The Brian Burgess Pork Pie Race

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The Brian Burgess Pork Pie Race is a convention activity that began in the UK.

The race's goal: build something that will transport a pork pie 20 metres.

Some Context

In the past, it was against the rules for fans to bring outside food to conventions, even food that was meant to be consumed in private rooms, and fans often went to great length to smuggle edibles. Many con reports have examples of fans hiding pizzas under coats and other various nefarious activities.

It also meant that fans who, dependent on hotel food and other venues, arrived at odd hours would be very hungry. That's where Brian Burgess stepped in.

Who is Brian Burgess?

Brian Burgess was a well-know fan who figured one way around the system.
I should introduce you to the name, Brian Burgess. Ever heard of him? He is known to the far reaches of America as one of our most enduring SF fans. In the bad ol' days of SF-dom, before the advent of el cheapo hotel food, Brian used to bring in long life milk in a suitcase and pork pies. (Unfortunate if you are hungry, Jewish and broke!). Brian's racket, in as such as it was more a public service, was to sell both of these commodities in great quantities at practically cost price. Most fans now pass up the pork pies but they are forever recorded in the famous (so I am told) Brian Burgess Pork Pie Race - held at every Con (cos' Brian is there). [1]

Fans Remember

Remember – the highly scientifactive wastes produced in the sf process will endure for aeons like a Brian Burgess pork pie, causing untold hazard. (As H.P.Lovecraft so beautifully put it, That is not dead which can eternal lie, And with strange aeons become a Burgess pie.) [2]
At Seacon, the 1979 Worldcon, I had witnessed The Great Pork Pie Race, popular in British fandom for a few years because of the pork pies that Brian Burgess (I think his name is) frequently would offer fans at parties. [3]
Intervention intends to resurrect the fannish version of this event as the Brian Burgess Memorial Pork Pie Race (many con-goers will attest to the powerful link which Brian forged between fandom and the pork pie). [4]
Brian was an English fan who had been coming to conventions for years. He always had a secret supply of pork pies and milk which he sold at outrageous prices to desperate, starving fans in the small hours of the morning. Many a fannish life has been saved with pork pies and milk at 4.00am. Everybody knew Brian. He was an institution. [5]
Uneaten pork pies (and sometimes eaten ones) are traditionally thrown at Harry Harrison. I urge you not to let this custom die. [6]


  1. ^ from Voyager #12
  2. ^ Cloud Chamber 6
  3. ^ from Mimosa #17, here
  4. ^ from Intervention: Stop Presses
  5. ^ Looking Backwards from the Year 2012
  6. ^ from Phlogiston #12