Corflu 29 – I Wasn’t There

Pips09_html_m5091fIt’s Friday evening and time for me to climb into my magical convention box that will transport me thousands of miles away to another continent and the semi mythical Vegas. I log in and am greeted with a godawful blast of noise and lots of fast moving images. Reeling from the shock I manage to focus a little and figure out they’re trying to get me to buy something. I don’t know what it is but I reckon I probably don’t want to buy it.

The noise dies away and the image changes to something much more blurry and very much quieter. Five people are sitting behind a table facing me. They nod occasionally and pass something that looks like a stick of dynamite backwards and forwards along the row. This looks highly dangerous to me and seems to be pushing the concept of desperate fun just a little too far. However I determine who they are and realise they’re all quite sensible people and it’s entirely possible that they know what they’re doing. From right to left we have Claire Brialey, Steve Green, Jacq Monahan Marty Cantor and Rob Jackson. Funnily enough there’s no sound and it’s kind of eerie. It is soon explained to me in the chat box that there’s no sound so I settle back happy in the knowledge that it’s someone elses problem. Curt Phillips shows no such complacency though. He puts on his bat cape and swishes up to the phone. Moments later thanks to the magic of the telephone wires someone at the hotel is bustling through to inform the Corflu Glitter revellers that problems are afoot and tech wrangling is called for. And so it comes to pass that Tech Bill is called, all is fixed and well and we’re just in time for Claire to announce that she’s winding up the discussion so people will have time to do whatever they need to do between panels.

In the chat room there’s been quite a buzz of discussion. The hot topic is who’s going to stand for Taff in 2014. The worldcon in the UK seems to be quite an attraction and several people are hankering to attend. Lloyd Penney seems interested and Curt Phillips has already declared. Kat is interested too but it seems she’s got something called a double whammy and that’s going to hinder her somewhat. I hope it’s not contagious over the internet whatever it is. Randy is one of the few people in the chat room who’s not going to stand but I reckon that’s only because he’s won it already. I wonder if anyone has ever had the cheek to stand again for Taff after they’ve won it. It would take a lot of balls to do such a thing.

So, there’s the fan fund panel and it’s all jolly fun. I watch the Vegas fandom thing for a while but I’ve no idea what’s going on or who everybody is, so kinda lose interest after a while.

The chat room is always lively tho and that’s really the feature of this virtual convention in that we interact more comfortably with the other chatroom members than the people actually attending Corflu. The people in the chatroom are operating in the same way we are and we can all share the same frustrations with the strange not quite connected connectedness.

We’re wanting to connect with the people at the con. It’s the main attraction. It’s why we’re here but it still seems so far away. The concensus of opinion is that it’s better than having no connection to the con at all but it’s still a long way away from being a satisfactory experience. However, I think we can all see the possibilities and see just how good it could be in the future.

I go to bed I get up, I doze on the sofa, my body clock goes to pieces.
Vegas is 8 hours behind me here in Cambridge UK so this is going to be quite a perplexing weekend. I watch the video of the opening ceremony and am confronted initially by an Arnie Katz who is obviously a fraud as the real Arnie Katz only exists in line drawings and fantastical anecdotes created to frighten young fans. This imposter continues to try and pass himself off as Arnie and even has someone called Joyce

Arnie Katz and the Holy Podium

working along with him to try and make it all seem more plausible. They welcome us all and thank everyone for being wonderful and make plans to run off to South America with the takings from the convention. Terry Carr’s disembodied head appears and later Dean Martin’s disembodied head pops in for a quick chat. I need to do more research here to find out what the buggery was happening but disembodied heads at opening ceremonies sounds very jolly indeed. Maybe we can crowbar a few more zombies in there next time. From what I gathered during the chat it seems Andy Hooper (as it so often is) must take the majority of the blame here. The whole notion is taken just a stage further by the appearance of a fake Chris Garcia asking us to chop his head off so he can properly experience disembodied head fandom. Curiouser and curiouser.

There was the traditional lucky dip to choose the guest of honour for the convention. The winner was Claire Brialey. We didn’t get to see it but I can just imagine the look on her face when it was chosen. This was a very popular choice indeed.

There were awards handed out at the opening ceremony such as the bestowing of an honorary membership to the Vegrants for Andy Hooper who said he would do his best to uphold the values of the Vegrants as soon as anyone could figure out what they were. The other honorary membership went to Robert Lichtman. Then everyone was sent out to dinner in readiness for later Corflu fanac.

So, I’m enjoying it so far. I sit in my convention box watching the world go by. The world barely notices me but, most of the time there are other people in the box with me and we turn to each other for amusement as everyone ignores our presence and various tech difficulties manifest themselves.

Hurrah for Corflu – even with the frustrations of attending virtually it’s still great to be here.


Corflu Sunday

Before the banquet we spent a lot of time looking at the podium waiting for something to happen. This led to us forming a cult which worshipped and revered the podium and we did praise it to the highest.

7:17 johnnyeponymous: I like podium!
7:17 johnnyeponymous: MMMMMMMMM… liecake!
7:17 asfi235: Mmmm, podium
7:17 jimmowatt-2: Podium wants to be friends
7:17 PatVirzi: Chocolate podium!
7:18 DianCrayne: The ubiquitous glitter podium!!
7:18 PatVirzi: Featuring Mike, and Mike.
7:18 jimmowatt-2: Perfidious performing podium
7:18 Cartiledge-1: Podium with chitlings anbd grits

The fans ate a hearty meal but no offerings were made to the holy podium. Beware it may become angry with thee.

Claire has a thing going on with random cards and fistfuls of notes. She is reminiscing about fandom and Corflu and throwing in a whole bunch of name checks to various folks. She has a splendid speaking voice and although nervous seems to be enjoying the experience. Claire’s role today is to start the attendees on the way to an emotional climax. It seems she wants to be Eve Harvey when she grows up and Pat Charnock and Geri Sullivan. Claire gives Attitude a special mention as the first fanzine she began to receive regularly. Another card is chosen and she tells us of Murray Moore and the Egoboo salute. Then there are mountains, a beaver in the bathroom and she finishes her GoH speech to rapturous applause.

Pips09_html_m3dd692bbArnie Katz, Andy Hooper and the Podium
Andy Hooper steps up to do his thing with the Faan awards.
He vanishes behind the podium for a peculiarly long time and we worry that it has assumed he was an offering and absorbed him into the innards of this sacred structure. He emerges later saying something about reading certificates. Of course we’re not fooled. We know he was taken down into the underworld and fought his way through countless horrors to return to us with the Faan award certificates.

Easiest win was best fan website – Bill Burns efanzines site won that and no one at all was surprised.
Lloyd Penney didn’t get the letterhack award, which I think he was a little disappointed over. It was Robert Lichtman who came in first place in that one. In an aside Robert also made a splash at this convention by paying around 220 dollars for some AToM art over the internet. There was some debate over whether virtual attendees could bid in the auction and it was decided they could if they had bought an attending membership. Robert had done so and his bid was accepted.

Best perzine – Mike Meara, A Meara for Observers
Best single issue or anthology – Randy Byers, Alternative Pants
Best Fan Artist – Steve Stiles
Best Fan Writer – Mark Plummer
Best Genzine – Banana Wings
Fan Face number 1 – This award is a number crunching exercise totalling up the number of votes people get in all the different categories and Mark Plummer was the winner in this category.

Corflu XXX boom chicka wah wah in Portland Oregon was confirmed as the Corflu for next year.

And so – Corflu comes to an end and people begin to drift away. Lotsa folk gathered in the chatbox such as Katster, Doug, Christina, Dave Hicks, Peter Sullivan, Graham Charnock, Dian Crayne, Lloyd Penney, Chris Garcia and Geri Sullivan. A jolly bunch of people and twas good to share the virtual space with you all.

Thanks go to Gary Mattingley for the Corflu photos and also to Nelson Cunnington for the Novacon 41 photos.
I’ll be fascinated to hear from other people about their virtual con experiences and their projections for the future. What do we need, what do we want and what would we like as regards technologies to bring the concept to life. I shall explore these concepts further in the next issue.

Bye for now


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