There are many kinds of creature to be found at any convention. The vast majority of these are attendees. They come to the convention, they go to the panels, and they enjoy themselves. Then there is the Staff; these are the people that have definite jobs that they have applied to do, and they tend to work a lot and to keep the convention running. The smallest group is the Committee. These are the people to blame - the people that have carried the burden of the whole thing since day one. They tend to look stressed a lot. However, every once in a while an attendee decides that they would like to do something more, that they would like to help the convention run, maybe for just an hour or maybe for two. These people become Gophers.

The word Gopher is a very simple one, and often describes the job perfectly. Those who volunteer will be asked to "go for" this or "go for" that. It's a very, very old joke, but it's still very true. Sample jobs would include bringing drinks to guests during a panel item or standing at a door and keeping out those who aren't supposed to be there. Sometimes it involves running around - sorry, walking swiftly: running is dangerous - trying to make sure that the guests are in the right place, have their drinks and have been told how wonderful they are. Sounds simple, doesn't it?

 Well, you'd be right - it is simple. All you have to do is fill in the simple form enclosed with this issue of the Chronicle and send it back to the Convention address. All we ask of you is to give a brief run-down of any previous relevant experience you may have and what category of Gophering you'd like to do. Be warned - there are a limited number of specialist Gopher positions (Assassins' Guild, Dwarf Opera, Maskerade Parade, Art Show, theatre and programme team) and they will be given out on the basis of relevant experience. By the way, you can apply for more than one type of Gophering. Everyone else will be put into the general Gopher pool. It would also be helpful if you could include how many hours you wish to volunteer for. One would be wonderful, two would be amazing, any more than that and we'll be really, really grateful.

So, please apply, volunteer and generally offer your services. The Convention would literally fall apart without Gophers. The Committee and Staff can't be everywhere, but an army of Gophers can. They are the oil on which the Convention runs - the little cogs which keep the wheels turning. This is no idle plea - we need you, your fellow attendees need you and your Convention needs you! So, sign up today and make me a happy man, make Paul a happy Bursar and make your Convention all the more enjoyable.

And if helping out wasn't enough incentive, Gophers are able to purchase, at a reduced price, the Convention's Gopher T-shirt after completing the required number of hours work. There may also be some liquid reward available for the Dead Monkey party.

Brian Nisbet
Head Gopher

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May 1998