Download a GUFF ballot form here
I had a really good time at Conflux this year - the con was really mellow and allowed for lots of long and awesome conversations. And one of the themes, it seemed for me, was talk of Fandom of Yesteryear (I use this phrase with tongue-in-cheek). I'm a newbie round these parts and I've been lucky enough to be able to form some really awesome friendships and to have been taken in by so many so quickly. And I guess in some ways, have so many people be so ready to inform and educate me about all things community. I'm new and I've missed lots and lots of the fan history and one of my favourite things about cons and fan get togethers is hearing the stories and the mythology and the important events and moments that have brought the community to where it is now. I love being regaled.
At Conflux I got to hear a lot about these things people remember called "fanzines". (Yes, I am deliberately misrepresenting myself as a Y Gen-er *cheeky grin*) It seems these were on paper and were posted to fans around the country and the world. My favourite things from listening to the regaling include the proclamation at the Continuum Room Party that "I only got into fanzines cause I heard they got you laid". And the reply to my subsequent question "and did they?" Was a resounding "No!" Shame really! Heh.
Then there was something called Collation Parties - where the producer of these things called "fanzines" would get a bunch of their friends over to their place one night to help collate the fanzine. You know, collect all the pages in order and staple them. It had to be explained to me too, how am I *this* young!, that these were the days before photocopiers automatically collated duplicate copies of a full document for you. And then of course the tales of the biggest injury and thorn to the fanzine collation - the paper cut!!
Finally though I learned of how the GUFF race was affected by the fanzine. dmw sat and had a lovely conversation with me on the last day and told me that back in the day, the GUFF race was run over 18 months! And that the voting had two distinct periods of furious voting - when the candidates were first announced and in the last month before voting closed and then almost no activity in the 16 months in between. Races were conducted across issues of fanzines that would be posted out to readers across countries and continents with the first issue announcing the candidates and including a form and then subsequent issues reminding readers of those in the race and including voting forms and then finally the important issue with the form that wouldn't be lost within the last issue prior to the close of the ballot.
It's funny and I guess quaint to me who lives in an instantaneous world where things that would have spanned months in fandom now happen all before lunch and can be bought and sold with the click of a button. But so too I can appreciate the depth and level of commitment of a community that is built up over time and space like that with members who can only reach out to one another in the format that the fanzine offered. How frustrating too it must have been to want to disagree with someone and have to do it back and forth across months of issues in the Letters section!
The thing that I find the most awesome and admirable is how quick this community is to take up new formats and forums in order to improve the way we can act and interact with one another. And also, how fond most people are of one another. This is a community I am proud to be considered a member of.
Thanks so much for having me!