TAFFLUVIA: an initial report on the State of Things from current North American TAFF administrators Patrick & Teresa Nielsen Hayden, 75 Fairview #2B, New York NY 100240, 212-9426832. Current European TAFF administrator is Rob Hansen, 9A Greenleaf Rd, East Ham, London E6 lDX, UK. Circulation courtesy of Mike Glyer/FILE:770; printing thanks to Lise Eisenberg.
The Fund Itself After clearing up various fiscal and recordkeeping duties, outgoing North American administrator Avedon Carol passed $4,332.61 on to us. We've also received $85.21 from Dave Locke on behalf of Cosmos & Chaos (Ro Nagey & Steve Leigh) and Martha Beck; many thanks. This gives the North American fund a current working capital of $4,417.82 -- quite healthy, and thanks are also due at this time to previous administrators, fundraisers, and contributors for this state of affairs. Future donations will be acknowledged in these pages, so if you give money and don't see your name mentioned, let us know. ||| Aside from small expenses such as future publications of this sort, the main upcoming financial liability of the Fund is to send us to Britain; also, to bring us back. Towards this end we will be spending only what the Fund normally spends on one winner: slightly over one grand, no more. This should cover transportation, such lodging as British fandom is unable to provide, and the traditional Things which -- we are warned -- Come Up. (If any Things are reading this, they are earnestly entreated to Stay Down.) As is the normal procedure, the bulk of the funds remaining will be stored in a high-interest-bearing account, keeping out only such quantities as future TAFF publications require. A complete financial accounting will be published at the end of our term. ||| Future fundraising: We will be starting a continuous mail auction in the next issue of this newsletter, due out before we leave for the UK. Contributions of books, fanzines, ephemera, and generally Weird Shit are most urgently solicited, with the added option that you needn't even ship them to us: eliminating the middleman, all we really need from you in order to auction stuff off in print is a description of the items you're willing to give TAFF. Once a winning bidder is announced, you (the donor) mail directly to them, postage reimbursed by the Fund. Next TAFFLUVIA deadline is March 1, so act now, act without thinking. ||| Also for sale, all proceeds to TAFF, is Patrick's FANTHOLOGY 1981, 66pp of the best fanwriting from that bygone era lo those four long years ago. $2.50 each, address above, worth it.
Optimistic Itinerary According to our tickets, we'll arrive at Gatwick Airport on Virgin Atlantic (always wanted to fly on a record company, boss) 10:15 a.m. on Friday, March 29, returning on April 124 or maybe 21. We'll be in London for several days of our trip, will of course attend the Eastercon (Yorcon III) April 5-7 in Leeds, and hope to visit Newcastle, Kent, and other fannish centres as time, money, and circumstances allow. ||| Among other rash platform statements, we said that, if elected, we'd produce a one-volume TAFF report, all profits to TAFF, within a year or your (TAFF's) money back. We still stand by that, and well it is to be brave when there's no backing out of something. Do note, however, that in no way should this be taken to imply that any previous or future TAFF winners should make similar lunatic promises; we're doing it to make sure we get the job done. We know us. Looked at another way, we're showing off, or at least we hope we're showing off, or anyway, er, um, nothing like a little drama and suspense, no? Mmmph.
Housekeeping Martin Morse Wooster's name was inadvertently left off the list of voters in TAFF OFFICIAL. Please type or print his name neatly on a bit of pink paper, cut it out, and paste it into the appropriate spot in that fanzine. Sorry about that, Martin; your name in fandom shall not be forgotten. ||| Among the other things we hope to establish in consultation over the next few months with the other administrator is a workable schedule of nominating, ballot-issuing, and voting deadlines & procedures for the next two races. Once these are determined they'll be available to anyone who asks, right there in print and everything, so watch this space.
Notions Department Such discussions of TAFF as we've seen in the fan press lately have naturally been read here with great interest; unfortunately, so many of them have been accompanied by the keening overtones of axes being covertly ground that it's been impossible to make out their sense. At times the introduction of what everyone euphemistically calls "personalities" has served nicely to intimidate those who might disagree from responding; other times, we've noted, policies against the discussion of any specific person's actions have been used to confine discourse to those issues the faned finds it convenient to discuss. (If nothing else, it's far too easy to spread baseless innuendo under a cloak of Naming No Names, Now.) For our part, we'll be discussing TAFF with various founders, past winners, and interested parties in Britain during our trip; on our return we'll publish a fanzine on The Discussion So Far and bulk-mail it to everyone who voted in the last race. Later issues will go to those who respond or send stamps. ||| If you have an opinion on TAFF you'd like to discuss with the last race's entire electorate, here's your chance to get in on the ground floor. To get things started, here are a few of our own -- neither a "party line" nor a complete list of possible issues, rather merely our understanding of TAFF at this point. What's yours?
--> 1.0. TAFF's purpose is to promote ongoing contact and understanding (more and better words, pictures, and conversations) between North American and European fandoms. The primary criterion when judging TAFF's methods and processes is whether or not they contribute to furthering that purpose. (1.1) Since this requires conditions of mutual amiability, practices not damaging in other contexts are pitfalls where TAFF is concerned. By illustration, rather than as a complete list, some of these are: Disregard by fans on one side of the Atlantic for the feelings of fans on the other side. Seriously adversarial candidacies, which give rise to injured feelings -- ideally votes should be cast for a candidate, rather than against the other(s). Use of TAFF to "reward" some sort of laudable fannish behavior other than promoting transatlantic contact. (1.2) If British response to the last TAFF election startled fans in North America, that argues not only for an informed, constructive examination of TAFF, but also for its continued existence. More, not less, communication. (1.3) Transatlantic fannish contact is a special interest in its own right, and should be treated, and run, as such. As such, though, it is as legitimate as any other special interest, and should not be co-opted for the purposes of other special interests.
--> 2.0. The basic mechanisms of transatlantic fannish contact are: first and primarily, ongoing contact between fans on a private, informal basis; second, interest engendered by the races themselves; third, TAFF trips; fourth, the returned delegate's understanding and experience gained through the preceding activities, being made generally available. To scant any of these diminishes the entire process. (2.1) Publicity, and wide participation in TAFF, are not goods in and of themselves, but are good only insofar as they function to serve TAFF's goals. (2.2) It would not be good for TAFF to become the private preserve of a closed group; neither would it be good for a superficial understanding of its obvious mechanics -- i.e., electing someone who's then sent away for a while -- to dilute its purpose. A middle course between insularity and watered-down populism (cf. the fan Hugos) is desirable. (2.3) Since TAFF is a special interest, its administration should reflect that, especially when raising funds. On this, three separate-but-equal points: A donation is a legitimate expression of interest. What it's an interest in, though, should be determined. A donation is an act of charity, not a purchase of stock.
--> 3.0. A useful model of TAFF as a joint understanding between N.A. and European fan groups may be that of a treaty. If changing.circumstances necessitate changes in its methods, this process should be viewed as a re-negotiation of that treaty, rather than one of either side imposing its wishes by fiat on the other. (3.1) This would best be done in an open, publicly-accountable forum representing all points of view, toward a hoped-for consensus. (3.2) Optimum time for such discussions would be when the impulse to Immediate Radical Action is stifled by there being no Immediate Radical Action to take; that is, between races. (3.3) The body of administrative practice, and the original statements of intent of TAFF, generally exist either in publications once easily available but, with time, buried in fanzine collections; or as a body of tacit understanding transmitted orally within the community. This in no way invalidates or de-legitimizes them, but for purposes of improving general understanding, and examining their continued feasibility, they need to be re-stated and made generally available in printed form. (3.4) Since TAFF has historically run fairly smoothly in the near-total absence of formal organization or hard-copy documentation, it can be assumed that its basic mechanisms are functional. Where they have grown less so, they should be subject to minor repairs. (3.5) It would be disastrous to bureaucratize TAFF, invent complicated rules and qualifications, or set up a baroque, difficult-to-administer organization. The phrase "fannish institution" is not an oxymoron, but "fannish organization" certainly is.
And An Assumption To the best of our knowledge, any problems inherent in TAFF as it is currently constituted arise from miscommunication and from changing external circumstances. In the absence of evidence to the contrary, we will continue to hold this viewpoint. We will not otherwise assume that any examination of the fan fund and its practices has been, or may be, necessitated through evial malfeasance on the part of any fan, administrator, candidate, or voter. (P & T NH, 20 January 1985)