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Silver Swan [Mar. 24th, 2008|09:59 am]
dalekboy
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[mood |lovedloved]

I'm sitting here still in mild shock. To my left is a certificate that says, in part, "For making an overwhelming contribution to WA Science Fiction Community."

And it was awarded to me.

There is an award that means the world to me on the years when it's given out - The Mumfan. The Mumfan is basically an award for the people who make the con-going and fan community experience more enjoyable for others. Not by doing big things, obvious things, but by doing small things that are often more important. All those little, unglamourous jobs that never get noticed, supporting people, helping out, welcoming new people... Why it means so much was summed up by one of the winners last night - 'this isn't an award for writing or art, this is an award for who I am, who we are, as people.'

I've always said that what I love about The Mumfan is that it's an award I could never receive. I get noticed, I get accolades and receive recognition for writing, or video-clips, or other things. Hell, over the years in Perth I have been a Fan Guest, Special Guest, and National Guest. You can't say I haven't been noticed.

The Silver Swan has only been awarded twice before in thirty-three years - to Grant Stone, one of the loveliest people you could ever have the good fortune to meet, and a major influence and contributor not only to West Australian fandom, but Australian fandom as a whole - and the other to the team that produced Eidolon, one of the most important magazines in Australian SF history, and naturally enough given the nature of the award, produced in Western Australia.

It's a WA award. I wasn't born here, nor have I ever lived here. I come from the other side of the country. I describe myself as a Perth fan, and I love West Australian fandom, but in strict geographical terms I come from the Eastern States.

It's one of the many reasons this award has so much impact for me. I'm not being recognised for a single achievement or a body of work, but for who I am and how I choose to live my life, and ways in which I try to enrich the community I am a part of.

It's funny writing that because this is the con that has gotten me fired up again. Since the first day I have been planning a handful of pieces on things like the 2010 Worldcon bid, programming, etc. Some are just thoughts and bits of advice, but others are a full-on arse-kicking aimed at those who do claim to be looking after fandom, but are in fact mainly looking after themselves, sometimes at the expense of the greater community.

And upon receiving the Silver Swan, I suddenly thought that maybe it's ungracious to receive a major award, and then go on the attack shortly afterwards. That maybe I shouldn't write anything that is overly critical of the way people handle or approach some of the things I want to talk about.

Except then I realise I don't care about whether it's ungracious or not. Because often the actions of these people are motivated by their own self-agrandisment, and desire to be a part of something big and important, rather than caring about the very people it's all meant to be for.

The speech that was read out before I was presented with the award means a lot to me, because it showed that the folks over here 'get' me. They know where I'm coming from.

At the presentation, Anna Hepworth gave a brief summation of what the Silver Swan is, and informed folks that it had only been given out twice before. She was then followed by Grant and Simon, who gave me their speeches, which I have copied below.

Grant Watson
"Sometimes the biggest impact a person can make is not seen in what they do, but what others do after them.

We all learn by example: we are inspired by others and want to do the things they do, we are enchanted by their talent, swept along by their enthusiasm - they make a difference to their community.

If we're very lucky, these inspirational figures respond to this attention - not with a burst of ego but by enthusiasm and excitement of their own.

The winner of the third ever Silver Swan is exactly that kind of person, not only for their own immeasurable contribution to the WA science fiction community, but in the reflection they leave on the rest of us.

I can say in all honesty that my own drive to participate in this community is inspired by one person's outstanding contribution, example, and boundless enthusiasm.

I'm sure both Simon and Anna would say the same. I'm sure half the room could say the same.



I should point out that Grant was crying so hard by this point that I was sure that someone had died and the Silver Swan was being given to the person posthumously, which I felt was rather a shame. I was also wracking my brain trying to think who had died, because anyone this big in the perth SF scene I should have known of.


Simon Oxwell
A great man once said "Perth fans don't know how lucky they are." But we do know how lucky we are, and that is why the third Silver Swan is awarded to Danny Oz.

Cue me, open mouthed, shambling up to the microphone, squeaking 'you bastards...' in a tiny little voice, and crying continuously for a few minutes while I tried to come up with something to say to do justice to the huge honour I had just been given. I knew exactly what a big deal this was, and there was no way I could ever begin to show just how amazingly touched and honoured I was and still am.

I have cried a few more times today.

Thank you everyone for your kindness and allowing me to do what I do. I may not always get things right, but that so many people recognise my love and passion for this community, one that has given me so much joy over the years, well, I just wish you could all see into my mind for just a moment, to see just how deeply moved and honoured I am.

I shall do my best to continue to be thought worthy of this in the future.

Thank you.

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[User Picture]From: babalon_93
2008-03-24 06:51 am (UTC)
congratulations, well deserved :)

and also, OMG a kaleidescope! what a great looking award!
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[User Picture]From: damienps
2008-03-24 06:57 am (UTC)
Personally, I think that you are a great person and well deserving of this big accolade. Congratulations.
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[User Picture]From: jocko55
2008-03-24 07:16 am (UTC)
Congratulations.
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[User Picture]From: drjon
2008-03-24 07:18 am (UTC)
Congratulations on the award!

Sorry, I seem to be missing something. Forgive me for showing my ignorance, but how does the Mumfan award relate to your winning the Silver Swan?
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[User Picture]From: transcendancing
2008-03-24 10:58 am (UTC)
Heya :) The following statement was written by Dave Luckett when I was writing my speech for last year's Mumfan winner, which explains the amazing and heartfelt place this award has for WA fans. This award affects people - and it is something that recognises the kind of person you are. It's many people's favourite award, and what Danny is saying is that it affects him too and that he could never receive it.

We in WA decided to do something else instead - we didn't feel that the Mumfan said everything that needed to be said about how much effect Danny has had on the WA community, and more than that, the Australian community. The Silver Swan is for an overwhelming contribution to WA SF Fandom/Community, and that really is just the tip of the iceberg to explain Danny's contribution.


Of course it shouldn't come as a surprise to me that there are prominent and active fans around today who don't remember Marge Hughes, otherwise known as Mumfan. It was, as far as fannish history is concerned, long long ago now. She died, God, I suppose eighteen years ago now, when nearly everyone who's out con-running these days was still in short pants, or not even alive. But it is a surprise, all the same. Mumfan was a one-off, a nonesuch, and I thought, (not examining the thought at all, or I'd have known it was ridiculous) that she'd never be forgotten.

She was Warren Hughes' mother, and even Warren isn't seen about much these days, though he does usually turn up to Swancon when he's in town.

But that isn't her claim to fame. Nor is it scholarship, or geekiness, or artistry, or brilliant wit, or being a great organiser. No, it was much more than that. It was goodness. It was warmth, and gentleness, and a sense of fun that never hurt, and acceptance, and laughter and wisdom that went far beyond mere cleverness. If you needed a shoulder to cry on, you went to Mumfan. If you needed someone to rejoice with, that was her. She never asked you why. She always knew, because she always noticed.

She went away and died, one day. She never said, never gave a hint. But when it happened, we all - every fan who knew her - felt a bleak loss of, I suppose, dimension. It was more than the void a good person leaves in the lives of those around her. Mumfan was what a lot of us aren't. There was a stillness about her, a depth, a stable core, a bone-deep integrity that she communicated to us. When she listened and accepted, she helped us explain ourselves to ourselves, helped us learn be satisfied with what we are, and to know it was right.


We felt, all of us then, that we couldn't just let that go. We had to remember it at Swancon. We thought we'd do something in her memory for the person who did the most, unrewarded and unnoticed, to make the con a success - that is, a joy, a wonder, an affirmation of who we are, in our several and shambolic ways. We are fans. We are family, and she was mother to us all.
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[User Picture]From: tcpip
2008-03-24 07:47 am (UTC)
Don't tell me you're surprised? ;-)
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[User Picture]From: king_espresso
2008-03-24 08:05 am (UTC)
Congratulations mate. You've always been gutsy and since your health issues, it's served you well. I'm proud to have you as a friend and proud that we did a fanzine (albeit a controversial one) together. :-)
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[User Picture]From: cheshirenoir
2008-03-24 08:34 am (UTC)
Woohoo!

I didn't get a chance to congratulate on the night (I was going to come up but then your gameshow stared and then we had to run off to rescue the kids) so HUGE congrats!

Oh, and there was a teeny tiny moment as you hyperventilated on stage that I though "Oh F&ck! We've killed him! He's gonna turn blue and die, RIGHT THERE ON STAGE!" but then you recovered.
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[User Picture]From: emma_in_oz
2008-03-24 08:45 am (UTC)
Sweetie, you deserve it more than I can say.
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[User Picture]From: kaelajael
2008-03-24 09:24 am (UTC)
I am crying as I sit here reading this. You so deserve it and I wish I had been there to see the presentation.

You are one of my biggest memories of almost every con I have attended. Certainly of my first. And I think after reading Grant's speech that he has said it better than I ever could.

I am so thrilled for you. Congratulations!!
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[User Picture]From: transcendancing
2008-03-24 10:24 am (UTC)
I just don't have the words to tell you how much you deserve this, how much you mean to me.

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[User Picture]From: smofbabe
2008-03-24 10:25 am (UTC)
Congratulations on this well deserved award! (It was only when I heard about this that I had any regrets about missing the awards ceremony.)

Edited at 2008-03-24 10:26 am (UTC)
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[User Picture]From: rachelholkner
2008-03-24 10:38 am (UTC)
I am twirling a baton in the imaginary brass band that is accompanying my congratulations!!
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[User Picture]From: callistra
2008-03-24 10:51 am (UTC)
I cried
I am just so glad we found a way to let you know how very important you are to us all.
:-)
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[User Picture]From: waylanderpk
2008-03-24 10:44 pm (UTC)
I think we all cried, I couldn't see a dry eye in place, myself included.

Congrats Danny.

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[User Picture]From: liluri
2008-03-24 11:03 am (UTC)
Congratulations, you so totally deserve that award. I'm also glad to note that my Torchwood DVD is now more valuable having been rubbed on the crotch of a silver swan winner!
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[User Picture]From: phred_has_sonar
2008-03-24 12:13 pm (UTC)
You more than deserve it. I couldn't imagine Perth fandom without you and the influences you leave in it. Congratulations :)
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