Alt Party Inc - The sixth and corporately reloaded edition...
Before we get started, there's no realtime article. Nothing scribbled down
in the heat of the moment on hand towels, and nothing tapped into some
ancient computer that we carried with us through the sceptical customs of
various European nations. Instead, feeling a bit lower profile than usual, I
opted for the revolutionary method of relying entirely on my memory to
recall events from the party and afterwards.
Now if I had known in advance how much of my brain function at Alt Inc was
going to be impaired by lack of sleep and alcohol, I think I may have made a
bit of room in my baggage for some papyrus scrolls after all...
Friday morning or is it still Thursday night?
Due to an unfeasibly early start, we don't bother going to bed at all.
Felice promises a 02.00hrs arrival time at my door, and manages to keep this
unholy appointment. The reason for this nocturnal keenness is due to an
earlier than usual departure from Birmingham airport at around 06.00. The
car journey passes without traffic or incident, and we arrive at the off-
site airport car parking in plenty of time. There is a sizeable period of
sitting around in the cold, whilst another family try to load on assorted
pedal cycles and ski-ing stuff, which they are taking on their flight with
Ourselves and the driver of the airport bus express some doubt as to whether
this lot will survive to the other end of their journey, without being
completely flattened by the caring hands of the airport baggage handlers. We
are not planning to be nearly so active, at least not before we remeet with
Q-Funk after the party ;-)
Birmingham airport at 05.00hrs is very much closed, but we manage to find a
barely open eaterie and score some much needed caffeine. The remaining time
to departure drips away slowly, and more and more people start to fill up
the waiting area. Then our flight is called.
We are going across, courtesy of KLM Royal Dutch airlines, in the complete
absence of any cheap and direct operators going to Helsinki. This keeps the
cost reasonable, but it does extend the journey time to include a whole
other airport. So off we go...
We manage to get friendly with the attractive stewardess on this first
flight in the pre-take-off minutes, a feat which we repeat on the way back.
In neither case were phone numbers exchanged though, (grrr..)
The huge and glossy Schiphol Amsterdam airport, manages to make Birmingham
look small and cottagy in comparison. It is full of smart shops, and even
smarter people browsing in them, and then there we are, to bring the tone of
the place right down.. Some more time is killed, then it is time to proceed
to the second instalment of our Alt Inc bleary eye special trip.
This is in a slightly bigger plane, than the little Fokker 100 that brought
us here, and pretty soon, we are all crammed in, many people trying to make
up for lack of sleep, shifting uncomfortably in their cattle-class
accomodations. I join in, wanting desperately to fit in to this new peer-
group. The rest of the journey passes in a blur of semi-consciousness. This
is a theme which I will be returning to in this party report, quite
The first signs of a problem in an otherwise smooth journey, manifest
themselves at the baggage carousel in Vantaa Airport. A large group of
people are waiting for luggage which never arrives. This group includes us.
Eventually it dawns on people that there seems to have been a rather large
system glitch at Schiphol, and the only thing left to do is to register our
losses at the airport services desk.
Time drags by, and we eventually take our place at the counter of woe. After
supplying the helpful person with *hopefully* accurate descriptions of our
baggage, and with a *hopefully* not too mangled pronunciation of the address
for Gloria, the party venue, we leave, about a couple of hours later than
The first order of business is to get to downtown Helsinki, to meet up with
the never too far away Q-Funk. We have opted for the comfort of the upstairs
Pullman bar in the central railway station. Q-Funk and more caffeine arrive
promptly. We update on each other's movements, wait for Pahartik who doesn't
arrive, and head our separate ways, as Q-Funk not going to this year's
party. The walk to Gloria from the centre of town is made somewhat easier by
the lack of bags, especially compared to last year's arm-stretcher marathon.
Also missing, is the white powdery stuff cocai-erm no, Snow... We seem to
have hit Helsinki going through a mild spell, their definition of "mild"
being anything above freezing, so very little of the white stuff was on the
ground this time. We will return to the theme of 'missing' things in due
We arrive at Gloria, Setok and the delicious Marycloud in attendance at the
infodesk. The organisers are all dressed for the 'Alt Inc' theme, including
some people (hi Lobotomy!) who perhaps should stay away from business suits
;-) Pleasantries, baggage tales, and money are soon exchanged, and we take
our places upstairs. By happy chance, Pahartik and Ian Smith have managed to
take up our usual places on the left hand side of the upper gallery. It is
not too hard to join in with them. Felice's laptop did survive the luggage
losing debacle, and he attempts to set up on the wireless network with
Ian Smith seems to own several Falcon's of different spec, up to and
including a Centurbo CT2. I remember playing with a Nemesised and recased
machine that he had, at the Jagfest last summer. He is regretting not
getting a CT60 though. So I point out that there may be a third batch to be
made, and he should get in touch with Rodolphe, asap...
There is not too much going on yet, something is being set up on stage,
ready for the Friday night live music section. Nearby, another UK'er who is
becoming well known to us, Twilighte, is doing his thing with a very small
and petite laptop, designed for very small and ladylike laps quite possibly?
The centre gallery has the organisers area, with some people doing things to
a video camera. Down below in the main hall, not very much seems to be
happening at all...
One of the things that I do, in this early evening period, is to check out
the 'business class' facilities. For an extra 15 euro's, you can now get
access to the organisers backstage area. A quick exploration reveals a new
set of rooms, including a kitchen area, shower, storage areas 'borrowed' for
organisers beds, and a useful bathroom/utility room. Apart from corridor
space, there isn't much extra space for sleeping, but there is a bit more
noise protection from the party racket. However with a total lack of
sleeping equipment, the floor space does not look at all appealing...
But it is the more pressing business of food which claims our attention
next. After a day consisting of airline mini-meals and KLM issue "Chicken
Shnacks", even a visit to the local Macdonalds seems like a fair idea. We
collect Ian Smith and go off to do the dreadful deed. Whilst consuming our
McReindeer with fries, we get talking to Wiztom who is in the seat next to
us. He neatly dodges past any questions about the Aggression 15th
anniversary demo for the STe, talking about the quality of the recent NoCrew
'Stocasto' intro instead. (He did reveal later that work was in progress for
their demo. A recent bug that was fixed in a fractal routine turned out to
be down to a compiler fault!)
After managing to pick up plentiful overnight snackfood supplies at the
corner shop, it is back to Gloria. The party proper has kicked off, and
there are more people around than the rather quiet setting that we saw
previously. Friday night is the traditional time for various live acts of
variable quality, and we note with some trepidation, that the first of these
is setting up on the stage area.
It seems at first that the usual pattern of a bunch of guys noodling around
aimlessly with a load of gear on stage is going to happen on schedule. But
suddenly, and without warning, something very much like a tune bursts out of
the speakers! And this is not a momentary aberration either, as it seems to
keep on going that way... This lasts a fair while, and what follows proves
even more interesting. This is the 'David Hasselhoff Big Band', and whilst
the uneasy pre-gig tuning-up takes place, we are put in mind of such
"comedy" acts as Setok's own group 'Die Rebels'. Clearly something not very
good is going to take place?
We are happily proven wrong! Starting with their own "live" version of the
Knightrider theme tune, they go on with lots of lovely parodies. A large
part of the action also takes place on a big screen to the side of the
screen. For example, an old style demo 'greets' scroller plays on screen,
whilst the band do a 'live' version of a protracker style tune. The scroller
keeps telling Nosfe to shave his beard. There is also a live performance of
the "Popular demo" music, a landmark PeeCee demo, with the demo itself being
Not surprisingly, this act goes down very well, and they finish off miming
to a really cheesy electro-pop eighties parody "Electronic, supersonic"
(climb aboard my love rocket!) So this is one of the big surprises of this
sixth party, a good live act on stage shocker!
And so we turn to the question of missing people and missing stuff. There
was quite a bit from previous Alt parties, that didn't make it here this
time. We've already mentioned Q-Funk. He didn't feel like taking part this
time. Other regular attendees were missing. There wasn't really any Atarian
presence this time, as both Baggio and NerVe were absent. There wasn't even
much in the way of Aggression attendence, as the only one I saw much of, was
Wiztom, and he tended to hide away in one of the side galleries. On the plus
side, we did get the return of Pahartik, missing from last year, and the
continued presence of Ian Smith and Twilighte, to name but two.
The computer inventory for Alt Inc confirmed the depressing downward trend
for the retro machines. There was one group at the back of the hall, who
made a determined effort with various MSX and Commodore machines, and a huge
chunk of some old mini-computer dragged into the hall. They even had their
own projector screen to play games on at the back as well. The usual
suspects, such as the souped up 16-bit C64, and the Vectrex were there too,
but not doing a great deal. Apart from that, there was a preponderance of
laptops again, people getting to hate carrying lots of stuff around perhaps?
Interestingly, among the usual Wintel ware, there was a large crop of Apple
PowerBooks, especially at the organisers desk. Even Pahartik had invested in
one, although he swiftly got rid of anything Apple related on it, and turned
it into a Linux machine.
Saturday? It 'aint stopped being Thursday yet!
We get ready to face up to the long long night without sleeping equipment.
To the side, the Deejay on the FPU stage fills in where the live acts leave
off. For a while we've been getting a medley of C64 hits and remixes, but as
the hour wears on for rather late, this changes to a selection of very heavy
metal. At some stage, Ian Smith leaves us to stay with his uncle, and we
adjourn to the only really confortable spot in Gloria, a sofa by the
After a while of non-sleep, I head off and spend some time with Twilighte,
who is attempting to show a drunk young person around some of his emulator
highlights. Twilighte often opening his demonstration of a classic ZX
Spectrum game with the phrase "Now this was before you were born..." We got
into a discussion over different soundchips for old computers and sound
replay techniques. I'm pretty sure that an Oric chiptracker got in there
somehow. Our aimiable drunk, attempted to sober up, but ended up under the
influence of way too many cups of coffee instead. After spilling the last of
these dangerously close to Twilighte's laptop, he headed off to try to
sleep, but kept on coming back as a coffee-animated twitching zombie...
Considering that I have spent nearly 48 hours awake, I'm in surprisingly
good shape (48 hrs Thursday morning ----> Saturday morning!) But I think
that some time attempting to get some sort of sleep might be a good thing.
Around 5.30am, I wander back to the infodesk sofa, and Felice has taken this
over completely and is sensibly asleep. I end up at the quietened and dark
FPU stage area, now thankfully DJ-less. This has some very slightly padded
benches at each side and I settle on one of those.
Sleep, a little bit, The FPU stage benches are far from ideal, or wide, or
comfortable, and I wake up an hour or so later with the feeling that I might
damage something if I stay on there too much longer? Going back to the
infodesk sofa, and Felice has vacated it, so I take up residence for a
while. This is a far better idea so I stay longer.
Unusually, the main hall never really got too noisy that night. A good
question to ask would be "Where were the drunks?" Apart from the odd
isolated incident at the Saturday night competition viewings, there was no
noisy mob-rule of the party place at night, which was something of a relief
We stagger into something like morning. I switch on my phone at around 08.30
to find out that someone has attempted to contact me at around 06.30. The
number matches that given to us by the airport lost property department. At
around 09.00 I ring it, and find out that the baggage related news is
entirely good. It has been found, and after getting MSK to confirm the
address, it is to be delivered here a bit later on.
The gear turns up in the early afternoon, sneaked in whilst I was browsing
the webbyness on one of the Sun terminals. KLM are well used to this, as the
luggage comes with a slickly pre-printed apology label and small
compensation offer, I check the contents are all there, including the bottle
of after-party whisky smuggled into the Finnish state. Good, there are some
honest baggage handlers out there after all!
It is whilst contemplating the 'business class' corridor for a possible
sleeping place, that I get to meet one of the Americans.. There are two at
Alt Inc, and they both look like Michael Moore, albeit a version of Michael
Moore who spends all of his time sleeping rough at demo parties. I'm talking
to the American who is not known as "Sir Garbagetruck". He missed an earlier
flight, and my luggage tribulations seem to have confused them, as we have
the surname "Holland" in common. It's as if the man himself hasn't arrived
yet, but his luggage somehow got in ahead of him?! I soon clear up the
The big screen entertainment picks up a bit. I am watching some demos from
Finnish multiformat coders 'Fit'. They even did a demo at the 2nd Alt Party
for the Falcon. At the moment, I am watching a heavily evolved, but somehow
similar version of that F030 demo running on a Mac Powerbook. I get into a
conversation with someone, forgot who, and considered the possibility of
converting some of their Amiga '060 code for the CT60. I was left with the
information that their source code in general was highly portable, and
intended to run on as many different platforms as possible. Still, if anyone
is looking to get a quick and easy release or two for the CT60, there are
links to 'Fit' from the Dead Hackers links pages!
I'm pretty sure some more McFood got in the early afternoon at one point. I
think that the sleeplessness was starting to bite? It goes a bit hazy until
we're back in the upper gallery and watching a selection of Vic 20 demos.
This includes many of Viznut's legendary productions, such as the Robotic
Warrior, and the slightly later 'Robotic Liberation'. There are a whole load
more, including some convincing multi-parters. Yes, we now have bendy
rasters, full DHS-style tunnels, and Comanche-style voxel landscapes for the
base model Vic 20. There was even one demo which claimed to not run properly
in emulators, as it used new soundchip noisemaking techniques in making a
deeper sort of sound.
At some stage in the weekend, Friday or Saturday, I get to meet a devoted
fan of teh Dildo Fatwa way of demo making! This is Visy, who appreciated
last year's "Hilary Rozen" effort, and he is disappointed that there is
nothing for Alt Inc, but he has been moved to get his ST emulator in top
shape to run all the other stuff that has been done by this kewl crew!
In the early evening period, Felice, Pahartik, and I sally forth into the
outdoor Helsinki ambience, in a pre-arranged meet with Q-Funk. The aim is to
get some food, and a group decision is made to goto pizza.. This turns out
rather a good one, a Baggio family size and crisply cooked and all.
When we get back to Gloria, we collect the recently reappeared Ian Smith,
and goto the corner shop with him, mainly to stock up on liquids for the
long and thirsty night.
Indeed, it is the Saturday evening, the time of the big competitions. We've
already had, and missed a couple of the music related compo's, but all the
big audio-visual ones are still to come. There was also another "handicraft"
Alt style competition going on earlier, the plasticene modelling
competition, which produced its own share of slightly stranger than usual
We actually get back to our seats whilst the first of the presentation compo
entries is running. This is courtesy of 'Numedia Cyclops', and it strongly
suggests that the whole human race thing is poor quality and overdue a cull.
But still, as it says in the end credits, no actual fetuses were harmed
during the making of it! The presentation competition is a typically 'Alt'
twist on a normal corporate style Powerpoint presentation, where there isn't
any restriction on the type of material used. Another highlight is the Nosfe
created "Breakpoint '04 report". It can be best summed up by some bullet
points at the start:-
"Hangover that lasted two weeks.."
"Some damage to laptop.."
"No clear memory of what actually happened.."
"Best party ever!!"
The presentation was a photo-album with commentary from the man himself.
Most of the pictures recall the scenes from Breakpoint, with Nosfe and other
people in shopping trolleys who were all in a major state of inebriation.
A fearless team of hardware hackers managed to patch in a live video feed
from Nosfe's optic nerve. This is a still grab of a Nosfe-eye view of the
floor at Gloria.
There was also a pro-Commodore PeeCee breaking presentation, and more
ominously, the Alt Party Inc bankruptcy proceedings financial report. This
latter one was only partially joking! Party attendances were down to 120,
from over 200 people previously, and there was a shortfall in cash revenue,
with consequences which are still not clear for future versions of the Alt
Party? I will discuss this in more detail at the end of this report.
After a little break, we are into the second competition, the music videos
compo. Recollection of this tends to suffer from more greying out from me,
although there was a brilliant parody of the Louis Armstrong classic "It's a
wonderful world", which took a particularly Finnish alcoholic tramps-eye
view of the subject! Meanwhile, off to the side, the masturbatory style of
the FPU stage Deejay is competing heavily with the competition entries, and
threatens to overtake the main hall volume level at one point. Then someone
discovers how to shut the side door...
With some time to spare beforehand, I crash out briefly before the main demo
compo kicks off. After an hour away I return, but the start time, as always,
is heavily delayed. Returning to my seat, I manage to kick someone awake who
was sleeping in the floorspace where our feet would normally go. The someone
was female and attractive, and dressed attractively, but I didn't get her
name or phone number (curses!)
A rythmic rustling sound breaks through the pre-competition hall noise. For
a moment I wonder if Felice's laptop is starting to break up, but the cause
is far more amusing, Ian Smith, the man who managed to sleep properly last
night, and well into today, unlike the rest of us, has fallen asleep right
in the middle of the competitions! He manages to sleep through the whole
demo compo! What a wuss ;-)
It is Sunday..
In the pre-competition showing time lag, one person decides to fill the
entertainment gap by themself, as he gets up drunkenly on the stage, dances
around, then falls off the stage heavily, to ironic applause, which I led!
Maybe that was a bit hasty as they don't seem to be moving for a while, but
he eventually gets up, and is dragged clear. In a rare move by the
organisers, this person is subsequently evicted from the party.
Through the sleepless haze, the main demo compo did produce some highlights,
which I subsequently recall. The non-Wintel entries tend to stick most
strongly in my mind as is usually the case. A contemporary looking Dreamcast
demo "We Are going to KILJU" managed first place in the demo compo. There
was a Vic 20 buster, not by Viznut this time, but a group called Carillon.
There was even a mobile phone demo, 'Haiku', which although advertised as a
60-series, didn't seem to be that demanding of scarce resources.
Of the Wintel stuff, most memorable was a paen or parody of consumerism
called 'Buick', and a total pisstake, by demoscene pisstakers supreme,
'tAAt'. Their effort called "Lick and Feel" was intended to cater for the
Helen Keller demo appreciation society, that is, blind and/or deaf people,
by telling them to "taste" their monitors! There was another attempt at the
'Dynamic' category, which proved to be markedly better than last year's
There was one complete non-runner, which was the "Accession Fucktro", which
had something to do with the two large Americans that I described earlier in
After the main demo competition had finished, it was not too hard to
persuade myself to goto bed, as my tiny brain is completely wasted, and this
I did at around 02.30hrs.
Sleeping comes easily, and I get as far as 10.00hrs before I even start to
contemplate a slow waking up process. It is a logical step to get my stuff
packed away, ready for the eventual departure. Some food remnants and coffee
are the next order of the day.
In the first floor bar area, behind the gallery, there is a dude with a home
made musical instrument. It is keyboard based, but most of the keys have
been cut away to leave just a few. There are lots of switches and toggles, a
microphone, a drum sequencer, and a CD-player, which you can scratch-mix, as
if it were a vinyl disk. There is even some kind of soundchip thing in
there, so the combination of sounds you can get from it is practically
limitless. There is a demonstration going on, but this gets sort of chaotic,
as too many people try to join in with the multimixer session.
Felice and company are struggling awake by now, and we turn to the last
major set-piece before the prize ceremony. This is the textmode demo compo.
It is very similar to an identically named event shown at the last Alt
party. Very briefly, it is an attempt to create full-blown demo's just using
the DOS text mode. In practice, this is less Dildo Fatwa looking, and more
of a really chunky ansi-mode, which works quite well in a coarse 'retro'
fashion. A particular highlight was the re-creation of a French-style
oldschool "design" demo, in the fashion of productions made by Equinoxe,
Dune, Sector One, and others.
The prize ceremony is at least an hour overdue. This is standard practice
Here they are, the results, most of this will be meaningless to non-party
attenders, or non-Finnish people in general, but it is included here for
The Alternative Party Inc
14th-16th January 2005 - Gloria Helsinki Finland
Party archive @ ftp.scene.org
1) Kirahvi Karahvi / Giraffe Garaffe by MegaMies 72
2) Miekka, lohikäärme ja tissit by Sivu/Byterapers 50
3) Afterparty by Ansichrist/ACiD 49
4) Voix nää palauttaa? 48
by Phobos (Ferrara, Geno, Devoirs, Caica)
5) Lennu by Kraku/AEM&(B) 46
6) Olo by DDT/Accession 35
7) Pussy Cat by Tazze 34
8) The Goddess Returns etc... by Anna-Stiina 30
9) Time Machine by Setok/Sleber Eid 22
10) Virahki by DiamonDie/Numedia Cyclops 17
11) Tyyppi & lintu by TM 12
12) Nori Nori Nori by Moyh 10
13) Prebasker by Lumiufo 8
14) Lounas by Teuvo Tursas/RRR 7
1) Toilet by Leia 122
2) 160 columns // alternative binary. by 120
3) Asciiscene Get All Chicks 56
by aBHO & DMG/tWiStED & tRUEsCHOOl
4) AltAnarchy by Nosfe/FLO 47
5) Futuristic by Jalava/Static 33
6) Alt Party Button by Tonic/Armada 25
7) Packman by Sbanc 21
8) Alt Paryt Logo by Msk/Fishpool 17
9) Digging It by DiamonDie/Numedia Cyclops 15
10) Alt6 Logo by Visy/wAMMA 5
Telephone Queue Music Competition
1) Casio Funk 2005 by David Hasselhoff Big Band 76
2) Barberchip by Shingebis 67
3) Fuck You I Won't Do What You Tell Me by Nosfe/FLO 58
4) Hot Wait in Middle Asia by Pinza/Unique & Spöntz 57
4) Ajankohtainen jonotus 57
by Bass Cadet/DHBB, ex-Embassy, ex-Phase^D
4) Det kostar ingenting att köa 57
by Little Bitchard/MFX^KWL
7) Going For the Movies by Dominei/INF & Melwyn/Haujobb 50
8) Jarre on a Bad Day by Synteesi/MFX 31
9) Huono biisi by Sauli/Jumalauta 29
10) Ootas viälä hetki by 333elite/ISO 22
11) Telequeueannoyance by tArzAn/tAAt 21
12) When Joe Turned 40 by Diper/proMille deZign 18
1) Breakpoint 2004 Partyreport by Nosfe/FLO 124
2) Bankruptcy Proceedings 83
by Chief Financial Office/Alt Party Inc
2) Human Error by Numedia Cyclops 83
4) iso.ppt by Astu/F 75
5) Yleissivistyssilta - All-Round Education Bridge 65
by tAAt 2005
6) noname.presentation 47
7) Alt Presentation by Pihti/PihtiSoft 22
Music Video Competition
1) Tanssi by Grey Park 100
2) CONFIG.SYS by pL!RYHMÄ 77
3) Kaipaan by Kooma 69
4) Surrender Your Doubts by Poemé 60
5) Asdf by El-bee & MF! 40
6) Wonderful World by 333elite/ISO 37
7) Välipikseli by Mikko Tuomela 31
8) Global Identity by Tripper/Moods/LQS 22
9) Unununium by Numedia Cyclops 17
10) Cycle of Days and Seasons by MRHC 13
I'm too Wasted to Think of a Name by FAG
(reason: not a music video)
Dynamic Demo Competition
1) Brokk1500 by MFX (Windows) 195
2) Dynamicro by Ananasmurska (Windows) 159
3) K by Kooma (Windows) 114
Alternative Demo Competition
1) We Are Going to KILJU by Jumalauta (Dreamcast) 92
2) Lick and Feel by tAAt 2005 (Windows) 67
3) Buick by Jumalauta (Windows) 65
4) LOEYLY by Barfly/Extend (C64) 61
5) Volatile Minds by Static (Windows) 45
6) Quadric Ejakulation (Windows) 43
7) Brokk 1500 by MFX (Windows) 33
8) True Love by MFX&KWL (Windows) 26
8) Dynamicro by Ananasmurska (Windows) 26
10) Around the World in 3.5K by Carillon (Vic-20) 25
10) K by Kooma (Windows) 25
12) A Haiku Demo by Kameli (Series 60) 21
13) Hox by Jugi/Komplex 19
14) Accession Fucktro 2005 by Accession (Linux) 13
Most Obscure Computer Competition
1) phObos team (Digital AlphaServer & others)
As always, the end is quick, not so much of a closing down, but more of a
rapid dissolving effect, as if hot water had been added? In another Alt
tradition, we meet someone new whom we've managed to avoid right until the
end. The lucky winner this year is a fellow UK person known as "Gasman" in
his part of the scene. He is gainfully employed as a soundchip composer on
the ZX Spectrum (128). With his longer then usual hair, he looks remarkably
Finnish in this light, so not surprising we didn't spot him until now!
Pahartik is making his own way home, but he manages to produce a taxi for us
in record time. This vehicle is to take us back to the residence of the Q-
To briefly update on the status of Q-Funk. He has managed to overcome his
Finnish residency hassles by marrying someone. And no, it wasn't a scam. We
are going back to the current residence, which was that of his wife. After
we get back, not too much happens that evening, apart from a trip out for
some very overdue food. We wind up at a shopping mall a couple of miles
distant, (by bus, in case you were wondering about possible damage to shoe
leather) There is a good choice of food, and we eat at a Mexican themed
restaurant, with Russian menus.. After that, not much else to report for the
Sunday evening, and we are in our inflatable beds by 23.30..
Monday, is a long time coming..
As befits another Alt party tradition, the morning after the party is
entirely taken up with the serious business of sleeping. Even Q-Funk, who
hasn't been to the party, and not suffered from the out-of-body levels of
tiredness, does not get up bright and early. It is well into the afternoon
before we are all fully functioning again. The really important stuff for
Monday comes later, in the form of the afterparty. Again, Q-Funk is giving
this a miss, but Felice and I will be going along for more sauna-based
We drag our still largely tired arses to town, having carefully memorised
how to get back to Q-Funks place in the early hours of Tuesday morning. I'm
hoping that Felice will be more sober and better able to remember stuff like
that than I will. Whilst we are in town, we decide to take care of the
important topic of food. Out of all the different places in Helsinki city
centre, we chance upon a newly opened Italian restaurant, that has only been
around for a matter of weeks.
We linger for a number of courses, at a nearby table, some filming of a
promotional feature involving some unfeasibly skinny actress/models takes
place. We're not at all suspicious or worried about their enjoyment of the
food, but we do wonder about their dashing to the toilets between courses?!
But never say Di?! The food is rather good, and we even manage to avoid
falling into the cliched sceners pizza trap, going for different kinds of
pasta instead. Q-Funk displays an interesting way of eating ice cream, that
is frightening to most people, by blending it together until it gets to a
room temperature homegenous mush, before eating it!
A while later, we make our way to the Alco shoppe, for purchase of fine
wines and liquors of an afterparty destroying persuasion. In spite of the
fact that I had a bottle of Teachers well travelled and garage-matured
whisky, I add a quarter bottle of Finnish brandy to this. From there, we
make our way to the bus stop and part company with Q-Funk for a merry
evening of sauna-related drinking fun.
We arrive at the approximate locus for the afterparty soon after. There is
some momentary confusion over the exact whereabouts, mostly my fault to be
fair, but before matters get too far out of hand, we summon Setok to drag us
back to the correct place.
By the time we get there, the afterparty is well under way. There are even a
couple of people getting ready to go into the sauna. The usual suspects from
last year's party are all there, even one or two new people, who disappear
relatively early on... We are relatively late getting into the sauna, having
started on some serious drinking early on. We also end up watching some of
Setok's dressing-up games, where he does a pretty fair impersonation of the
commander of the Helsinki-Espoo branch of the Provisional IRA, for reasons
best kept to himself!
The big screen is running a selection of material from the party, in the
form of stuff that has been filmed there. In this way, we get a repeat of
the very good David Hasselhoff Big Band, and a load of other filmed
"highlights" from the party. Later on, there is a more music video feeling,
with a lot of heavy and death metal getting in there.
We end up in the big electric sauna with Osyn, one of the Alt-TV girls.
There is just the three of us, the mood is talkative and friendly, Osyn
revealing a humourous and lively personality at the afterparty, not really
seen to any great extent previously.
I transfer to the smaller woodburning sauna. It is very crowded, and it is
at about this time that Marycloud enters the proceedings... There is really
only standing room, although some of the seated people including Marycloud
attempt a sandwich. This is no simple three-layer affair, rather it turns
into one of those complicated and weirdly named New York bagel surprises,
with up to *five* people sitting on each other! And the people near the
bottom of the layer were pleasantly surprised to be able to start breathing
again, once the messy people pyramid had broken up...
Is it Tuesday yet?
Elsewhere, Twilighte and Wiztom debate how demo effects were done on the ZX
Spectrum emulator. This goes on until the sauna has nearly run out. The mood
with this afterparty, compared with last years, is noticeably more subdued,
with a greater pervasiveness of tiredness. Even the notorious party animal
known as Nosfe is very quiet tonight. All too soon, a number of the
participants are calling it a night.
Wiztom manually re-enacts the texture tunnel effect from the ZX Spectrum
"Zzsploch!" demo in the direction of Twilighte. This is the most active
that he has been for a year!
But there is a persistent hardcore who refuse to give up and go home. About
eight or ten of us, still enough to make up the numbers for a good drink or
two. In fact the rest of the night passes by in a haze. I recall Setok, who
left the party with Marycloud, returning some time later with a bottle of
Bushmills Irish Whiskey, which went down well after the teachers. A rumour
of reindeer steaks cooked by Nosfe turns out to be just that, so any late
night hunger pangs are taken care of by large family sized packets of
crisps, and when these have gone, a limitless supply of chocolate bars.
On reflection, I should have stopped there...
Oh yes, someone had brought their sketchbook with them. There was some
nicely done works in it, a lot of it you could call 'art'. I've even got a
tiny bit of photographic evidence, taken before the booze clotted up my
motivation to do things shortly after. Of course, everyone gets to add their
witless drunken scribbles to it, so Teh Dildo Fatwa have contaminated yet
another previously unsullied beachhead!
At around 04.00, things start to get very hazy indeed. After a brief
encounter with the toilet to eject a tiny amount of content that my stomach
didn't like, I decide that I like staying exactly where I am. Amongst the
stupor, I get the impression that this is worrying Felice slightly, who
wants to get away for the first daytime bus at 05.30. Somehow, as the
appointed time gets near, I make it into outdoor clothing, and even more
miraculously, manage to collect my diverse and scattered personal
possessions back together before we leave.
After that, it is just a case of putting one foot in front of the other..
On reflection, I would say that this was a 50/50 episode, equal parts of
drunkeness and tiredness. Others were even worse off. There was one person
who fell asleep in the (fortunately cooled down) electric sauna, who was not
able to be roused by the last of the partygoers, and was found by the
cleaners still later on, and still out of things! Twilighte, whom we left
lying down motionless, lost his phone, until it was heard ringing at the
bottom of the rubbish bin. Maybe some Finnish pixie was going around moving
stuff out the way?!
And so, after a barely comprehended return journey, it is back to Q-Funk's
Another slow awakening follows, especially slow for me personally, who was
alright until the minute I got up. However, by the time we get to mid-
afternoon, I am in a more humane state, and ready for what the afternoon has
There is nothing too controversial there. In the form of town and a little
bit of shopping for various people. Going around with Q-Funk in some of the
smarter department stores recalls the whole girlfriend/shopping for
clothes/waiting around experience, but without him saying "Do you think I
look a bit big in this??" We do encounter a Sarah Michelle "Buffy" Geller
clone at the check-out, which raises all our spirits for a bit.
That curious hybrid of an Indian restaurant and opticians described in
previous party reports is still going. The Indian Express plays host to our
emptied stomachs and does a very good job of making them less empty.
There is an attempt to get together at Molly Malone's for the last night.
This is only partially successful, although Twilighte and MSK turn up. The
atmosphere, like the afterparty, is slightly downbeat feeling, and we are
all very conscious that this could be the final Alt party, at least in its
present form. All too soon, we are back at Q-Funks, but with an optimistic
promise of seeing Twilighte again at the Outline party this Easter.
Wednesday, the end of things..
There isn't too much to add from here. The morning time passed slowly, and
we see light flurries of that winter weather which has eluded us so far. Q-
Funk manages to get us to the airport with a more cunning than usual
combination of bus routes, so no hyper-expensive taxi fares, thanks mate. We
make the best of our lengthy wait at Vantaa airport with a final farewell
pizza, and make it to our aircraft with time to spare.
The rest of the journey is routine, apart from one nasty moment at Schiphol,
where the section of the airport we needed to get to next was closed, but a
kindly Dutch customs guy points us in the direction to get around that.
There is also the little matter of a more exciting than usual landing at
Birmingham, the turbulence factor being very high, and the pilot was
determined to stop on the runway really quickly. Oh how we laughed, as we
pulled our teeth out of the seat in front...
The baggage loss fiasco does not repeat itself here, in spite of Birmingham
airport's best efforts at misdirection, and before we know it, we are once
more back home where we started.
Conclusions, is this the end?
I'm going to kick off this difficult last bit of the Alt Inc report, with
some timely comments from some of the organisers. I hope they don't mind me
quoting them in a slightly butchered soundbite fashion, from what were much
longer and more informative original postings.
Firstly, we go with some thanks from the big man himself
"I just want to thank everyone who came to what could very well be our last
party ever. Also, thank you to everyone who helped organise the parties in
the past and who visited them and had a good time. Your support meant a lot
to me and many others over the years. I think we did some pretty remarkable
things. Working together to bring some new colour to the demoscene, I hope,
and challenging it."
"Don't take me wrong, though: there were many good times this year too. I
think we had exceptionally good artists playing for us (remember, none of
them received any proper compensation). In addition, one of those ideas that
has been lingering around for some time -- the dynamic demo -- finally
showed some potential. A lot of the Alt Party atmosphere was still intact
and many cool people showed up. I really enjoyed the show."
"I'm not sure if the decline of the Alt Party is a reflection of the times
or a reflection in changing priorities on behalf of the organisers. Perhaps
a mix of both. Maybe in some years the scene will need an Alt Party again
but at the moment it would require a miracle to resurrect it. For now I
believe it has had its day."
And then we follow with this from Matti (MSK).
"Much of this has to do with that alt party has been stagnating. There's
been nothing truely different since 2003 when we had Jeff Minter around and
there seemed to be a lot of media attention as well. Last year was pretty
much more of the same, with perhaps less exciting guests, and this year...
well, an alt party is always an alt party, it was as usual a great
experience but I don't think we really had anything new and spectacular to
But what do you think CiH? Was this sixth edition the best Alt party ever,
or perhaps not quite?
Well I'd think that this was possibly one party too many under the present
system. Matti was spot on with his Jeff Minter comment, as that really was
the high water mark of the Alt Parties. I seem to remember some suggestion
last year, that the Alt Party could be 'rested' from its annual January
slot. I also seem to remember that there was a lot of opposition to that
idea at the time, so we got this sixth party regardless. Now the proof is
conclusive, that Alt Party, as it stands, is rather tired and run out of
fresh ideas. Reading back over my report, that conveys less excitement and
enthusiasm than usual, as if it were merely a case of ticking a check-list
for all the expected "usual" things that were supposed to happen?
A prime example of this was with the choice of guest for this year, which
didn't even register on the main part of the report. Instead of someone like
the peerless Jeff Minter, or RJ Michal, we had someone from the Electronic
Frontier Finland, which was something to do with the more restrictive than
normal Finnish copyright laws. They were there for a mere fifteen minutes,
gave their talk in Finnish, and were missed out entirely from my memories of
this Alt Party..
There are reasons why each Alt party was better or more distinct than the
one before it, up to the current edition that is. These are mainly specific
and personal reasons for myself, and probably won't apply to other people
for the most part. However, some themes common to everyone can also be seen
Alt 1 was the first trip to Finland. There was the heightened expectation
from it being an Easter party replacement as well. Also the sheer novelty of
the new country heightened our interest. The party amazed with a virtuoso
display from many obscure platforms, especially the 8-bit machines. A heavy
presence of other UK'ers including key Reservoir Gods members added to the
fun as well. Then there was that first sauna, which made some people very
Alt 2 was the Setok experience. The party was relocated back to Helsinki and
the summer. We got to see more of this party from an organisers eye view and
helped out with the clearing up. There was also the Fishpool Inc luxurious
office experience, and the best after-party so far.
Alt 3 established the current cycle of parties at Gloria, in January. We had
the return of the RG, and a cool guest in the form of Amiga co-creator RJ
Michal. This even overshadowed the main demo compo. This was also the most
comedically disaster-prone party, from my personal point of view, with Q-
Funk's deranged alcoholic flatmate making our nights so memorable, not to
mention the bolshy airport taxi driver, and finally not to mention the epic
hike with Q-Funk to the middle of nowhere. And there was a nice flight delay
right at the end.
Alt 4 is widely considered to be the pinnacle of achievement. Two words best
describe the reason why, Jeff Minter. He was the perfect guest of honour,
and also the perfect after-party sauna guest! "Sheepies!" he cried, as he
was dragged inside.. It was also the coldest winter season ever, with
temperatures down to a low - 24 celcius!
Alt 5 showed a lessening of impact in all areas, apart from the afterparty,
which had several moments of heterosexual enjoyment (hello Marycloud!) and
general non-stop fun.
Alt 6 carried on the Alt 5 gradual decline a bit further. What happened
there was nice, but there was nothing new that revealed itself. Does seeing
people like Setok and Lobotomy in business suits really cut it for novelty
value? Maybe it is time to stop for a while and rethink?
I really don't know what will happen next. Maybe there will be a re-
invention at a different venue and at a later date? Or someone could have a
really bad idea to carry on with things as they are, in a reduced and more
insular and cliquey fashion. The organisers were still confident of other
related events like the summer 'Stork' parties, and the Alt-Zone at Assembly
continuing, but summer is never a good time for me to go on anything scene
related. I hate to think that it would really be the last time, as I'd like
to get together with our Finnish friends again in their home environment
"Goodbye" is not a nice word to have to use..
CiH, for Alive! Mag,Jan '05