Midcon

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Star Trek Convention
Name: Midcon
Dates: 1978?-1997?
Frequency: yearly?
Location: UK
Type:
Focus: Star Trek: TNG & Star Trek: TOS
Organization:
Founder: Jenny Elson & Terry Elson
Founding Date:
URL:
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Contents

cover of con program from 1989

Midcon is a Star Trek: TNG and TOS con. It was held at over the years in Leicester, with the dates of 1978 (?) 1986, 1987, 1988, 1989, 1991, 1993, 1997 and 1999 being confirmed.

1986

Midcon, England, September 12-14, 1986, De Forest Kelley and Richard Arnold were GOH.

Con Report: 1986

In many ways the convention started for me on Wednesday 10th September when Jenny Elsen (one of the con committee) called me and told me that De was at the hotel and looking really good. I called Marquita (who helps me run the DFKIAS) and the pair of us were almost in hysterics over the phone. Now, meeting De/seeing De at conventions is nothing new to me (I've been to four US cons in the last five years at which Mr. Kelley has been a guest and was lucky enough to be included in the committee dinner at Delta Con, September '85) but for Marquita, this was a dream come true. I suppose I was excited because the Kelleys were finally on British soil!

Anyway, we finally left London around mid-day on the Friday, the car laden with sales materials of one kind or another. It was a slow journey, Friday is not a good day to go anywhere by car in the London area, but we survived...

We arrived in Leicester around 3:30 to discover that the hotel was really easy to find (and that made a pleasant change when I think of the hours we've driven around some cities). Our first impression of the hotel was something along the lines of "Oh, WOW!" and it got better and better! It was so lovely to have US-style service in a UK hotel, beautiful rooms with everything but a kettle (luckily we'd taken our own travelling one, well, Judy did anyway!), buffet breakfasts with everything for everyone. It really was great!

We were greeted in the hotel foyer by a lot of familiar faces and we didn't even have to give our names to the con registration desk, Ray Dowsett remembered us! (I'm not convinced that was good, but it was nice to see familiar faces like that.) We then made a second trip to the car to collect the rest of the luggage and then collapsed in the room for half an hour.

While waiting in the foyer once more, for friends to come down from their room this time, I saw Carolyn Kelley for the first time but didn't go over and speak to her. I'd better explain why (cos there's certain people around here who still kick me every time they think about the missed opportunities of the 'shy,' 'reserved' Britlsh!)--we hadn't been at the hotel long, I looked and felt like wreck, at that time Mrs. Kelley was 'incognito' as far as the fans were concerned and I didn't want to risk the change of ruining her anonimity any sooner than was necessary. Am ! forgiven? No? Oh, well, I'll do better next time!

After a trip to MacDonalds for a meal (yes, we have them here, too, and as far as I'm concerned, they're better than the British equivalent!) we were beginning to wonder which country we were in (well, Judy had just come back from Norfolk, Virginia, we were staying at an American hotel, had just eaten in an American eatery, and the con guests were American!).

We set up the sales room next. As per usual there were far too many people in the room for comfort but thankfully I was close to an open door (the exit) so whenever I felt claustrophobic I made a quick dash outside for a while. Sales were thick and fast and in no time at all we'd taken in about £40 in an hour (split 50/50 between the two of us, that's more than I've made at half a dozen cons in the past). A particular favorite were the photos I'd had made up from some of my collection -- only wish I'd had more done now! Once the sales room was closed Judy and I had a drink in the bar, spoke to lots of people and had an early night.

Saturday morning arrived too quickly for me. I stayed in bed while Judy went down and had a swim! I was conscious by the time Judy returned and after we'd both showered and dressed we went down to breakfast. The opening ceremony commenced after this. Richard and Denny Arnold were introduced but Mr. and Mrs. Kelley opted not to appear (we, Judy and I, had been told by the organizers that they felt a greater impact would be made by appearing for the first time at his talk in the afternoon--and I think this was so).

After a few more hours in the sales room, during which lunch time passed virtually unnoticed (as always happens at the best cons), we went down to the main hall for Mr. Kelley's speech. Richard Arnold was still talking when we arrived so we listened to the end of what he had to say and then, with something of a fanfare (and Ray Dowsett in full Confederate uniform), DeForest Kelley finally came onto the stage to a standing ovation. Carolyn was seated close to where Marquita and I were seated and finally lost her anonimity when De made her stand up to be introduced. De opened by asking whether certain fans were there, including myself. I stood up and waved and he asked, "Wanna go back to Baton Rouge and have some shrimp?" to which I replied, "Anytime!" When he'd recovered from the surprise (I suspect) of my answer, De went on to explain about the dinner before Delta Con last year. I the meantime Marquita and I had dissolved into giggles and I feel I should explain this (especially when you remember our proximity to Mrs. Kelley!) — it was a release of tension and excitement. Marquita had been dreaming of meeting Mr. Kelley for more than ten years and here she was, finally, in the same room as the man. I'd known about this wish of hers and was exceedingly happy for her that it had happened at last. Plus, I think the pair of us were somewhat surprised by my answering Mr. Kelley's question! It was a very exciting time for us.

L)e talked mostly about his career and the movie (though not in detail, obviously). The hour seemed to go far too quickly, as is usually the case. De very cleverly fended off the more awkward questions with, "I'm a doctor, not a..." and the resulting laughter gave him time to come up with an answer!

After De's talk there was a 'reception' line rather than an autograph line. De has decided against signing autographs at the con itself but had sent a package of autographed photos in advance which each of the attendees were given upon registration. This was a very good idea for it saved him from writer's cramp but did not stop him from meeting each and every fan in the line, shaking their hand and answering any questions. The sales room was quiet and we finally closed the sales table knowing that we'd made lots of money! We thought about eating in the hotel restaurant but as time was short ended up grabbing a burger from the snack bar the hotel had set up. The fancy dress (costume) contest had mostly De-related entries. Lesley Coles' crowd won best comedy entry and a 'Cabaret' turn from Starship Excalibur members with Martin Pay leading in two ladies wearing only strategically placed fur won 'best erotic,' hence putting himself into a relatively exclusive 'club.'

After the fancy dress, which was judged by Mr. Kelley (something I don't believe he has done before), Richard and Denny Arnold and fan guests Miri Rana and Margaret Bertram, a young lady presented the Kelleys with a wedding anniversary cake. Jenny Elson (one of the con organizers) had also acquired two enormous "Star Trek" birthday cakes with the Enterprise and lots of candles on, and these were placed on the table where the judges had been sitting as Judy hijacked the anniversary cake from under the Keileys' noses! I'm assured the Kelleys got their cake back eventually!

Immediately after the fancy dress the committee took the Kelleys out to dinner and Judy had the surprise of her life when, on the way back to our room, the Kelleys got in the lift with her! Judy said it gave her an opportunity to apologise for whipping the cake, although she's not entirely convinced De knew what she was talking about! The disco commenced and Judy and I separated for a while as we both had friends to catch up with but we enjoyed the evening immensely -- Judy dancing (I couldn't because I'd managed to get a huge blister on the ball of my foot the day before the con) and me talking and drinking with pals. Marquita and I met up "later on and burst into giggles again--it really was a most relaxing, fun weekend! Judy and I retreated to our room around 2am, rang room service and had a very nice meal. I guess we finally crawled into bed around 3:30am.

Judy crawled out again at some ungodly hour for her morning swim and I stayed put, even more unconscious Sunday morning than I had been on the previous day. However, once again I managed to be alive and kicking by the time we went down to breakfast.

The sales room was much quieter on this day, which wasn't surprising as I think everyone had bought almost everything on offer the previous day. At 11am I held the DTKIAS meeting where the trivia quiz was won by Janet Wicks, and was Lynne Sheppard, 3rd Claudia Weissmann-Stahl, Sabine Hollunder and Karin Schwentek (I think!). A special mention should be made of Pam Clarke whose cheerful heckling helped me to survive this nerve-wracking occasion—okay, I admit it, I still have a certain amount of 'British reserve' but you should have seen me before I discovered fandom! But I'm getting better!!

In next to no time the closing ceremony was upon us. This was the usual, for the Elson's conventions anyway, emotional event with much waving of scarves, etc. and Caroiyn slid out quietly during the singing and once we'd finished we sat down for a moment to collect our thoughts. The weekend was almost over, but what a weekend!

There was a poolside party Sunday evening. We found that the area was a little small so after the meal Judy and I went and found friends to talk to whilst imbibing a drink or two, okay, so maybe it was three or four! Midnight arrived and it finally sunk in that another convention was over. But what a convention! it was such a pleasure to be at a convention with very few glitches and no fan politics. It was nice to see so many familiar faces and to experience the relaxed atmosphere I remember from the early days of Trek fandom in this country. It was also good to meet so many new people and many of the club members. My sincere thanks to the convention committee who worked extremely hard to make this event happen — when's the next one?! [1]

1987

Holiday Inn, Leicester, England. GOH Nichelle Nichols and Richard Arnold.

1989

Holiday Inn, Leicester, November 3-5, 1989. GOH were Gates McFadden, William Ware Thkiss, Guy Vardman, Richard Arnold, fan guest of honor was Miri Rana. There are detailed summaries of the guest of honor's talks in IDIC #7.

1991

Midcon was held October 4-6, 1991.

1994

HOLIDAY INN LEICESTER 1994 21 YEARS OF TREKKING

1997

MIDCON 16 was held on 3 - 5 Oct 1997 in Leicester.

1998

Midcon 17: GOH = Max Grodenchik

1999

In 1999 Midcon was held in Shrewsbury England?

Midcon 18 con at Leicester?

2002

MidCon 2002 Website: http://www.sfcp.co.uk/ Email: Paul Evans Where: Queensway, Birmingham, UK Dates: November 1, 2002 - November 3, 2002 Attendance: 120-160 Location: Royal Angus Hotel, St. Chad's Description: Gaming, Diplomacy Convention.

Con Reports: 1989

First and most important is always catching up with old friends and talking a lot which we did, and next comes the onslaught on the dealer's room. This seemed quite bare this year, with IDIC/ScoTpress folk not being the only familiar faces missing by any means. Most items for sale ware either professional or photos etc, with very few zines in evidence, something 1 don't ever remember happening before. There was a video room showing original episodes and the movies, and a few TNG episodes were shown between events in the main hall. We missed Guy Vardaman's talk but did go in to listen to Bill Theiss talk about sparkly fabrics for an hour. At the end of his talk there was a surprise appearance by Sophie Aldred, who as everyone except me knew is Dr. Who's companion Ace. She was bright and vivacious and answered questions cheerfully for about 20 minutes, explaining that she'd been signing autographs over in the Elsons' shop and thought it would be run to see a Star Trek con for a change, and she made a very good impression in a short time. I enjoyed Gates' talk very much. She came across as somewhat shy and reserved but trying hard not to be. she was witty, obviously very intelligent and about a hundred times more dynamic than Beverly Crusher, which answered one of my long-wondered questions. She has a lot of ideas about what she would like to do with her character. In her whole talk she didn't criticise anybody about anything, which impressed me. And she has the most wonderful hair - light auburn and very long, and I can't understand for the life of me why they've given her a wig to wear for this season! Next came Richard's talk which was entertaining as always, with some third season slides to add to the second season ones he'd shown at Rec-Con. Gates' autograph session was moved from the Sunday to late Saturday afternoon as, we discovered the next day, she had to leave early on Sunday to get back for the next episode in which she has a large role. This change of program, together with the inevitable over-running of the auction, made finding out what was happening when on the Sunday a matter of mostly guesswork, since the alterations were never written up anywhere! We ventured out into the streets of Leicester on Saturday evening in search of food, and just managed to find some before at least one of our party nearly froze to death. We gave the disco a miss (although I stuck my head round the door for s quick look at the fancy dress which was being judged by Bill Theiss and Gates) and spent a wonderful evening talking, laughing, talking - the very best part of all cons. On Sunday, STV: The Final Fronteir was shown in the main hall which was pretty well, packed. The general consensus of opinion seemed to be that it wasn't as had an expected - personally, I enjoy my favourite scenes more each time I see it. After that there was Richard's auction (which made about £1,700), and then the awards ceremony which I confess I missed, being more concerned about trying to find something to eat. At 1.30 there was a guest panel session which began with Richard showing a few more slides and continued with questions to him, Guy, and Bill Theiss. Mr. Theiss appeared to be either severely jet-lagged or severely bored, it was difficult to which, but if it was jet-lag, I lost sympathy for him when he embarrassed Richard by bluntly contradicting something he'd just explained carefully about TNG. I don't care who was right; there was no need for rudeness like that. After this, came another hour or so of the postponed auction, and then a chance to see the first 3 third season TNG episodes, to which I sat glued -- and the hall was absolutely packed out, so I wasn't the only one. I loved the first episode and enjoyed the next 2 -- the third season is going to be GOOD! Then, sadly, another con was over and it was time to leave but with, as always, good memories. The hotel staff were as usual, friendly and interested, entering into the spirit of it by giving out messages over the intercom like, "Captain Spock, your space shuttle leaves in 15 minutes from the front door!" [2]
This was my second convention, my first Midcon, and I was in a frenzy of anticipation for days beforehand- I'd really enjoyed Sol III and was hoping to repeat the experience, and in many ways it certainly lived up to my expectations.

I personally found the hotel and food were excellent, with none of the lengthy queueing that I'd found so annoying in Liverpool, although it was mentioned at the closing ceremony that some people had had problems in the dining room. It was an extra surprise to see 'A Special Film' listed in the programme. Having made strenuous efforts to see STV the previous week, I didn't know at first whether to be pleased or annoyed at this unexpected bonus; the 'pleased' side won out very quickly: Other plus points; the STNG episodes I managed to see ('A Matter of Honor', The Measure of a Man', 'Contagion', 'Q Who') were all much better than the episodes I'd seen previously. The guest talks were interesting and the disco good. The atmosphere was friendly and informal as before. Minor disappointments; the sales room wasn't nearly as comprehensive as at Sol III. I appreciate that this is hardly the committee's fault, but I'd hoped to buy some more secondhand zines (I did get a few) and my son who came with me was particularly disappointed, as I'd told him stories of trebles, model kits, phasers, etc

The videos were often partially spoiled by the general loud noise coming from the lounge immediately next door, particularly if you were at the back of the room. Also, on Saturday, the main programme was speakers, autograph session, disco, and as an alternative they were showing non ST films in the video room (they WERE George Take! and Walter Koenig films, but when I looked in there were only about a dozen people there). I would have liked STNG episodes to have been shown than, as not everyone wants to queue for autographs, and Saturday is after all the main conference day. The third season episodes weren't shown till quite late on Sunday afternoon, when I imagine most people, including me, would have left. I do appreciate, however, how much voluntary hard work must go into such a convention, and the organisers can't possibly please all of the fans all the time, and overall I thought the weekend a great success and thoroughly enjoyed myself. [3]

Con Reports: 1991

MidCon '91 was my very first convention. What can I say? Wow!!! We arrived in Leicester on the 5th of October not knowing quite what to expect... and spent a few moments reading the programme of scheduled events. It was extremely awe-inspiring to see all these Trekkers milling about the place; everyone of them as barmy as me. You just didn't realise how popular the programme is until you get people massed under one roof! As soon as I'd spent my first tenner and got my bearings, iI headed to where they were screening [TNG]], closely followed by the old man [her husband] who disappeared to watch Blake's 7 and some classic Trek. Sy first impression of 3rd & 4th season TNG were good; I'm rapidly becoming extremely impressed with the progression from okay to absolutely brilliant. Redemption, parts I S II are the best SF I've seen in many years and I cheered, laughed and clapped along with everybody else. I liked Darmok too, but had worked out the plot as soon as the aliens 'kidnapped' Picard. I won't say anymore about these in case there are folk who haven't seen them. There are a few trivial nit-pickings I'd like to make about the convention. The rooms where the TNG episodes were screened were small and packed to the brim. In the end you needed a warm spoon to squeeze any more bodies in, particularly for the more popular episodes such as QPid (very funny). I think these could have been shown in a larger room as they did for Redemption (part II), therefore getting a bigger audience. Surprisingly, the rooms where original Trek was being shown were nearly empty for much of the time. The dealers' room was too small also. What else can I say, except that apart from the bank manager having an apoplectic fit (do you know how much you can spend at a con?) and my bum acquiring a permanent ninety degree crease (you could use me as a book-end); roll on May and Sol III! Richard Arnold answered a query regarding Creation Conventions. He said that although the cast are mostly signed up in the States, they would not be restricted if they wished to come to Britain. Apparently there has been quite a lot of bad PR in the good old US of A concerning this, mostly with regard to folk being out of pocket. So, it's good news for us in Blighty; let's hope we can tempt some guest appearances from the cast. I believe they are always willing to come here because we honour our debts and have never bounced a cheque yet. Assured income? The very good news (after all this drivel) is that Tony has converted to TNG with a vengeance and I 'm growing accustomed to the new uniforms. I still fancy Worf like mad and met a couple of rabid Worfophiles; nice to know I'm not the only one in the universe. Star Trek VI; I can't wait! It looks fantastic! The stuff for the 5th season two-parter Unification (the book, I believe) will be out at the end of November; got to have that too. I really do think I'm going to have to take up a lucrative job (bank robbing springs to mind) or I'm never going to be able to keep up with it all. [4]

References

  1. from a fan in The DeForest Dispatch #12
  2. from IDIC #7
  3. from IDIC #7
  4. from Star Trek Action Group #102
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