The 17th UK Filk convention, 4th - 6th February 2005

PR1 artwork

4th - 6th February, 2005
The 17th UK Filk convention
The Queen's Hotel, Southsea, Portsmouth

Welcome to the PR1 for the 17th UK filk convention!

How quickly the time flies. Dixseption will be the 10th anniversary of my first convention, Transept. I still keep thinking of myself as a newcomer to UK filk, but I suppose I'm rapidly heading towards old fogeydom. In that time I've seen an incredible variety of performances from many talented people. I've heard choral work, and talking blues. I've seen a musical, and taken part in a clarinet quartet. I've seen instruments from guitars and bodhrans to a double bass. I've seen silly games, committed dreadful puns, and heard songs of incredible beauty. I've met people from three continents and six countries. I can't imagine what I'll hear in the next decade.

But I'm sure it will be worth listening to.

Mike Richards

UK Guests: Andy and Martin Gordon-Kerr

Martin and Andy GK have been well known and popular figures on the UK Filk scene for as long as I can remember. Few if any conventions would have been as successful without their technical input. Few realise that this is at least in part, due to the extensive cybernetic surgery that Andrew has undergone, allowing him to directly interface with the sound system and/or any instruments he happens to be playing.

Martin (who was named after her grandmother whose parents had wanted a boy) on the other hand, prefers a more natural approach to her music and has a team of specially tuned frogs which accompany her when she sings. She once trained a colony of ants to work a mixing desk, but had to abandon this. Even to this day Andy complains that he can't get all of the bugs out of the system.

The couple live in a converted farmhouse/studio set in twelve acres of cider apple orchards, with their seven cats, two dogs and a llama. They hope to entertain us at the convention with a specially written piece to accompany the birth of their first child live on stage.

Overseas Guest: Terence Chua

Terence Chua was born in 1826, third son to a poor penguin farming family from Sembawang village, Singapore. Unable to feed this extra mouth, his parents entrusted the boy to the care of the monks of the monastery on the top of mount Bukit Timah. Here the young Chua studied meditation and ninja martial arts until the age of three, when he entered a trance that was to last for nearly 150 years.

He awoke in 1974 to the sound of Abba winning Eurovision. Claiming that he was now the Spokesman of Azathoth, he set about his dark crusade to bring Khaos to Earth, but was picked up by a truancy patrol and forcibly entered into school. Twenty years of enforced education and military service left him more disturbed than ever. Believed too dangerous to be taken in by the street gangs of Telok Blangah, he had no choice but to become a lawyer

It is believed that he recently escaped from Singapore on a tramp steamer heading for Switzerland, but owing to that country having no coastline, ended up in the USA. He now lives in Georgia disguised as a Cossack, where he is drafting a new constitution in anticipation of the next uprising of the Confederate States

He also writes and sings darn good filk

The Committee

Dawn Biddle is in charge of hotel liaison
Brain Biddle is in charge of programming
Miki Dennis is the treasurer and membership secretary
Mike Richards is in charge of publications

In addition, Keris has kindly agreed to provide tech services


We are not planning on producing a songbook for Dixseption. Instead, we are supporting the 2005 UK Worldcon songbook, which is being produced by Alison Richards, alison (at) She would be delighted to receive offers of songs and artwork.

The Return of Captain Hotel Liaison

From deep in his secret lair beneath London Zoo, Captain Hotel Liaison was woken from his usual mid-afternoon snooze by the sound of the alarm. Pausing only to adjust his costume, the Caped Conventioneer dived down the escape chute, zipped past several startled denizens of the Antarctic house, and took to the skies. Somewhere, he knew, a committee were in trouble…

The Supreme Sphenisciform was no quail, however. Positioning himself between the warring factions, ignoring the concentrated fury of their deadly glares, he examined the claims. Both were valid.

Finally one bystander confessed. He had sold "exclusive rights" to each organisation, not realising the problems it would cause. Shamed by the noble Conventioneer, he admitted his guilt. Though one problem was resolved, another remained. Surely, thought the onlookers, the Captain could not satisfy both claims…

They underestimated the Caped Conventioneer, however. On his flight to Southsea he had noted another edifice, even grander than the one being fought over – one fit, indeed, for a monarch. Perhaps one side would yield the terrain, in exchange for this grander prize.

And so it proved. Once again, Captain Hotel Liaison had saved the day, and another convention stood in his debt. What will the future hold for the Caped Conventioneer?

Only time will tell…

The Queen's Hotel

Dawn and Brian had considered the Queen's Hotel at an early stage and decided that (a) it was fantastic and (b) we probably couldn't afford it. However, as a result of an improbable chain of events involving late night phone calls and the Freemasons, we're in.

It's difficult to describe the hotel and do it justice. It's Edwardian. Think high, painted ceilings (look out for the lyres), sweeping staircases, and a lounge area. Think doors high enough that we didn't need to duck while carrying children on our shoulders. Think chaise longues on the landings of the stairways. Think bathrooms large enough to hold small costume conventions in. Think chandeliers – no, you are not allowed to swing on them. Take a look at the con web-site for some photos from our visit.

We have the main function room and a second room upstairs. Hopefully we will also have a smaller room near the main function room (it was being redecorated when we looked round). We can also make use of the bars and the reception / lounge area.

Rooms will cost £s;35 per person per night bed and breakfast, with a small supplement for single rooms. Some family rooms are available.

Alternate Accommodation

The Queen's Hotel is located close to Southsea town centre as well as the beach. Directly opposite the hotel are both another hotel and a guest-house, which may be able to provide cheaper rooms for those on a tight budget. We can provide details for anyone who wants them – please contact us at the con address.

Within 2 minutes walk is a very wide range of cafés and restaurants – Chinese, Greek, American, Indian, and so on. Only a short walk further is the town centre, while the hotel is about 100 yards from the sea with excellent views of the hydrofoils. While the weather is likely to be bracing in February, it would make a pleasant walk.

Tech and Recording

There is no intention to produce an "official" recording of the items at Dixseption. However, if anyone does want to do so, please contact the Committee and the tech head (Keris) well in advance to arrange it (what feeds you need from the mixing desk, etc.). You will need to provide your own equipment and staff, unless by prior arrangement, and your own media.

Members who wish to record parts of the convention for their own use may do so, subject to the wishes of the performers concerned. However, remember the basic principles, and note that these apply to circles just as much as to main programme items.

  1. If you are recording, please keep your recording equipment out of people's way, avoid trailing wires, and avoid disturbing other people's enjoyment as you use it. That means no loud clicks, no asking the performer to wait while you change a tape or to do a “sound check”, etc. Note that with modern equipment there should be no need to change media during a set (MDs last for at least 74 minutes on standard, MP3 recorders much longer).

  2. Broadcast, copying for another's use, or other distribution (which includes MP3s on a web site) is prohibited without the explicit permission of everyone involved (that includes all performers, song and tune writers).

    This doesn't mean that you can't take it home and play it to the wife and kids, or to a neighbour who's interested, but treat it the same as a rental video. If you have all the permissions, there's no problem.

    This also means that if you are asked not to record or photograph something, you must not do so. There are filkers who, for whatever reason, will not perform if there is anything recording -- they have a right to be heard, you do not have a right to go against their wishes. For this reason, no unattended recording will be permitted. If you need to pop to the loo or bar, always leave someone you trust (or failing that, a fellow filker!) in charge of the “off” switch.

    If you would like the assistance of the tech crew in getting a good recording of your own set, please let us/them know as soon as possible. Note: that means not just as the set is about to start, and of course not while they are busy doing the tech for someone else's set. Before the con is good. Well before the con is better. Keris can be reached by email at tech (at) or via the committee.

    You will need to provide your own blank media, and if it's anything other than cassette or MiniDisc you may need to bring your own recorder (and for either of those you will need to inform tech well in advance, so that they know to bring the equipment). Bear in mind that such "tech-assisted" recording will be on a "best efforts" basis only. If we forget to hit the "on" switch, or get it mixed up with the Polaris launch controls, we're sorry!


If anyone is thinking of doing a performance or workshop at Dixseption, we intend offering 1 hour, 1/2 hour and "20 minute" slots.

"20 minute" slots are intended to give an opportunity to those performers who would like to do more than just a one shot, but do not feel that they have enough material to do longer. The idea is that three performers/small groups could set up together to save time. It would then be down to the individuals to divide up the time, either alternating songs or doing three mini sets. If you would be interested in doing something like this, please let us know if there is anyone that you would like to (or definitely not like to) share a set with.

Please contact us (at the con address or at brian.biddle (at) with your requirements. If you have any special tech requirements (which I won't understand), feel free to discuss them with Keris directly.>

If you want a slot at Dixseption, please let us know. The sooner we know who wants to perform, the easier it becomes to try and fit everything in at a reasonable time.

Members as of 20 July 2004


Andy Gordon-Kerr

Tony Rogers

Alex Allcock

Martin Gordon-Kerr

Kathy Sands

Lissa Allcock


Leo Sands

Phil Allcock

Hilary Ann


Andrew Barton



Kate Barton

Rhodri James


Marion Beet



Michael Bernadi


Barbara Stewart

Brian Biddle


John Stewart

Dawn Biddle


Bill Sutton



Brenda Sutton


The Magician


Terence Chua


Peter Tyers

Rafe Culpin



Lawrence Dean


Marilisa Valtazanou

Miki Dennis

Nigel Parsons

Marion van der Voort

Diana Joan {DJ} Bass

Paul B +:o}

Richard van der Voort



Vera Emlyn


Anna Raftery

Peter Wareham

Sue Edwards

Emily Raftery

Dave Weingart


Joe Raftery

Karen Westhead

Brian Flatt

Alison Richards

Kathy Westhead

Freddy Filk Frog

Mike Richards

Mike Westhead

Gwen Funnell


Peter Westhead

David Given

Rika the Bardling



Roger Robinson


Joining the Convention

Joining the convention currently costs £26 (full), £13 (unwaged or supporting) or £1 (under 5s). Cheques should be made payable to "Dixseption" and sent to:

Dixseption, c/o 15 St Catherine's Cross, Bletchingley, Surrey RH1 4PX

along with a postal address that will reach you, the type of membership(s) you want, and your badge name (if different). We can also be reached by email at or on the web at

Members will be listed by badge name on publications. Membership information will be kept on a computer and used only for purposes of UK filk conventions. Artwork is by Dawn Biddle and Alison Richards. Brian wrote the initial guest bios – there'll be more in the programme book. The convention will be held in Southsea, Portsmouth. Gratuitous reminder that Decadence was held in Eastbourne