During February Marion passes on news that has reached her of plans for a convention the Midvention proposed by the recently formed British Fantasy Society, to be held in Birmingham over Easter. Apparently arrangements have been largely left to Arthur Busby and Tom Hughes, as fans on the spot, and when we next meet I find them despondent over what they regard as unrealistic demands.
"All we've gotta do is find a hall to hold fifty fans for three nights, and accommodation for visitors!" moaned Art, calling down maledictions on the scheme's sponsor. "With this bloody war on it's practically impossible to find any halls available locally".
I sympathise, but as my radio course is nearing its end and I expect to be posted elsewhere by the RAF before the end of the month, there's little by way of practical assistance that I can offer, and I leave Art and Tom with their problems. Right now I have my own preoccupations, with practical tests and assessments at the college, and a big question mark hanging over my future movements.
I guess that deep down I don't hold with the efforts of the BFS to organise fandom at this time. I grant that the Science Fiction Association served a useful function in its day, keeping fans and fan groups in touch all over Britain and providing useful contacts with US fandom, but after its demise when war broke out in Europe, fans continued to maintain those links despite all the inevitable wartime restrictions. And here we are in 1942, and thanks to the efforts of individual fans, several newsletters and fanmags flourish, generous American fans help by donating sf mags and supplies of much-needed usable paper for faneds, and all in all there seems little need to divert time and energy to running an essentially superfluous institution like the BFS.
But right now I have my own preoccupations, with practical tests and assessments at the college; the radio course is nearing its end and I will be posted elsewhere by the RAF before the end of the month. There's little by way of practical assistance that I can offer, so I leave Art and Tom with their problems.
Much later I hear from Arthur that con plans have been scaled down, and the venue moved to Leicester... in the event some fourteen fans get together and make the Midvention a wartime success.
There've been reports in Doug Webster's Fantast that ex-officials of the SFA resisted the attempt of Mike Rosenblum to form the new organisation on the grounds that it will only confuse matters when they revive the older organisation after the war... In view of the splits in Leeds fandom and the London take-over in the early days of the SFA, it strikes several fans that this is just another struggle between control-freaks. The reaction of Marion and me, and folk like Doug Webster and Edwin Macdonald, and John Burke is to oppose all efforts to "organise" British fans: we were in favour of the existing free and loose relationship, a state of fanarchy. ■
"Time is what keeps everything from happening at once" Bob Bloch
© Harry Turner, 1998.