Pam wins TAFF
Well, let's leave the headlines to Critical Wave, and get on with the reportage. Far too early on Thursday 16th May, armed with ballot forms and calculator, I rang Robert Lichtman in California -- for whom it was only Wednesday evening. After being cut off once, we established that mercifully no counting of second place votes would be required, and that with 132 votes out of a possible 227 we could declare Pam Wells the winner. So we did. The full results are as follows:
Europe N. America Total Abigail Frost 37 21 58 Bruno Ogorolec 11 22 33 Pam Wells 84 48 132 Holdover Funds 1 2 3 Dave Piper (write-in) 0 1 1 Total 133 94 227
Not a bad total, considering all this talk of a TAFF crisis. UK voting was down on 1988 by 35 votes, but a good twenty votes higher than the 1986 race when Greg Pickersgill won, while the North American vote was up by a highly significant two, and Australia seems to have lost interest altogether (apart from those living here), unless Robert counted them in with the rest of his votes. Bruno lost on his own side of the Atlantic under the 20% rule, but did much better in the host country, proving perhaps that the Americans actually do read those large fanzines they produce so prolifically. Two votes arrived after the deadline, one from France, and one by fax, unfortunately to an absent recipient - but never mind, that's new technology for you.
So, congratulations to Pam who will go to the Worldcon in Chicago at the end of August, and commiserations to Abigail whose campaign newsletters did so much to enliven (and mythologise) the race, and Bruno whose shadowy presence kept alive the whole question of European representation. Pam is hoping to wangle at least three weeks of holiday out of her employers to make the trip and has grandiose plans that include Seattle, California, Texas and the East Coast, not to mention Madison and Mineappolis around the convention, but admits she may have to prune her itinerary!
The race raised a healthy £349.00 on this side of the Atlantic, with many fans paying well over the £1.00 minimum, notably itinerant American Covert Beach who contributed £20.00 and TAFF benefactor Roger Earnshaw who gave £25.00 without even offering his opinion on which candidate should win. This means that TAFF has something in the region of £2,000 to hand over to Pam Wells.
What of Europe then?
Bruno stood, and instead of drawing in hordes of Yugoslavs to cause consternation to the administrators, attracted the same low level of European attention as ever. (At an early stage, after receiving a vote from Mathias Hoffman, Rober and I fantasised about the German vote swinging it for Bruno, but instead all that ever materialised was the Birmingham vote, swinging it -- slightly -- for Pam.) Meanwhile Abigail proclaimed that if she won, she would make TAFF more European, and, with 1992 turning from a watchword into an iminent date in our diaries, and Bridget Wilkinson selling Eastern European fans like hot cakes, who could argue with that?
Well, it may look wonderful on the surface, but I'm not so sure about the reality of it all. Consider, what if Bruno Ogorolec had won TAFF? What if he had rushed to victory on a surge of votes from middle Europe and pro-European British fans sold on the concept that somehow TAFF would be more meaningful if it was seen to be being European? What would that have actually done for our connections with European fandom? Absolutely nothing. Bruno would have gone to America, Lilian and I would have had a fun time with currency transactions and the rest of you would have had to wait for a trip report that told you all about America. But, hell, all the TAFF trip reports tell you about America. What we want to hear about is Yugoslavia. We know far less about fandom in Yugoslavia, Eastern Europe, Germany and even Sweden, than we do about fandom in America. What we should be spending our money on is bringing these people over here, not sending them off to America, before we've even met them.
To my mind it's a fiction that TAFF represents the whole of Europe. TAFF could only pretend to represent the whole of Europe when there was no European fandom to speak of. Now there is, and most of it extremely different from ours, it is crazy to pretend that we can send one delegate to represent the whole of it. The single European fan market will not magically arise in 1992, it might never arise at all, because we all still speak different languages, and though some of us travel, we do not, mostly, go to conventions together and so there is no real joint community. This may all come in time, but not, I feel through TAFF. Nor should TAFF attempt to improve its image by jumping on the European bandwagon. Either its current role of interpreting the Americans to the British and vice versa is valid (as I believe), or else we might as well wind it up right now and send the money to Bangladesh.
As for talking to Europe -- Fans Across the World exists, and has done much to help links with Eastern Europe, but when it comes down to it, we are left with a few specialists like Bridget Wilkinson or Wilf James who have travelled abroad and seen other fandoms, and a great mass of ignorance. What we need, if people are truly interested in forging a European fandom, is not a more European TAFF, but translations of European fanzine articles, visits to European conventions, European guests at our conventions.
So, am I saying that TAFF should exclude the rest of Europe altogether? That we should tell Europeans that they may not vote and they may not stand? No. But I think TAFF should come clean and admit that it is de facto a British institution. (When did an American delegate last make the effort to go anywhere other than the UK?). In the end it should be up to the rest of Europe to make their own links with America, and not for us to do it for them, under the pretence that we are all part of one big happy European fandom.
Enough of the Polemic and on to Food
Don't forget to send your reviews of restaurants and any other eating establishments for the Fan Good Food Guide to Lilian Edwards, 2 Spring Valley Terrace, Morningside, Edinburgh EH10 4QD -- as soon as possible!
THOSE WHO VOTED
Michael Abbott, Hazel Ashworth, Mal Ashworth, Iain Banks, Linda Barker, Jim Barker, David V. Barrett, Harry Bell, Tony Berry, Harry Bond, Helena Bowles, Jane Carnell, Avedon Carol, Chris Cooper, David T. Cooper, John Dallman, Jim Darroch, Steve Davies, Peter Day, Sarah Dibb, Alan Dorey, Rochelle Dorey, Paul Dormer, Daniel Dvorkin, Malcolm Edwards, Helen Eling, Stan Eling, Brian Ellis, Dave Ellis, Graham England-Koch, Bernie Evans, Mick Evans, Vicky Evans, Nic Fairey, Mike Ford, Susan Francis, Gamma, Jenny Glover, Steve Glover, Roelof Goudriaan, Ann Green, Steve Green, Judith Hanna, Rob Hansen, Alun Harries, Chuck Harris, Sue Harris, Eve Harvey, John Harvey, Eva Hauser, Jackie Hawkins, Karen Heenan, Joy Hibbert, Mathias Hofmann, Dave Holmes, Steve Hubbard, Terry Hunt, Tim Illingworth, Rhodri James, Philip C. James, Wilf James, Kate Jeary, Jeremy Johnson, Al Johnston, Roz Kaveney, Debbi Kerr, Paul Kincaid, Cedric Knight, Linda Krawecke, Ken Lake, Dave Langford, Hazel Langford, Alice Lawson, Steve Lawson, Chris Lewis, Nick Lowe, Hugh Mascetti, Nick Mills, Keith Mitchell, Perry Middlemiss, Robin Mills, Dave Mooring, Andy Morris, Lynne Ann Morse, Steve Mowbray, Michelle Muijsert, Carolin Mullan, Chris Murphy, Penny Myles, Joseph Nicholas, Jan Orys, Simon Ounsley, Anne Page, Darroll Pardoe, Rog Peyton, Simon Polley, Nigel E Richarson, Mic Rogers,, Roger Robinson, Andrew Rose, Marcus Rowland, Alison Scott, Moira Shearman, Cyril Simsa, Cas Skelton, Paul Skelton, Kate Solomon, Maureen Speller, Martin Smith, Ian Sorensen, Richard Standage, James Steel, Alex Stewart, Charles Stross, R Stubbs, Chris Suslowicz, Martin Taylor, Pascal Thomas, Peter-Fred Thompson, Martin Tudor, Steve Tudor, Lisa Tuttle, Paul Vincent, Jonathan Waite, Glen Warminger, Ashley Watkins, Margaret Welbank, Pam Wells, Pete Weston, Bridget Wilkinson, Madeleine Willis, Walt Willis, Laura Wheatly, Dave Wood.
Christina Lake, 47 Wessex Avenue, Horfield, Bristol BS7 0DE May 1991