Horizon (Blake's 7 fan club)

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Fan Club
Name: Horizon
Dates: 1980-2007
Founder(s):
Leadership:
Country based in:
Focus: Blake's 7
External Links: older copies of the website archived here, current website here club logo
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Contents

1987 club flyer

Horizon is a fan run fan club for the BBC sci-fi television series Blake's 7. It was founded by in the UK by Pat Thomas and Diane Gies in 1979. The first ever Newsletter (the Horizon Newsletter) was sent out to around 300 members in the spring of 1980. The club also provided A4 size 90+ page, colour cover magazines (the The Horizon Interviews) containing interviews, letters of comment, articles, news on the cast etc. They also published a letterzine (the Horizon Letterzine), and offered vast range of merchandise (including photos, scripts, notepads, mugs, badges, etc.), and hosted regular London and regional meetings and outings. In 1998, the club went online. Starting in 2007(?) the club stopped accepting new members. Their website went offline in 2008 and then reopened in September 2009.

From the club's FAQ:
"So what does the Horizon Club do?

Up until 2001 the club produced regular magazines which kept its members informed about anything occurring to do with Blake’s 7, such as conventions, actors’ appearances in films, theatre & TV, and any other special events, as well as all the latest news on B7 related merchandise such as the long-awaited DVDs. We have continued to provide a comprehensive news service using our Yahoo Groups email bulletin service which currently has over 700 members. The magazines also contained interviews, reviews, competitions, LOCs and encouraged fans to contribute to the magazines and meet up with other fans on a regular basis.

Over the years, regular get-togethers were held, enabling members to meet and keep in touch in the UK. Groups got together to see the B7 cast at the theatre, go out for the day or weekend on B7 Location visits and many fund raising activities were, and are still, arranged. The club continues to offer a mail order service on all the latest B7 merchandise, including the episodes on DVD and video, the BBC’s two follow-on radio plays and other CD/videos featuring the original B7 cast members. Other merchandise includes fan fiction magazines, technical manuals, interviews books, photos, fridge magnets, T-shirts, gift items, etc. Information on some of the merchandise currently available is already listed in the website Database in the merchandise section, with more to follow."
In 1994, Judith Proctor posted a list of some of the activities from her club chapter to Lysator, the Blake's 7 mailing list:
"The southern regional group of Horizon can be contacted via Serena Trent [address removed]. We meet about once a month, play Quasar, read scripts, swop zines, have quizzes, etc. I think playing Blake's 7 charades at the annual Blakewake was probably the most hilarious thing we've done yet. (If it sounds boring, just try making some poor sucker mime "Harvest of Kairos") We don't actually have very much to do with Horizon. We also have a small zine, "Voice from the South".[1]
Another chapter replied:
"Judith mentioned Blake's 7 charades at Blakewake. Lucy and Dennis Collin in the Terra Nostra, the South-East group, came up with Blake's 7 Pictionary. I think trying to come up with sketches which says "The Rule of Life" or, indeed, "Harvest of Kairos" compares quite well with miming it out!"[2]


Conventions Sponsored

Zines Published (and one Role-Playing Game)

The Periodic Adult Content Debates

From time to time club members would seek to change the club's policy on advertising or linking to adult material. In 1999, club chair, Diane Gies proposed a new policy for their newsletters/letterzines that would ban any zine, convention or other fan event that allowed adult material to be printed, sold, or displayed. The proposal also sought to remove any links on the fan club's web page to sites with adult content (even sites with adult content warnings) or who themselves link to sites with adult content. One site she specifically mentioned was Judith Proctor's hermit.org site. What made the timing of this attempt to shift club policy was that it came over a decade after the Blake's 7 Slash Debate and well after adult fanfiction had taken root online.

Excerpts:

"Advertising of fanzine Dealers in Orac's Oddments......Further, [all ad listings] would be required to sign something to confirm that they did not produce, or agent for others, any B7 fan fiction containing 'adult' artwork. If they want to sell adult fiction, that's up to them, but the majority of the cast hate the idea of explicit artwork and so do I, as you all know. We would obviously have to advise them what we considered 'explicit', eg. no nudity, and no portraits that would look out of place in a PG rated zine and cause anyone to think "ey-up... bet they're going to be having a **** any minute now"
"I don't want Horizon to advertise any convention that has a B7 guest unless they confirm in writing that there will be a ban on dealers selling adult B7 fiction with explicit art content and, further, that any adult fiction without such pictures will not be openly displayed on the sales table but will be hidden away behind and anyone wanting to view it will have to ask for it, rather than having it in a box on the table marked 'adult' - thus creating a knowledge that such things exist in the person passing by."
"Websites - from Horizon's links section, you only effectively need to do 3 quick 'clicks' through Proctor's site to get into reading X-rated excerpts from zines on her own site. In several cases there isn't even any warning and depending on which bits of her site you start off reading, you don't necessarily get an explanation of what slash fiction, for example, means so the non-fan who has done a search for Blake's 7 can come into the Official Fan Club Site (us!), go through to Proctor's site and immediately be told that there's loads of fiction featuring explicit sex scenes between main characters. It's one thing for people to go and buy these zines, where they have to make some effort and conscious decision to buy, but if it's just sitting there on the internet, I think this is awful and there seems to be so much of it." [3]

The email may have been sent to the Blake's 7 mailing list in error as it has an informal, almost confidential tone (suggesting that they keep the policy discussion away from a 70+ committee chair member who did not 'need to know' of the existence of adult and slash material). Although most of the mailing list discussions was vigorous,[4] the proposal was not adopted.

References

  1. Subject: Dead club by Judith Proctor on Lysator dated April 6, 1994.
  2. Subject: Silly B7 games by Ming on Lysator dated April 6, 1994.
  3. Lysator Archive index from October 1999.
  4. index from 1999.
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