|(A shorter version of this report originally appeared in the Australian SF Newsletter, and the first version of most of the following appeared in issue one of Supervoc, fanzine of the Doctor Who Club of Victoria, in 1980. (I am adding to this over time, from memory). I was in the United Kingdom for Panopticon 3 a Doctor Who convention and Seacon the 1979 world science fiction convention as well as all the sight-seeing I could cram in. It was my first foray to the Northern Hemisphere, but although I took notes on the whole trip, all I ever wrote up afterwards were reports on the SF aspects. If I can find my notebook from that time, a great deal more will be added to this page. This far down the track, (writing in 1998,) I remember little more than my basic travels, finding a total lack of milk bars in England, and discovering that hotels there are not legally obliged to provide accommodation (as well as booze), as they are here in the land of Oz. Anyway, from a science fiction fans point of view, here is the early part of my UK travels in 1979 pre personal computers, and personal VCRs)|
FRIDAY 17 AUGUST 1979:
Via the RACV, before even leaving Australia, I had arranged for a rental vehicle in the UK. Getting off the aircraft, feeling my first-ever bout of jet-lag, one of the things that passed through my mind was "How do I get my car?" It was disgustingly early of a British morning, though the airport was reasonably lively. Perhaps a telephone call to the British RAC (or whatever its equivalent was) would help? I headed for a telephone, and only after standing in queue for a while did it come to me that there was a difference in currency, and that telephones do not accept traveller's cheques.
Poking around the airport, I found a place that would cash my traveller's cheques, and which was open despite the hour. In fact, lots of things were open for the convenience of international travellers. As it turned out, this included the local RAC equivalent. In very short order I was behind the wheel of a little hatchback, my luggage safely ensconced in the rear, driving in the direction of London.
Ah, London. Home of all those Monopoly board places like "Trafalgar Square", "Piccadilly Circus", and so on. London, in this very century the largest city in the world, and no smaller now despite losing the title. Although I knew about places like Tower Bridge, London Bridge, Big Ben, and all that, I had no idea where they were in relation to one another, or the distances between them not even vaguely. So here I was, driving through the cheery sunlight of a bright British morning, with no clear idea of where I was going or how long it would take to get there.
Suddenly the sun went behind a cloud, and the skies opened up. Despite having journeyed all the way to the northern hemisphere, I was being hit by Melbourne weather. It had obviously followed me.
Finally I was in London itself. New discovery: the Poms hate straight lines! Now with most places on this planet with which I am familiar, if you keep turning left you will wind up back where you started. (This is known as "going round the block." England has no blocks or if it does they remained hidden from me.) Streets branch off streets which branch off streets which curve at every opportunity. If one looks like running straight for too long, the Brits will throw in a bit of concrete out from the curb, just for the hell of forcing the flow of traffic to curve around it. Unless you are carrying a compass with you (and I was not) you will quickly lose track of where, at any one time, your nose is pointing. Every place you have just been is out of sight around some curve or other. And so I found myself driving though streets I had never been in before, with no clear destination in mind, and no idea of whether I was still heading for it even if I'd had one. The best idea seemed to be to find the place where-ever-it-was my accommodation had been arranged, and use that as a home base. Found a spot to park, reefed out the street directory from the map-pocket in the car door, pulled out the paperwork from the people who had arranged accommodation ... and found nothing was mentioned about where I was actually going to be staying. (I knew I was going to be staying someplace, I had paid for it in advance, I just had not yet been told where.)
By this time the sun was out again, so I ventured from the car to stretch my legs, and tried to figure out if I was tired or not. Jet lag can be a weird thing.
Went into a public building that had exhibitions from each of the Commonwealth nations, including Australia, New Zealand, and all those multitudes of little African places. It was all very interesting, but there was a time-limit where I had left my car, and I was soon off again. In all my time in the UK after that, I failed to stumble across any more displays of Commonwealth nations, not even once. I had obviously blundered across something special, and worth finding again to check out in more detail. Unfortunately I never even came across any clue as to what it was I had come across, let alone find it again.
My trip to the U.K. had been based around the World Science Fiction Convention being held there that year. While I was at it, there was a Doctor Who convention a week earlier which I figured would be worth a look-see too. As much as possible had been arranged in advance, before leaving Australia, through the organisers of both conventions. I had to be in a place called the Barbicane by evening, to find out where I was spending the night, but it was still early morning. Found my destination in the street directory. What remained a mystery was where I was at the moment. Drove on in search of an identifiable landmark. (For what that was worth. Once sighted it was soon lost from view amid all the twists and turns and curved streets, and it was back to the mystery tour.) I spent a fun rest of the day battling with the incomprehensible nature of British roads ... despite having a map. The curves and twists and one-way "systems" and roundabouts and traffic congestion and unholy road narrowness would thwart any sane mind. In short, it could only have been invented by the British.
That afternoon I tried to drive to John McElroy's address, so I would know how to find it later. In the process I blundered across Downing Street. Parked, walked around, and found the famous Number 10! It was only day one, and already I was learning what an expensive business it can be simply to park. Realised that even if I found John's place, it would be no easy task to get back to it later. The best bet seemed to be to continue looking at tourist places until late in the day, and then concentrate on getting to where he lived. I set off for the Tower of London. That's when I wound up in John's neck of the woods and decided to quit while still ahead.
Parked near a bomb site. Not IRA or anything like that, this was left-over damage from WW2. And the year was 1979.
Parking is always fun in London. At any one time during a weekday there are more cars in the city than there are parking spaces. I have seen cars queuing in the road outside a full car park, waiting for someone to leave to make one more free parking space, and so let the next car in line get in to look for it. I have seen cars queue to get into an illegal parking space! On top of all this, feeding parking meters is against the law. You are expected to drive away once the meter has expired, to give some other poor slob a chance to park. The first time I found a parking spot with no restrictions or fees, it seemed as if something was hideously wrong. (It is cheaper to park in such a remote place and catch a train in to the city, than to pay for parking. One learns tricks like this, over time, but it was only day one.)
The downpour started up again. Fled inside the Barbicane a monster structure, made of lots of concrete, which can smell really foul when it rains.
John McElroy was holding a special party at his place, exclusively for the overseas attendees of Panopticon 3, no peasants invited). My fears of arriving too early were allayed by the discovery I was not the first person to land there. The party was quite an okay one what I saw of it. I had this tendency to keep falling asleep. Jet-lag is something I can easily learn to live without.
I remember making apologies to John, and then heading off to get an early night at the accommodation I'd booked in advance, through the Panopticon organisers. Then remembered again that I didn't know where this place was!
"What do you mean you don't even know the name of the place you're staying
at?" John had to say on the subject. "Surely all that information was sent
out with the latest Celestial Toy Room. In fact I'm sure of it.
Didn't you get it?"
"Of course I got it. You hand-delivered it to me when I came in the door. Something about 'saving postage'."
"Oh yes. Price of postage is going up again. It's getting so bad that " etc etc etc.
In the end John told me how to get there, and even got hold of a little map showing the way. Fortunately some Americans were also leaving the party at this same time, and, offered to navigate if I gave them a lift. Yours truly then hared off to get the car, and drove back to find the Yanks waiting at the curb ... on the wrong side of the road. (Force of habit strikes again.)
We all got there in the end, I parked, checked in, hit the sack, and suddenly it was tomorrow already.
SATURDAY 18 AUGUST 1979:
I had gone to the trouble of lugging my trusty cassette recorder to the U.K. with me in order to get at least some of the con on tape, Upon attempting to plug it in to see if it was still working okay, I made the interesting discovery that British electric sockets are different from the Australian. (The wall plugs have two holes instead of three slots.) Aagh!
Made my way to the breakfast room, passing through a series of smoke-proof doors on the way. Smorgasbord breakfast join the queue. No vegemite a reminder of being in foreign parts.
Panopticon 3 was being held in a university building a short walk away. I arrived five minutes late, to find everybody else waiting outside, locked out. I joined the queue.
Panopticon had no written programme ever. The reason given was that nobody wanted to spoil the fantastic surprises which would be sprung on us. After registering I headed for the queue to the theatrette, where so they said the first item on the agenda was to be held: The first ever Doctor Who episode.
En route through the series of smoke-proof doors to the theatrette I ran into Randall Flynn, a friend I had last seen in January in Australia. (Our meeting again at a science fiction convention was not all that coincidental we are both s.f. writers after all. What was really stretching things was meeting a couple of other Aussie friends two weeks later, in the Chamber of Horrors at Madam Tussaud's.) After coming to Britain, Randall had written a Doctor Who script. The BBC told him that if he'd brought it in a couple of months earlier, they would have used it.
I saw part of An Unearthly Child the name of Doctor Who episode numero uno when it started in Australia in 1965. There was a girl reading a history book and muttering to herself "That's not right." Then my father changed the channel back. He was determined to protect my juvenile mind from the effects of horror, pornography, science fiction, things like that.
All episodes of Doctor Who were in black and white until Pertwee,
and up to this day I thought they were all recorded on video-tape. Unearthly
Child is on 16mm film, and at Panopticon 3 was projected onto
a large screen. I've heard tell that it was also filmed in colour, but
that all prints and tapes made of it were in b&w. This original colour
print no longer exists, due to the fact that it was worn out over the years
by BBC staff constantly viewing it. This may or may not be true, but the
film I saw that day was a remarkably good b&w print.
Link here to a summary of "UNEARTHLY CHILD"
A break followed.
Anxious to get as many STINFOS as I could, I went back upstairs and checked out the fanzine stalls. Nary a STINFO in sight. I went back downstairs and looked through the displays. The actual light-house used in Horror of Fang Rock, a brontosaurus model, the inevitable Dalek, a Supervoc (whoops, not a model, somebody dressed up), K9, *all* the Target books, a STINFO stall, another Dalek, photos fr.... A STINFO stall?
"Sorry pal, we sold out an hour ago."
"Yeah, well I thought we had enough for the weekend. They went like hot cakes."
After part two of Unearthly Child came the lunch break.
British shops take one half day off during the week I found seemingly at random, and open on Saturday all day. I was able to get a conversion plug for my cassette recorder,
The editor of British Marvel Comics gave a talk in another hall in the university. I joined the queue into this place as fast as I could, There are limits to the number of people allowed in any one hall, and these limits were enforced at Panopticon. It all had to do with fire regulations, The smoke-proof doors in all public buildings are compulsory. I don't think the Poms ever got over the Great Fire of London.
The editor disclosed that there was to be a Doctor Who Weekly starting from October 10th. "Don't call it a comic." It is to be a magazine with a continuing five-page strip, articles, and regular features. Most likely the strip will be published in monthly lumps in the USA, and in colour, minus everything else, This is the case with the Star Wars Weekly already, there is such an advance log of British stories that Star Wars monthly in the USA will never run into the reprint problem a lot of its other magazines encounter.
They don't have weeklies in the USA, due to the size of the place and distribution problems. Monthlies are safer.
The stories in the Doctor Who Weekly will be "slightly formularised, like the TV series itself."
Part three of Unearthly Child was screened in the theatrette after the talk. I found an electric outlet, and plugged my recorder in. How the tape came out I'll never know...
After I left the theatrette an official came up and demanded to know politely but demandingly did I record that episode just then? I told him I didn't know I hadn't had a chance to listen to the tape yet. I was then informed of copyright problems, and the fact I would be chucked out of the convention and black-listed from all Panopticons to come if I didn't give him the tape to be erased. And had I recorded any other episodes? Was I positive? I was informed of the copyright situation again, politely as ever, and was I absolutely positively sure that I hadn't taped any other episodes?
Later on I spoke about this business to John McElroy. He was surprised to find I was the one the tape incident had occurred to. He had heard about it, only I was described as "a tall American" with glasses.
Later still I got into a conversation with somebody on the subject of Australian fauna. The thing they really liked about Australia was those cute little birds we had ... kiwis. One of the things about going overseas is that you get surrounded by foreigners.
I also overheard part of a conversation about the high degree of pilfering going on from the displays. It was described as "pretty sick", and this only the first day.
An 8mm sound film of the previous year's Panopticon 2 was shown on the big screen in the theatrette. The image underwent stiff competition from the glow of the EXIT sign, but that didn't stop us from seeing the way the previous con's stage over-flowed with guests: Benton, the Brigadier, Pertwee, someone from Blake's Seven (Gareth Hunt?), Susan, K9, Baker....
Another production in 8mm was Ocean in the Sky. We were told at the beginning, "Don't expect too much, This is a Doctor Who story but it is strictly an amateur production". And they weren't kidding.
There was another 8mm Doctor Who film called The Image Makers. It looked better than the other production, but I can't make much more comment due to the fact that the sound track was not yet complete and so was not presented at all. Pretty pictures though.
Paul Tamms producer of The Image Makers displayed the actual K9 model built for his film. He offered to let any overseas guests borrow it for the show...so long as they paid the postage.
The day's session at the uni wrapped up unbelievably fast, and the festivities adjourned to a nearby pub ... at the place where I was staying.
Around this point things started to go fuzzy at the edges again. Jet-lag still? I remember getting into a talk with the Jon Pertwee Fan Club, with the Marvel Comics editor, somebody showing me his Dalek voicebox a breadboard sound-chopper that actually worked. Then I took another early night.
SUNDAY 19 AUGUST 1979:
Looking out the window next morning, there was no smog as there had been the morning before. This was because all smog had been cleaned away by a persistently falling rain.
The rain eased off before I reached the queue at the door. (The Poms will form queues at the drop of a hat. Haven't they ever heard of chaos, or survival of the fittest?) They were checking the name badges of everybody going in, to make sure no freeloaders sneaked by. It started to rain again, and I noticed that people were going through that door only one at a time!
The first speaker was Dick Morris of the BBC Radiophonic Workshop. With the assistance of a reluctant videotape machine, he demonstrated how sound effects are added to videotape. He gets a black and white video recording of each episode, with a superimposed line of reference numbers. These changing numbers are used to note when to cut/fade in music, zaps, whines, explosions, trills, and so forth, and when to fade them/cut them off.
The sound mixing for all episodes of the new series had already been done, we were told, except for episode one which was to go to air on 1st September.
The demonstration was brought to a premature end by the organisers, so that the next item on the unpublicised agenda could be proceeded with on schedule!
While I was having lunch in the university cafeteria, a reporter from the BBC came up to me. Did I really travel all the way to Britain just for this one weekend? Well uh...no. I planned to do a lot of sightseeing, as well as attend the World SF Convention in Brighton. I have never seen a BBC reporter lose interest so fast. She left, promising to come back if unable to find a rich Yank here solely for Panopticon. I never saw her again.
I bought a record of BBC sound effects autographed by Dick Mills and braved the traffic outside to go back to my car and put it somewhere safe, a new acquaintance once remarked, "The traffic here will run you over. Back home in the States they honk first ... then they run you over."
In one of the final episodes of Unearthly Child we get to see the Doctor unmistakably contemplate murder. A cave man has just been savaged by the camera (actually it was supposed to be some kind of beast, but all we saw of it was its point of view as it mauled the cave man) and Ian insisted on staying to help. The Doctor was equally insistent on heading for the TARDIS while they could still make it. So they helped the caveman, and the Doctor subtly picked up a rock...which Ian twisted out of his hand.
"I was only going to get him to draw a map, to show us the quickest
way back to the ship."
(By the way, the Doctor was quite consistent in referring to the TARDIS as "the ship.")
Eventually the Doctor and co, regained the TARDIS, and dematerialised to the consternation of a lot of pursuing cavemen.
The TARDIS rematerialised almost immediately in bleak surroundings. After the usual check of atmosphere and radiation, everybody exited ... leaving the radiation counter on the console to quietly register enough radiation to make the needle go off the scale. End of episode.
The Doctor was of course, on Skaro and his first encounter with the Daleks loomed up. Those episodes probably do not even exist any more. ((Don't bother emailing to tell me you have your own official copy on video. See AFTERWORD.))
Enter the convention's special guests: Doctor Who's producer, the director, and an actor called Tom Baker. I hope Baker's speech was not copyright, because I was recording it. For some reason the area of the auditorium around my tape recorder was like Flinders Street at rush hour, and the voices were somewhat unintelligible to begin with.
Baker spoke about the running of Doctor Who in Australia and America. America interrupts the show with commercials, although the episodes aren't structured for it. In both countries the natives lack of patience results in "stripping" in other words showing episodes daily instead of weekly. In Australia Baker said Doctor Who was doubled with The Goodies .(Actually, by this time it was doubled with David Niven's Magic Show.)
Baker was back from shooting on location in Paris. "It seemed a bit strange that the Doctor had been all over the universe, yet never crossed the English Channel."
All he said about the plot was that the Mona Lisa figures importantly. As for the shooting on location.... Baker had gone as far away as Australia to be swamped by fans, and found it a new experience to walk in public in full costume, and go totally unrecognised "Just a few admiring glances at the scarf."
On TV, Baker said, popular TV characters cannot develop. How do you get witty and surprising within the character's limitations? The first Doctor Hartnell was the type of character who remained in the background. He had to be, considering the fact that he could not be allowed to interfere with history when he was in the past.
On Daleks: "The quick way to get away from a Dalek is just run up the stairs, but of course you just don't do that."
An autograph session followed in the main hall. I bolted out the theatrette door as fast as I could, but by the time I reached the hall there was already a sizeable queue...getting more sizeable by the moment.
I had a few books some fellow Australians had given me before I left home, with instructions to get autographs of anyone who was anybody or don't come back at all. I was heading happily out the door before I suddenly realised I had forgotten to get any autographs for myself.
I remedied this with a quick return to my hire-car, in which was a number
of American editions of Doctor Who books I bought on that
bleary Friday evening a couple of centuries before. Back at the uni I joined
an even longer queue, and after eventually getting to Baker, asked a question
that had been puzzling me. In episodes back in Australia, the Doctor had
same strange markings around his mouth. They were unexplained in the storyline
so I had put them down to some sort or skin condition or something that
the actor had. Now that I saw him in person, Baker did not have those markings.
"I was bitten on the mouth by a dog," Baker explained, "It gave me a frightful shock."
I imagine it would.
While this was goint on, I had lent my camera to somebody to take a picture of Baker and me together. As things turned out it was a reasonable photograph of me, and a terrific one of the back of Tom Baker's head. Timing is everything.
After I left the hall I tried to look around a bit. The fanzine stalls
were all gone, and the displays those that were left were being rapidly
dismantled. Nearly everybody, but those in the autograph queue, had gone.
Panopticon 3 was over.
That evening I was driving in the direction of Salisbury and Stonehenge.
Stonehenge has been the target of yobboes for some time now. There is graffiti on the stones, some of which is in Latin!
When I was there, admittance to the henge was on the condition nobody left the rubber-mat path between the stones. I do not know what they did to you if you left the path.
Stonehenge was not built all in one go. As models at the site showed, archeological work indicates work started in 2200 BC, with the last additions being made around 1400 BC.
Stratford-on-Avon is the birthplace of William Shakespeare. I visited the place. One of these days I will have to unearth the notes I made while on this U.K. trip, so I can go into a bit more detail about the experience.
Bath is the only town I have seen with a split-level water supply. Really. I was intrigued to see, after leaving my car, water flowing by nearby, as well as way down the hillside. The Romans started fiddling with things when they were in Britain.
One memorable experience was finding a pie cart, buying a pie, and biting into it to find it perfectly solid. In Australia, manufacturers are allowed to make meat pies that are predominantly gravy, and as a consequence pies tend to ooze. So they do. Went back to the UK about ten years later, and was unable to find that (or any other) pie cart. Just lots of McDonalds, Hungry Jacks, and other hamburger places.
For some reason one stand-out memory of my U.K. trip is of a constant search toilets. Whether because they are so hard to find in Britain or because my bladder had mysteriously gone into overdrive I cannot say. Britain is the country which invented the expression "spend a penny" (though the price had gone up by the time I arrived), meaning that you get charged to use a public loo. (They did not charge to use the urinals, although it is only a matter of time before someone figures out to put a coin lock on the entry door.) One added piece of culture shock happened when I saw a sign indicating "subway". Reasoning you could find toilets on subways, I headed in the direction indicated. After passing through an underground walkway, I found another sign saying "subway" pointing back the way I had come. Perhaps I had missed a turnoff in that underground walkway? Retraced my steps, until I was back at the first sign. Only after going back and forth like a demented yoyo a couple more times did it occur to me that it was the Americans who called underground railways "subways", that the poms called their version "The Underground", and the underground walkway itself was the "subway" the sign was referring to.
Bought a hamburger at a fast-food place, shortly after arriving, tried to pay with the exact change, and was told it was not enough. It was enough if I wanted to take the food away, but it would cost more to eat there, because of something called VAT. This, I learned, was a tax one paid to buy things. British politicians had promised that VAT would end problems, though nobody I spoke to seemed to agree. And make no mistake, everyone I raised the subject with had something to say on the the topic. Taxes had not gone down with VAT, in fact they seemed to have gone up, I was told. As an Australian friend living there pointed out, with the new system, the government was able to get tax money out of people like pensioners, the unemployed, and ... visitors from overseas. I remember thinking "Only the Poms could come up with something as mad as this."
Australia went metric in 1966 (currency-wise) and 1972 (weights-and-measurements-wise). The U.K. decimalised its currency in 1968, and its weights and measurements never.
Australia dumped pounds shillings and pence, and went to dollars and cents. (Five cents equaled the old sixpence, ten cents equaled the old shilling, twenty cents equaled the old two shillings, ten shillings equaled one dollar. Two dollars equaled one old pound.) The U.K. dumped the word "shilling", but kept pounds and pence. (Ten new pence equaled two old shillings of twenty-four old pence, ten old shillings equaled fifty new pence, one hundred new pence equaled one pound, old or new.) There was thus no need to introduce new pound notes after the new currency came in ... except they did. And after a certain period of time, the old notes became invalid. (I saw a notice about this in an arcade in Brighton.)
I had come from a nation where everyone used dollars, cents, grams, kilograms, litres, centimetres, metres, and kilometres. Suddenly I was in a land of pence, pounds, ounces, pounds (the other kind), gallons, feet, and miles. Those things had made a nightmare of my primary school life, and suddenly they were back. One day I drove past a sign that said "Parking, 200 metres". A little further on and I did a double take. I even went back to make sure. "Parking, 200 metres." And around two hundred metres on, there was. The memory of that sign keeps me awake at nights, sometimes.
I experienced the most powerful feeling of deja vu ever, the moment I turned onto the coastal road of Blackpool, and I had never ever been there before. I can think of two possible causes. One is the distinctive shoreline may have been depicted in a Jack and Jill comic I had read as a child. As none of these comics exists any longer, I have no way to check, but a number of sights (from turnstiles to cobblestones) had kept bringing my mind back to those old British magazines all the time I was in England.
The other possible cause of deja vu was that surreal sky out over the ocean. The only place I had ever seen clouds like that was in artwork by Clarence Grey depicting alien skies in the Brick Bradford strip. I have definitely never seen them like that in real life, before or since. I tried to take photograph at the time, but things like those distant storms were too far away to be discernible, and the totality was simply too big to fit in the viewfinder. I have invested in a better camera since, but doubt it could have done that sky justice in any case.
Tom Baker was at Seacon too, signing autographs. I couldn't seem to be able to get away from the man.
There was a video room on the premises which in theory was constantly showing Doctor Who and Blake's Seven. Due to some foul-up the video room had to share with a number of panels thereby abolishing the planned programme. Despite this I managed to see part one of An Unearthly Child a couple more times...and a Doctor Who Special. This special showed parts of episodes involving ALL Doctors. This included the introduction of the HADS (Hostile Action Displacement System) the mental battle between the Doctor and Morbius (which showed a number of the Doctor's previous incarnations...including a few preceding Hartnell some of these Doctors having facial hair) and excerpts from The Daemons (which, like Brain of Morbius was banned in Australia hence never seen.) Seeing these excerpts enabled me to realise why so many of the early Pertwee episodes have never been repeated in Australia. All these unscreened episodes are in black and white. Even though The Auton Invasion was colour, the ones following were b&w and the ABC hates anything not in colour.
Since my writing all the above, the BBC decided to destroy all old Doctor Who episodes, later changed their minds when video-cassettes started to take off, and they are still looking for episodes that are probably now permanently missing. Fortunately this does not include the first Dalek story, which is intact after all. One of the things they did when destroying their own supply of tapes was to wipe episode one of The Dinosaur Invasion in mistake, so it is said, for episode one of The Invasion. When Dinosaur Invasion was screened in Australia, the ABC cunningly got around the missing episode by calling episode two episode one, episode three episode two, and so on, apparently under the impression nobody would notice anything. And they succeeded, to a certain extent. This is because although each separate story was screened in the correctly numbered order, the ABC did not screen the batches of stories in chronological order if it could help it. [Not even with its own product Phoenix Five were they able to achieve chronological order.] Fans had to watch every episode that was screened, and do mental gymnastics to put the running subplots in order. Even then there were missing stories that had been censored out totally, and viewers could never be sure what critical information they might have contained.)