29 July 2004
Sailing the Clyde, April - June 2004
The behind-the-scenes newsletter for Interaction, the 63rd
World Science Fiction Convention
Welcome to the latest issue of Sailing the Clyde, covering April – June 2004. This issue is a little late and actually covers a little bit of July as well, because we have all been focused on preparation for the forthcoming Worldcon in Boston.
Colin Harris becomes Co-Chair – Cheryl Morgan
In mid-July Interaction announced the appointment of Colin Harris as Co-Chair of the convention alongside the current Chair, Vincent Docherty. The two Co-Chairs will share the duties of bringing a successful Worldcon to Glasgow in August 2005. In a related change, Paul Treadaway, previously a Vice Chair, has been promoted to Deputy Chair, with particular responsibility for the convention's public profile and membership recruitment. Both appointments took effect on 1 July 2004.
Vincent Docherty commented, "I'm delighted to announce the promotion of Colin Harris to Co-Chair with myself. Colin has been working hard on the convention since the beginning of the bid process, most recently as Vice Chair, and I look forward to building on the close working relationship we have developed over that time."
Colin is a Director of UK 2005 Ltd, the company formed to oversee the convention, and was Secretary of the Subscribing Board which oversaw the 2005 Bid. He has previously worked on a number of conventions including Intersection, the 1995 Worldcon in Glasgow, where he was responsible for the literary programme.
Take It Easy Paul! – Cheryl Morgan
Interaction is sorry to announce that Paul Oldroyd has had to step down from his post as head of Programme & Extravaganzas. Paul has been experiencing health problems for some months now and his doctors have advised him to get plenty of rest. As this is clearly not compatible with holding down a senior post on a Worldcon committee, Interaction’s staff are pleased to see that Paul is taking his medical advice seriously. We thank Paul for all of his hard work to date and hope that as a result of his enforced rest we will see him at very many conventions in the future.
Introducing Alice, the 'Ship's Counsellor' – Vincent Docherty
In addition to her formal role as Division Head for Services (which includes volunteer coordination run by Alasdair Hepburn & Allison Ewing – Al & Al), Alice Lawson has another informal, though important role: that of our 'Ship's Counsellor'. In practice this means that Alice is available to help with welcoming and familiarising staff to the team, and to act as a sounding board and sympathetic ear for anyone having problems with their role, or with other team members. Of course, staff should still discuss concerns with their own Area or Division Head first wherever possible – but Alice's role, which will operate on a totally confidential basis, provides another option to resolve any particularly difficult or personally sensitive issues.
Noreascon 4 – our 'Cunning Plans' – Vincent Docherty
The end of the 2004 Worldcon in Boston will mark the start of our official period as 'current Worldcon' and we have big plans for our activities there. Steve Cooper and I are coordinating our activities at Noreascon 4.
Our regular sales desk, open from Thursday to Monday, will be much larger than usual. In addition to our volunteers selling memberships (hopefully lots!), we will be joined by Evie from the Tourist Board and by Tanya and Susanna from Infotel, our accommodation booking partner. Our accommodation booking system will open on September 2, the start of Noreascon 4, and we expect to handle lots of enquiries by fans planning their trip at our desk. Our regular open party will be held on Friday night in a function room at the Sheraton Boston. This will be shared with L.A. Con IV for the night and will not have alcohol, as there isn't an alcohol corkage agreement for the function rooms, although we do get the room free as well as unlimited soft drinks from the hotel. This means we can focus our energies on making the party as enjoyable and interesting as possible!
Apart from these normal activities, we have a couple of special responsibilities in Boston....
The Post Hugo Nominees Party – usually called the 'Hugo Losers Party' – is traditionally run by the following year's Worldcon, so it's our turn at Noreascon 4. Organisers for this are Henry Balen and Renee Sieber. The party will be held after the Hugo Ceremony on the Saturday night. As there are both regular and Retro Hugos this year, we expect the party to be well attended. Henry and Renee have promised the party will be a lot of fun, and have designed a really cool gift for the nominees. The party is invitation-only, but we will invite Interaction staff who are working at Noreascon 4, in addition to those who are already nominees of course!
We will also run the second half of the Closing Ceremony, at which the gavel will be passed to us by Deb Geisler, Noreascon 4's chair. The organiser is Sparks and he is working with Colin and I on the script. We expect to include some video clips from Glasgow and Sparks has some other 'cunning plans' which should make the ceremony go with a bang. We hope to have our staff at the exits to ensure no one escapes – sorry, I meant to say: to pass out Interaction flyers!
In addition to supporting these events, many of our staff will be volunteers at Noreascon and will be shadowing their counterparts during the Worldcon. As a number of staff will be arriving early we will host an informal get-together in a suite in the Marriott Copley Place on the evening of Wednesday September 1; the night before Noreascon 4 officially opens. More details will be circulated in the next few weeks.
Glasgow Open meeting – Vincent Docherty
The latest in our series of Open Days was held at the Glasgow Hilton Hotel on Saturday June 26. This was the first chance for many people to experience what will be our official evening party hotel. We also arranged a general tour of the SECC and there were a number of division-specific meetings, something we expect to happen more frequently from now on, including a lighting-test of the hall that will be used for Art Show.
The Open Meeting itself attracted about 40 fans and we were very pleased to see a number of new faces, especially from the Glasgow Anime Group. A one-hour Q&A session was run by me, supported by committee members who were 'volunteered' as appropriate. After an open session for individuals to meet, with Buffy fan videos as alternate programme (thanks Margaret!) we rounded out the day with a fiendish quiz run by Steve Cooper. Thanks go to Steve, Mark Meenan and Cuddles for their work in organising the day!
Amsterdam Agents Meeting – Bjørn Tore Sund
On the July 3 agents and other staff members concerned with promotion in continental Europe met in Amsterdam to have a barbeque at Larry van der Putte’s place. After a small chat on the topic of promoting Interthingy 2, that is...
Evidently the con as a whole is doing OK membership-wise, but the main gain is in North America and we're definitely underachieving outside the US and UK. Various action points to resolve this were identified and assigned to victims. The main key is information, and having many more direct conversations with potential members. To assist this we will be making sure that all our staff are putting out the message that Interaction isn't hard to get to, isn't necessarily expensive to get to, and is definitely worth going to. Sounds logical, doesn't it?
And then there was food, and there was drink. Those familiar with Larry's barbeques will need no details. Those who aren't have missed out and should feel sorry for themselves. Thanks to Larry for having us, to Nico and Jan for helping out, and to Britt-Louise, Frank, Herman, Thomas, Paul T. and Vince for taking the trip.
Forthcoming Staff Meetings – Cheryl Morgan
The next in the series of Interaction’s staff weekends (Construction 3) will take place on the weekend October 2-3. We don’t have the location finalised yet, but it will be somewhere in the north of England. Anyone who is already on the Interaction staff, or is interesting in joining the staff, is welcome to attend this event. Look out for a venue announcement on our web site nearer the date.
The fourth staff weekend (Construction 4) will take place in Glasgow in Spring 2005.
Hotel Booking – Colin Harris
We continue to work on our accommodation. All hotel rates have now been finalised and detailed contracts are being signed. We have most recently been concentrating mainly on the information that we will be providing to our members to help them find and book their accommodation. Members will be encouraged to book online via the purpose-built website that Infotel are developing for us, but we have also produced a paper brochure and booking form for those who cannot use this option. The paper material is being included in Progress Report 2, which will be mailed to all members in early August.
As Vince said above, accommodation booking will open for all members on 2 September 2004. Before that, however, we will shortly be publishing some introductory material on our website - look out for it at the end of July.
Childcare – Alice Lawson
As publicised on the website and in our upcoming PR, we have now firmed up our plans for childcare at the convention, by selecting a professional company called Happitots to work with us. They already have experience in providing this service at the SECC. The Scottish Care Council also recommended them. They normally look after children from the ages of 6 weeks of age up to 7 years old, bust as they already have after school clubs in some of their places I asked them to extend this to10 year olds. As the young adult programme is aimed for 11+ this ties everything together. Additionally we have asked them to consider private babysitting in the evenings. This service will be a private transaction between Happitots and our members. It just gives parents another option.
Happitots will provide all the normal activities including arts and crafts, games and so on. Finding space to house them is another challenge, one that we hope to have sorted out soon. There are a couple of ideas at the moment including trying to get a part of hall four. This would have the advantage of giving them enough space for games and general running around activities.
I am really pleased that Helena Bowles and Richard Standage have agreed to be on the services team to look after the childcare area. They have already started to answer general enquiries. They are both well known in Birmingham fandom and may be known already to some of you. They have provided crèche facilities at Novacon and Eastercons for a few years now and having two children of their own have first hand knowledge of what parents are looking for in childcare facilities. They are also both qualified nurses who specialise in children and so bring that experience with them when dealing with both Happitots and members. I feel very lucky that they have agreed to work in this area and I am confident that they will do an excellent job. If any of you have questions or indeed ideas please do not hesitate to contact them.
Membership Stats – Colin Harris
Membership rates for four countries have been increased since the last StC, as we have responded to the continued high level of the US dollar and some other currencies compared to Sterling. However we have maintained the rates unchanged in all other countries, with an Attending membership still priced at 95 GBP. The next rate review is planned for 30 November 2004.
Memberships continue to roll in at a steady rate and we have now passed 2600 total members including over 2150 planning to attend the convention. This includes our first attending member from Israel, taking us to 25 countries that should be represented in Glasgow next year. Our big push for this summer will be at Noreascon 4, this year's Worldcon, which will be held in Boston at the start of September. Numbers are always hard to predict but we hope for a minimum of 200 extra attending members during the convention, and with luck, many more than this.
Exhibits – Pat McMurray
I’m delighted to say that we now have an impressive team in place to run the Exhibits Division. These include Deputy Division Head: Kelly Buehler: Art Show: Julie Faith Rigby; Dealers’ Room: Marcia Illingworth; and of course Fixed Exhibits: Ewan Chrystal. A full list of Exhibits division staff, including all of the kind people who have been giving me lots of expert advice, is available on the Interaction web site.
Web Site News – Colin Harris
We are currently investing significant effort in improving both our public and staff web sites to cope with the increased level of activity that will occur in the final year before the convention.
The public website was relaunched on July 11 with a new layout and navigation, designed to make it much easier to find material as the site grows larger. New content will shortly be uploaded, providing more information on travel and accommodation for the convention.
We will also soon be launching a moderated public web forum, which will enable fans to talk to us and to each other about their hopes for Interaction. The forum will also help people to buy and sell memberships, coordinate travel plans and find accommodation sharers.
The staff website was relaunched in May and now uses a content management system (Plone, for any curious IT literati). This has made it much easier for staff to share information which will also become increasingly important as the team grows and gets busier.
Forthcoming Appearances – Steve Cooper
There’s a Worldcon coming up very soon indeed. Oh my, is it only a month away…
Convention appearances in the near future will include:
Addresses and E-dresses
Convention Office –
General Queries -
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Page last updated 29th July 2004
Page last updated 29th July 2004