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James Bacon's Top Ten Tobes Moments

Toby Valois is a well-read, intelligent, erudite and entertaining man. You will read about his cavorting nature, and all of it is true, but Tobes is a real representative of fandom on this side of the Atlantic. There is no one else like Tobes, but I doubt there are many fans who have not indulged somehow at some time in a similar manner. Just perhaps not quite so consistently.

See if you recognise any of his traits: He goes to conventions to have a good time. He gets drunk. He likes to have and go to room parties. He has a laugh with his friends, he likes to chat up ladies, he will always offer you a drink at the bar, and he doesn't mind the odd practical joke. He is always willing to help out the con by appearing on panels, which he regularly does. He manages to get to a lot of conventions throughout the year. He never misses an Eastercon or Octocon, which is really quite impressive as he has much more travelling to do, coming from Jersey, and it is quite apparent that conventions are a major part of his life.

He has also produced STRANGE DELUSIONS OF A DRUNKEN FUCKWIT, not only a party piece but also a fanzine, both of which I thoroughly enjoy - although admittedly one is usually at a con, with a beer in hand, and the other is when I am back in the real world, perhaps on the bus - and both make me laugh.

Tobes is a representation of the new face of fandom. It's different, so it may just scare you.

Top Ten Tobes Moments:

  1. At every Octocon since 1990.
    The ongoing allegations between Jersey and Ireland: Ireland being accused of fuelling U-boats during the war and Tobes' grandmother being applauded for facilitating the local occupying forces.
  2. Andorra on the side of a mountain on a nursery slope, January 2000.
    Tobes collapses and is evacuated off the slope due to respiratory problems. He is advised that the Ventolin inhaler should only be used three times every four hours, and not 27 times in 30 minutes.
  3. Lazlar Lyricon II, May 1998.
    Everyone is partying on the disco floor. Tobes is programmed to interview himself at 1 am. Suddenly there is a mass exodus into the alternative programme to see Tobes jumping from seat to seat, asking questions and then giving answers. The disco guy wonders if he did something wrong.
  4. Twentieth anniversary of ZZ9, October 2001.
    Tobes quaffs a free Guinness and is shocked to find a pair of boxer shorts, belonging to the president of the club, in his pint. This is the only known occasion when he has decided not to finish beer.
  5. Eastercon, Glasgow, 2000, about 2 am.
    Tobes is getting on very well with a lady of foreign extraction, who appears to be endeavouring to extract a foreign body with her tongue. A fan decides to 'help' the situation by groping Tobes' crotch; Tobes starts to gyrate, and the fan decides to retreat. Later there is much gnashing of teeth and waving of clenched fist as the situation is explained.
  6. Worldcon, Glasgow, August 1995.
    It's half-past three in the morning, in the bar of the Forte Crest hotel after the bid parties. We are drinking jugs of Baltimore's 'bid' whiskey with coke. There is a good crowd still at the bar; at the same time some fans are having sex in a snug, so Tobes keeps the staff entertained with anecdotes.
  7. Inconsistent (Inconsequential V), May 1996
    Tobes suggests that he has a room party, his room being number 217. All starts off well, with drink being taken etc., until a decision is made to up-end one of the beds and make monkey-like gestures to this monolith. The TV is being watched by two fans - it is upside down, but the reception is better that way - then suddenly the mattress makes a break for it and tries to escape out of the window. Luckily some fans haul it back in before it falls to its certain doom. With one bed now in a sorry state, an attack is made on its companion; a sturdy wardrobe about seven feet tall is mounted, and this becomes the perfect launch pad for fans to slam, Olympic-style, onto the second victim bed. Meanwhile, bed legs are being flushed down the toilet bowl, and it appears the toilet is flooded. As the slamming continues, the bed proves resistant, a light sheers off the wall, and with a shuddering crunch the second bed succumbs to the relentless attack. The room is then stormed by a duty committee member, who ends the party.
  8. Inconsistent (Inconsequential V), May 1996
    The next morning a crew of fans do a post-party clean-up. They scout the hotel, managing to secure bed legs and various other items, thus putting room 217 back into a recognisable state. The hotel never knows.
  9. Lazlar Lyricon II, May 1998.
    A room party is in progress; things are already quite extreme and bizarre. Super-soaker water pistols are on hand, and the Twister mat is damp; the wardrobe is already broken. Tobes agrees to become 'Tobetta' in a makeover. First the ladies in the room undress him, and then give him a bra and skirt; he looks pathetic. Some tissues and sweets are added to the bra and it is decided that swimming flippers might also help the look, which is now better. A green facemask is then applied, along with a snorkel and swimming goggles; Tobes is looking quite good at this stage. Finally some green hair spray is added to the head and chest region, along with a green tattoo of 'UWAC TNG' on his back; now he is rather fetching. As Tobes deftly crosses his legs, he utters curses at the men folk who try to sneak a peek at his modesty, and he adjusts his skirt accordingly. Tobes says, "Well, at least I still have my dignity."
  10. A Dublin bar, after Octocon 2000.
    I meet Tobes along with other fans in The Porter House, to bring us down after a good weekend. I start to chat to Tobes and we discuss various authors, their influences, and their good and bad efforts. We wonder about potential work not yet published, and also about work that shouldn't have been published in the first place. We talk about other conventions and fanzines, and work and girls and drink and parents and getting a new place to live and probably new jobs, and it is a terrific afternoon.

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