STAG Con (convention)
|Star Trek Convention|
|Dates:||April 11-12, 1981|
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The Star Trek fanzine Beyond Antares contains the 8-page interview with Susan Sackett. The interview contains lots of comments about Gene Roddenberry and Star Trek, including about the then forthcoming STAR TREK II: THE WRATH OF KHAN and the fact that Spock was being killed off.
The con organizers were counting on 400 attendees, and there were 450 in total. The guests of honor "both traveled as cheaply as possible," which helped make this convention very financially successful: about £1100 was raised, and it all went to the con's charity, "Guide Dogs for the Blind."The con com reports:
Thank you for the letters you sent us saying that you enjoyed the convention. We had a few snarls up (as usual at a con) but most seemed to work themselves out okay in the end... We did say when we advertised the convention, that we were going to use any profit to pay for the photocopier that we bought for the club, but since the club funds are quite healthy at the moment and since quite a number of people attending the con were not club members, we have decided to give all convention profits to the GUIDE DOGS FOR THE BLIND ASSOCIATION. We haven't quite closed the convention books yet as there are still some advert payments to come in, but we've been able to send a cheque for £1000 to the GUIDE DOGS FOR THE BLIND. There will probably be about another £100 to send them, but we won't know for sure until we close the con books. 
From the Convention Booklet
Stag Con ’81
- Star Trek Action Group
- The 11th Official British Star Trek Convention.
- Dragonara Hotel – Leeds.
- Committee: Janet Quarton, Sheila Clark, Sylvia Billings, Valerie Piacentini, George Billings, Jean Barron, Anne Page, Dot Owens and Rog Peyton.
- Convention Book designed and produced by Rog Peyton.
- Short story – Just An Old Flame by Jacqueline Newey.
- Guests: Susan Sackett and Rupert Evans.
- Charity: Guide Dogs for the Blind.
- Star Trek Action Group
- Beyond Antares
- Star Trek Correspondence Club
- Starship Excalibur
- The New Enterprise
- De Forest Kelley Appreciation Society
New SF titles available from Andromeda Bookshop:
- Ringworld Engineers
- Patchwork Girl
- The Snow Queen
- Number of the Beast
- The Space Machine
- The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction
- Our guests – Susan Sackett (who had to rush to get here) and Rupert Evans. Introduced in the booklet by Gene Roddenberry.
- Sylvia Billlings – for work over and above the call of duty.
- George Billings for organising the Stewards
- The Stewards for giving up much of their time to help the con run more smoothly.
- The Judges of the various competitions for taking on such a difficult task
- Anne Page for her work as MC and for running the Fancy Dress and Fashion Show
- The Staff of the Dragonara for all their help
- Gene Roddenberry for giving us Star Trek in the first place
- And finally, YOU, for attending – we hope you enjoyed yourselves.
As at previous cons at the Dragonara, several rooms were being utilised for the various events taking place over the weekend. Main programme items, i.e. showing of films/episodes, fancy dress, fashion show, auction, guest speakers and opening and closing ceremonies taking place in the Brigantes Suite; Sales room was in the Neville Suite; the Art room in the Thoresby Suite; and the Pet Show in the Saville Suite.
The convention weekend actually commenced the Friday evening at 7.30pm with a showing of 'Tomorrow is Yesterday' followed by 'Shore Leave'. I really enjoyed seeing these two episodes, particularly 'Tomorrow is Yesterday', and having them on the Friday evening when usually not a lot is happening, got the con off to a great start.
After the episodes our group decided to pay a visit to a Chinese restaurant (Well, we hadn't bothered them for a whole 6 months!), but before leaving the hotel, Sue and I took some time out to set up the club table.
As mentioned previously, the sales room was in the Neville Suite, but this time due to lack of space, a small room off the main suite was being utilised (I'm still convinced it was a very large broom cupboard) where approx. 6 tables, including the B/A one, had been put. I was instantly concerned that people might miss us as we weren't in the main room, but Sue's assurances to the contrary and the course of the weekend proved my fears to be totally unfounded. I hope the other people in the small room also had a profitable time!
The main proceedings of of [Saturday] began at 10:00am with the Opening Ceremony, but things were happening in the sales room so I managed to miss this, as did the rest of our group. One day I am going to attend an Opening Ceremony.
The Opening Ceremony was followed by the film 'Buck Rogers in the 25th Century' which Sue wanted to watch, despite the fact Hawk wasn't in it. I stayed on the club table (well, behind it actually) where I had the chance to chat to quite a lot of people on a variety of subjects.
'The Empath' followed 'Buck Rogers'; which as I'm sure the majority of you know this episode has been banned by the BBC. Quite a few con attendees viewed this for the first time and I heard several comments about how good they thought it was. I still maintain I've seen worse things shown on the BBC than is contained in 'Empath'. I also heard some people wonder why 'Empath' seems to be shown at every convention — I'm sure, quite simply, the reason is because at every con there are always people for whom the convention represents the only time they will ever see this episode.
A cafeteria selling sandwiches, ploughmans lunches, etc. had been opened in the reception area and after having something to eat, Sue and I decided to close the table down early (it was due to close at 3:30pm anyway) as we wanted to see some of the auction which commenced around 1:30pm. I didn't stay too long as there was nothing I particularly wanted, nor could I afford if I did, and secondly because I had some things to enter for the Pet Show. I had made, and dressed, a rabbit which I had called William 'Buck' Rabbit; and there was also Ford Tribble, Hitch Hiker extraordinaire. My entries made, I decided to go up to my room for a cup of tea and a short rest "before 'Amok Time' started after the auction.
I fell asleep and was awakened "by a banging noise. It was Sue knocking on the door to say that 'Amok Time' was due to start and if I wanted to watch it I'd better get a move on. By the time I'd made it downstairs the first reel had already finished (Must have dozed off again!) and some bloopers were being shown as there was some problem with the film. I was glad I caught the bloopers as I hadn't seen this particular reel for some years, and it contains some of my favourites.
Having got the problem with the film sorted out, 'Amok Time' resumed, but having missed the "beginning I decided to go and do a bit of shopping and watch the video when I got home.
I was back in time for the first guest speaker at the con, Rupert Evans. I had missed Mr. Evans' speech at a previous convention, and having "been told how good it was, didn't want to miss him again. Mr. Evans has "been a stunt co-coordinator in the film and television industry for some time and is also a close friend of Gene Roddenberry, the latter association involving him in stunt advice work for ST:TMP during its early days.
The sales room was re-opened once Rupert Evans had finished, and I went to see how busy things were...They weren't, so I decided to close down the table for the day. Events were running a little late by now, and it was doubtful there would be any more business as 'Where No Man Has Gone Before' was due to be shown. Sue made it clear she wanted to go up to the room to watch 'Buck Rogers', so as a dinner break followed the episode of 'Where No Man...1 I elected to follow suit and order something from room service. It also meant the opportunity of a short rest before the evening's fancy dress and disco (i think I must be getting old). The fancy dress was due to commence at 7:30pm and be followed by the disco, which as is customary, would last until the early hours of Sunday morning.
Once again, the fancy dress competition was very good and it was at this we had the opportunity to see the convention's other guest - Susan Sackett - who had just arrived. I felt really sorry for the judges as their task was really hard, with entries up to their usually higher than high standard. The winner of the best Star Trek costume was 'T'Pring'; "best male costume "The Grey Mouser'; "best female costume, 'What McCoy and Spock gave each other for Christmas' (McCoy gave Spock a she—devil, and Spock gave McCoy a witch doctor complete with "beads and rattles); best science-fiction entry - Entry 42, a group from 'Hitch Hikers Guide to the Galaxy!; best alien - Dish of the Day from 'Hitch Hikers Guide to the Galaxy' (not connected to entry 42); and finally the judges' award went to a Vulcan family awaiting the return of the husband who is a Vulcan Starfleet Officer. A cheer went up when the wife unfurled a banner bearing the words: 'I told you Spock wasn't gay'.
The contest over, there was a short break for supper, then the disco started proper. It was excellent, except that I managed to pull something in my neck somewhen during the course of the evening with all the dancing (I couldn't move it much the following day). (Unfortunately her vocal chords were undamaged - Sue) The hit record, once again, must have been 'Starship Trooper' but I found it was played too much during the evening...I lost count of the number of times.
We left the disco at about l:30am and after a drink with Jayne and Helen, Sue and I, plus Donna and Phyllis who were...er...well, sharing our room (we're all really poor and couldn't afford two rooms). After yet another drink or two or... a little bit more anyway, we finally all got to bed (sleeping bags come in handy sometimes). Suddenly Sue started cracking jokes, which tended to escalate until we were all laughing. Whenever there was a second's silence one of us would start giggling, which in turn started the others off.
Sunday morning was heralded by that Klingon invention - the radio alarm -at 8:00am (NE: Tony Blackburn is not the best thing to wake up to the morning after the night before!). Once again I staggered down to the sales room.
The first item on the programme for Sunday was the film 'Barbarella' which started at 9:00am, with the fashion show directly following. (That is, once the stage and chairs had been set up). I closed the sales table at 11:00am as I wanted to see the fashion show. This time there were only 5 entries, but again still to a very high standard. The costumes and ideas were really good.
As the fashion show was shorter than originally anticipated, it was decided to show the film 'Buck Rogers in the 25th Century' again as there was a fault on the sound when it was shown Saturday. As it was to be shown again I decided to watch it, but as there was a short break while the hall was got ready for film showings again, Sue and I went for something to eat and to see how things were fairing in the sales room.
After 'Buck Rogers' was an item new to ST conventions, and I think almost everyone attending the con was in the hall. This was to be the first business meeting to take place at an ST con, the purpose of which was to decide the venue of the convention to be held in the Autumn of 1982. The meeting was a follow—up to the one I attended at the last convention, when it was decided that some form of continuity and organisation was needed for ST cons to: a) ensure that there were ST cons each year, and b) to ensure that there were not too many ST cons being organised which could result in the committees of each suffering heavy financial losses and attendees having to miss out on cons because they couldn't afford to go to all of them. It was decided that the present two cons per year was an ideal number, and this would be the number aimed for in future years — one in the Spring and one in the Autumn. It was also decided to adopt a bidding 3ystem similar to that used in the organisation of SF conventions, thus allowing convention attendees to vote on the venue of future conventions. Bids would be put forward during the business meeting to decide where the official convention would be held in 18 months time. This system is not meant to prohibit anyone organising small local conventions and meetings. The meeting itself didn't go too badly considering it was the first one to be held at a Star Trek con. Two bids were heard; one for Aucon 1982 and the other for Galileo con. Galileo con won the final vote and was officially noted as the 14th official British Star Trek convention, to be held in Newcastle over the August Bank Holiday weekend 1982. As soon as we have firm details about the con we'll print them in the newsletter. (There will be a similar business meeting at Aucon '8l when a vote will be taken for the convention to be held in the Spring of 1983).
The meeting over, it was time for the convention's second guest speaker - Susan Sackett. Susan started her talk with some slides taken on the ST:TMP set when construction work was beginning, plus a few slides from the office parties. She then brought us up to date on the proposed ST TV movie, answered questions and played an audio tape from Gene Roddenberry. (A transcript of both these items appears elsewhere in this newsletter) Susan's talk was extremely interesting, and cleared up several confusing rumours I'd heard about the TV movie.
As Susan finished, news was received by a hushed audience that several tiles had been lost from the space shuttle and as yet it was unknown whether this would affect the re-entry.
The auction (part 2) came next, during which Sue, Donna and I went up to make a start clearing the club table. We had done very well over the course of the weekend, and the majority of our clearing up consisted of throwing out empty boxes.
As by this time the convention was running a bit late, it was decided to bring forward the closing ceremony so the awards could be made before a lot of people had to leave to catch trains and other means of transport. I was really pleased during the awards ceremony as Buck Rabbit had won 'Best Dressed Pet', and the pedigree form for Ford Tribble also won. The closing ceremony concluded with a short auction as Susan Sackett had brought over with her six copies of 'Star Trek Speaks* which Gene Roddenberry had autographed and which Susan promised to personalise. The books went for between £12 and £24. She also had two visitors badges from the ST:TMP set, which visitors to the set had to wear. There were only 18 of these badges made; 2 of which Susan had taken to a con in Australia, and 2 she had brought for this convention; the other 14 had vanished long ago. I can't remember the exact prices the badges went for, but I think it was in the £20 region for each. The closing ceremony finally ended with a slave auction for charity.
Things slowly quietened down as a vote was taken as to what episode everyone wanted to watch. Originally the episodes 'City on the Edge of Forever' and 'Galileo Seven' were scheduled to be shown; 'City' before the closing ceremony, and 'Galileo Seven' after, but due to running late there was time for only one - 'City' won.It seems now to be a tradition to have a party on the last night of the convention, and I think this one was the biggest yet. We certainly had a good time.