Still Crazy After All Those Years
remembered by Ghandy/JP Team
An Attempt To Describe The Story Of Jurassic Pack - From The Early Roots In The Year 1995 Until Today!
At the moment I`m listening to a song which was sung by the vocal duo "Simon & Garfunkel". Their album "The Concert In Central Park" was recorded live in 1981 and my cousin gave it to me when I celebrated my own confirmation. This happening seriously also took place around twenty years ago. Wow, time passes so quickly! Honestly spoken I`m myself now thirtysix years old and sadly my cousin died some months ago. Probably his lifetime even passed too quick for him.
The song that I mean "Still Crazy After All Those Years", tells a story about a man and a woman who were a couple of lovers quite a while ago. They met again accidentally and began to speak about their common past and how it all is today. After chatting around a bit, they were pretty sure that they were still the same crazy people after all those years. When I heard it I remembered about my own past and were also suddenly sure about my lunatic character. What did change in between this period of time? What did change in my life, how can I describe the changes inside the scene? In the late summer of 1995 the story of our prodigy "Jurassic Pack" began. Enduring readers might have followed Zerox` article in D.I.S.C#12 about that topic. If you did so, you know that the story of the pure packpart started much more early, but I can only tell you about the history of the mag itself as I have missed the rest.
In one of those hot summerdays of `95, in August to be more precise, Chris/Gods, our dear leader went to the Gasp party in the southern part of France and took something with him that was later remembered as the starting point of JP. The norwegian swapper and editor Pal-Inge Johansen finally received what he was hot for a long, long time. It was the final version of the magpart of his already released pack. Morten "Zytrox" Brudvik used exactly the same sourcecode for this production as it was the old mag-engine of D.I.S.C. Henning "Bridgeclaw" Ludvigsen just painted the new panels and some fantastic cliparts.
But what I still admire most is how he has designed the panels with the animated buttons. But anyway: Sixpack had what he wanted but then he also had what he did not want in front of him - his military service! Pal-Inge perfectly knew that he wasn`t able to fullfil his task as main editor for one single issue. So instead he prepared a pre-issue for the Gasp and elected me as his successor. Naturally I felt really honoured to be elected, my motivation to join Gods wasn`t to become a maineditor on my own. It was because Zerox was my real pattern, he united all attributes that I did like when it came to the tribe of editors. Zerox himself was always friendly and also his writings had a real friendly tone, his articles were and are quite informative. After reading what he prepared for us, you can call yourself well informed. Isn`t that what we want when we start a mag? Yes, it is! I was pretty sick of all those wannabe hyperelite editors only abusing their position in order to publish their opinions and flames. Frode "Zerox" Hansen is different, he has what a journalist in real life needs that wants to call himself good.
Hiding In The Bushes
Jurassic Pack was until issue seven always an undercover magazine, we wrote for a subdivision of the Amiga demosceners. Speaking of number eight and all following ones: Well, as you all know there are sadly not many rivals left anymore. If you`re maintaining one of the few mags that come out, you cannot hide in the underground.
One motto that we gave us was not to try to follow any trends, not to copy what others did before us. My desire was always to give newcomers a chance that never would have had one in one of those "normal" mags. Sixpack and me attempted to let JP looking different for the beholders eye. We published something that was called a pack but due to the missing support of various coders, like for example Moon/Abyss, that packpart never saw the lights of the day. And at the same period of time more and more Gods members did loose their interest into the Amiga scene and began to work with wIntel machines instead. One sweet day I told myself "Fuck about that packpart - JP is a combination, a hybrid form, something that nobody saw before - so why should we go on trying to get that packpart as it wasn`t needed afterall!". And maybe that`s the reason why people did like our production so much. It was a nice thing to read if you disregard all those spelling and grammar mistakes inside, but it never reached the position or quality of one of those top prods. But okay, we both never tried to do so.
In JP you could as already said read articles of people that you have never heard of before and probably also never afterwards. The reason is simple to describe. As I was a quite active swapper I had contacts to everywhere in Europe and after the start of our dinosaur, people began to help me by supporting it. Mostly those who saw a realistic chance to get their stuff being published as I was recognized as a friendly person not making differences between known people and real beginners.
But Back To Our History...
After the Gasp party for a long time nothing happened. Nothing except that I had begun to gather texts, adverts, messages and votes for the first real issue. The big problem that was making it impossible to release it, was the fact that the rotten source didn`t want to work on my machine. As a mailtrader I had no clue about the usage of an assembler and if you demand from a swapper to think logical, then you demand a lot! No joke!
So Zerox, Sixpack and me fixed a meeting at THE PARTY 5 in order to teach me into the secrets how to work with the source code, especially with the userpart of our baby. Hours after hours passed until I began to understand what inside the userpart of Zytrox` source had to be done. For my return from TP5 I prepared a disk with a running source and was quite excited. Unluckily this source again didn`t want to work on my Amiga 1200. A small mistake it must have been, a wrong or missing path where the Asmone tried to locate some includes etc., but for a noncoder I was unable to find the true reason for this desaster. Again I was near to drop everything until I phoned with Maik Nieke and exposed him my troubles. Exon/Riot^Jormas, he should be better known under that name, is not a topcoder but he knew how to fix troubles and was friendly enough to explain me again various details. He has inserted some german comments instead of those norwegian ones that I didn`t understood and last but not least - he made the thing running. Yeah!! So finally I had the chance to begin on working on JP, all my sendings to my swapping contacts were already delayed as I wanted to spread this issue as good as possible. Hey Maik aka Exon, I must again say "Thanks a lot for your helping hands during all the years, without you not a single issue would have hit the streets!!"
As you maybe know JP never received the real acceptance among the other scene related editors. They weren`t happy about the average quality of the articles and if I`m honest, I wasn`t either. My own writing skills were quite limited at that time, Sixpack was better when it came to his knowledge of the english language but he also didn`t have much experience in writing articles. The one and only hammer editor inside our team was Zerox. And Frode never got sick of bombing us down with high quality works. He could have followed his own paths and could have joined any other good editor teams but instead of that, he decided to help us how less our product was loved by others or not. It seemed to me that he simply didn`t care, we were his friends and that alone was important for him.
Normally I don`t like flames but JP became a place where flames were shot on many of those super cool people. During all the time we had the courage to speak open against people like Steffen, better known as Speedy, Rokdazone, later against Astro, I-Go and Supernao/TBL. We slagged off Magic or for example Mop. JP was not like the mainstream, we didn`t skip anybody that was going on our nerves. What made me most upset was their arrogance, that quite often made me fighting against other scene heros. In private dcc chats or e-mails other people have spend us a lot of applause for that but they didn`t do it in a public way. The only person we found peace with was surprisingly Rokdazone. Zerox was for a long, long time kinda busy attacking him but because of all those troubles between the Generation and JP staff, Henning "Rokdazone" Brau and me became what one could call close friends. In autumn 2000 I visited him in Berlin, we had a nice time and please don`t expect that we were only speaking about scene related things!
I really don`t know how and why exactly but it suddenly happened that Adrian "Fishwave" Jaglarz began to like our baby. Seenpoint was aggressive from the beginning to the end, JP`s ground tendency was totally friendly, only certain people were pushed into our spotlights to show the rest of the scene how stupid they really were. But also others came and gave me what they found useful to read like Sane, Wade, Dire, Darkus, Puh, Lord Helmet, Soda, Dreyer, Rokdazone, Lord and all those I have forgotten. Yes, normally they prefered to write for their own projects but otherwise it became a sort of tradition for some real good writers to be present inside JP. We had both, the professionals and the starters. All in the same boat, all to read in the same mag. That gave the readers a special feeling. Or at least it made it special for me.
What made this pack really powerful was the fact that I was really active as a swapper and modemtrader. Swappers know pretty much about the actual ongoings, that enabled me to tell the audience new, interesting facts and stories. For example in issue three we had more than 1.000 messages for the Global Trash area. We offered more than 300 adverts sorted by the name of the person and 150 votes for our JP-charts. For an underground production that was quite a lot! But on the other side, gathering all those stuff was quite easy. I had nothing else to do than to keep on swapping and waiting until people have send me more and more things for JP. And we should take notice of the fact that the scene in the middle ninties was really different from today. We`re by now happy to receive around fifty or maybe one hundred messages for Global Trash and not one thousand!!
One thing that was really important for me was the selection of the module. Until issue seven we were limited by the fact that the old source did only allow one single module to play. And as Zytrox had left the scene before I could ask him for improvements, the problem remained the same until Kernal/Faith was so cool to invest a horrible amount of time and energy in order to upgrade the source. But on the other side we had to make a real hard selection. Only a fantastic tune had the chance to be used, only the best, nothing else. People knew that they could expect another musical masterpiece when they were executing a new edition of our dinosaur. The module that I like most until the present day is "Jurassic Morning" from Coma/ex-Three Little Elks for JP#4! That tune is simply awesome! I`ll never understand why Coma suddenly dropped tracking only to collect modules of other musicians. "Jurassic Morning" is lasting quite long, it begins with birds chirping and has all a good magtune should offer! But surely I would also like to mention people like The Loop/ex-Artwork^Gods, Okeanos/ex-Syndrome, Boo/Talent, Caramel/ex-Gods and Sticky/Inferiors, Michael/Anathema, Evrimsson/Nuance, Raytrayza/Kolor, Psycho/Appendix^ex-Endzeit, Virgill/Haujobb and many, many others.
The Weak Points
The weakest point of JP were the depressions that I was suffering from. Through many years I was sure that it didn`t make any sense to continue with my production. I was sure my own articles would suck and all the approval that I received from others for the feedback section didn`t play any important role for me. Also I was thinking that the scene was a sinking ship and asked myself really often if it did make sense to continue investigating so much time and energy into this project. You can see this as the reason why we announced so often that THIS issue would be the last one. And then, months if not years later, somebody else was successful to motivate me to do at least one more edition.
CN. - Got The Point?
Writing for Seenpoint didn`t make me happy as I felt myself lost and lonesome there. Will anyobdy recognize my few articles and interviews there as Fishy wrote hundreds of textfiles himself? I thought not. Today I know that 80% of those articles were fillers and mostly uninteresting for the majority of the readers. Adrian himself was only able to write a few good things, the rest can be skipped. He had the same problem like me and like any other editor out there. But he successfully tried to cover it with his fillers.
Also, it was fucking hard to write in the standard that Wade, Sane and Fishy have set. They all were much younger than me and their education in the school ended only some months or years before they started to write for mags. I saw myself lost in space and Fishwave only took for Seenpoint what he wanted, the rest was allowed to be used anywhere else. Today I would disagree with this management, today I would say: "Take all things I give you or take nothing! You have the choice!!!" But having depressions makes you feel despondent, so I have choosen the easier way, gave my goodies to Fishwave and the rest to Showtime, which made me feel even more depressed as this wasn`t the way I wanted to go. Otherwise Adrian didn`t know about my feelings as I wasn`t free enough to tell him them. Of course my behavior didn`t make it easier for anybody to see or solve the problems, especially not for me. What made me also upset was that I wasn`t allowed to join Scoopex. They were happy to get my support but otherwise they were not clever enough to let me join. Sane joined, Wade was allowed as far as I can recall, Soda also, Syntax, the coder of CN. did, Fishy of course but me not. For my eyes that was more than unfair as I had supported this diskmag through all the years. And if not with articles then with making PR, spreading it etc. But typical for me, instead of letting them all know how ANGRY I was, I left the Seenpoint-staff.
ST - Only Time Shows!
Writing for Showtime didn`t make me happy either as the whole project was always realised in such a rush. Kaosmaster`s stuff was full of errors and he didn`t even care. He invented words that were a combination between italian and english words. I often doubted about his writing style. But my critics didn`t matter, he wanted to get out Showtime (Scenetime) as often as possible. To play the spelling checker on the other side caused many personal troubles between us. So also inside the ST-staff I saw no way out for my misery.
GEN - A Passed Generation?
To support Generation was a nice thing to do as this mag had the acceptance among the sceners that JP has always missed to get. But their staff of editors was already filled by skilled people, it would have been hard to compete with them! I don`t know if that`s true but at that time I was pretty sure about that. And then, Generation faded away with Rokie`s fading interest into the scene.
Oepir Risti - The Brilliancy!
My alltime favourite! I always admired Puh for his articles, they sounded so fresh, they never made people thinking that they have read something like that before. Puh HAD the courage that I was lacking of, his mag was an underground mag and he thought "Maybe people like it, maybe not. However, I`ll do what I like to!" Sadly it never happened that I wrote for him, you can guess yourself why!
JP - Dinosaurs Are Forever!
With Zytrox` outdated sourcecode in my hands I didn`t see any realistic chance to make a decent mag on my own. Well, you know that people like Modem, Wade or Zito saw it all in a totally different way. But if you are depressed you cannot find the motivation to work harder, to keep on track. And to give up was surely easier than to keep on fighting for my target.
Did you know how Zito has managed to convince me to reanimate JP? I`m sure he didn`t tell you the true story behind that happening!! At the end of my first visit in Leipzig (many more followed!) Marc and me stood beside the track in Leipzig`s main railway station. The train, which should bring me back to Duesseldorf, stood in front of us. Just a few minutes were left for him to hear from me what he desired. Time was running short! He looked me in the eyes. "Come on, let us continue with JP. The old source is still good enough to be used again!", he said. "No, no and once again NO!", I replied knowing that we had done this already seven times before. You cannot offer people the same food again and again, I thought. He laid his hand on my shoulder and looked me in the eyes. Oh no, not this furtive glance of a wounded dog. He`s really using all tricks he has on stock, I thought to myself!! If I now say yes, will he then stop to go on my nerves and lemme go? I was unsure. "Come on!", he said with a grien on his face knowing that he already had won.
Now I`m happy that he convinced me. Thanks to Mr.Tickle, JP offers nowadays one of the best mag-engines and came out quite often during the past nine months! Not everybody loves our articles or our style. Not really everybody is happy with the fact that I`m now again concentrating on my baby instead of another specific mag. Well, it is as it is and it`s good the way it happens. Zito and me complete each others in a perfect way! He has the time and energy to push the project forwards and I the knowledge and age about some nasty details concerning something others call diplomacy. You can not throw knifes in all directions without injuring anybody! And the article manufactury Gone is making the team perfect. But I should not forget to mention the coffee- and cigarette-lover Stingray. He was often a source of inspiration for me. And so we`re not three, not four, we are now a JP Team consisting of many, many more people who want and will help us, the old staff, in the future.
Okay, time to come to an end. I cannot critisize Mop for his boring and long lasting articles telling again and again the same facts, and then doing the same mistake. ;-)) At the end here`s an overview about the "coming outs" of our child. If Marc Oberst aka Zito would not have been so stubborn and endurand as he is, the story would have definatly been over after no. 7!
Now I listen to Vangelis` "Love Theme" out of the movie "Blade Runner" and I really feel good. Let`s smoke one final cigarette and reflect upon all those glorious years that have passed us!!