|Midnight Shakes The Memory #3 | FOOTNOTES Page | Obituary Page ||
I'm looking at two snapshots. Age has imbued them with a faint tinge of sepia. On one, smirking self-consciously beside Eric Needham and George Ellis, stands my 17-year-old self.
The three of us, as representatives of Manchester fandom, had travelled to Leeds one fine day in 1938. And there we were, at the clubroom - headquarters of the recently formed Science Fiction Association meeting the leading lights of Leeds fandom. The event is too far behind me now to be more than a blurred memory of faces and figures, of climbing flights of stairs to an above-shop room, walls covered with a profusion of paintings, of sitting in a creaky cane chair... But I still remember the thrill of making personal contact with other fans, the enthusiasm, the excited chat and argument, a deep sense of fulfilment.
Even then, Leeds was a long-established meeting place for sf fans. Back in 1935, the first British chapter of the Wonder Stories-inspired Science Fiction League had been formed there, and in the year before our visit the first ever British national fan convention had been held in Leeds. A frew weeks hence, a second convention was planned to take place in London, and the SFA seat of power was destined to drift away from the provinces.
But on this warm Saturday afternoon, aware only of the present, we all trooped down into the yard at the back of the clubhouse, and posed in the spring sunshine. And on my souvenir of that long-lost day in 1938 a happy group smiles at the camera, Eric and George sit at the front while I hover with our hosts: Vic Gillard, Doug Mayer and 2 unidentified Leeds fans.
There's a face missing; Albert Griffiths, one of the mainstays of Leeds fandom at that time, but I guess someone had to hold the camera. ■
|Sole © RFV&SDS, 2009.|