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ISBN: 1-886778-55-8
Page count: 320
Book Size: 5-1/2" x 8-1/2"
Published: September 2004

Edited by Tony Lewis
Cover art by Harry Bell
Cover design by Alice N. S. Lewis

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Framingham, MA 01701
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email: sales@nesfa.org

An excerpt from
With Stars in My Eyes: My Adventures in British Fandom

by Peter Weston

Chapter 8 — Brumcon Blues - The Saturday Night

.....Norman Shorrock made sure the occasion was lubricated with vast amounts of his famous Dandelion Wine and quite suddenly, everybody's defences were down. The con hall was left to its own devices and everyone headed for the parties. I forced my way into a ridiculous crush in Jim Groves' room where Ted Tubb was in full flow, then wandered out with Beryl and Archie at the rumour of a party down the corridor in Harry Harrison's room. We found a crowd besieging Room 127, and Beryl said, "Somebody attacked the door, which was opened by about two inches and Brian Aldiss's voice politely invited the would-be invaders to go away, because they were filming, or summoning-up demons, or something like that."

Surprisingly, they really were filming in there. The Manchester group were making a film for the London Worldcon and Peter Day had scripted Breathworld, a spoof on Harry Harrison's Deathworld. In one scene, the hero is schooled by an inept instructor who manages to shoot himself in the foot with an automated weapon, and the opportunity of having Harry himself play the part of the instructor was just too good to miss. The Delta crew turned up with camera, lights, and props and shot Harry's scenes inside his hotel room, with prompting and assistance from Messrs. Aldiss, Boardman and Moorcock, and special effects scratched onto the film later.

Once the filming was over the whole thing turned into a room party, and when around midnight Charles Platt unwisely appeared on the scene, I was among the select company privileged to see him seized and stuffed into a large oak wardrobe, the door locked, and the wardrobe tipped-over, face-down. If only Harry Nadler had kept his camera running a little longer this great fannish moment might have been preserved for posterity!

Harry Harrison later explained what happened:

"Charles hadn't booked at the hotel and he'd talked Mike Moorcock into letting him sleep on Mike's floor. Then Charles came into the room party and kept whining at Mike to 'give him the key to our room.' Mike was unimpressed. When Charles kept on, Brian and Mike pushed him into the wardrobe and we all helped turn it face down—then sat on it. I do remember Brian, Tom Boardman and I were on it. He banged feebly to be let out. We laughed, and enjoyed it when someone managed to let loose a fart. Everything gets dim after that."

Brian offered a slightly more literary rationale:

"Charles had committed the crime of zoilism—unfair criticism. He had reviewed my short novel, Earthworks, which he disliked. Fair enough. But at the end he said, 'Do not buy this book. Do not look at it. If you see a copy, burn it,' or words to that effect. Very Ayatollah-ish. However little one likes the book under review, that's one's own opinion; you should not instruct potential readers not to buy it. After all, the poor bugger of an author lives by his writing, however feeble it may be. So we shut young Charles in the wardrobe, Harry helping, pulled it over and danced a jig on it. Had a drop to drink? Oh, I don't think so."

Fans roamed the corridors and staircases and in the small hours the ponderous figure of Brian Burgess appeared with his little suitcase and the plangent cry, "Pies, Pork pies anyone?" This had become Brian's unique role at conventions, and he was very welcome, filling a genuine need, because there was no chance of anything else to eat from the hotel and it had been a long time since dinner. This year he was also offering bottles of milk, which were surprisingly popular.

Mike Higgs remembers, "I ended up at a rather small room party held by Ken Cheslin, with Ella Parker, Doreen Parker, James and Peggy White (her first convention), and a few others. Later on, other people joined in and we finally had a pretty crowded affair. This carried on into the small hours until only four of us were left, and Doreen, Rog, Ed James and I left Ken to dream of power and tramped off to Doreen's room, to be joined by Mike Moorcock who came in and prolonged the conversation for another hour or so. Finally, poor old Doreen was nearly asleep so we piled out and headed for Rog's room.

"Arriving there we found someone else was already in the room. Foaming at the mouth Rog finally got in, to find his bed was occupied by none less than Charles Platt, who had cleverly used his lock-picking skills for a second year. Charles was in his pyjamas, with his friend Peter White asleep on the floor. He groaned, 'Oh God, why did it have to be you!' as Rog picked him up and slung him out bodily, throwing clothes and shoes after him as Charles and Peter dodged down the corridor to spend the rest of the night in the bathroom. Afterwards we sat talking for hours until the sun came up and the birds began to sing. Mike Moorcock signed my copies of The Stealer of Souls and Stormbringer, and then disappeared to await the start of breakfast service."