The Mexicon Hat

In May 1994, Mexicon died and the Mexicon Hat was born. The end of the Mexicon series of sf conventions left a surprisingly large cash residue; rather than distribute it piecemeal to the usual fan funds and charities, or send 50p to everyone who had ever joined a Mexicon, it was decided to take advantage of this unusual opportunity to try something new in British fandom.

Everybody knows there have been many excellent ideas within fandom that have never made progress because there just wasn't enough money to get them going properly: the people with the ideas aren't always the ones with the money. The Mexicon Hat offers a solution to this problem. Where there is a sound idea which will benefit sf fandom and will be self-supporting once it is off the ground, the Mexicon Hat can lend the money interest-free to get it going. Loans are likely to be just a couple of hundred pounds, and will be repayable once the project, whatever it may be, is running. All we need to know to approve of a loan is: does this sound like a Good Idea, and will these people repay the loan as arranged, so that we can re-use the money on some other brilliant scheme?

The Mexicon Hat is interested in lending to projects that can: benefit British fandom in whole or in part; demonstrate that they have every reasonable chance of succeeding; be expected to repay the money borrowed within the agreed time. The proposers have to show that their idea is worthwhile and interesting, that they have a genuine budget and financial plan, and that they are putting in as much money of their own as they can reasonably raise.

The Mexicon Hat is administered by a committee of five experienced and knowledgeable fans, which will assess projects to receive loans, and publicise the activities of the Mexicon Hat and its related projects to fandom at large. Project proposals will be considered by all five committee members, a simple majority vote being required to confirm a loan. There are also five reserve trustees, able to step in whenever one of the existing trustees retires or cannot for any reason judge any specific case.

The Mexicon Hat is fully accountable to fandom at large, and to this end will publish annual accounts and newsletters in January and July of each year. All assisted projects will be written-up for the newsletters by their proponents. Publications will automatically be sent to all Mexicon Hat Supporters, and can be obtained by any interested parties on request. Information will, of course, be circulated to Ansible, Critical Wave, Matrix and other news-sheets in the UK and abroad.

We also hope to receive money from a variety of sources, to be recycled out as loans. Anyone interested in helping the Mexicon Hat can become a supporter by donating at least GBP 5.00 per year. This will ensure that newsletters and accounts are sent regularly. Donations from convention surpluses will also be gratefully received; we are also especially keen to liberate "dead" money from long-past conventions. Any such money -- and there is rumoured to be quite a lot -- would be more useful in the Mexicon Hat than in a dormant bank account, so please contact us with any details.

The collection of more money really is of some importance; if the Mexicon Hat can gather cash in excess of its present working balance, we'll be able to offer outright grants as well as interest-free loans.

Finally, to cover all eventualities, we have a built-in self-destruct mechanism. If the Mexicon Hat has not proved itself an active and useful institution, in terms of loan applications fulfilled and further finance attracted, by 1 January 1997, all money in its charge will be distributed to the usual good causes and it will cease to exist. However, we certainly believe there is a place for an organisation able to assist worthwhile but underfunded ideas; ingenuity and affluence do not necessarily walk hand in hand.

If you would like to be involved with the Mexicon Hat: [1] put appropriate projects in touch with us, if you think they would benefit from our assistance, [2] send a donation of at least GBP 5.00 (payable to "Mexicon Hat") and become a supporter for a year, and/or [3] pass on any useful knowledge -- projects in difficulty, sources of donations, potential trustees, anything at all! We intend to cover a broad range of interests within science fiction fandom, and will be keeping alert to new developments, so the more people acting as eyes and ears, the better.

Loan applications are available now from our administrative address:
3 Bethany Row
Narberth Road
SA61 2XG
(telephone 01437-769671, fax 01437-769881)

Please enclose a large reply-paid envelope with requests for information. The information we need and the undertakings to be given by borrowers are quite straightforward, but must be carried out in an orderly and unambiguous way, so please request information before making any other representations.

The Mexicon Hat trustees are Rhodri James, Christina Lake, Greg Pickersgill, Martin Tudor and Pam Wells. Reserve trustees as of October 1994 are Tony Berry, Mark Plummer, Maureen Speller, with two others to be announced.