So there you have it, 21 years of Conventioneering. As a whole I must say the abiding memory of all these conventions is that however much I enjoyed them there were always probs with the seating n heating. Oh yes, the seating was rarely comfortable, the heating was always too high. At most of them the hotel staff thought we were nuts, the food was dodgy or expensive but we didn’t really care.
All the reviews in this series have been pretty much left as originally written with the odd polish and yet I can see an unintentional narrative threading through them. It starts with my fresh enthusiasm- I was buzzing for days after my first event- through getting to know the in crowd, through actually being involved in them, to going back to just being an attendee through gradually realising that I’d seen all this before. I end up spending the Friday night at one latter event watching a band in a pub because it’s more interesting. It’s a narrative about getting older, more cynical perhaps. It’s the same narrative anyone my age might tell about their interests, their job or even their marriage.
I suppose I never expected Doctor Who to come back later or if it did to be any good. Yet in 2005 it did come back, it was all brilliant and everything and yet I was not tempted back onto the convention circuit. I guess it’s the same reason I don’t go to gigs anymore, it just seemed wrong to do so after a certain age. It will be a different age for different people of course but it will stop sooner or later for various reasons. Having said that I did have a convention postscript in 2011 when I went with some friends to an event in Newcastle upon Tyne. Well that’s where the leaflets said it was but factually it was miles outside in the middle of nowhere. Yet apart from the lovely company I kept in the bar, I found it uninvolving whenever I stepped into the main hall. I suppose it seemed to echo with the ghosts of larger events I’d been to in the past, with greater guests I’d seen. Maybe I recalled how Jon Pertwee used to imperiously arrive on stage or something somehow bigger than what I was then seeing. Most of all I realised that you really cannot go back. Mind you it was a fan run event, like all of the ones in this series were. These have now largely disappeared as guests came to realise they could earn more money (for their charities of course…) at cold corporate conventions held in huge exhibition centres where you have to pay money just to have a photo signed.
I was going to call this series Conventioneering until the last minute when the song `Good Times` by Chic was playing somewhere and it suddenly hit me that would be a much better title because they were good times.
Finally, here's a few snaps from events I attended but didn't review...
Here's Michael Whisher at 1984's PartyCon 21 held in Liverpool with a post of the Tripods though John Leeson has clearly got something much more interesting.
This is from 1986's Early Days event organised by the DWAS Reference Department on the hottest day of the year in a hall with very little ventilation! You can see John Ryan (front left) then me and opposite on the right is Neil Hutchings.
PanoptiCon 7 in 1986 was actually a very memorable event climaxing with the showing of the first new episode in 18 months on the big screen. I was sat between Nick Pegg and Neil Hutchings and none of us had ever seen such scenes at an event as everyone let off party poppers and streamers and a big cheer went up. For about 10 seconds as we gawped at the unfeasibly excellent tilting spaceship on the big screen it seemed as if some epic new version of the show had been cooked up. Unfortunately the remaining 23 minutes proved to be the same old stuff. Also it was host to the Local Groups Megaquiz of which this is the original hand written plan.
I also oversaw the Fanzine Room at the event and this is the letter editors received after booking.
An event whose name escapes me held in Cardiff in 1990. This is me with Steve O'Brien, Paul Cornell and lurking in the background pretending he has nothing to do with it is Alan Barnes. The third golden age of fanzines was probably invented in that room party.
The anniversary PanoptiCon in 1993 was the first I attended after having left the Exec some five years earlier. Two remarkable things happened. One is pictured here with all the present Doctors forming an impromptu boy band. The other was that erstwhile DWAS pest Gary Leigh was lurking outside the event dressed as a tramp. Thankfully there is no picture of that!
DWM Perfect Day- It was such a perfect day I was so glad I spent it with Hugh. Yep the other DWM event I went to was this 1998 shindig.