TAFFboy Speaks

Dan Steffan, December 1996

TAFFnews is published by TAFFboy hisself, Dan Steffan, at 3804 South 9th Street, Arlington, Virginia 22204. Unlike the rest of the world, TAFFboy is not on line or on the Net. He has no Web page or e-mail and can only be contacted by using the tragically outdated Postal Service or by performing the ancient ritual known as telephoning. Call him at (703) 685-7320 to hear his beautiful speaking voice. Special thanks, as always, to rich brown -- that's Dr. Gafia to you -- for providing net access.

This incarnation of TAFFnews is excerpted for the Internet from a much lengthier article in the pages of TAFFboy, the official publication of American TAFF, which is due to arrive in mailboxes around the world in the next week or so. Copies of TAFFboy are available upon request (though a stamp would be nice) to anyone interested in the Trans-Atlantic Fan Fund. Circulated on December 9, 1996. Ghod Bless Steve McQueen.


By mutual agreement of the two reigning TAFF administrators, Dan Steffan and Martin Tudor, the 1997 Trans- Atlantic Fan Fund campaign to send a worthy American fan to the 1997 Eastercon has been cancelled. The final decision was made on December 2nd, 1996 -- the deadline day for registration of interested candidates -- by the American administrator after consultation with and the agreement of his British counterpart. It is believed by both administrators that the cancellation will be a beneficial break for TAFF and will enable the Fund the necessary time needed to resolve recent problems of finance and public relations that have been plaguing it of late. Nevertheless, a race is definitely planned for 1998, though no specific details have been made at this time.

Despite rumors to the contrary, the decision to cancel the 1997 race was based strictly on the number of available candidates at deadline time and not on the recently disclosed financial malfeasance in the UK. While it is true that unfortunate incident has had a very powerful impact on TAFF, it was only a small consideration in the decision to postpone. The actual deciding factor in the cancellation was the existence of only one full-fledged candidate for the race to the Eastercon.

As of the deadline, only Seattle fan Luke McGuff had successfully met the requirements for candidacy by providing a platform, a $20 bond, and five nominators (including Joseph Nicholas, Pam Wells, Lucy Huntzinger, Jeanne Bowman and Jeanne Gomoll) which would guarantee his place on this year's ballot. The lack of a second (and preferably, a third) candidate made it impossible to properly conduct any kind of legitimate competition at this time. There was a very well-meaning last-minute bid from another Seattle resident, Ian Hageman, who generously volunteered himself as a candidate if we had to have a race this year, but who also recognized TAFF's desire to avoid another Simo-like straw man candidacy. He expressed a genuine interest in standing for TAFF in the future and both administrators encourage him to do so, and to use the intervening period of time to become better acquainted with British fans and fanzines.

As a precaution, the possibility of a cancellation was discussed with TAFF's sole 1997 TAFF candidate prior to the filing deadline. After the deadline had passed Luke agreed to withdraw his name from consideration and expressed his support for TAFF's growth and recovery. He then promised to definitely stand for TAFF in the future, providing that the TAFF administrators then promised not to hold him to his promise. We promised.

Nevertheless, it was with some regret that TAFF has had to let a candidate as qualified as Luke McGuff slip through its bony fingers. He is a fan active in both convention and fanzine circles and a considerate and talented fanwriter as well. Despite his somewhat fringe status, Luke is exactly the sort of fan that TAFF hopes to expose to fandom's wider audience and we encourage any fans in the US and the UK who are unfamiliar with Luke's talents to contact him and request a copy of his next zine: Luke McGuff, Box 31848, Seattle, WA 98103. You'll be glad you did.

Cancelling this year's TAFF race was unfortunate, but necessary. No one can argue with our conclusion -- it would have been impossible to have a race with only one candidate -- but the reasons we ended up with only one candidate should be mentioned. Despite the revelations about British TAFF's recent money problems, the real culprit was time. We didn't have enough of it. Martin's 1996 TAFF trip concluded in the middle of September and the 1997 race was scheduled to begin only ten weeks later. The news of Abi Frost's problems and the traumas that accompanied it had occupied so much of the administrators' time, after the Tudor's return home, that we didn't realize how quickly the deadline was approaching. It had, quite honestly, snuck up on us.

Concerns about the abbreviated nominating time were expressed by both administrators, but it was agreed that there was little that could be done about it, short of outright cancellation of the race before it had a chance to start. No one wanted to do that. The timing of the Eastercon dictated that the race start at the beginning of December, allowing a bare minimum of nine weeks for the race itself, followed by a brief five or six weeks for preparations. Everyone involved agreed that this just wasn't enough time to conduct a proper race, but that we would stand by it, like it or not. We knew that it was important to continue the Fund's activities uninterrupted.

Despite the recent events in England, money wasn't an issue in the 1997 TAFF race. Had the race been held there would have been enough money available in the American bank account (with the aid of last-minute fund-raising) to pay for the winners expenses to Britain, even if the UK Fund were unable to contribute a single pence.

Nevertheless, there was a sigh of relief when the decision was made to cancel the TAFF race. It goes without saying that the problems in Britain and the subsequent secrecy that surrounded them have been bad for TAFF's reputation. The impact of it all has already generated a lot of hard feelings between fandom and the Fund, as well as between the two branches of TAFF itself. We deeply regret this and hope to use the next year to repair as much of this damage as we possibly can. The Trans-Atlantic Fan Fund is about unity and cooperation and anything we have done to dampen that unity is directly contrary to our aims and intentions.

Future plans for fund-raising are still under consideration at this time. However, there are a number of projects that should be available early in the new year. TAFF welcomes your interest and inquiries and encourages all kinds of fans to investigate the Trans-Atlantic Fan Fund. Suggestions about TAFF's future and proposals for fund raising are also encouraged. Contact TAFF's UK administrator, Martin Tudor, at 24 Ravensbourne Grove, Willenhall, West Midlands, WV13 1HX, England, or the American administrator, Dan Steffan, at 3804 South 9th Street, Arlington, Virginia USA. Thank you. -- Dan Steffan, TAFFboy