Run by the committee of ZZ9 this was the first true FunCon. Its unique approach to conventions was probably linked to the fact that most of the committee had never been to a convention. One never repeated (apart from LL2 and Redemption) feature of this con was that everyone was placed in one of two teams and all the programme items were a battle for points. Another never-repeated feature was that details of the con, programme, how things were going, how teams were scoring was available on the bedroom TVs. The knowledge of who won and whether anyone cared has been lost.
FunCons - A Short History
FunCon One can be generally classed as a FunCon, a fun convention. This is the opposite of a DullCon. Fun is incredibly subjective and while we will have a number of activities that are active, relaxing, laughing and enjoying the FunCon is open to all, but a sense of fun, is important.
But where did FunCons come from?
Well it all dates back to the dark days of 1985 when to escape the country-wide depression caused by Mrs Thatcher's government, a load of people went to Birmingham for a weekend and had fun.
Thanks to Year of the Teledu members for convention write-ups, with some additions and edits from the FunCon One committee.
A man once liked a mouse which was nice for him except it was Del-boy in disguise. The Mole and the Walrus had an enemy who was a Toad, and amongst it all was a Crow.
The first Dangercon took place in 1987 and was organised by Morton Chalom based on an orginal idea by Morton and Kay. Robert Newman ran many Dangercons. Mostly in Croydon.Who WAS THERE? At the first one: Jim, Meike, Mark. Wag, erm... [I have the registration list somewhere]
At Lazlar Lyricon were Simo and Paul Clough, two very young fans who grew up slightly and went on to help form Octarine. When most of the committee of Octarine decided to run a convention, Simo and Paul waxed, well, lyrically (can you wax any other way?), about Lazlar Lyricon. This fitted in with the general Octarine obsession of going to conventions, drinking heavily and ignoring any SF in the programme. So in Derby, next door to a "Health Spa" called Bubbles, the first Incon was run, badly. It was a disaster in every way except that everyone had lots and lots and lots of fun. So despite getting 100 less members than expected and losing several hundred pounds they decided to do it again.
Having lost a lot of money with Incon I, the committee decided to recruit more idiots to help run the event. Looking no further than the people standing next to them, past, current and future members of the ZZ9 committee were called in to help. They brought a level of professionalism to the convention that resulted in choosing a hotel that was too small and in the middle of nowhere, several miles from train stations and overflow hotels. To compensate for this oversight the committee decided to run a minibus service. This was a stupid idea and if anyone suggests it again, beat them savagely with one of their own legs. Apart from its distance from civilisation, lack of bedrooms and strange sunken disco with dangerously sharp pillars the con was a success. Lots of people came, the convention made money, everyone had fun and there were no injuries.
Inevitably Incon II was followed by Incon V which moved the event from its now traditional home in Derbyshire to that beauty spot known as Scotch Corner. Many of the people who were involved in running Incon II were involved in running Incon V; despite this they managed to book a hotel that was large enough though they did pick one in the middle of nowhere. Notable incidents include an item called 'It's a terminal head injury', a play on 'It's a Knockout', where someone got hurt. There were also reports of a goldfish being left in one of the hotel bathrooms, swimming around the bath quite happily. The fate of the goldfish was never established. It was later established (at LL2, by the leaver of the second goldfish) that it was adopted by one of the cleaners, and was still going strong.
Whereas some of the Incon II committee went off to run Incon V, others went off and ran Year of the Wombat though some people managed to do a bit of both. Promoting the true spirit of the Incons, the committee picked a hotel that was (slightly) too small, some distance from anywhere worth going and surrounded by one of the roughest council estates in Nottingham. On the other hand they did pick a hotel that looked like a gothic asylum. The sun shone, people ran up-and-down steep embankments with eggs in their mouths and nearly no-one got hurt.
Second installment of the Hitchiker's Guide to the Galaxy Conventions. Particularly memorable for live action Space Invaders, the Tobes Valois makeover, and the baked beans incident.
Having seen what a bunch of idiots the committees of Incon and YotW were, the Sproutlore people decided that they too were stupid enough to run a FunCon. They got off to a bad start by breaking with tradition and booking the Shepperton Hotel, a hotel with plenty of bedrooms but which had the redeeming feature of an inconvenient location. It had many memorable moments, particularly the look on Tobes' face as he had his nipple pierced in front of a hundred people.
Not having learnt the first time, the people who ran Aliens Stole My Handbag were speaking to a Nice wife and her Man, (Robert and Hazel Newman) who was a big Twin Peaks fan, as we all are and they all decided to run another strange convention, based on an obsession the man had with backwards talking. Demonstrating the right flair they took as their theme a TV programme from ten years ago which everyone had forgotten. They also recruited ex Incon II, Incon V and YofW committee member Jim de Liscard as chairman. Jim, always one to do the right thing, promptly left the country only to return on the morning of the convention. This clever management technique gave birth to an opening ceremony that would offend most of Christendom.
Foolishly for the final Dangercon, the whole idea of having a respectable Guest of honour went totally tits up, and James B. was the Fanny fan Guest of honour, cause he's a big fan of fanny. In total character with fun cons, and following on from previous blunders, it soon became apparent that there was major Flaw, as a much more interesting writer would interview him, known as Rankin Robert and he would have been a much better guest altogther, and no one would have lost the will to live. It was all strange, like usual, and by the end of the night thanks to alcohol fuelled oral ejaculations, the fanny was burnt to ashes. But Flick made it a nice rubber covering so that was OK.
By their third convention Stef, James and Co were getting the hang of the hotel selection process and booked a hotel in a different country. It was a masterstroke. Never before have so many fans been inconvenienced by a FunCon. Also on the committee was Michael Carroll who had attended Incon 1, squaring the pyramid. Lots of things happened but I was too drunk to remember them. At least I hope the image of DougS and the clothes pegs (not to mention that naughty film projected on his naked chest) was a drink-induced hallucination. Two violet wands in one panel was a record for European conventions at the time. Very noticeable at They Came and Shaved Us were a group of strangely dressed people promoting Convivial.
The new upstarts' lack of experience was evident from the start when they booked a hotel that was large enough and conveniently situated above a railway station, though holding it in Glasgow was a brave attempt to maintain the tradition of having a convention miles from civilization. Despite these early setbacks the committee ran a convention that embodied the FunCon spirt by encouraging everyone to get drunk, drink tea and have a great time. An attempt was made to inconvenience as many of the attendees as possible by insisting they all wear ridiculously warm and restrictive clothing and numerous attempts were made upon the life of the committee as a result.
The Sproutlore guys showed a keen sense of conrunning by chooing a venue with no bedrooms, for one day, crap transport (name a north London borough without a tube - Brentford is one) and then on the second day they gate-crashed pubs, looked through the fence of a football ground and all because of a bench. YES they ran a convention because of a Bench. Despite this, Robert Rankin was a tour de force with his live band, people dressed up and everyone got a photo with him on THAT bench.
A crowd sourced convention, with a very strong emphasis on participation. Organised on a Wiki, and most programme items brought by the participants, and lots of making and doing.
Zombies. Zombie movies. Zombie cosplay. Zombie culture. And other fun stuff. Oh my!
The most recent Hitchiker's Convention. The hard working committee lined up a stellar guest list, and diligently restored Slartibartfast's air car, after it had spent many years incubating tomato plants.