Three Monkeys - Ten Minutes : Presidents Page May 2002

It is the Phoenix AGM this month, so this column doubles as the annual president's report. For me this is a pretty neat way to come up with a theme for the column something I struggle with every time I sit down to write it. It has been quite an eventful year really, so it is not too much of a chore to come up with enough material.

First, I want to look at the main meetings since the last AGM, as I believe that we have had one of our best years every in terms of the quality of the meeting topics and the level of member audience participation. The last three months have been really exceptional. We have seen examples from Oscar winning makeup effects made by our very own Norman, heard unpublished work from a Philip Mann and been treated to an amazing talk from Babylon 5 cast member Jason Carter. But the rest of the year was also of a very high standard. Just some of the other topics include a great talk from the Phoenix Astronomical Society, Richard telling us how to take over the world and Jenny getting everybody attired starting from a few bits of cardboard and string.

It takes a lot of work to put together a main meeting topic so I would like to thank everybody for their efforts in making this successful. Actually, that is not quite true as the January meeting consisted of no more than everybody heading away to the pub. This is the second year we have done this and it has all the signs of becoming a regular January event.

Now the only problem with setting such a high standard is that a level of expectation has been set. In order to keep the standard high the committee needs ideas for topics for the year to come. If time permits we will have an ideas session after the main business of the AGM. However, even better than ideas are actual offers to do something. If you have something that you would like to do then please step forward. It does not have to involve you personally getting up in front of the audience. If you know of somebody who might be able to present a suitable item to a meeting then why not get in touch with them and see if they are willing to come along

By contrast with the main meetings, the SIGs seemed a bit quiet this year. Some of them like Writers, PIG and Board continued along their merry way but others struggled. I'm not going into much more detail about this as there will be reports from the SIG coordinators at the AGM, but I would like to make mention of Vid as there is a clearly identifiable solution to its current low attendance rates - get better things to show. Does anybody have anything to contribute?

One thing I am sure most of you have noticed is the changes to our distribution process. This has come about because Phoenix purchased a photocopier this year. This has meant that printing and collating of the 'zine can take place earlier than previously and we are not at the mercy of copy companies. Of course somebody has to do the actual work of copying, collating, stapling, printing labels, attaching stamps and getting the 'zines into the post. We must thank Lynelle and John for making sure that this is done.

It almost goes without saying that the 'zine has to be produced before it can get printed and distributed. Laurie has put in another year of excellent service as editor and I am sure that he would be the first to acknowledge the input from the other contributors. Well he would be the first, but he puts this column in the 'zine before his own contribution so I get to be ahead of him in this. It may be dangerous to tempt fate like this as Laurie is the one who determines the order. Regardless if this, I am sure Laurie would also like to have more contributions. Why not try putting pen to paper or fingers to keyboard and see what you can come up with.

Allied to the role of Phoenixine as our news organ has been the use of e-mail notification lists. Of particular importance are the two meeting notifications that Annette produces every month. One for club members and the other for people who have expressed an interest in local SF events but who are not members. This latter notification list is like a slow burning fuse in our attempts to bring more people into the club. There are many occasions when you might meet somebody who is a potential candidate for our club but it is hard to get commitment from the person to come along. It is much easier to get their e-mail address and get them on the notification list. Then every month they are given a very attractively written description of what we get up to. Over time some momentum may build up and we get a new member. Please remember this service when talking to prospective fandom community members.

Having mentioned publicity above, I should make mention of the other major publicity efforts we have made this year at Armageddon, the Library and for the Jason Carter evening. For all that our membership levels have not really changed very much at all. Perhaps this is a challenge for the incoming President. That will not be me. I believe that positions such as this should be turned over fairly regularly to keep people and ideas fresh so I am stepping aside to let somebody else have a go. It also means that next month's TMTM will be the last in this "prez page" sequence. I will be continuing to write these articles, but probably on a slightly more relaxed schedule.