Because I couldn’t think of what to write today, I asked my Facebook crew to come up with topics. HypnoCat wanted to know my weirdest science fiction convention experience. We know each other through Star Trek fandom, dating back to the 1980’s.
I attended sf cons, mostly media cons, back in the 80’s, and a little into the 90’s, when Aussie conventions were small affairs – a committee of locals throwing a three-day convention with maybe 200 attendees coming in from all over Australia. The Guest of Honour was usually an overseas tv star or writer. However, there were times when monies were not to be had to import a GOH, so we made do with local talent, or simply a Fan Guest of Honour, some local Big Name Fan who was shoved up on stage to talk about their role in fandom, and whenever their Good Old Days were/are.
However, my weirdest experience….. hmmm, some would say the very fact that I attended sf cons is weird. So be it. I got my start as a writer in Star Trek fanzines, got nominated for several fan writing awards, won one, and was a…well, not a BNF, but a Medium Name Fan.
I have two incidents for you, both from Denvention, the 2008 World Science Fiction Convention, and the first con I’d attended in many years, and my first time ever outside Australia.
Picture the first day of the convention. I’ve registered, and am now at a loose end. I know exactly 3 people at the con, and they’ve all fucked off to do their own things. GodzillaMan and MothraBabe are at the art show. My room-mate, RatMother, is doing whatever she’s got planned. I’m at a loose end, so I decide the best thing to do is volunteer. I get on the escalator, heading upstairs to where Volunteering is. I idly look up. There is a large, and I mean very wide, short, hefty in a Stonehenge sort of way about 12 steps ahead of me. He has long white hair and a long white beard. He is wearing a kilt. He is not wearing anything under his kilt. It takes me about 20 seconds to register what it is I’m seeing. A very broad, white arse, with hair on both butt cheeks, and his dangly bits featured in shadow. His legs are wide. I know it’s hot in Denver in summer (I experienced it as a nice late Spring), but wow, put your legs together, man. Thirteen years later, it’s still emblazoned on my memory.
And from the same convention:
How about my first Denvention room party, where I’m talking to an American man who, seriously, has a sort of lurex shirt on, open to the waist, and a fucking gold chain with medallion on it nestling amongst his chest hair. He’s not even wearing it ironically. I can scarcely contain my excitement that this sort of cliche actually exists.
He’s telling me all about himself, and everything is hugely hilarious to me, but I don’t show it. I sit there, looking interested, which, to my delight, only encourages him. He tells me that he wants to get out of America, and Australia sounds all right to him. His plan now is to marry an Australian woman and, as he seems to only work part time, be mostly supported by her. What a catch! I tell him that it could be challenging for him, because all Australian women are mated from birth. The government chooses our mates for us by lottery. And he actually believes this. I sigh and say that because my first marriage ended in divorce, I am now awaiting the divorcee lottery, and be assigned my new husband in October 2008. Thus, I was having a last few months as a single woman before being remarried. I didn’t tell him that at this point, I’d been divorced since 1995, and that I hadn’t remarried in that time. He didn’t need to know that.
He was disappointed, and asked if I had any girlfriends who might be interested. I said I had my doubts. He gave me his contact details, and said he’d be grateful if I asked around.
I suggested that he come to Australia for the Sydney Mardi Gras (a huge gay pride event). That it was a chance for those few who were single to perhaps find a mate whose name they could suggest to the government. I said: “Someone will see you right.”
I’m sure some nice man would.
There you go, HypnoCat, are they weird enough? I’m afraid cPTSD has rendered quite a few of my early convention memories in a very mixed light, not accessible, or very ordinary compared to later experiences.
Next topic, please.