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Alive 14
JagFest UK 2006

              * Date: 27-29 October 2k6
              * Location: Warrington, Great Britain

        At 4 o clock I woke up, and realised, that I was already late. I
        thought: "Dammed, not missing the airplane again (like at NAS,
        earlier in 2006)". So I rushed to the airport as fast as
        possible and I hope someone will blow up those speed cams on my
        way before they fetch the film. I felt really relieved, after I
        got my boarding pass and when I saw the long queue waiting in
        front of the security check in I was happy that I didn't arrive
        earlier just to wait ages in that queue. Of course I was the
        last passenger who passed the security check and also the last
        one to board the plane but at least I didn't miss it.

        In Standsted I got the one and only train to London. When I
        arrived at the booking terminal in London I was shocked by the
        price of my ticket to Manchester. 56 UKP, what the hell? The
        clerk at the ticket counter seemed to be on the edge due to my
        reaction on the ticket price and so I decided to pay it quickly
        before he may decide to refuse to sell it to me. I ran for the
        train and just before the doors closed I sneaked in. It has to
        be said that apart from the high cost I never had any troubles
        with the UK railway and so I enjoyed the ride like usual.

        In Manchester I was picked up by some friendly Jaguar Sceners
        (MugUK and Slick). They didn't dare to park their car in
        Manchester for some odd reason, so it was a little adventure to
        get to them. I guess they feared someone might "pimp their ride"
        when he discovers the little sticker which shows a guy in a LFC
        shirt pissing onto a Manchester United shirt :)

        When we arrived at the party location - a country hotel in
        Warrington - there were already about 20 people enjoying Jaguar
        stuff. After a quick look around, I positively identified
        Felice, CiH, Nick Harlow, Linkowitch, Gaztee, Steve Moss, the
        beast of the southeast, his brother and Mark from the Cheshunt
        Computer Club ( ).

        Unfortunately I didn't bring my Falcon, but as I mentioned
        before, I was in some kind of rush when I left home and so I
        talked a lot with Felice after saying hello to everyone. Besides
        showing me some Dreamcast stuff, Felice also managed to give me
        the Sinclair ZX Spectrum +2, that gwEm had purchased for me

        A bit later I went on a shopping tour at Nick Harlow's desk. Of
        course I couldn't resist some of the famous bargains from Nick's
        treasure chest. Some old Retro Gamer CDs and a double feature
        Bitmap Brothers box with Speedball 2 and Cadaver had already
        relieved my purse to some degree when I noticed an exclusive
        JFUK release from the corner of my eye. It was a boxed demo of
        Iron Soldier, which contained more sounds than usual. Afraid to
        return with an empty wallet I didn't even asked how much it
        would have been...

        Steve Moss showed me his latest project: A PSX controller for
        the Jaguar or Falcon. How will that work? Well, you take a plain
        PSX controller. Then you get rid of the electronics inside and
        replace them with Steve's PCB. Afterwards you are ready to use
        the modified controller with either the Jaguar or your Falcon.
        It features the analogue mini-stick as well as one of the
        vibrators. I can't wait to get one of those for my Falcon...

        While the PSX controller sounded really exiting it was topped by
        the number one attraction of JFUK 2006: The Jaguar VR helmet
        which was bought for an insane price from eBay by gaztee. He
        told me his intention was to show the system in public, and so
        he was happy to get it finally despite the price. It was really
        exiting to wear the VR helmet. I had read so much about it, but
        I never thought I would be wearing one on my head.

        I played "Missile Command" with the helmet which was a bit
        uncoordinated in the beginning since I had to get used to handle
        the pad and the helmet at once. However, after a while you
        forget the pad in your hands, and dive completely into the VR
        world of the game. It was a great experience, really. I think
        the whole retro community should thank gaztee for obtaining this
        fine piece of hardware and making it accessible to everybody.

        Completely unnoticed by myself Daeghnao had arrived and I was
        stunned to see her repairing some old Atari ST machines. I have
        to admit it was the first time I saw a female achieving such a
        task, respect! Besides working on hardware she also told me,
        that she spends a lot of time on the Gamebase ST project.
        Because she also manages Linux user meetings I hope that one day
        there will be a Gamebase ST version for non M$ systems.

        The next real event was a gaming competition on the Atari
        Jaguar. The beast of the southeast choose Gorf as the compo
        game, maybe because not many people know this game. This way it
        was a new new experience for most of us. As usual I played quite
        well and achieved 2nd place. My price were six bottles of apple
        cider. I was quite surprised that there are alcoholic drinks in
        the UK which are made of apples. Anyway, I tasted one of them
        and I think I have to drink more of it on my next visit to UK.
        It seems the western part of England is what "Hessen" (my home
        area) is in Germany: Country of apples.

        (cxt: Let's go for some history lesson here :) In fact, when the
        Romans arrived in England around 55 BC they found local
        villagers drinking a cider-like beverage made from apples. So it
        seems apple cider has a long tradition in the UK)

        Until the evening, we continued talking and gaming on various
        machines. Steve Moss delighted me with a gruesome lesson in
        "Worms" just before I participated in a "Madball" session on the
        Nintendo Gamecube.

        Later in the evening a bus picked us up and brought us to a
        Chinese restaurant. We had a nice buffet with all kind of
        Chinese food accompanied by German beer :) After an extended
        supper we went to a local pub and enjoyed the sight of some
        "interesting" local women. I swear that's one of the highlights,
        JFUK is famous for all over the world ;) When the bus drove us
        back to the country hotel in Warrington everybody was really

        The European summer time ended during that night, so we were
        happy to get a bonus hour of sleep, which was extremely lucky
        for me because this way I didn't miss the breakfast. Just for
        the record: I wasn't - I repeat: I wasn't - the last one to
        appear in the breakfast hall. However the hotel staff wasn't
        prepared for so many guests it seemed. There was a noticeable
        shortage of eggs and I had to wait - like what seemed like an
        eternity - for my "complete" English breakfast. In the end it
        looked a bit less complete than what was served to my neighbours
        but it was all tasty. Today seemed to start much better and more
        relaxed than yesterday.

        After breakfast we went back to the party room and blew
        ourselves up by participating in the Worms competition.
        Linkowitch let me win the first round and so I went straight to
        the final. There I stood no chance, but I had a lot of fun
        nonetheless. In the end I somehow managed to obtain the 3rd
        place which was rewarded with a nice certificate.

        Now that I had discovered my love for Worms I simply had to buy
        Steve's multitap which was quite expensive but worth the money
        nonetheless as I found out at home a lot later. On my way out I
        decided to purchase a JFUK party t-shirt and Mark of CCC took me
        back to the airport in Stansted. Unfortunately we went from one
        traffic jam into the other, and in the end I missed my plane.

        Faced with the choice of either spending the night at the
        airport or paying another 50 UKP I decided to chose the latter
        and the woman at the ticket counter was so surprised by my
        immediate response that she took a sheet of paper and wrote a
        pound sign followed by a five and a zero showed it to me and
        asked again. Since I had no intentions of sleeping at the
        airport I simply acknowledged the purchase and went back to the
        check-in-counter. The guy in front of me seemed to have missed
        his plane as well, and he was arguing and complaining a lot. The
        girls at the check-in used my case as prime example how to
        handle such a case and I smiled a bit sheepish since I knew this
        smile had a price tag of 50 UKP on it.

        Before I was allowed to pass the security check I was robbed of
        three tubes of toothpaste and a brand new deodorant which went
        into the trash bin. It seems there are some stupid anti-terror
        laws which aims at eliminating terrorism with bad smelling
        armpits and bad teeth. Despite that loss I was really happy,
        when I finally collapsed onto my seat.

        During the ride home from the airfield, I relaxed more and more.
        This trip had been a real adventure and I guess next year I will
        make better arrangements for my trip. However one thing is
        crystal clear, next JFUK is mine.

Lessons learned
        o Cidre rulez
        o Women are capable of repairing ST's
        o Gorf rocks
        o Worms is much cooler with Steve Moss's MultiTap Interface
        o British trains are good but expensive
        o British motorways are also ok, but there are also a lot of
          traffic jams, even on Sunday
        o A full English breakfast could also contains mushrooms. But
          you need at least eggs
        o English sandwiches are the best
        o There is a flight back home from Standsted at 21.30

                                                     kRadD for Alive, 2006-11-05
Alive 14