MAR-02: M&S.exe - Mekka & Symposium 2002 Party Report
experienced by Zito/JP Team

Thursday, 11 o'clock pm. I do the final installations on my party computer, the new A4000 I got lately. The A1200 has to stay at home, to valueable. I copy some demos and stuff like that to have some fun in Fallingbostel...

Friday, 2 o'clock am. I still can not sleep. Too dizzy. My girls lies beside me, dreaming. I go to the toilette only thinking about Mekka. When I come back I can not sleep as before although I have to. Will be a long eastern this year again. Right after 3 o'clock I got it! zzZZZ...

Friday morning half past four... It is Friday, yeah! My cell phone wakes me up, my girl turns to the other side and continues sleeping. I walk to the bathroom and take a shower. Never was so happy at this time before. After the shower I check my bag and place everything in front of the door, ready to jump off when the mOOdS guys ring my bell. Then the telefon rings and d!RT!E tells me that they are ready to take off, ready to catch me in 10 minutes. We both check if we have everything gathered and I hang up. While having a small and fast breakfast I remember Mekka2k1 and I wonder what will happen this year. When the door bell rings I go to the sleeping room and give a kiss to my girl. I take my bag, the computer, the monitor and leave the apartment. Doc Mike & elapse look quite awake. d!RT!E and me put all the stuff in his car and we take off with the two cars...

After a long, but not as long as thought, trip on lonely streets and motorways (just near Hannover we passed some other cars) we reach Fallingbostel at around 10 o'clock where we directly enter the new hall. New means, that it is of course the same Heidemarkhalle as last year, but they built a new entrance, new toilettes and sadly skipped the great gallery behind the place of the big screen. What a pitty! Inside it is quite empty and calm. Most tables are still free, so we go out again to take our hardware, cables, boxes, beer and set it in the middle of the middle near the big screen. It is row 8b, I guess.

While I am placing little sheets of paper in the whole row - to save some places for the other Moods guys from the west who still have not arrived, for Kufa/Reason and the whole Scarab team - suddenly a seemingly polish guy friendly asks me, if I want to smoke a cigarette with him. He turns out to be X-Ceed/Floppy and we both are happy to meet each other (even if I am happier to meet this great musician finally) and go outside to smoke a cigarette together with Doc Mike. Back inside after around 20 minutes of talking, also nearly the whole Scarab crew arrived. Most of them I meet for real the first time. All of them are more than friendly and I feel welcome, being the last member who joined them. But where is happiness, there is also bad luck so we have to notice directly that Stingray's Amiga got broken on the long way to Mekka, at least the gfx-card does not work anymore. And our demo has of course not been finished before the party although our coders never wanted to code at a party anymore. Damned!

Searching for a nice place to settle down, the dutch scener nDK, maintainer of the famous GFX Zone, has some interesting things to tell me and so we have a nice chat while he is placing his computer on the back of where mine is located. But then all people are asked to leave the hall to stay out there for about 30 minutes, thereby the organizers can take the entrance fee, which got higher than last year. (Well, somebody has to pay for the new toilettes, right?)

"Oh, damned! I got my bracelet from Chaos!!! From the Master, yeah!" (d!RT!E/mOOdS)

Finally - we have no suicidal tentencies, so we waited until the masses got through the gates inside - we are back in the hall and there I see my good friend Adonis, who tells me a little secret: his girl friend is pregnant and will get a baby by him in august, and Darkhawk. I walk to to them an suddenly I am in a tight place: Both want to break my fingers and nose and legs because of some recent articles I wrote about EC. I try to run away, but both keep me exactly where I stay between their big bellies. After some pretended friendly chat I manage to escape to my place, where Stingray is still trying to fix his computer and the other Scarab members start to finish working on our demo entry. In front of the bigscreen, that is covered with some lame WinAMP plugins, Deejay Supreme is playing some Dub, too loud and noisy, followed by Ronny/Farbrausch who plays quite nice stuff that again.

Willing to take off to McDonalds for an evening meal with d!RT!E, elapse, Doc Mike and Kufa - who arrived after a two days trip from Cannes/France - I finally find my master, Zerox, and can not say "No" to a long talk with him. But noticing some strange vibrations from his side (read the article "First A Friendship, Then A Disaster" inside JP#10) and getting kicked in the butt by Kufa and the boys from Moods, I leave Zerox - with a short valediction that makes me feel as if it is forever - to come back from McDonalds soon enough for the opening ceremony...

"Well, to be honest I am a stealer. I stole all my article ideas from RAW." Zerox says in an emotional moment, telling me I am allowed to quote him.

I think we could have known this... It had to become half past nine before the opening ceremony under this year's motto "Defenders Of The Scene" shows up. (Who doesn't delay these days?) And again the M&S staff proofs creativity by doing a little play on the stage, where a tribunal makes Steeler a knight (by the holy sword "Fat Agnus") to lead all true sceners in the battle against all quake lamers on earth! The whole play gets very often applause inbetween and a big one at the end. But what is even more impressive than this great opening ceremony, are the lot of people storming the stage after MFX shouted "Beer For The People!". Yes, believe me or not, but MFX - a german PC group if I recall right - gives away beer to everyone for free. And yes, for bear they do everything. The tables become empty for some minutes and you can see nearly everybody before the stage grabbing for a bottle.

Later I am allowed to listen to X-Ceed's entry for the tracked music competition (just love this tune too as I always loved his music!) while a bit later than planed the Noisedrift liveact comes up with a good mixture of relaxing trance, prodigy remixes and some more hardcore music. And of course the goddamn usual WinAMP plugin is running behind at the bigscreen...

Then silence... Already around 11 pm. Stingray is lieing his head on the table, his computer is still not working.

And while working a bit on the 1oo% ascii colly I am willing to release at the party, zero hour comes and slightly the sleept tries to put his arms around me, but I am not allowed to give in. "Crest's PC Demo Show Computershow" starts, also later as everything always. "A bit too loud, even with stoppers in the ears to sleep in the partyhall" Scicco/Scarab tells me by changing to the sleeping hall. I will try it though later. First I have to exchange some data via Nullmodem with Doc Mike and d!RT!E as I have no cd burner to deliver the Corrosion demo and the Moods music entries. Finally we saved all the needed stuff on 3 discs and go to the organizing desk to give everything to the right person.

Delivering Moods' wildcompo and music entries I meet Cytron - this year looking much better than last one - and have a nice privat chat with him. Later Curt Cool joins us for some more funny words to exchange after delivering his "2% of the maximum allowed size tracker compo tune". I hold my fingers crossed for him although I doubt he will pass the preselection as M&S organizers are known to be no oldskool lovers. Getting even more tired, I take my sleepingbag from the car and brush my teeth in the toilettes.

It is quite calm everywhere, only from time to time I meet some slightly drunken or tired sceners walking around. Back in Row 9B, Stingray is awake again and wants to show me new finished parts of the Scarab demo. I can not resit but finally I handle my Amiga over to Tripper to let him play SlamTilt and go for the bed, means for some free space beneath the tables. The demoshow is still going strong but now even the loud music can not keep me away from some warm and healthy sleep.

"Tripper at the keyboard!! Sorry mate, just had to fill some lines here ;) This party rlz man! Oldskool combined with newskool stuff in just the right way! Keep on boozing, thats what Im going to do :-)" suprising words on my screen in the morning of saturday at 7 am after I woke up to Blade Runner music. Some morning writing and chatting with the mOOdS guys, we take off for some breakfast. Guess where? Mc Donalds of course! Normally I boycott every american product since the "latest events" as they call it so often on tv, but wherelse shall I got something to eat, here in this damned small village??? And I can not live from beer alone as some guys seem to do at Mekka.

It became 15:49 saturday afternoon and I lost the red line because of too many things happening meanwhile. So now I continue this report about 14 hours later... One moment ago the tracked compo finished and to tell you the hard truth "Mekka preselection sucks!" Only names count! I know a lot of contributers of smaller groups whose tunes at least I enjoyed (and think they were better than some of the selected blooberblah entries). But than they also mix chip/4ch/mch/slow and fast, so except c64 nobody really has the chance to see/hear his entry or even win if not owning a known handle. And I will not loose a word about the MP3 compo or that raytracing, pixeling, truecolor and 256 were put together in one compo. Oh lucky C64, their privat compos were kept.

Afterwards we - mainly d!RT!E and me at first - are working on Legoland, our tiny chippack we decided to release at Mekka. In the breaks I learn to know Dipswitch/DCS^DTR & we work together on 1oo%'s ascii-colly and I spend some calm minutes with fresh air by lieing outside on the grass.

Because Gone/Scarab^Void still has not shown up, I am going to search him (it is nice to hear your name through the big speakers in the party hall: Zito is searching for Gone and Nemecheck! Please come to the infodesk.) Then I am chatting a bit with Influence reading through JP#9 and searching for the hidden part in the gallery as Stingray even does not want to reveal it to me, the editor! ARG! ;)

"I did this yesterd... no, today! Nah... Anyway, this is just a 4-days day here at mekka!" (Doc Mike/Moods)

Ghandy calls me up telling that he will come later. Problems with the dog, problems with the train. Between the 4k intro compos (even if it were a combinbed one, C64 an Amiga would have battled for the first place leaving the PC far behind!!!) and the 64k Amiga intro compo, I meet my friends and some others outside at our cars talking about the spelling of Chris Huelsbeck's surname. Looks as if they have to much beer inside, but noticing that I can not hold me from laughing I see I had definitively not enough sleep last night as I had drunken anything. But this is in every way bettern then staying sad and angry because we were faced by the fact that the organizers lost all our music entries as we neigther heard our tunes in the tracked music music & mp3 compo, nor are we listed in the not-shown entries list. Damned suckers! Then we have to go back inside not to miss the Amiga 64k intro compo and I can tell you that it simply rocks. The whole hall cries all the time! Never heard people screaming louder for three 64k intros. "We have seen the winning intro, I think!" Bobic/BTTR tells me after each entry.

Then d!RT!E and me take off to catch Ghandy from the train station. Guess he is surprised that we did not hit him, even if it looked very close. But luckily I have still not drunken anything, not that alcohol lover I am. The trip back to the party place is also very funny with a drunken d!RT!E, a more than happy Zito and a Ghandy already in the right party Mood after his journey in 3 parts.

Back inside the hall I talked nearly an hour to Poet/Abyss about www.darwyn.net, where he is coding and earning his money today. The music is still too loud played, but nobody told the organizers, so after meeting the friendly drunken Poet I have the feeling not being able to talk any more. My voice sounds like "UUAAAAAAAHHHRGgggrrzzt..." so I go to our row and continue writing the Reason demo endscroller, besides I get Doc Mike to work for me like a slave. He did on my request the end tune for MME, a scroller for Legoland, a logo for my ascii-colly and also started the panels for this very JP issue, if I have not forgotten anything!

Zito & X-Ceed At MS2k2 - Photo By elapse/mOOdS "This is something I never even dreamt to do!" I cried by lieing my arm around X-Ceed, posing for a photo.

Somehow it became sunday afternoon. I don't know what exactly happened inbetween. I can remember that we drove out to buy some new beer, which was extreme expensive, even for a petrol station. Also I had a couple of really friendly but also serious conversations with my sweety Clary/Drifters. But all in all I can not remind 24 hours. Well, might be caused by the amount of competitions (The 15 seconds music compo was really enjoyable and the only one without preselection, not to forget the big and great and funny and superb wild compo! I still love d!RT!E for our entry!!!) or by the big blunt Doc Mike made for us. Already twice since friday! =) Surely the daylight saving time had an effect too. And the busy working on the Reason demo, the ascii-colly, Legoland and also I was proud to be invited to write the scroller for Scarab's "Tribute". The most special feeling I have when standing behind Doc Mike watching him composing the MME endtune. There I notice that we became what we ever dreamt to become when we were kids. Being on a party, asking someone else for help and writing this in a scroller. So great... And all in all it seems to be a quite active day so far.

Anyway, it is sunday and the Amiga demos compos are soon to run on the big screen. Moods has already released the chippack and every minute everybody can see the advertising for it on the big screen, yeah! But before Ephidrena surprises us with an entry in the Atari demo compo, which is included for the first time at Mekka. Sadly it is one of two entries only. Maybe next year there will be more to come. And finally the main attraction of each M&S comes up. Of course with a delay of more than one hour, but better than never...

And it is an extreme RULING compo, I must confess happily. 12 entries are announced, not as much as last year, but all in all far better in quality therefore. The first shown entries are quite boring AMOS or Blitzbasic demos by Specter and Apathy (both "coded" by Punisher) but then the heavy stuff takes place on the screen. It is so amazing to see Creative Minds, Scenic, Encore, Mawi, RNO and even IRIS with "Plan B" beating the big TBL in all scenish aspects. Of course they had nice textures again, but all the other groups had real demos with Amiga spirit, but also using new technologies like PPC. You see, I do not like the TBL movie that much... What impressed me a lot more, where the great graphic firework named "Kheshkhash" by Scenic feat. Encore and my own group Scarab with the unfinished demo which' sense I discovered not before seeing it on the big screen and which makes me shiver. (You better read the "Demospotting Mekka Special" in this JP issue for detailed reviews!) Just one sentence: It is a great experience!

But it is only until the middle of Mawi's first demo entry... Because suddenly the bigscreen gets black and after waiting for some minutes, Steeler informs us that their demo has made the Amiga - that is showing all demos - burning. Yes, you read it right! Mawi's PPC powered demo made the computer burning!!! This caused heavy troubles as the organising staff decides to skip all the other contributions. So only 10 demos were shown (tham exiut.l..)!!! Guess Mawi has some more enemies now! :-(

"I am going to deliver my socks to Gorleben!" (Doc Mike/Moods)

Meanwhile I met Ramses, the sysop of "Uphold the Law" with his yellow beard and hair taping the Amiga demos on video. We have a nice chat about this and that but then the PC demo compo starts and we decide to continue at a later point. After 25 entries the organizers make a little break and as most of us are tired, we fill out the votesheets, deliver them to the information desk and walk to the car to get all neccessary stuff. I get myself some additional drink support in kind of water and juice as I still have not released the ascii-colly. While I am working on it, nearly everybody I know goes for sleeping. Just Stingray, nDK, R.A.Y. and Dispwitch are still awake.

And now even I am awake enouh for the other 25 PC demo compo entries after finishing the 1oo% colly. And I must confess, that this years PC demo compo is great. Not as boring as the year before. There are a lot of pearls inside with great design, funny gimicks and good ideas. And while I see Doc Mike falling on his keyboard to sleep, I watch some real hammer demos like the one named "The Hit RT". Also the "Demo in love" thinking about the romatic topic and life in general is quite nice, especially its original deadline: 14.2. The one by Haujobb was okay, but looked more like their demo from TP01, recycled but the music by Radix was cool though! "Easter Egg" by Orion combined 3d in best way with cortoon, mangalike style and a funny story.

At 4 o'clock on monday, the compo is still running but sadly I already gave away my votesheet. Why sadly? Because now they show a demo called "Fruit" by Goyave and this one is more than really great as it does not only try to collect votes by showing a boingball between the usual pc-effects, but it really is an Amiga demo on PC!!! Oldskoolish starting from a WB1.3 and inside can be seen vectors, scrollers, coppers, dods and everything like on Amiga in the old times! It is a real megademo: long and full of different effects. And it is never uninteressting. Just great! Luckily the 50th demo has been shown and being in need for a toilette, I am leaving the hall right afterwards, meeting Azzaro/Mawi who has to clean the floor of the entrance. Do not want to know what he has done there before...

Coming back, they are showing the missing Amiga demo entries, three on stock! Errorcats vs. Madbearzards demo (which crashed the system and burned the computer the evening before) has a nice ending but is not so special besides the tune (a cover) by Flapjack. Then followed Mad Wizard's second entry: psychedelic sounds by Dave, Kierownik's great code and as usual design by Azzaro, but nice at all including a flight around the Twin Towers, undestroyed. Besides every shit poles do on western parties (of course I am sure they do so too on their own ones) and concerning their language behaviour (this was a really bad point for their partly brilliant wild demos), this demo makes everything fine again!

Than it becomes quite calm inside while outside the birds already start to sing and the sky gets lighter. I have some friendly talks with some beautiful italian girls and a lot of funny discussions with R.A.Y./Scarab after I copied him D.I.S.C #13 and we both read some articles as talking gets too much for our minds from time to time. Guess we could need a cup of sleep, eh?!

Later I meet Acryl by brushing my teeths in the toilet. We are flirting a bit, he not knowing who I am and me praying he would not win again the gfx compo, and he tells me that he took this handle once because he thought it were the name of a nylon stocking firm read from the end to the beginning. Well, he won and I still stay unknown at the end. While there comes life back in the hall, a friendly Mac scener helps me with tagging the wals by paper adds for DISKMAG.DE. He does not know Scenet.de or the mentioned sideproject by Ghandy and me. Now he does, hopefully! Loosing slightly the control above my motorious functions, I decide to take at least two hours of sleep or more if I can get...

"We must destroy all internet ads!" (quote from a queeel wild compo entry)

"We unrule!" is the first thing I see, a logo on some t-shirts walking around the hall, when I stand up nearly 3 hours later. I turn on my Amiga again by saying "Good Morning" to all the others in my row already awake since a few minutes. Impatiently all of us are waiting for the prizegiving and the closing ceremony. Sadly Kufa has to leave us before, as his train takes off quite early. He will have a long journey back to France. But before he leaves he gives away very good french white wine and although I am no wine lover, this one tastes extreme good! Gonna have to drink this again when I visit him this summer. Nearly an hour later or so the closing ceremony and the prizegiving starts, where Steeler detects a quake lamer, but shows grace by not killing him with "Fat Agnus" although the scene mob screamed for it. The rest is pretty standard (do not understand why Haujobb got ranked so high in the wild compo with their entry that had neigher anything to do with the scene nor was produced for Mekka) but a nice fading out as I guess less of us are still able to accept or even make something bigger now.

At last I need to point out that the Mekka organizing was better than ever: It sucked totally. Damned unreal preselections in nearly all categories, bad decisions like putting graphic and music compos of all platforms except C64 into one, loosing for example all the Moods entry CDs first but adding them to the non-shown entries a day later.

"You got a really good designer!" Anja, my girl after I showed her proudly my new and own Scarab t-shirt!

I am home... It is good to be here and have a bed and good healthy food, but though I already miss the warmth atmosphere, the fast food, the cigarette smells, the drunken poles and all of you guys I met there at Mekka & Symposium 2002. It is lonely to be alone infront of your Amiga without you after such a party! With an iron lung and blackouts in my head am sitting on my balcony telling my girl everything I remember about the last days. Will need some days therefor.

At the end this party report could be a bit too long, a bit confusing and not perfect at all containing senseless grammar mistakes and strange described events (I had too many dejavus there this year, maybe too less sleep, maybe some weird X-Files happening...) but as it is nearly 1oo% live written, I hope you will forgive me.

Sadly I also forgot to mention the funny C64 demo showing Gina Wild - the german porn start - at home and the ugly humor of the coders of the 32k game "Presswurst". But anyway, you better attend at next year's Mekka yourself instead of expecting me to keep everything in mind for you! :-)