Fal Tor Pan

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Star Trek Convention
Name: Fal Tor Pan
Dates: February 26-28, 1999
Frequency:
Location: Birmingham, England at the Britannia Hotel
Type: fan-run
Focus: Star Trek
Organization:
Founder: Maggy Edwards
Founding Date:
URL:
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Contents

Fal Tor Pan was a Star Trek con held in Birmingham, England.

The title of the convention is a reference to the Vulcan ritual fal-tor-pan, used in Star Trek III to reunite Spock's soul with his body.

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Reactions and Reviews

Fal Tor Pan was an Original Trek convention held in Birmingham over the weekend of 26th February 1999. It was really small; I'm not sure exactly how many fans attended but it was certainly under a hundred. There were no guests. The whole convention fitted neatly onto one floor in the hotel. There was no disco. So why, you may ask, was it so hugely enjoyable? Well, for a start, the convention went where most cons don't go nowadays — into the archives of Classic Trek. The video programme showed lots of episodes and all the CT films, as you might expect, but also interviews with the cast from many sources, and episodes of other series in which they appeared. There were videos of cons in the States, out-takes, and some film footage of musical episodes in the lives of Leonard Nimoy and Bill Shatner which the pair would probably prefer to forget. There was Alexander the Great, which I've always wanted to see. In short, it was a video feast for a Classic Trek fan who discovered cons after the birth of TNG and who therefore hasn't been to one where the programme favoured the Original series. I am not saying that I don't enjoy other cons. I do. I'm up to date with Voyager and DS9 and have most of the TNG videos. But Fal Tor Pan was a little different and a bit special. The dealers' room was small but a delight for someone who collects Classic zines; for once I went home with a bag full to read. I renewed acquaintances with fans whom I see at other cons, and met people that I have never seen at a con before. The weekend was incredibly relaxing; a lot of time was spent simply chatting to people. There was an auction and some real bargains to be had. The con raised money for charity but I don't know what the final amount was. Not everyone at the con was an OS fan; there were those who had come with friends yet there was a strong sense that they were enjoying themselves as much as the rest of us. Perhaps there is a message here for con organisers; as well as showing the latest Voyager and DS9, perhaps there is an audience out there not just for the Classic episodes, but also for the Classic archive material, an audience who may be interested in seeing how it all started, an audience of Classic fans who didn't come to Birmingham and who, like me, have never seen much of this film footage which I am now officially dubbing 'archive' material. [1]
I have just spent a great weekend at the Fal Tor Pan Convention. “The Rebirth of the Classic Trek convention” is how it was advertised, but to me the atmosphere was so much more than that of a “newborn” convention—it felt as if it had in fact been running for years. There was a warm, friendly atmosphere right from the beginning, with so many familiar faces amongst the attendees, and the convention ran smoothly from start to finish—testimony to the hard work put in by the committee both before and during the event. The programme itself was sheer indulgent bliss! A choice of two video programmes, showing a well- balanced mix of Classic Trek (including all the movies), and other shows featuring some of the Trek actors. Lots of old favourites, including the first appearance together of WS and LN—“The Man From Uncle”, (and the most recent, Alien Voices), made all the more enjoyable for watching on a large screen in the appreciative company of friends; a smattering of music videos—always popular; plenty of new items, also— e.g. interviews, the WS and LN Biographies, Alien Voices, etc., plus some older items I had never managed to see before—“Alexander”, for instance, and an equally young, attractive, “Swedish” (!) WS in an episode of a series called “Collossus”, which I hadn’t even heard of. (Also in the cast of “Collossus” were the actors who played Lazarus, Sandoval and—how about this—T’Pau as a maid!) There was also a 50’s episode of “Wagon Train”, with a 20-something tearful LN, looking very cute. We were all thoroughly spoiled! It was great to see so many fan-run tables in the dealers’ room, selling their own wares, be it hand- crafted cards, badges, stationery, etc. or—that rarity at large conventions nowadays—zines! Lotsa! A nice touch too was the charity stall run by the LN Fan Club, reminiscent of the White Horta table IDIC used to run. The art display was very good warranting more than one visit to appreciate the artists’ work, and the zine library was very welcome for that convention tradition—midnight reading (at least that’s when I did my reading, being totally unable to decide which part of the programme to forfeit in favour of a quick read). I’m so glad that although the committee worked extremely hard for the entire weekend, they were still able to find the time to actually sit and watch some of the programme, and so experience at first hand the great atmosphere that permeated throughout the whole weekend. Another result of their efforts was the announcement at the closing ceremony that the convention had raised approximately £800 for charity at that point! The hotel was ideal—centrally placed, with friendly, helpful staff. The function rooms were just the right size, all conveniently close together, making the whole occasion effortless and totally relaxing. A couple of nice touches—free soft drinks in the main hall, and loads of posters decorating the function rooms, including pickies of the Enterprise lads in the ladies loo! I didn’t quite pluck up the courage to go where no woman has gone before to see if Chapel and Uhura regaled the Gents...! All in all, a great weekend—wonderful videos, an auction, dealers room, quizzes, zines to read, friends to chat with (there was even a special room for just this purpose). Heaven, in fact! I came into fandom rather late, so never experienced the days when everyone at a convention was into Classic Trek. I now have, and look forward to the next one. I sincerely hope there will be a next one! [2]
FAL TOR PAN was held in Birmingham City Centre’s Hotel the Britannia on the weekend of February 26-28. The convention was conceived and planned over two years ago after a totally frustrating time at a so-called Star Trek convention which completely avoided Classic Trek. So we decided to hold a con tailored just for the fans of the original series. The video programme was run in two rooms with one showing mostly trek episodes, the other movies and interviews and TV shows that featured the actors in non-Trek roles. There was a dealers’ room and a rec room for delegates to meet, chat and relax. The whole weekend was planned to be as informal and relaxed as possible, but I doubt the committee felt that as the delagates began to arrive! We found, however, very little to worry about as the whole event went very smoothly. There was a beautiful art display in the dealers’ room, a zine library was also running with zines I would die for! Because the con was right in the centre of the city there were no problems in getting food as the hotel food was nice and affordable. Even as a veggie I was spoilt for choice. I only regret I had to snatch all my meals when I could. The charity auction went well and although at the time of writing this, we don’t have a final figure, the nominated charities will receive nice sums. Bill Shatner fans are donating to Diamond Riding Centre who not only assist young disabled to ride, but also train instructors. Leonard’s UK fan club has nominated the Cystic Fibrosis Research Trust based in the UK and George Takei’s Fan Club’s share will go towards helping “East West Players”, a group supported by George. As the con was non profit making any monies left in the con account will be added to the charity money. I didn’t manage to see much of the programme. I did cry (as usual) during “Never Forget”. Saw Bill in “Alexander”. Boy! There was such a lovely atmosphere when the boys were on—a lot of oohs and ahhs. It’s been such a long, long time since I attended a convention and felt that nice warm feeling...only trouble, it’s also been a long time since I suffered such post con blues. The committee said if we got a positive feedback afterwards, we might consider doing another con. It is definitely a possibility. [3]

References

  1. from Star Trek Action Group #131
  2. from The K/S Press #32
  3. from The K/S Press #32
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