The Paul McGann Estrogen Brigade began life as an "online" fan club, directed by Elsa Frohman and Stephanie Linz-Gould, and has gone on to become much more. In the almost eight(!) years we've been in existence we have grown from a group of about 15 women who wanted to discuss Paul McGann and Doctor Who to a group that has topped more than 145 women and men who share news and views about Paul McGann, films and television programmes featuring Paul McGann, the characters played by Paul McGann, stories involving characters played by Paul McGann, Doctor Who, Horatio Hornblower, Sylvester McCoy, Tom Baker, Peter Davison, Alan Rickman, Richard E. Grant, personal joys, personal woes, and anything else that might seem relevant (and quite a few things that are totally irrelevant, and irreverent). The members of PMEB also share their works of fan-fiction (though not limited to the Eighth Doctor!), art, and photography. The only membership qualification we have is an admiration of the work of Paul McGann.
Our members hail from at least 8 countries (4 continents), including the U.S., Canada, the British Isles, Germany, Australia, New Zealand, and Japan. Whenever possible we like to get together to meet each other "in person." In the time the PMEB has been in existence our members have met at Visions Conventions in Chicago (96-98), the Toronto Film Festival, the Shaw Festival, the London (Ontario) Film Festival, the Stratford Festival, Gallifrey One conventions in L.A., and other gatherings of smaller groups just to have a good time together. These latter gatherings are our "Paulapaloozas."
One of our most important gatherings was a special "U.S. invades Britain" trip where a number of our members came together to see Paul perform in the play Sabina in 1998. It was a turning point in the life of the PMEB. For it was at that meeting we first made personal contact with Paul, and he gave us the nod to become his official online fan club. At the same time, he recognized British Mercury, our sister print publication and its founder, Lynn Gavigan.
Most recently, PMEB members have met in London to see "Mourning Becomes Elektra" as well as have the chance to meet with Paul once again. And at Gallifrey One 2004, Paul's first North American convention, there was a large gathering of PMEB'ers and Horatians to meet and greet each other and make Paul feel welcome at the con.
The Paul McGann Estrogen Brigade came into being just after the U.S. airing of the Doctor Who Telemovie. In Atlanta, former members of Terminus TARDIS had gotten together for "the grand viewing" at a local sports bar. There were about 100 of us gathered into one huge room watching the movie on 24 screens. We ate pizza, drank beer (and more lethal concoctions), mourned the passing of one Doctor, and cheered the arrival of the new Doctor. Little did we realize the same scene was occuring all over the States and would later be repeated in many parts of the world.
A group of us were standing around afterwards gushing over Paul McGann and how wonderful he was. One of the fellows passing by hailed us: "Look, it's the Paul McGann Estrogen Brigade." We immediately took a fancy to the name.
A short time later, I came out of lurk mode in rec.arts.drwho and broached the subject. (To see transcripts of what we and the other members really said, check out Elsa's research on the History of the PMEB.) The response was immediate and exciting. Almost simultaneously Lith and I started things off by creating an email cc: letter sent to anyone who had responded favorably to the idea of a Paul McGann internet fan club. In no time, the list had gotten unwieldy, and people were getting unintentionally dropped off. Elsa Frohman came to the rescue, using her Pegasus mail to act as a filter for us. Unfortunately, the load soon swamped her inbox, and we needed another solution. I was able to secure a "real" mailing list server for us which did us well for over two years. Eventually, though, we needed more space and a hardier server. Poor ol' Orbit (the UNIX server our original list ran on) just couldn't hack it. Today the list and the web site are on a commercial web host server, as is our fiction and artwork sister-site dreamtime.pmeb.org.
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