|FOOTNOTES TO FANDOM #25 | FOOTNOTES Page | Obituary Page ||
Back in 1937, when British sf fandom gathered under the banner of the Science Fiction Association, I joined and promptly found myself designing covers for the SFA journal, Novae Terrae, then edited by Maurice Hanson. I made myself some styluses, found a few wheelpens, practiced drawing direct on to wax stencils, and acquired a certain facility in this essentially limited artistic medium.
That soon led to demands from the editors of other fanmags published in those early years, shoestring productions all, enthusiastically cranked out on decrepit duplicatorsFantast, started by Sam Youd, later taken over by Doug Webster; Satellite, edited by John Burke; Ted Carnell's New Worlds; then, during the early war years, Mike Rosenblum's Futurian War Digest (FIDO).
While it was a struggle to get paper and other materials during wartime, by 1941 I had the urge to pub my own ishZenithand dabble with multicolour mimeoing. (On a visit to Britain a few years back, Art Widner reminded me that in the '40s I'd also cut several stencils of VOMaidens for Forry Ackerman, which appeared in Voice of the Imagination). But this feverish activity halted abruptly when I was drafted into the RAF the year following.
The end of the war found me in India and owing to demob delays, I didn't get back to Britain until the end of 1946. The next few years were spent finding a new home and new job, and settling down to family life. So it was the early 50s before I drifted back into fandom, roped in by the local Manchester fan group to revivify their foundering fanzine, Astroneer. I had acess to a Multilith machine, and so the mag duly appeared with a natty lithoed two-colour cover. Which sparked requests from other faneds of the time, besides landing me with the job of producing a combozine for the SuperMancon in 1954.
That same year Via Clarke and Ken Bulmer founded Britain's first apa - OMPA (Off-trails Magazine Publisher's Association). Together with Eric Needham, I produced a sheet titled Now & Then, which soon blossomed into a regular general-circulation fanzine.
I gafiated during the sixties but found myself lured back to fandom in the seventies by Lisa Conesa, to collaborate in producing Zimri (described by Rob Hansen in his history of British fandom as "the most visually impressive British fanzine of the 1970s"). At the close of the decade I went gafia again, this time because of failing eyesight. It was a harrowing period: I had to undergo several eye operations over the next few years before my vision was restored.
Then in the 80s (by which time I had retired) Via Clarke encouraged me to take up fanzine illustrating again. So I was soon back providing covers and artwork for zines like Terry Hill's Microwave, John Owens' Shipyard Blues, Tom Sadler's TRF, Chuck Connors' Thingumybob and, more recently, the Plummer/Brialey Banana Wings, and Sue Jones' Tortoise.
Looking back, I guess that fandom, for me, equates with producing fanzines! ■
FOOTNOTES TO FANDOM #25
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