Spider Robinson Commits to Next Year’s VCON

R. Graeme Cameron has stepped in as chair of next year’s VCON. Happily, as one of his first acts, was able to announce that Spider Robinson, prevented by illness from attending VCON 40 this past weekend, has agreed to be Master of Ceremonies for VCON 41 in 2016. Cameron says, “I know I speak for all local fen (fen everywhere for that matter) that we are glad he is recovering his health and we can hardly wait to see him again. Always good times when he is present at VCON!”

And how came The Graeme to chair next year’s con? He tells the tale after the jump….

By R. Graeme Cameron: By the way, traditionally the Chair of next year’s bid is always announced at the closing ceremonies of this year’s bid. Next year’s bid had already been voted on by the WCSFA Board and approved. Unfortunately, for entirely understandable personal reasons, Danielle Stephens, chair of multiple VCONs in recent years, at the bag-stuffing party just before VCON 41 had to announce that she was stepping down. Quite a shock. Many tears and a group hug to show her our support.

Then came a discussion on what to do for a chair. No obvious candidate. Chris Sturges and Keith Lim offered themselves as interim co-chairs to maintain momentum until an actual candidate came forward. This, a typical example of the committed gung ho enthusiasm of VCON/WCSFA members which has kept VCON alive since 1971.

All during the con I mulled over the fact I had chaired VCON 25 in 2000 and somehow gotten away with it. Add to this my invincible ignorance and increasing bouts of senile agitation, what better candidate could there be?

So Saturday evening at VCON I went up to Danielle in the hall and offered to be Chair of VCON 41. She was so surprised and pleased and possibly relieved  she leaped forward and hugged me.

There remained the problem of being approved by WCSFA, except that it really wasn’t much of a problem. The bid had already been approved. Under the WCSFA society rules it was merely a matter of getting a quorum together to take a vote on replacing one chair with another.

At the closing ceremonies Danielle announced I would be chair next year. The crowd roared. Not entirely sure why, but on the assumption it was a positive reaction I bounced up to the podium and announced I had gotten the job because I had been the first chair to propose a “fully nude VCON.” Again the crowd roared.

Then I got down to the important business. I reminded everyone I had once awarded Danielle an Elron Award (“She doesn’t need to know it came from a Three Stooges model kit” I told them) consisting of a (plastic) torrent of flame blazing from a metal bowl, which at the time symbolized her boundless enthusiasm for raising VCON to new heights.

I then explained that, joyous as an experience of being a con chair for multiple years always is (cough, cough), there is a certain element of “yoke of servitude” involved. “Consequently there’s a silver lining for Danielle in stepping down” I announced, “as symbolized by the second Elron I am awarding her, the ‘Special Flight To Freedom’ Elron” (which was the standard “bronzed” lemon customised with the addition of a “bronzed” pterodactyl figure with outstretched wings atop the lemon).

Since I was standing in front of the tables on the podium, she leaned over the table to gleefully take the Elron from my hand.

I turned back to the audience to say “Besides, she needs a bookend to match the first one” when I was suddenly jolted from behind and seized by strong arms. Danielle had jumped up from her seat, run around the tables and jumped down from the podium platform to embrace me with the mother of all hugs. I hadn’t expected to, but I teared up.

Running VCON is far from a Machiavellian exercise. Many of us have been at it for so long we have strong attachments not only to the con but also to each other. I doubt this is unique to our convention, but it is certainly a feature of it.

Anyway, much deserved kudos to Danielle for all that she has accomplished.

My first act as Chair of VCON 41 was to contact Spider Robinson. He was to be the Master of Ceremonies for VCON 40, but unfortunately he’d been ill and not able to attend.

I asked him if he’d like to be the MC for VCON 41, and he was delighted to accept, much to the even greater delight of all his friends and fans eager to meet him again. Always great fun when he is present at VCON. Definitely something to look forward to.