Randy Byers in a red fez greeted all the fans filling the banquet room at Corflu Zed. After he identified himself as chair, thanked a list of the people making it all possible, he then went right to the one ceremony needed to launch the convention — drawing the name of the guest of honor from a hat.
First, Andy Hooper asked the rhetorical question, “When did being Corflu’s guest of honor become compulsory?” He said Frank Lunney had originated the practice of paying $20 to have one’s name removed from the hat, taking away any risk of being drafted to give a GoH speech at the Sunday banquet. And between Andy and Ted White, everyone present heard the legend of how drafting began. Now, however, Andy proposed a new “tradition” — of allowing somebody to say “no” if his or her name was drawn. Despite Corflu’s culture of adhering to fannish tradition, there was immediate acceptance of the idea. And immediate practice.
The first fan to have her name drawn declined. No problem. Next out of the hat was Bill Burns — but he said he had only one speech in him, which he did not want to upstage as he needs to deliver it when he’s a GoH at Eastercon. Elinor Busby’s name was the final one drawn, and we expect to hear from her at the banquet.
Maybe I will talk to Andy about my idea of merging several of these traditions: if someone is picked who is reluctant to do a speech, let them enlist one or more paladins to do the duty in their stead. A rebirth of fannish chivalry is sure to follow.