RIP: Hans Sidén, Gothenburg Fandom Founder, Mingled With The Stars

Hans Sidén in the Sixties.

By Ahrvid Engholm: Maths Claesson hardly had time to get below 37C when we had more sad news: one of the founders of Swedish fandom, journalist Hans Sidén (1935-2023) went to the eternal Gafia on June 24, aged 87. Our historical trufandom slowly dies as the fen who created it kick the rocket-bucket one by one.

An 18-year-old Hans Sidén was one of the founders of our fifth oldest sf club, the only one still active, Gothenburg’s Club Cosmos launched in 1954. (#1 was Atom-Noak 1945, #2 Strate Organisation 1949, #3 was Futura 1950, #4 was club Meteor 1952).

He, Lars-Erik Helin and Gabriel Setterborg co-edited Sweden’s #2 fanzine Cosmos News (1954, #1 was Vår Rymd 1952). He wrote a lot about sf and fandom in the papers, a few books, and generally covered modern culture, especially rock music, movies, comics and popular literature.

Mr Sidén was there as it happened, as stated in his photo book The Boy With the Paisley Shirt (2021 in English with a vinyl single, available on Amazon):

Beatles, Stones, Who, Kinks, Hendrix, Dusty and Tages – the music explosion of the 60’s in Gothenburg seen through the lens of Hans Sidén’s camera. He sat so close to the band that he could’ve leaned forward and touched Lennon’s shoes when The Beatles played Cirkus in October 1963. He bantered with Rolling Stones in a hotel room, went to the discoteque with The Who and had dinner with The Troggs. He hitched a ride with Tages to Stockholm and with The Hep Stars to Borås, served Cat Stevens home made pizza, lent stacks of Tamla Motown and Stax singles to English DJ Clem Dalton and hung around every soundcheck when the stars came to town. Journalist, illustrator and author Hans Sidén had front row tickets to the music scene in Gothenburg, Sweden all through the sixties and happened to bring his cameras.

That beats touching Erik Andersson’s shoes when he filked or drinking tea as Steve Sem-Sandberg howled and owled!

A younger Hans Sidén poses with a prop from the film “This Island Earth”

I met Sidén a few times. A nice fellow how knew a lot about popular culture. Though he wasn’t too fanactive in older days, earlier he was often one of rather few to report from out conventions to outsiders. An example from Göteborgs Handels och Sjöfartstidning Sep 23 1967.

Science Fiction Meet

Around 40 sf aficionados from the whole Nordic area gathers this spring in Gothenburg for a convention. It’ll be the 12th convention of its kind and it’s arranged by the supporters of the field in Gothenburg, who call the event Götcon 1, as it’s the first time Gothenburg has this honour. Among the topics of the convention we note sf (science fiction) subjects in today’s culture, sf Vs fantasy (scientifically impossible fiction), information on foreign sf and fandom (sf fans). Films are shown and records are played, among them Orson Welles’ War of the Worlds. An award, Alvar, is also handed out. The adventures take place in the Björngårds Villa and visits of several famous friends of sf are expected.

Gabriel Setterborg here covers how Club Cosmos was founded, noting eg how the young Hans Sidén at that time already “subscribed to several American sf magazines”. Subscribing to foreign mags was rather advanced for a boy hardly out of high school. For one thing there was currency export restrictions.

Hans Sidén was a legend!

2 thoughts on “RIP: Hans Sidén, Gothenburg Fandom Founder, Mingled With The Stars

  1. “Maths Claesson hardly had time to get below 37C when we had more sad news (…)”

    Well, you really need to edit what you get from Ahrvid, you know.

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