mike Meara, Lee Montgomerie, Judy Mortimore, Joseph Nicholas, Celia Parsons, Greg Pickersgill, Bob (fake) Shaw, Paul Skelton, Kevin Smith, Simone Walsh and D.West.

WORST BRITISH FANZINE: Twenty-nine titles (plus "No Award") were nominated, twelve of them receiving more than one vote. Five points were awarded for a first-place vote, four for a second, and so on down to one point for a fifth-place vote. TWLL-DDU itself was dangerously eligible, but I'm grateful that only two of you succumbed to the temptation.

1) YCZ (56 points) edited by Richard I.Barycz, 16 Musgrove Road, New Cross Gate, London SE14 5PW. (Available for the usual.) Three issues in 1978/9, plus letter supplement Skraczes. The first issue was all about Star Wars, reported fans who wrestled with the unparagraphed layout and tiny type; the second widened its scope to deal with not only Star Wars but also Close Encounters, whilst the editor discovered that wonder of modern technology, the paragraph. Issue 3 shrank from A5 format to A6, and observers looked on in wonder as layout began to occur; the subject was still films, but Ycz began to show dangerous signs of quality. It might never have attained the giddy depths of success in this poll, had it not been for the supremely non-linear Skraczes. Fans striving to read this supplement in any logical sequence found their minds reeling with eldritch geometries of discontinuous space/time, where virtually every item was either continued elsewhere or proved to be a continuation of something which started elsewhere...

2) TIOFART (54 points) edited by Dave Cobbledick, 245 Rosalind Street, Ashington, Northumberland NE63 9AZ. (20p or the usual if you don't mind filling out the official form explaining with due humility that you really do want the next issue.) Three issues in 1978/9. Tiofart (said to stand for "Turn it on, friend, and recycle this") has surely won a place in the hearts of UK fans as the archetypal cruddy genzine. Contributors include Dave himself and Dave Wingrove, both mentioned in the Worst Fan Writer section; artists include Terry Jeeves and Shep Kirkbride, also to be found below. The bewildering thing about Tiofart -- even more so than the science articles, seemingly aimed at three-year-olds -- is the enthusiastic response appearing in the letter column. Mind you, those who don't like it get short shrift: the mildest expression of doubt in the letters printed brings instant, savage return fire from the good editor. Joe Nicholas points out quirks of Tiofart spelling, like "vaccum"; in letters to me, Joe prefers "vacumn"...

3) FANZINE FANATIQUE (49 points) edited by Keith Walker, 2 Daisy Bank, Quernmore Road, Lancaster. (17p or trade.) Five issues in 1978/9. Keith offers the mixture as before, with one notable coup as (in issues 31-33) he sidesteps the problem which litho production offers to persons less adept in layout than himself: the fearful danger of legibility. It is despite some genuinely interesting reprint articles that Keith's writing and reproduction steal the show to place FF third in this category. The point of FF is its potted fanzine reviews: Keith observes that, having read many thousands of fanzines, he is supremely qualified as a reviewer. I can only wonder why the countless rock records I've heard have not made me a rock critic...

4) WAIF (27 points) edited by Tom Jones, 39 Ripplesmere, Bracknell, Berks. RG12 3QA. (Usual or 12p stamp.) Two issues in 1978/9. The second issue continued, in part, Tom's revolt against the vile conformist practice of giving credit to contributors. These included Dave Wingrove, Dave Cobbledick, myself and Tom: again, a selection from the elite whose names fill this poll. The third Waif was notable for a Joe Haldeman interview swiped from Orbit' s publicity newsletter, and for "Bitch", Tom's contribution to the exciting field of Nasty Subjective Fanzine Reviewing and joint winner in the "Worst Article" category below. Never mind the logic, sharpen the knuckledusters.

5) THE FRIENDS OF KILGORE TROUT MAGAZINE (14 points) edited by Sandy Brown, 18 Gordon Terrace, Blantyre, Scotland G72 9NA. (30p or usual.) Two issues in 1978/9. A not especially offensive clubzine (which last word indeed sums up most of its flaws) featuring work by Jim Barker, Dave Wingrove, Bob (fake) Shaw (see below) and various locals and big names. FOKT seems unsure of its direction: the third issue contains both attempts at funny, fannish writing and a misinformed gripe about the rottenness of the "faans" who create said funny, fannish writing. Tum-ti-tum. I remember the attitude, or similar ones, from the Oxford Group.

Next five:

6) Grok (UMIST SF Soc) (12 points)
7) Ethereal Skie (Tony Cullen) (10 points)
8) Tangent (BSFA/Ian Garbutt) (7 points)
9) Gross Encounters (Alan Dorey) (6 points)
=9) Kipple (David Wingrove)
=9) 101 Ballooning Adventures That Thrilled The World (John Collick)

WORST BRITISH FANWRITER: Twenty-three people (and "Hold Over Funds") were nominated, ten receiving more than one vote. Points were awarded as in the "Worst Fanzine" section.

I) KEITH WALKER (47 points) Who can say that fandom does not respect the Old Masters, when Keith is honoured thus? Keith has confined himself to his own publications, Fanzine Fanatique and S:Film Fantastica; but even with this restricted exposure, fans know a true original when they see one. Next, the Hogu. Keith (stop me if you've heard this one) is a supporter of Spelling Reform.

2) DAVE COBBLEDICK (43 points) Another writer whose talents have shone at their purest in his own fanzine (see the celebrated Tiofart, above). Dave certainly has an eye for (oops, I nearly said "has his finger on"...) the well-chosen phrase, as in the most recent Tiofart, where he straightens out some misguided fool who disagrees with him: "Get your wires out of the deluding knot they're in Steev, you're hooked into the wrong ball game". To the sublime beauty of this I can add nothing.

3) TOM JONES (37 points) Tom too has exposed the full range of his talents in his own fanzine Waif (again, see above). But as BSFA Vice-Chairman his immense fame and prestige may have weighted the ballot in his favour. "Bitch" (see below) is in any case a memorable article, while Tom's explanation that a criticism of the BSFA could be (a) valid and (b) totally misguided and wrong... Well, maybe Tom could have made it on his own merits at that.

4) RICHARD BARYCZ (36 points) There are mixed reports about Barycz fanwriting. It depends a lot on whether the fan concerned possessed an electron microscope to penetrate the mysteries of Ycz; the worst that can be said about this man's prose is that it's monstrously whimsical and tends to deal with boring old Star Wars. I hate to be a killjoy, but I suspect Richard doesn't deserve to be so highly honoured as this.

5) DAVID V LEWIS (20 points) The only one of the top five rotten writers not to have his own fanzine; yes, it looks as though DVL has made it purely on his merits! I merely pause to quote a recent letter of his: "What [Dorey] & other assorted cretins think of me is of little import to me. I could go on to be really nasty at length but I wont bother... The Twll-Ddu nasty fan poll. What a great idea. Only 5 names per catagory though. I could fill page after page with vitroilic remarks about those I loathe and hate. I will print my death list. I will grind them all down..."

Next five:

6) Ian Williams (14 points)
7) Alan Dorey (12 points)
8) Ian Garbutt (7 points)
9) David Wingrove (6 points)

No-one else received more than five points.

WORST SINGLE ISSUE: Eleven issues of ten fanzines were nominated.

1) Waif 2 (four votes) (Tom Jones)
=2) Fanzine Fanatique 34 (two votes) (Keith Walker)
=2) S:Film Fantastica (two votes) (Keith Walker)
=2) Tiofart 3 (two votes) (Dave Cobbledick) /
=2) Waif 3 (two votes) (Tom Jones)

No other item received more than one vote.

WORST ARTICLE: Six items were nominated.

=1) Tom Jones: "Bitch" in Waif 3 (four votes)
=1) Ian Williams: "Sailing On Down To Skycon etc." in Nabu 4 (four votes)
3) Alan Dorey: "Fear and Loathing in Leeds" in 101 Ballooning Adventures That Thrilled The World (two votes)

No other item received more than one vote.

WORST COVER: Ten covers from ten different fanzines were nominated, some for strange reasons (eg. WALLBANGER 2 owing to "offensive subject matter"); but only one was nominated more than once.

1) David Redd -- Dr Faustenstein 2 (eight votes)

WORST BRITISH FANARTIST: Twenty-six people were nominated, twelve of them receiving more than one vote. Points were awarded as in the "Worst Fanzine" section. I freely confess to being bemused by one or two of the results in this section...

1) TERRY JEEVES (49 points)
2) JAKE GRIGG (33 points)
3) DAVID REDD (31 points)
4) SHEP KIRKBRIDE (13 points)
=5) ROBIN HUGHES (10 points)
=5) CELIA PARSONS (10 points)

Next five:

7) Kevin Clark (9 points)
=8) Dave Rowe (8 points)
=8) Ian Williams (8 points)
=10) Jim Barker (7 points)
=10) D.West (7 points)

WORST BRITISH FAN: This was the most popular category of all -- this is the one to which you will most anxiously have turned. Thirty-five lovable fans were nominated, sixteen of them more than once.

1) ROB CARTER (41 points)
2) IAN GARBUTT (36 points)
=3) TOM JONES (23 points)
=3) DAVID V LEWIS (23 points)
5) PETER WESTON (18 points)

Next five:

6) Charles Partington (15 points)
=7) Bob (fake) Shaw (12 points)
=7) Ian Williams (12 points)
9) Graham England (10 points)
=10) Brian Burgess (9 points)
=10) Alun Harries (9 points)

SPECIAL ARBITRARY AWARDS: In the interests of total impartiality, I did not vote in this poll, nor did I exert the teensiest bit of bias in the counting. (Well, there was a roaring fire at my side for the benefit of anyone who voted for me in too many categories, but as it turned out I did not need to consign any ballots to the flames...) Here are some special awards of my very own.

The FOREIGNERS-SPEAK-WITH-FORKED-TONGUE award, consisting of a specially and lethally sharpened fork, goes to Taral Wayne Macdonald for his witty insistence that the TD poll (independently conceived, I assure you) was a ripoff from his rotten old DNQ poll.

The ASTRAL LEAUGE HANDS-ACROSS-THE-GALAXY COSMIC PEACE AND FELLOWSHIP AWARD goes to Anne-Laurie Logan for her work towards American-Berkshire cultural linkages (in-joke: sorry).

The JONATHAN PALFREY TROPHY, of gold and silver threads cunningly fashioned to represent a wet blanket, will be ceremoniously presented to the first person to take this poll seriously.

"Here's the smell of the blood
still..." (Macbeth)
-- clearly it's



Dave Langford
22 Northumberland Avenue

Printed Matter Reduced.