Dave Lally was SFeraKon Guest of Honour in 2011 but I met him at the 2008 Eurocon in Fiuggi, Italy as this boisterous Irishman with a passion for SF fandom all over Europe, who immediately pushed and prodded me to include more Croatian fans in the European scene. (One of the consequences of that was Kontakt, the Zagreb Eurocon in 2012).
Dave has been attending Worldcons since 1979, Eastercons since 1980 and has been a regular at Octocons, Mecons and Titacons since the 90s. He also spent 8 years as Chairman of European Science Fiction Society and has been British Science Fiction Association Membership Officer since 2014.
Dave is, in no small amount, to blame for the Irish Eurocons following the European Worldcons, both in 2014 and 2019, which were so much fun. In Dublin five years ago, he was voted into the ESFS Hall of Fame as Best Promoter.
In SF fandom, Dave is also known for his unique writing style, which is why I am choosing to leave his answers just as he wrote them. 🙂
1.How did you discover SF?
Originally thru the 60s TV series (and still a mega cult and banned in some places (a)) “The Prisoner”-was involved much in Priz Convns.
Then I went to Worldcon1979/Brighton. Fantastic. Then went to Eurocon (+UK Eastercon) 1984/Brighton (same venue). Ditto. Still tho inv in
Priz fandom. Then went to Worldcon1987/Brighton again (!) and this time -there– joined Eastercon 1988/Manchester. Been at almost every Eastercon
since. (b)) . Did my 1st vid prog at Worldcon 1990/The Hague (c), then began doing the same for most of the Eastercons between 1991 and
2005 (d). Then also many of the early Octocons (1990->). Then did the same at the two UK (Scotland) Worldcons in Glasgow (1995 and
2005). On/after 2005 -as newly elected ESFS Chair– most of those came to an end (too much else to do). Served ESFS as Chair 2005-
2013 and on/from Worldcon 2014/London, became Membership Officer (and now also a Director of) BSFA Ltd-The British SF Assocn. I still hold
those 2 posts today.
2. What’s the best thing about SF fandom?
Friendship, information and –of course– the socialising (and finding like-SF minds). But other fans have to put up with my terrible jokes! (Some
say “Lally-flogging is too good for you!”).
3. What was you first convention like?
1st Worldcon (above-Brighton/1979) was fantastic but I was very new and some of it was out of my depth. (I don’t remember much of it -tho
I have the BBC doc prog about it on VHS and on DVD and I’ve shown it (+ those for 1987 and 1995) at Cons.).
4. And how did you get sucked into organizing them?
Went with the flow I suppose esp since I became –almost by default– re Worldcons and Eastercons– the video prog man. (Just didn’t step
back quickly enough when volunteers were asked for !). Then later, I branched out to staffing and even –as a Cttee Member– on 1 Eastercon
(Mancunicon/2016) and of course –very recently –1 Eurocon (Titancon2019/Belfast).
5. What con-running job do you hate the most, and what do you love the most?
Hate most : in the old days -chasing copyright clearance (a mega-bind and each TV/film has 2 copyrights! (e))
Most like- in the past: showing rare (unavailable otherwise) stuff. The joy on fans faces when they see this being shown!!
Now -hate people who just DON’T READ instructions or whatever in full (and then ask why this is so or whatever…).
Mega-annoying still. (It is like the computer rule : RTFM!! (f))
6. Is it true you travel the world in an effort to involve all SF fandom with the international scene?
Yes, I attend every Eastercon (since 1988 -tho see (b)), every Eurocon (since my 1st regular one Euro-Octocon 1997/Dublin) and all Worldcons
on this side of the pond. Also have attended a few Swecons, some Polcons, have been GoHs at some of these (incl 1 Sferakon/2011 and 2 Parcons-Cz+Slovak
7. What was it like being SFeraKon Guest of Honour?
Story here is that Skerafon 2011 GoH Charlie Stross had to pull out at the last minute (his wife had to have emergency surgery). Panic at their Con so P asked me
(I think she said “scraping the top of the barrel” -cheek (g) !!!). Great and post-Con I got to visit another European country (ticked off in my Irish passport (h)) -nearby Slovenia
for a day.It was also useful since I would have been in Zagreb (with its wonderful blue trams etc) in 2012 anyway (for the ESFS which I chaired and it was there I gave 1 yrs
notice of standing down at Eurocon 2013/Kiev, which I did).
8. How did the trip to China come about?
This occurred after much discussion at Worldcon2017/Helsinki with the 3 Chinese Grps there : Future Affairs Admin (Beijing), Storycom (Shanghai) and SF World (Chengdu) +
the Koreans and Japanese also there, mainly re a proposed “AsiaCon “(like the existing Eurocons). In Aug 2018 –at their expense and invite– I went to Chengdu.
There to see “SF World” (biggest SF publisher in the world) to talk re Worldons.Thus China’s bid for Worldcon 2023! Pics on the web showing this.
9. Any big announcements?
Well, post Dublin I **may** stand for GUFF (not TAFF) for N/Zealand 2020. I’m already heavily publicising them (on the (in)famous “Lally Wall” (j)) at various
Cons anyway. (Indeed my Wellington/NZ display on my LW at Eastercon 2018/London was even better than what the official NZ person had there!!
That got back to NZ and I now have an official NZ Con promotions pack given to me at Dublin.)
(a) Banned in Russia and in PR China, S/Arabia, Iran (the usual suspects) and –in the mid 70s: though not now– banned in N/Ireland (now I wonder why!!!???).
(b) Had to miss Eastercon 2006 (it clashed with my 1st Eurocon as Chair of ESFS: Kiev).
(c) Reunicon (30th anniv get together) next Aug in The Hague -of course I’m going! It was the 1st Worldcon–post wall– that eastern European fans could travel to
without much problems (though many were very poor).
(d) I didn’t do all those Eastercon vid progs-only most of them!
(e) The visual one (easy) and the hard one (the sound-if it has separate music thereon that is usually a separate copyright
from the speech thereon!)
(f) Read The F****ng Manual!!
(g) In reality Petra is a gt friend and am glad she won the Promotions award (I won it in 2014) this year at Eurocon 2019!
(h) A great passport to have. It seems the world loves us Irish (though I couldn’t be a good example).
(j) Posters put up at Cons publicizing future cons all over the world. Many fans say the best bit of the “LW” would be for Lally to be put up against it!