RamsdenCon II (1996)

by Mark Stretch

This was the second RamsdenCon, again organised by the infamous Annie Shillabeer at Ramsden Hall School in Essex. Of late, I’ve had trouble getting to cons. This one was unfortunately, no exception. However, I’d have been out of my mind to expect it to be easy: the M25 on a Friday night with roadworks! Getting lost once in Essex was my fault, though – that much I’ll admit to. Perhaps it is worth employing TurboNick as a navigator after all.

Ramsdencon was a very enjoyable con, due to the fact that it is smaller than most, and everybody knew everybody else – by face if not by name. The crowd there tends to be different to the usual mob seen at cons – no serious l8xx or dip type people, a much “fluffier” bunch altogether. The only shock was not seeing Duxon, Palm and the TIM mob turn out, given that they all live down the road. Where were you all?

You may have seen in last turn’s hobby news about the disbanding of the Stuff Stretch Alliance in favour of the Stitch up Spurgeon Association. Well, RamsdenCon was our first chance to try it out. Despite the absence of founder Dave Horton, we managed fairly well, with Paul coming last in every game he played. Highlight had to be the game of 1856 we played. Paul, being a long-standing member of the original SSA managed to make me bankrupt. Despite this, I still ended up with more money than he had! Says something about this man’s managerial ability…

RamsdenCon saw us finally obtain conclusive proof that 6 nimmnt is in fact a game of luck. We played a game and the two girlies came joint first! Q.E.D.

The highlight of Saturday was the freeform game. I’d never played in anything like it before, but I thought I’d give it a go, and thoroughly enjoyed the experience. The scenario was the death of Mr Black at an old country hotel. I had the pleasure of playing the family doctor (Dr Phil Monchat), whilst numerous fictional detectives appeared from out of nowhere to try to solve the crime.

Me? Well, I couldn’t care less about the crime. My job was to woo Ebony, the wife of the deceased, to gain her hand in marriage. Shouldn’t be too difficult, with my well known charm and sex appeal. Unfortunately, there was a slight problem in the form of Kevin McGowan who’d been having an affair with Ebony for thirty years and had fathered both of the Black’s children. For some reason whe preferred his charms to mine. It must have been his impression of a Sopwith Camel earlier in the con that did it.

Instead of charming Ebony, my talents instead attracted the aflentions of the Cook, Mrs Blanch Wight (aka Hillary Smith). Most enjoyable they were, too. I tell you, Floozy Susie could learn a lot from Hillary. In between all that, I bought the services of “Bob” (aka Maigrat, aka Lucya) for all of £20. Money well spent, I feel. Some of the other characters had to been seen to be believed. We had a transvestite Mrs Marple, and a Colonel Mustard who thought that he was 007. Sherlock Holmes meanwhile was high on drugs and was busy having an affair with Hercule Poirot, before they later eloped. Annie, playing Mrs Peacock was like somebody from Absolutely Fabulous – “Pass me some more Bolly, darling…” if they ever need a replacement, we know who to contact.

Having failed to woo Ebony, my secondary objective was to avoid being accused of the murder. In this, I again failed utterly. In the debriefing, everyone was asked to nominate whom they thought did it. There being no butler, everyone seemed to nominate me. Am I that shady a character? Still, I intend to see all my accusers in court for deformation of character, since I’m innocent of the murder. Does anybody know a good lawyer? On second thoughts, that is a bit of a contradiction in terms.

In actual fact the murder was a lot more complicated. Dr Watson (Duncan Adams) solved things, being the brains beleind the Holmes/Watson partnership over the years. The murderer was in fact Holmes (Mark Jones) himself who wanted to return to fiction rather than being stuck here in reality.

Saturday night at cons is time for a traditional dip soc on tour curry Unfortunately, the only member there was me. Where were the rest of you? Presumably recovering from the Dip Soc “not really a curry, more of an American” meal earlier in the week, held specially for Huddo’s 21st birthday. Youngster!

Back to RamsdenCon, and the Sunday. Highlight of it was naturally the auction. The bidding seemed to make Hanbury look sane, as games frequently went for more than they were on the bring and buy stall! There were two star lots, the slaves that were being auctioned – namely myself and Alex Knight. Annie had talked me into it earlier, and fool that I am I agreed. Colin Smith & Co tried to bid for me so that I could complete the game I was playing before the auction. They weren’t that desperate, though and Annie eventually bought my services, bizzarely outbidding herself and to a lesser extent Hillary. Shaw & Co are clearly overpricing me though, as I went for a third of my chargeout rate…

Alex went for a lot more, possibly because she was knickerless, at least originally: Annie later provided some for her. The other reason being that somebody came up with the idea of nude twister for her to play…

As for what happened once I was a slave, I would not dream of sullying these pages with what Annie got up to with me. If you wish to read about such debauched and depraved happenings, I suggest you send a sub to SNOT or TCP, as they seem to be nill of such goings on. Alex meanwhile had a much easier time of it being merely made to wash her owner’s car. Couldn’t the consortium that puchased her think of anything better for her to get on with?

After a long rest to recover from Annie’s fantasies, it was time to travel back home, to recover and prepare for the next con. In this case, the next con is Oxford, where I have the dubious pleasure of running things. Many thanks go to Annie and her helpers for organising an excellent RamsdenCon. The next one is due to be in summer 1997, though an exact date is yet to be determined. I will be back, and will again be in the freeform. With any luck, though, I’ll avoid being Annie’s slave next time. See you all there, or hopefully at some con before then.