September 13th, 2005

Fishy Circumstances

Second First Thursday

When I first started at the University of Toronto, I was disconcerted to find that the institution didn't have a science fiction/fantasy club. There were two competing anime clubs, but no SF/F. In my previous two universities, I had found an easy social circle through the SF/F club. I didn't have that ease of acquaintanceship available to me in Toronto. My first Toronto February rolled around, and at Bakka Bookstore, I found fliers for Ad Astra, the local literary SF con, just in time to attend it. Lloyd and Yvonne Penney were fan guests of honor. I asked them about the university's lack... and learned that there was a monthly meeting of fans on the first Thursday of every month. To the best of my knowledge - and the knowledge of those I've asked about it - Toronto hosts the only First Thursday pub night outside of the British Isles, where the event is a staple.

In July, this summer, I arrived in London a day too late to catch the London First Thursday edition; in August, it conflict with Worldcon; in September, I finally made it to a London First Thursday in its current home, Walker's of Holborn. Except, you see, I only showed up for half-an-hour, since that's how much time I had spare before dinner and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang called me away to other parts of town.

It might only have been half-an-hour, but it felt so natural to be back with a First Thursday crowd, although half-an-hour isn't enough time to make a fair comparison. The eightsome people who showed up before 5:40 pm asserted that the numbers generally rose to sixty or so later in the evening. We had Worldcon in common. The fanziner who showed up first knew the Penneys and M. Moore and other Torontonians, and had been to the Toronto Worldcon. There was far greater talk of fanzines and LJ, but then the fan community here seems much more internet-oriented than that in Toronto. The mixed drinks were inexpensive, and the room reserved entirely for our use. So far - albeit, with so little - I am quite content with my second First Thursday crowd.

Note: I'm catching up on various things this week - correspondence, dissertation edits, travel planning, and posts which I could have made weeks or months ago and never got around to it. By the end of the week, I'd like my dissertation to be at least half cleaned up, and my backlog of intended posts to be written up.