The Weekly TAFF News

An Annual Publication

The first issue of The Weekly TAFF News is brought to you in April 2004 by the North American TAFF administrator, Randy Byers, at 1013 N. 36th St., Seattle WA 98103, USA, The newsletter was designed by Denys Howard, may his name be hailed far and wide. Thanks also to Victor Gonzalez, David Langford, Robert Lichtman, and Ulrika O'Brien for consultation and suggestions.

The Future Is Now

It's hard to believe that it has been a year since my TAFF trip, but there's no denying what the calendar tells me. In fact, we are already in the midst of another TAFF race, with James Bacon and Anders Holmström vying for the privilege of traveling from Europe to the 2004 Worldcon in Boston. So it's time to bring everybody up to date on the North American TAFF account and get a ballot out there so that you can vote before the June 5th deadline.

I'll keep it simple, with a list of the voters in the 2003 race (which Victor Gonzalez also sent out in an e-mail newsletter right after the race), something about past and current fund-raising efforts, a report on the state of the fund in North America, and, for a bit of entertainment, a piece I wrote about Seacon '03 for a progress report for this year's Eastercon.

Voters in 2003

There was a good turnout for the 2003 North-America-to-Europe race, with a total of 170 voters.

There were 116 voters from the U.S. and Canada. Their names, in alphabetical order:

Jae Leslie Adams, Freddie Baer, Priscilla Ballou, Tracy Benton, Sheryl Birkhead, Bill Bodden, Rhonda Boothe, Bill Bowers, Jeanne Bowman, David Bratman, Ned Brooks, Bill Burns, Elinor Busby, Randy Byers, Jack Calvert, Thomas M. Cason, Michael Citrar, David Clark, Catherine Crockett, Hal Davis, Howard DeVore, Dick Eney, Tom Feller, Naomi Fisher, Don Fitch, George Flynn, Janice Gelb, Alexis Gilliland, Mike Glicksohn, Don Glover, Victor Gonzalez, Glenn Hackney, Ian Hagemann, Gay Haldeman, Joe Haldeman, Warren Harris, Jane Hawkins, John Hertz, C. Kay Hinchliffe, Colin Hinz, Arthur Hlavaty, Andrew Hooper, Denys Howard, James Hudson, Jim Hudson, Lucy Huntzinger, Joyce Katz, Jerry Kaufman, Roy Lavender, Thomas Lawrence, Hope Leibowitz, Robert Lichtman, Sheila Lightsey, Guy Lillian III, Dave Locke, Mike Lowrey, Frank Lunney, Nikki Lynch, Richard Lynch, Marci Malinowycz, Rich McAllister, Timothy McDaniel, Mike McInerney, Edmund Meskys, Matthew Michalak, Patrick Molloy, Murray Moore , Cheryl Morgan, Janice Murray, Hal O'Brien, Ulrika O'Brien, Spike Parsons, Lloyd Penney, Curt Phillips, Andrew Porter, D. Potter, Sarah Prince, Neil Rest, Gregory Rihn, Dave Rike, Carrie Root, Alan Rosenthal, Vicki Rosenzweig, Nigel Rowe, Anita Rowland, Ron Salomon, Kate Schaefer, Jeff Schalles, Ben Schilling, Georgie Schnobrich, David Schroth, Craig Smith, Lynda Spencer, Kevin Standlee, Dan Steffan, Milt Stevens, Steve Stiles, Elaine Stiles, Janine Stinson, Ian Stockdale, Erwin Strauss, Geri Sullivan, Charlene Taylor D'Alessio, Suzanne Tomkins, Bob Tucker, R. Laurraine Tutihasi, Tamara Vining, Julie Wall, Toni Weisskopf Reinhardt, George Wells, Art Widner, Paul Williams, Martin Morse Wooster, Ben Yalow, Kate Yule.

There were 53 voters from Britain and Europe. Their names, in alphabetical order:

Doug Bell, John Berry, Tony Berry, Simon Bisson, Pamela Boal, Sandra Bond, Claire Brialey, I. Burton, Cat Coast, Pete Coleman, Noel Collyer, Del Cotter, Tony Cullen, John Dallman, Lilian Edwards, Tommy Ferguson, Flick, Steve Glover, Judith Hanna, Eve Harvey, John Harvey, Julian Headlong, Dave Hicks, Sue Jones, Tony Keen, Paul Kincaid, Christina Lake, Dave Langford, Catherine Macauley, Sue Mason, Max, Pat McMurray, Robert Newman, Joseph Nicholas, Greg Pickersgill, Mark Plummer, David Redd, JFW Richards, Angela Rosin, Yvonne Rowse, Alison Scott, Mike Scott, Martin Smith, Maureen Speller, Douglas Spencer, Alan Sullivan, Paul Treadaway, Martin Tudor, Tobes Valois, Pam Wells, Peter Weston, Alan Woodford, Pete Young

We also had one voter from Australia, Irwin Hirsh.

Thanks to all of you for voting last year. Please vote again in the current race!

Fund-Raising for Fun and Profit

A lot of people help out with fund-raising and donations for TAFF, and the danger of thanking them by name is that names will be left out. Nonetheless, I'm going to take a shot at it. If I have left anyone out, please let me know, and I will make amends in a future newsletter.

First of all, I'd like to thank Ulrika O'Brien for doing most of the organizing of the TAFF part of the fan fund auction at the 2003 Worldcon in Toronto. Special thanks for efforts beyond the call of duty go to Alan Rosenthal, who agreed to help at the auction and unexpectedly ended up with a mike in his hand calling out, "Going, going, gone." Thanks, Alan, for heroism in the face of a PA! Big thanks also to Mary Kay Kare for handling the cash (she says it gives her pleasure, hmm), and to Colin Hinz for selling fanzines and helping out in other ways. Thanks to Dave Langford, Mike Lowrey, and Patrick Nielsen Hayden for contribution of items to be auctioned.

I'm also hugely indebted to Andy Hooper, who has conducted eBay auctions and fanzine auctions at the last two Corflus. He is responsible for a large chunk of the money that has come in under my watch. Thanks to Dan Steffan and Robert Lichtman for donating some great fanzines to this year's Corflu auction. Thanks also to Tracy Benton and Bill Bodden for the donation from the Corflu 20 surplus, and to Sheila Lightsey for her own donation. Jerry Kaufman has also raised money by reprinting Peter Roberts' TAFF report, New Routes in America, and he still has copies available for $10 at 3522 NE 123rd St, Seattle WA 98125. Thanks, Jerry.

I am trying to organize the TAFF part of the fan fund auction at the 2004 Worldcon in Boston, and I am delighted to announce that Peter Weston has volunteered to take the mike this time. Mary Kay will again by handling the money. I still need runners for showing the items to the crowd, and it would be nice to have a back-up for Peter in case he loses his voice. Please contact me if you'd like to take part.

I also need stuff to auction! I have a few items for the Worldcon auction (thanks to Vonda McIntyre), but we need more. Please contact me if you have collectibles that you'd like to donate to the fund. Books, toys, marmite flavored condoms, it's all good. Andy is also looking for old fanzines to auction on eBay and at the next Corflu. Please contact either one of us if you have any zines to donate.

The Current North American Account

The North American fund is in relatively good shape at the moment, bearing in mind that it will be over a year before we send a delegate from North America to the Worldcon in Glasgow in the summer of 2005. There is a little over $4100 in the account as of April 2004, with donations just beginning to come in with the ballots for this year's race. There was $3400 in the account when I took over. I spent $1830 on my relatively short (and thus not very expensive) trip, and $2570 has come in so far under my stern but fair regime.

In addition, former administrator Vijay Bowen still owes $1800 of the $2000 she borrowed from the fund during a period of personal difficulty following her trip, when her mother suffered a long and ultimately terminal illness. Vijay has worked out a repayment schedule with my predecessor, Victor Gonzalez, in which she agreed to pay back a minimum of $100 every other month, and she has made two payments since January 2004. At the minimum rate the final payment will be in 2007. I'd like to thank Vijay for her forthrightness on this issue, and I hope that life takes a turn for the better, as I know she has also lost a brother and an aunt in the past year. Many thanks to Victor as well for working with Vijay on this difficult matter.

The numbers on the account since I took it over are below.

North American TAFF Account as of April 2004

Item Amount       Total Fund
Money from previous administrator $3,400.00 $3,400.00
2003 trip expenses       -$1,830.00 $1,570.00
Income from auctions $1,990.00 $3,560.00
Donations $380.00 $3,940.00
Repayments $200.00 $4,140.00

Blame TAFF

[Previously published in Concourse Progress Report 3, produced by Claire Brialey and Mark Plummer in October 2003.]

Thanks to the many kind supporters of the Trans-Atlantic Fan Fund, I was able to attend Seacon '03 - my first and, so far, only British convention.

What? Was that a groan of pity I just heard? But no, I actually had a terrific time, even in the windswept wasteland that is Hinckley. It's true that I never made it out of the hotel bar (I was afraid that all the Old Speckled Hen would be gone before I got back), but I met a shocking number of people that way.

Well, okay, now that I have the obligatory bar joke out of the way (they didn't really put up a plaque for me, did they?), I'll confess that I did see a bit of the convention. I was even on a panel or two - and I'm still cursing Sandra Bond for asking me whether TAFF has any purpose in this day and age. I suppose I wasn't badly behaved enough to give you lot anything to write about (what other purpose could TAFF have?), but I certainly saw my share of depraved behavior. There were the robot wars, for instance, although I had to stand on tiptoes to see even a sliver of it over the cursing, howling mob. (Didn't see any torches, but I suppose that came in the welding phase.) Then there was Phil Raines and Ian Sorenson's latest multimedia extravaganza, graced by the ineffable onscreen presence of Julia Daly channeling Jackie McRobert. And there was that final dead dog panel with Jim de Liscard and Chris Tregenza (is that really his name?), but best not go there at this point, I expect.

At a conservative estimate, I spoke briefly or at length with 120 people - at least half of them named Anders - at the convention. (That was the obligatory Anders joke, which I think orginated with Dave Hicks, but they say you should always steal from the best.) Inasmuch as I had met perhaps thirty or forty British fans at most before my TAFF trip, this was quite an expansion of my horizons. It's all very well to meet the jet-setting Yvonne Rowses, Peter Westons, Mark Plummers, and Christina Lakes of the world, but who in North America has ever had the pleasure of hearing Wag speak far too knowledgeably of DVDAs, or Helena wax wry about the horrific gleaming teeth of, which celebrity was it, George Clooney? What right-thinking American has ever heard Dave O'Neill and Del Cotter rehearse an apparently traditional argument about the value of the space program? Where else but on yonder side of the Atlantic can one learn from James Bacon the proper way to bellow incomprehensible Irish words, or marvel at Flick's shiny black antigravity device? And what was it that Ronan Murphy gave me to drink when I asked for a sip of water during John Harvey's band's hot, bluesy set? It was as clear as water, but it burned, it burned!

Thanks to TAFF I have a better feel for the shape (and factions) of British fandom (not to mention the Swedes!), and I hope that the people I talked to enjoyed getting a small taste of US fandom as well. My sense is that most of us find our niche in fandom and don't stray too far outside it, and it's good sometimes to be shaken out of our ruts. Fandom is about making contact with like-minded souls, and it's certainly eye-opening and perspective-changing to meet like-minded souls from halfway around the world, speaking a language one can almost barely understand. It stretches even the Cosmic Mind (and more than that if one is foolish enough to try the Astral Pole, which I wasn't), and maybe it makes us better at understanding different experiences and cultural contexts. Worse yet, it gives one a sense of responsibility toward the fans who support this exchange of ambassadors and other good causes in the SF community.

Thus I tip my hat to those who came to the End of the Pier festivities at Seacon '03 and bought a pastry and a silly balloon hat (made by Pat Murphy, no less), or tried their hand (and shoulders, and legs and hips) at the Astral Pole or the wheelchair slalom. (Bravo to Doug Spencer for making it through blind-folded. Very zen!) Likewise for the other fan fund benefit, the auction, which featured Ellen Klages doing her own inimitable cross-cultural translations. ("What? You call dollars 'pounds' over here?") Thanks to everyone who support the fan funds. I look forward to meeting whoever you send over in reprisal for my visit.

And thanks, y'all, for throwing such a terrific party in my honor. And for letting me have more than my share of Old Speckled Hen.

A Final Plea for Your Vote

European adminstrator Tobes Valois has put together a good race this year, pitting the mad Irishman, James Bacon, against the Swedish fashion horse, Anders Holmström. I had the pleasure of meeting both of these guys at the Eastercon on my TAFF trip, and they are both strong candidates worthy of your vote. TAFF survives according to the interest of the community that supports it, and I hope you'll take the time to find out about the candidates and fill out the enclosed ballot. Every vote and every donation is appreciated!