I actually heard a disc jockey say that once. Anyway, we started ours five years ago now, when for various reasons we were unable to get to Transept, the seventh British filkcon. We decided to run our own, mad fools that we were, and so laid our plans expecting maybe a dozen people tops. We got around thirty. Mind you, we had a guest of dishonour that time, to wit the wonderful Kathy Mar, who enlivened the proceedings by making her celebrated killer lasagne, in a pan which we only discovered after we had filled it was slightly too big to go into our oven. (I still think the weight of the lasagne bowed the sides out: I measured that oven...)Anyway, that happened in the spring of 1995, and Nycon 2: "After The Adverts" duly happened in the autumn, without a guest but with almost as many people, and somehow it just kept on going from there. We've had an average attendance of between fifteen and twenty, the occasional surprise (as when Bill and Brenda Sutton popped into a local pub to ask the way to our place and encountered our next door neighbour's son, who briefly gave them the impression that we were some kind of local luminaries) and a lot of fun. The increasingly strange subtitles, traditionally (!) derived from a chance phrase uttered at the previous Nycon, the stranger flyers which hardly ever get sent out before the actual event, the even strangerer awards which the Countess sees in odd little shops or on market stalls and pounces on with cries of joy, all these are staple elements of the Nycon: but the only really essential element is the atmosphere that derives from the gathering together in a cramped space of a great number of people all of whom, in a peculiar sort of way, regard themselves and each other as kin.
Some things have changed. We are no longer able to feed a houseful of people on what a beneficent Government drops disdainfully into our outstretched paws each month, so arcane and sub rosa arrangements are made whereby money is collected and kept in a safe place (safe, that is, from us, and quite right too) till the time is right to go out and buy vast quantities of food, which our friends then supplement by bringing more food with them when they turn up. The essence of the gathering remains the same, though: people arrive, they bring food, we eat, we talk, we sing (assuming someone has the presence of mind to start off) and occasionally we venture out to places like Glastonbury and Bristol in quest of shoes and saris and similar exotic things. Our friends do the cooking, the washing up, the provision of food (see above) and the bulk of the entertaining, and then they thank us for providing the four walls and the alleged roof. Verily, people can be strange and wonderful.
The images on this page are random, from Nycon 8: "Foraging In The Countess's Mushroom-Box". Later I hope to add more and group them together by Nycon. It would be nice to reconstruct the list of those ill-fated people who have over the years been lumbered with a Nycon Award: I doubt whether I can find all the bits of paper, though.
Nycons have now been suspended for some years, due to illness and inability to get the house pulled round. Plans are afoot to revive them, but no date has yet been firmly set.
Buttons and bars and such are courtesy of Jelane's Free Web Graphics, at http://www.erinet.com/jelane/families/.