From the bowels

A blog post flashback. Written for University of  Western Australia Pelican mag circa 1997

What options are there for a pagan like myself on al ong Easter weekend? Swancon. What is a Swancon you cry? Swancon is Perth’s very own science fiction and fantasy convention where sci-fi fans (some nerds), literature fans (mostly nerds), manga fans (anime nerds), comic readers (nerds) and gamers (NERDS) get together.

Pelican would like to state the opinions made in this article are solely the views of the writer and not of the editorial team in general. We in fact think it is derogatory and demeaning to call all these groups of people nerds when it is plainly obvious some are dags, geeks and others are just weird.

So Swancon here I come. I was very keen to keen to get the T-shirt, especially seeing last years looked like a flying penis. Clever social satire or crappy screen-printing? I dunno but I wanted whatever they were serving up.

I chose Saturday to be my day of joy. I didn’t think my excitement meter could last the full pulse-pounding (see just the thought had me talking in comic book descriptions) weekend! I grabbed the program and excitedly scanned the list of guests. Robert Silverburg! Excellent I’d never read his books but he’s famous and doesn’t his books have those half clad chicks on the cover! Hmmmm half clad barbarian chicks

And look at all the rest of the guests there’s ….some chick who edits with Robert. Great she should be…interesting and look there’s…a famous sci fi fan and another famous sci fi fan. Great. Okay there was a lot of people who I’d never heard off and must be really famous to the organisers but hey I’m sure they are great and it’s Perth and we couldn’t expect lots of famous people.

There was also the thrill of all the panel discussions. Such subjects like “We was cross dressing before you were born”, “Coming out as a fan fiction writer” and the ever favorite “Famous crash landings in science and science fiction”. Hold on, there was some important topics missing! Where was “ How to dress to blend into the crowd”, “Junk food through the ages” and “picking up a live, warm one”.

I made a note to have a chat to the organisers about their oversight noting down “ Goths; Just nerds in black?”, “Words to get you out of social situations” and the essential “ Internet Porn; Can you claim it on your tax” as other important topics for future Swancons.

Now I have to break it to you softly but I picked the wrong day for “How to make foam rubber weaponry” but I have instigated a petition for it to be a weekly meeting. Email your plea for this vital societal service to

I also missed the “Godzilla; through the ages”, a this is your life type presentation. Unfortunately the big fella couldn’t be in attendance. But the organisers had organised a stuffed blue tongue to stand in for him though I heard he wasn’t too good with the lip synching (or maybe that was he was too good with it)

I did manage a quick visit to the gamers lounge (okay a little bit of an oxymoron) where the fun guys (and I’m not generalizing with that term) had organised many fun games for all. After three seconds of scanning the room, noticing the sheer amount of caffeine on the table and the general fugue in the room I made my polite excuses (“Okay, I’m outta here!”) and left.

Now before you all picket the Pelican offices in a rage. I saw a lot of people at Swancon who it would be incorrect to call nerds and it was great the other guests at Rydges felt comfortable enough to walk through the hotel still. And not all gamers are lacking all social graces. And there are normal people who read comics. It’s just a pity you can count these exceptions on your thumbs.

Of course there is nothing wrong with being a nerd. Quite frankly if I had a choice between Swancon and the social pages of the Perth weekly I’d be putting on the pocket protector and dancing down to Geeksville.

Okay I admit it I was one. I’ve come out. You happy now. I miss it. I want to drink too much coke, play too much Dungeon and Dragon, argue if star trek is better than star wars, quote far too many Monty Python sketches and go quiet whenever a girl comes within a two mile radius of me. I want to throw out my cool clothes and remember how sensible breast pockets are and why over coats are so useful. I’m getting Mum to cut my hair and I’m going back.

So next month look forward to my informative article “ Cool people, why you suck” Gyuck gyuck gyuck.. Now where’s my old D and D character?

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