I wanted to attend Corflu for a few years. It wasnot so easy though. The previous European one was in 2021 when I was not feeling confident enough to travel to an in-person convention. When I was willing to travel a year ago it was held too far away. Yet both in 2021 and 2022 I attended Corflu online. So the 40th Corflu Craic in Belfast was in a way my first and third fanzine convention at the same time (hence it is my fird convention!).
Somewhere in my mind I had the vision that everyone comes to Corflu with the newest, freshly printed issue of their fanzine. Considering this I decided that I should prepare the English issue of my zin – A~Zyn. I thought it would be good to take it also to the Eurocon later this year. It took quite a lot of time to make the English issue. Some material had to be translated, I was looking for international contributors, and there were many other things to do. My idea was to showcase a bit of Polish SFF and SFF fandom. Obviously I would love to have more articles, more contributors, and so on. Yet I am happy with what was achieved – 32 pages is quite nice number. This issue includes a few articles, two interviews, set of short impressions on Polish fandom, a game, and last, but definitely not least, a cover. As the A~Zyn was produced for both Corflu and Eurocon I wanted it to have higher circulation. Thanks to crowdfunding our local SFF club managed to print more copies than usually. I hope to print some more for Eurocon in June. I want to thank everyone who contributed to that!
During the pandemic flight prices went up. On top of that the Belfast airport is not having too good connections. Considering this I decided to fly to, and from Dublin (and take the bus between the cities). I made a mistake though. I decided to travel with a German airline starting with letter L. At first they changed me the flights. They proposed me to wake at some ungodly hour and then spend like six hours at the airport in Munich. Isn’t this a lovely idea for a day? Then when I said it is not ok they found me a connection with “only” three hours long waiting time. Of course the second flight that was supposed to take me to Dublin was heavily delayed. Thanks to that instead of having a nice chat with Noelle at Dublin airport I had a total of eight minutes to catch the bus to Belfast. Noelle – thank you so much for helping me to find the proper bus stop! Without your help I would not make it to this bus and had to wait for at least one more hour. In the end I managed to reach Belfast after 8 PM. I must say that 12 hours for a relatively short trip is a bit too much. On my way back the L airline decided I am too lazy and added some delay that forced me to run across the Munich airport.
A cosy little con
I knew that Corflu would be cosy and small. The convention attracts 50-70 fans every year (and a few more joining online). Yet it was ages ago when I was on such small event for the last time. How did it feel? It is a bit difficult to answer. In the beginning I knew very few people and my shyness decided to manifest itself. Yet over the course of the con others reached out to me and I opened myself a bit. The atmosphere was great! I met some new friends, I realized that some of the people I knew already from online cons, and of course there were a few old friends.
I took a bit over 50 copies of A~Zyn with me as I expected more or less this number of people. What I didn’t consider is how many Corfluvians would come with their partners and that they would take only one copy per couple. So In the end I managed to pass a few copies be handed at Eastercon the following weekend and I took a few back home. When I was handing away my fanzine I got some in return! This was so lovely. So far I only read about such swaps. I knew I can expect that to happen but it was such a great feeling!
It is worth to mention that not everyone came with a new fanzine. Some fans took their older issues, others did not manage to bring anything. And this I think may be an important signal to people who may be interested in coming but are not making any zines themselves. There is no “you must bring fanzine” attitude. Of course zines are in gladly received. yet there is no peer pressure to make them. So don’t be afraid and come to Corflu!
Irish Fandom Trip and Other Attractions
Before the official opening of the con Geri organized a second instalment of her Irish Fandom Trip (first one took place in 2019). Despite the fact I have already been to previous one I wanted to go again. As there were some free seats I managed to do so. The route was similar to previous one but with fewer stops. On the other hand we saw more places through the bus windows. The
Tower of Trufandom Scrabo Tower and Oblique House were the main highlights. I’ve already seen them but being there again was magical! I didn’t expect it to happen. We didn’t eat the lunch in Donaghadee (as in 2019) but in the White’s Tavern – the oldest tavern in Belfast. Which, as I learned during the said lunch, was also a meeting place for Belfast fans at certain point in time.
The programme was small. This of course came with no surprise – a little convention with large social part should not build an extensive programme. There were some serious programme items like a celebration of 40 years of Corflu or In memoriam session. Yet tehre were also some funny ones – especially “Just a Minac”. The latter is, as I understand, a traditional item and it is based on a radio show that started in 1967. It was a lovely and laughable item.
Sunday was way more relaxed. It started with a group photo in front of the Malone Hotel where the convention was held. Later there was a Corflu Buffet followed by the auction for the benefit of Corflu Fifty (some items were truly amazing!). At the end there was an Award Ceremony and that was it. In the evening a Dead Dog Party was held but I didn’t attend it. Monday had no official programme but I went for a little hike with Gary (whom I met at the con)
A Great Memories and lots of Reading Material
Did I enjoy Corflu? Oh yes! I certainly want to repeat the experience (although next year the con will be held in Nevada so outside of my reach). The atmosphere, the friendliness, the conversations – It was pretty awesome. Eating meals together and discussing fannish topics was memorable.
I got a lot of reading materials. Firstly items I bought at the auction at previous Corflu were given to me. They came with some additional stuff (including the Programme Book from 2022). Then each person coming to Corflu Craic got a random set of fanzines from the chair’s own supplies. Then I got many zines people produced for this year or took them to the con to give away. And at last I bought two publications. The first was 1957 The First UK Worldcon edited by Rob Hansen (which at the end of the con got an award). The second one was a TAFF trip report from Sue Mason. I cannot complain for the lack of fanzines to read this year (and probably next too!). The challenge wiI be to write a few LoCs though (and I don’t have too much experience!).
I don’t know when the next Corflu in Europe will be held. Yet I know I will do my best to come then!
My next post will treat about Eastercon and will appear within two weeks.