Challenger Logo by Alan White   A Science Fiction Fanzine   Summer 2006

 

The Barrington Bull

GHLIII

(continued from Part 1)

In the rest of the Bulls of that academic year I published a lot of poetry and articles including goodbyes to the co-op by Tony S., a friendly English guy who crashed at Barrington, and the funky maniac known as Spooky Sonny J. Edwards -- who also provided some righteous jokes. For some reason, Pat Yeates stopped doing Bull covers -- her last one is at the end of her portfolio. (314KB) So over Bulls that held council minutes and poems and paeans to and from redheads I began drawing the covers myself -- a sketch of a tear gas canister, a sketch of Paul McCartney's face, stolen from a girlfriend's poster ... and, in mid-May, a clumsy tracing from Picasso's "The Tragedy". That issue came out after everything changed again -- the week after Kent State.

I wrote about watching the street battle in Berkeley over the Cambodian invasion and going out into the suburbs to collect signatures against the Vietnam War (I went with my writing teacher, the late and magnificent Jackson Burgess), and the surprising response we got from the people we met there -- even the G.I.s. Trying for something more, I also wrote about the times I'd seen our absolute enemy, Richard Nixon, in the flesh ... and yes, just as the legend goes, in his underwear. (Boxers and a sleeveless undershirt.) I guess I was trying to make sense out of the schism that would forever divide his America from mine. It fell to Joshua Chaykin, a Barrington "crasher" (i.e., a non-resident who loafed around in our lounge area) from CCNY, to say it all. He wrote a poem about Kent for my last Bull of the year. You know -- I've seen 36 years pass, and more precious blood spilled, at Columbine and in Iraq. I've even been to Kent State, to the spot, and driven away from the place, thinking that I'd put the sixties and Berkeley all behind me. But I can't do that. It still infuriates me to the pit.

Corn four feet high in July,
Two feet high in May,
Two feet high in Akron on May fourth;
Corn two feet tall in Ohio,
Murder five foot two in May,
Murder four abreast in Ohio.
Don't forget Allison Krause
          or I'll kill you
You sleeping motherfucker;
I'll feed your guts
          To my hungry dog
          If you sleep easy tonight.

Jeffrey Miller's father
          Never closed a fist
          Or chanted pig,
But he won't forget,
And his Sunday papers
Will never be the same.

William K. Shroeder.
From Eagle Scout to ROTC,
No sideburns,
Maybe logistics in his brain
(175 millimeter gun; 32 degree launch angle) --
Maybe I called him a pig last week,

But he's dead now,
And as he crumpled,
Tasting his own blood,

He became Brother,
Part of Che's testament.

And if you forget him,
I'll fry your fucken balls
In my filthy oven:
I'll play marbles with your blind eyes.

Who was Sandra Scheuer?
The New York Times says,
"Pretty girl with long dark hair" --
People are always pretty
          After they're dead --
Maybe she was funny-looking,
Maybe not:

But she's dead,
And she didn't vote for Nixon or Rhodes or troops --
She couldn't even buy beer in Ohio;
Twenty years old --
As cold as My Lai corpses.

Maybe corn will grow six feet high from her grave
But I don't get
          Any consolation from that --

And if you forget her,
          And May fourth
          And Kent State
I'll kill you.


Thus we went home for summer, 1970. Some of us would never be the same.

During my summer break in 1970, I continued pubbing, taking on the newszine for the New Orleans Science Fiction Association. My first issue, NOSFAn #9, is still probably my most famous fanzine. Courtesy of an overseas cable from our great friend Dan Galouye, it was the first domestic zine to report the Heidelberg worldcon's Hugo awards. It won NOSFA, and me, a mention in P. Schuyler Miller's book review column in Analog. In the incredibly sloppy follow-up issue, I preened over this triumph, and mentioned a vague thought of mimicking Rick Norwood and Don Markstein and joining an apa ...

Back at UC, and Barrington, I continued my Bull career. It was a frustrating time. The Kent State murders had accomplished Nixon's goal, and silenced protest against the Vietnam War. While I kept running council minutes and poems and articles, it just wasn't the same.

But I did discover something. I discovered a stash of "very old Bulls."

I talked about them in one of the best-received issues I ever did. The front part was taken up with genuine science fiction. It began "The time machine left in Barrington by a brilliant though crazed summer crasher aroused great interest ..." and ended with a bewildered GHLIII, stuck in the 1936, meeting the editor of the very first Bull and getting arrested for beating up Lou Santucci, age 8.

All this had been inspired when Mark Gary, the president of the USCA, had told me about a box of ancient, foxed papers he'd found in a dark, dank cranny of Cloyne Court, another co-op on Berkeley's northside. It was filled with house newspapers from the first days of the co-op system. Lemme at it!

I found ancient issues of the Bull, including that very first edition, from 2-13-36. I brought home every duplicate of the Bull and its alternate title, the Barbarrington, and instituted the Bull Archives. I began pestering former co-op residents for old issues they may have kept. And I found some gems.

Those old Bulls were a wonder. The hall was all-male back then, but grossness on the order of the 1960s was still beyond their pale. They did promote a "house song", in 1936:

We are the men from Barrington
You've heard so much about.
The other houses envy us
Whenever we go out.

We are too shy to talk about
The many things we've done;
The tricks we've played, the records made,
The many girls we've won.

As we go swinging,
O'er the floor so slick and smooth
Rah! Rah! Rah!
You can hear us saying
All for one and one for all!

For some reason we weren't singing that in 1970. There was more of interest -- for instance, an account of a 1941 visit to Barrington by the Japanese consul, who explained why Japan invaded Manchuria (he didn't mention their plans for Pearl Harbor). I was distressed that the editor merely reported the facts and gave no opinion about the talk; around December of that year he probably had more to say. Those of you who know something of Barrington's fame in fandom may see where this is going.

I had joined the Little Men and let it be known that I lived at Barrington. From Alva Rogers and Poul Anderson and company I learned that fandom was not unknown to its crumbling walls. In fact, a Hugo had been won from there. Snooping around a rusted filing cabinet in a back room, I found a stack of nine-year-old house photos ... among, pictures of those Hugo winners: Terry Carr and Ron Ellik.

Ellik's death had been announced at a Little Men meeting at Poul's house -- I remember it vividly; Anthony Boucher gave a talk. But Carr was still around, publishing the Ace Science Fiction Specials which had already brought us Lafferty's Past Master and, to his immortal credit, LeGuin's The Left Hand of Darkness. 21 years old, and blissfully free of shame, I wrote Terry in New York, asking him if he had any of his old Bulls.

He wrote back.

Dear Guy:

Your letter gassed me -- ye gods, another sf fan editing the Bull! Good to hear from you, and I'll try to fill you in a little on some of your predecessors.

Actually there were 4 fans editing the Bull before you, not 2, & all of us came in one spate. Pete Graham was the first member of what was once known as Fabulous Berkeley fandom to move to Berkeley to attend Cal; that was in Fall 1956. He got the Bull job shortly after moving in & edited it till the summer break in 1957. Then he was planning to move out to room with a friend of his Northside, but knowing that I was moving into Barrington in Fall 57 he got Macchiavellian & didn't tell the House Council that he wouldn't be around next semester. So when I got there in September the job was still open, & with Pete's recommendation I was given the job. (In those days Bull editors & the House Council had a strong love-hate relationship; is that still true? We'd criticize & satirize the Council & they'd bitch & censure & threaten to fire us, but Bull editors usually got what they wanted when showdowns came.)

Ron Ellik moved into Barrington that same semester, & I made him assistant editor. We did the thing together for a year, then in summer 59 Ron moved out to get his own apartment. Jim Caughran joined Berkeley fandom that September & became the fourth fan in a row to be on the Bull staff, again as assistant editor. I continued as editor till late that semester, when I got married & moved out; Jim published the last issue or two himself, I think ... or maybe not; I ought to check my files on this stuff, but they're at home & I'm at the office. No, I remember that Jim & I published a final issue together, putting in as much profanity & council satire as possible, so I must have been long enough for the final Bull of that semester.

(One of the contributors to that last issue, with a devastating satire of the Council, was Mike Tigar, who later worked for KPFA for awhile & most recently was heard from as one of the lawyers for the Chicago 7 who were tromped on by the judge.)

Anyway, Jim Caughran was still at Barrington for the Spring 59 semester, but after that last issue we'd done the Council was having no more of it & rejected his application for the job, giving it to some non-entity. I think Jim left the hall after that semester, & for a couple of months roomed with Ron Ellik. Ron later -- in 60 or 61, I think -- moved back into Barrington for a semester, but had nothing to do with the Bull then.

So, for 2 ½ years the Bull was edited by crazy no-good fans, with Pete Graham & me as editors & Ron & Jim as assistant editors with me. That was during the period Ron & I were editing Fanac weekly & everyone was marveling at our productivity, not knowing we were also turning out the Bull weekly. I did a collection of editorials by me & Ron from the Bull which I published in FAPA, & after another semester Ted White published my final six months of editorials in Void.

TERRY CARR

Within a very short time Terry sent me a jetpak. Within, treasure. Terry sent me a complete file of his own Bulls, from '57 and '58, and those of the previous year, when Pete Graham held the editorial reins. Said I at the time, "As if I were Christian Barnard juggling the heart of Guy Lillian III, that's how I handled those old Bulls."

I'll let my 12-17-70 description of those issues stand: "They were pretty short, consisted of two running cols [columns] by Carr and his assistant Ron Ellik, hilarious and increasingly obscene cover drawings by William Rotsler ... who didn't live in Barrington but gave the Bull the soft aroma of pure, clean, wonderful filth that has remained its stock in trade to this day."

One cover, not Rotsler's, resounds in memory: "a guy and girl dancing, the lad sweating blood and gulping fit to be damned and the girl staring in outrage down at the poor fellow's belt-line." Carr wrote later that he was embarrassed when copies of this gem were left lying around the hall during a dance. No girls living in Barrington then, note.

Things had changed in the 12 years between Terry's Bulls and mine, as he noted in another LOC: "Looking at the more recent issues I find myself breaking down every page or two. 'No dealing downstairs, please.' 'Crashers gotta pay for their peanut butter.' 'The fuzz know Barrington as a hangout for dealers this past summer.' Oh my. It was nothing like that when I was there. No girls, either, of course. All of which is too bad; sounds more interesting now."

At the 1976 Worldcon I had the pleasure of strolling past Terry and shouting out, "Long live the Barrington Bull!", earning a look of croggled astonishment -- and the chance to thank him personally for his kindness.


After a boring stab at the all-co-op newspaper (The Co-op Crust) I returned to the Bull. I wrote pieces about redheads and a million-strong peace march in SanFran and lots of other things, and traced illos by Elizabeth Atkinson , a delightful, quirky crasher, for the covers (see thataway -->), but my heart was elsewhere.

On 1-1-71 I'd liberated some co-op stencils and co-op paper and committed, like a crime, Spiritus Mundi #1 for the Southern Fandom Press Alliance. That began a membership that still continues, 35 years later. In other words, I'm still in SFPA; I left Barrington in June of 1971.

The Bulls did have one benefit that survived my residency. My enthusiasm for co-op history won me a commission to write a history of the USCA over the summer of '71. I lived at Cloyne Court while I worked on it -- did their house newspaper, the Cloyne Crier (telling the tale of the "Green Foot"), and fell in love for the first time. The girl ripped out my heart and ate it. The book was called A Cheap Place to Live, and the co-op still uses it -- updated, of course.

When I left Berkeley, I left the Bull archive in the Barrington office ... not only my issues (some of which I dropped behind wallboards, kind of a time capsule) but all the antiques ... and Carr's. Imbecile! I should have copied those for myself. In the years since they've disappeared. George Proper, who managed the co-ops for more than 40 years, told me a while back that when Barrington was sold, renovated, and became Huddlestone Hall, the entire Bull archive went poof ... vanished. Gone, gone! -- all that wonderful gross sexist adolescent humor and outrage and comic profundity. Lost to the ozone.

But I like to think that, in spirit, and in each of the 999 fanzines it presaged, the Bull survives.

Portfolio (214KB)

 

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