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I CAME ACROSS A FRAGMENT OF FANNISH ACCOUNTING that might engage the interest of the Treasurer. You may recall that the NWSFC published the first issue of a quarterly mag called ASTRONEER with Paul Sowerby as editor, a horrible hektoed effort that languished until, in a rash moment, I offered to help out with a second issue. This was around the time I tried to revive ZENITH, as I had access to the Multilith while working at Redferns, as well as the Original Zenith Duplicator in working order, and some articles written in wartime, but unpublished, that provided the core of an issue.
(This was as well, because Paul's mum told me she didn't approve of him mixing with low fannish types and wanted him to concentrate on BIS workso I finished up producing the mag on my own). Anyway, here's an insight into the financial aspect of the matter! Can't immediately think who this note was addressed to (did the club have a treasurer in those days?) but kinda suspect it went to Eric Bentcliffe, as director of publications...
ASTRONEER FINANCES November 9/53 Incomings Outgoings Subs & Paper "borrowed" from casual sales ...£2. 6. 6 Eric Jones (3 reams) ... £1. 4. 0 Printing cover ... ... 8. 0 Stencils ... ... ... 12. 6 Postage (worked in with Zenith) 2. 6 Cash in hand ... minus 6 £2. 6. 6 £2. 6. 6
This may not be orthodox accounting but it's true. So if you can sell one or two more Astro's we'll be making a whacking profit... I never paid EJ for the paper as I intended replacing it, but now that he is passing on the job, maybe you'd sooner have the cash. Cheque herewith. So that swells the S-T funds a little. I still have a few copies of Astro in hand and after number two is on the bookstalls, we stand a faint chance of paying our way. At least, I can't grumble at this initial "loss"!
Dunno what crisis hit the mag after that... Were you in Manchester at that time, or had you both already departed Londonwards? I was all ready to start on another issue and printed that Denness Morton cover in readiness for number three, and one or two other bits'n'pieces, but the project was just allowed to fizzle out. No doubt funds were short owing to the build-up for the forthcoming Supermancon, and this, of course, was about the time that SPACE-TIMES was taken over by the London end when Eric Jones retired from the scene. Do you have any memories of a crisis then?
Come to think of it, for a time I was engaged in producing the Supermancon combozine, which involved me doing a lot of printing for many of the participants, so maybe ASTRONEER was initially pushed in the background by that and Paul's departure. After the con I guess club funds were non-existent!
Things were certainly chaotic in the post-con period, by which time I was moving from Willow Bank to peaceful Romiley, and lost touch with the NWSFC survivors, apart from Eric the Bent and Eric the Needy. And by that time I fancy Eric Bentcliffe found the Liverpool fans more congenial company, and had more or less abandoned the Manchester club. ■
letter to Fran & Brian Varley, 22 February 1997
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