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Alive 7

          We love Error in Line Three!

The CiH Party report, written in a partially realtime sense..

 The Brit invasion point of view, starting with a nice ascii flag, which is
 not by me for a change!

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 a  s  t  e  r  o  i  d     at EIL MMIII

Phew Johnnyboy, I never knew you had it in you!

It is 11.07 on the Saturday morning, and I am starting off with this report,
running late and struggling to catch up, which is how a lot of this trip has
gone so far.

There  is  a realtime chunk on Felice's laptop,  which admirably covers  the
period  up  to  Friday morning,  comedy house fire in Harwich  and  all.  It
remains  to be seen if this can be bolted retroactively onto this text.  The
omens are good.

Okay, I've grabbed it off there, here goes merger mania!

Laptop realtime extract starts here..

(Weds night 16.4.03)
Asteroid  here  at  the keys of Felice's laptop,  had a  few  minor  niggles
getting here. Just purchasing my coach ticket back in Portsmouth and leaving
the ticket on the counter.  This mistake got picked up by some student girls
who  luckily  noticed my "blonde moment"  hmm.   Whilst at  London  Victoria
getting my next leg of the journey, faced with a queue of 70-80 other people
getting  bus  tickets to different parts of the country,  some cheeky  young
black  lad decided to jump the front of me,  once I had progressed half  way
through the queue.

After I challenged him,  he mentioned something about "life is not fair" and
some bullshit about having his motorcycle double parked somewhere.

Coach  journey was very long,  as it's not possible to just go in a straight 
line  across  the coast of southern England,  unfortunately necessitating  a
diversion to London.

As I'm typing,  I can hear the sound of breaking glass,  possibly of a large
shop,  which is slightly worrying. It sounds like some crime being committed
outside in Harwich high street. Worrying I say, as the manager of this hotel
has  had car windows smashed by some disgrunted guest of this hotel,  who he
kicked out for reasons not known to us.

11.35 Weds 16th April


I'm afraid this wobbly chinz nightmare just isn't going to cut it.

CiH here, on the barely visible keys, staying in the Queens Arms hotel, with
fellow  travelling  dudes  Felice  and Asteroid.  The  decor  provides  some
amusement,  sort of Blackpool boarding house,  after fifteen pints. In fact,
Harwich  in general is the sort of town which looks like it has had  fifteen
pints  too  many.  It  could  easily be home to the  national  beersick  and
pavement pizza museum.

Following  the window breaking incident described in Asteroid's  section  of
RTA,  the sound of sirens. These belong to a couple of big red fire engines,
the plot thickens.......

Okay, Felice wants a go at this now..


11.40 (hopefully)

Apparently  there's  a basement flat on fire or something down  the  street.
Anyways, we all made it here ok and are now staying in the Queens Arms hotel
as Chris described. It is very much like the old guesthouse that I stayed in
at  Blackpool with the family - when it was owned by a guy who's DIY  skills
were  slightly  lacking something.  But TBH the place itself isn't too  bad.
Harwich itself is generally a quiet place at night, which is good. :)

c u later  Felice.

Yep,  as  mentioned  to Rich,  its a house fire,  in a basement flat,  sounds
nasty,  as  I'd  imagine it's not easy to escape in that sort of  situation.
Think we'll see what the hotel manager says tomorrow.  Asteroid.

(End of RTA bit)

Not  a  lot to add for the first stage of this latest Easter  adventure.  To
avoid  the  ferry missing complications of the previous year,  Asteroid  had
booked  a  hotel  (The Queens Arms) in downtown Harwich for us  to  stay  in
overnight,  so  we started off on the Wednesday evening,  at around 20.00hrs
from  Felice's house to get to Harwich.  Finding the hotel itself was pretty
simple,  and we fitted our car around the worryingly trashed camper van, and
rear  screen smashed Rover 214 into the parking facilities at the  back.  We
soon  found Asteroid in the hotel bar,  and relaxed around a pint or two  of

Pretty  soon,  the  obviously gay hotel manager showed us to our rooms,  the
decor  was  as explicitly bad as the realtime  extract  described,  possibly
combining DIY ineptness with drunken decorators?  More scarily,  the door to
our room had been kicked in previously,  and was unable to lock properly. On
the plus side, faced with several days of limited sleep on airbeds or on the
floor, the beds were very comfortable.

After dabbling with the laptop for a while,  we went to bed, to the sound of
fire engines gently ticking over..

(Morning, 17.4.03)

The  night's  sleep went well,  even with a window open to  the  potentially
noisy  distractions  of  Harwich  high street life.  As it  was,  we  roused
ourselves  slowly  around 08.00,  not troubled by noises from  the  outside.
Harwich  is  the sort of place where not many people seem to  rush  to  work
anyway ;-)

Where the Queens Arms scored,  and probably rates a return visit,  is in the
large  and hardcore nature of their cooked breakfast.  This was a true  Brit
"THIS  IS A HEART ATTACK ON A PLATE!" feast,  good to keep us going all day,
or until we hit the ferry at least.

We  left  the hotel after a little delay waiting for a member  of  staff  to
appear,  with  this  Alive!  co-editor getting to play out one of his  minor
fantasies  behind the bar!  I managed to ban Felice and Asteroid before  the
real bar staff got back!

Catching the ferry was straightforward, apart from not having enough time to
use the services of the bureau de change at the port, leaving me temporarily
short  of  euros  for  our  big adventure.  Once settled  on  the  MV  Stena
Discovery,  the  crossing  itself was a well ordered routine of  taking  our
positions  in the central 'Stingers' bar,  watching the big video wall,  and
breaking  off  to explore the other parts of the ship.  In addition  to  the
usual music video stuff, there were some low-fi colour-cycling effects going 
on  in the distant  corners of the big screen.  This may have been to get us
gradually warmed  up to  the higher  spec demos we  would be  seeing soon at
Error in Line!  We shared  this  crossing  with quite a lot of other people,
including a coach party of very laddish  lads,  whom  we  expect  were going
to  Amsterdam to  try  out their horticulture (cough!)  We arrived  sometime
around 15.00, adjusted for Central European time sort of thing.

Picking  up  from the other end was notable for the late  afternoon  traffic
tedium,  particularly  picked  up in the Rotterdam area.  We arrived in  the
vicinity  of  Utrecht some time later,  and were led astray by  a  deceptive
street  map,  which forgot to tell us that the motorway turn-off for Comp7's
part of town, started off somewhat sooner than we thought it would!

Between us,  we managed to retrieve the situation quite well,  following the
Utrecht  ring system around logically and sensibly.  We even managed to find
the neighbourhood of Comp7,  and drove right past his street,  unable to get
back to it, owing to the severity of the one-way system!  After another five
minutes entertaining diversion, including an encounter with the single least
laid-back Dutchman in a black Mercedes  at  a  road junction,  we managed to
rediscover a route back,  we approached  the fateful point of  no-return and
opted to stop just before,  getting Comp7 to come out of his abode and guide
us into the appropriate street.  The gentleman in question quickly found us,
and we gratefully crashed into his first floor apartment.

After  introductions and tea-drinking,  we sorted out a plan for the rest of
this  evening.  A  meeting  with  Richard  'ST  News'  Karsmakers  had  been
prearranged for this evening,  and we went to the town centre with Comp7, to
meet  up at the central railway station.  Thankfully discarding the car,  we
went on one of the very tidy and modern Utrecht tram/light railway services.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 
Digression time!
City  council with nasty non-politically correct sense of humour note:-  The
district that Comp7 lived in had streets named after famous explorers, as in
the harbingers of the white colonial oppressors that took over the countries
they  first visited!  The tram stop nearest Comp7's street was called  Vasco
DeGamalaan.  This neighbourhood also had a high third world population,  and
the choice of street names were possibly a little bit insensitive here?!

The equivalent UK city council, say Birmingham, as they've always been hyper
PC,  hasn't quite got as far as creating an "Idi Amin street", or dedicating
the  "Idris Bokassa community centre",  but we think it is only a matter  of
time before they do!
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Back  to  the  story,  and at the central railway station,  I find a  useful
Bureau de Change,  so I am able to make good my acute shortage of Euros.  We
meet with Karsmakers shortly after, and we head off into the city centre, to
an obscure but cool bar of his choice, featuring an MP3 jukebox and a decent
choice of liquid refreshments.

There,  we update  on each other's lives,  Rich K.  soon to be married for a
second time,  with a facial expression which indicates, that yes, he is very 
happy,  but at the same time, that decision wasn't wholly under his control?
We also get talking of old scene/new scene matters,  and the upcoming party,
which promises to be another all-time great. Felice manages to amaze, as the
first ever confirmed sighting of alcoholic liquid going past his lips  comes
to effect here! The red wine helps him to 'relax'.  It seems to work,  as we 
witness a new and  super-slick  Felice  in  action, all wit,  bonhomie,  and 
lounge-lizardry. Well, we can dream, can't we!

The bar also has a restaurant attached to it.  It has been a long time since
our  last meal on the ferry,  and even longer since that spectacular  fry-up
back  in  Harwich,  so we part company with a non-hungry Rich K,  and go and
eat.  The  menu  is sort of italian,  and my order for 'chicken' gets me  an
entire half-grown chicken, stuffed with a whole lemon!

This  pleasantry,  and  the  return journey back through clouds  of  druggie
beggars in the shopping mall, gets us safely back to Comp7's, a little while
before midnight, whereupon we pelt Felice's laptop with random globs of text
once more...

(Next Laptop RTA extract.)

Thursday 17 April - Asteroid

We made it over to Comp7's place in Utrecht today,  after a very short drive
from Harwich to the docks, then the ferry trip, which passed over reasonably
uneventfully.  Some  comedy drunks amused us for a while in the lounge area,
they  looked  like  they were off to a weekend  in  Amsterdam  or  somewhere

Getting off the ferry and through customs was a cinch and we got on the road
out  to  Utrecht.  This part of the journey was fine till we got to  Utrecht
itself.  Realising we had missed a turning and couldn't go back, we ended up
doing the journey of the Utrecht Ring road for a while. We finally found our
turn  and,  after  a spot of bother involving a bit of road rage  from  some 
dildo  in  a black Mercedes,  we got over to where Comp7 now lives  here  in

The one-way street system also didn't help either,  but after going round in
circles for a bit we finally found where to go. (Asteroid)

We've  just  had  an excellent evening out,  managing to meet up  with  Rich
Karsmakers  (ex-ST News) for a beer.  After that we had a meal at the little
restaurant  just  outside the back of the wine bar.  This proved to be  real
nice,  it  was  good  to  get  together and chat for  a  while  over  stuff,
reminiscing about Atari over the years, including the new 2600-in-a-joystick
device that got launched recently.

Well,  time  to hand over to someone else methinks .....  John's gone to bed
now, hopefully he won't be blowing off tonight, but you never know with some 
people !  Felice.

00.16hrs on the 18th April.  CiH unravels fingers,  world trembles, alright,

Headline  soon to be seen in the hypothetical local newspaper,  the  Harwich

"It  was a plane crashed into the building that did it,  one hundred percent 
sure mate!"

This was the comment actually overheard by Asteroid at the scene of the fire
described  so  vividly last night.  Looks like the local fuckwit  protection 
scheme  is in full operation ;-) I think we might have heard something  more
than  a sound of breaking glass last night if that was the case.  Unless  it
was one of the new 'Silent but Deadly' Stealth Bombers?

As for Thursday, ah yessss...

Well  we  did fairly well,  and got a really good working knowledge  of  the
Utrecht  ring  road  (ahem!)  We also managed to  avoid  any  metal  bending
incidents  too.  I'm  not impressed with Utrecht's road system,  it is  very
unforgiving  of misdirection,and refused to listen to our pleas  for  mercy.
Still we got here, we're at the abode of Comp7, and we've managed a bit of a
night out in some of the darker corners of Utrecht.

This  included a reunification with former diskmag editor king  person,  and
former hair owner,  Richard Karsmakers,  who seemed to be pleased to see us,
at  least  he waited a polite amount of time before making his  excuses  and

Other small points of interest for Thursday:-

There  was  no Stena Line sponsored cheesy videos of the  Venga  Boys  being
shown on the ferry!  C'mon people,  a trip to the Hook of Holland just isn't
the same without them!

Dutch motorway people, please note - Two (cars) into one (space) doesn't go!

One of the ferrybound comedy drunks had a lovely knife-scar on his cheek. It
must  be a special badge to show that you are long-term unemployable,  as in
"I'm  violent and quick to take offence,  please don't give me a high-status 

Utrecht  centre  late  at  night compared  with  Amsterdam(n)..  Fewer  drug
dealers, but more beggars!

Okay,  enough  spiel  and verbiage for now,  time for bed,  as everyone else
seems to be running in 'lights out mode' now..

Shall  we leave this on overnight,  see if the realtime article fairies feel
like adding to it when we are all asleep?!

(Friday morning!) - CiH
08.40  Friday.  Realtime  fairies are lazy lamers!  CiH doing the work  here

Comp7  is  a very early and slow awaker.  06.45 is too fecking  early,  even
worse  than  a regular work day!  Fresh-brewed coffee rules  though,  cheers
Maurits :) Good to the last drop, mmmm!

Now  we are just debating what to do this morning.  Some low-level  laziness
before the long journey would be good.

(End of RTA extract)

We soon drop off to sleep, only awakening for Comp7's alarm clock which goes
off  at  06.45.  06.45!!!  That is worse than getting up for a normal day at
work.  We don't actually rise until after 08.00,  but that is not the point,
the damage was done already!!

We are not travelling straight over to Dresden,  but instead, we are meeting
up with the rest of the Dutch contingent over at Havoc's place in  Enschede,
then  travelling  in convoy.  This is not due to take place until  the  late
afternoon,  so in the meantime, we have some spare time to kill. Comp is off
to  his  secondary  workplace,  the GHQ of Bassment  Productions,  which  is
actually a music studio built into his parents house, so we opt to travel in
his car, as they are located some ten or fifteen minutes out of town.

The next extract of realtime,  written slightly out of time, at the party on
my Acorn box, picks up the factual narrative aspect of the story quite well,
so we turn there next..

(Next RTA bit.) - CiH kicks in..

MSG  Quote  from  right now (11.50 on Saturday) "I'm a  big  fan  of  Erotic 

Now  for  the  rest of Freitag.  This started very well,  as we went to  the
headquarters of Bassment Studio's, which turned out to be a very compact and
well  equipped  operation,  tucked in a corner of the vast mansion that  was
Comp7's  parent's house.  They were very nice to us,  and when we weren't in
the  studio,  we  were  sitting  in the sunshine,  in  their  garden,  which
occasionally  featured herds of wild buffalo roaming across its sheer  size.
(I exaggerate a little bit here?!)

(Ed note:- Comp7's father was a retired surgeon, as the house came with some
tasty extras, such as a consulting room with a full-sized x-ray machine!)

Asteroid  got  into a bit of Amstrad (in its Schneider  incarnation)  CPC128
dismantling in the sunlit garden, as the rubber band that powered the floppy
drive  had  overstretched  on Comp7's machine.  The elastic  band  we  found
unfortunately proved a poor substitute.

Back to Utrecht and the arrival of Earx at 13.00hrs,  and then we set off on
the  first stage of our epic journey,  which was to rendevous with Havoc and
the rest of the gathered Dutchies at Enschede.  Once again, the Utrecht Ring
lived  up to the "anal" part of its name,  not from misdirection this  time,
but from sheer weight of bank holiday travelling Dutchies, plus those people
in lorries, for whom this wasn't an official holiday, but were there anyway.

Some time,  and a lot of cars later,  we make it to Enschede, and find a lot
of people waiting our arrival.  It turns out that there are ten people to go
to  Dresden,  so  after some reorganisation and offloading from our  already
full car,  we  end up swapping a couple of bags,  a CRT monitor,  and my TFT
screen, for Earx. I'm still not sure who got the best end of that bargain?!

A bunch of guys, possibly debt-collectors, waiting for Havoc!

After  a lot more standing around in the front carpark at Havoc's place,  in
the fast dropping temperature, possibly waiting for Havoc to finish cleaning 
his apartment ;-) we eventually set off at around 17.30. The intention is to
keep in a loose convoy, stopping at a couple of pre-arranged rendevous spots
near  Hannover  and Madleburg.  The convoy works fairly well at this  stage,
with a couple of "unauthorised" extra stops on the way, for people with weak
bladders to take care of their personal business.

After the first proper stop,  at a place with food,  I swap over with Felice
and  take  my seat in the torture chamber driving position,  with  the  seat
scrunched  up to the controls.  I was not able to move back,  otherwise Earx
would have lost the use of his legs. (But if he's a coding wizard, what does 
he  need  legs  for anyway?  I hear you all cry.) Opel  Corsa,  designed  by
dwarves, for dwarves!

It  is now dark,  but we still somehow manage to keep together.  The rate of
travel is rather good,  and we stop again, in the cold open air, once we are
back  on  the southbound Autobahn to Dresden.  It seems we are near  now?  I
thankfully swap the drivers seat back to Felice,  giving my legs a chance to

The  convoy  unity  unravels once we get past  Leipzig,  as  a  simultaneous
rainstorm, and road surface reversion to prehistoric East German conditions,
slows our rate of travel right down,  the Dutchies disappear on a rain-swept
horizon,  leaving  us  very  much  alone.  It is a  really  heavy  downpour,
determined to drown us all.  The road conditions aren't over-helpful, as the
road markings disappear in the rain, and the only way of seeing the road, is
to look at the road signs reflected in the pools of water!

After an hour of this crud,  we turn off at "Dresden West",  more to get off
the  motorway,  and  follow  the signs for the city centre.  We seem  to  be
picking up some recognisable features on a long downhill stretch,  and about
ten  minutes  later,  reach the  city  centre.  The  Hauptbahnhof,  a  major
landmark and navigation  reference point,  proves to be pretty easy to find,
and our street map and instructions are pretty good,  up to the  point where
we think we are in the street of the party place (August Bebel Strasse), but
which turned out to be the next strasse along!

A  footbound  search,  with us getting very wet, for the  party place proves
hopeless, although  we  sense that  we are frustratingly  close to it!  Some
directions from a taxi driver are only partially helpful,  until we spot the
first 'EIL' direction sign, and start slowly reeling ourselves in.

A couple of  minutes  later,  we stop beside a really big 'EIL' sign, and an
impressive amount of steps leading up to the scene of the crime, we made it!
At last,  we've arrived at the holy of holies, the Error in Line party place
called 'Tusculum'!

The party place,  'Tusculum', turns out to be an easy to spot building, with
an impressive romanesque frontage.  Inside, it looks like just about all the
current  Atari  active demo scene is gathered into three  large  rooms,  no,
stuffed  into  three large rooms,  with all their equipment,  where we would
have lost last year's Mekka Attendance in a faraway corner of the party.

Introductions to lots of old friends,  beer,  registration, BEER, unloading,
*BEER*  and setting up take over the next hour or so,  and by the time  that
things like unpacking the sleeping quarters have been completed, there isn't
really too much spare energy left, so we trickle off to bed. (Some, like the
Swedes, have already gone ahead of us.)

The sleeping hall is a half-lit gym,so I manage to find a spot in the 'dark'
side  of  the hall.  I don't really sleep that heavily,  managing an ongoing
doze,  rising  again at 07.00 on Saturday for a time,  spending some time on
breakfast, and with the Dutchies respectively.

And that brings us up to date for this Saturday afternoon..

(End of almost real Realtime extract.)

The *real* Saturday morning!
First  thing  starts  quietly,  after a restful few hours,  I  stir  myself,
leaving  the  others sleeping,  to get my teeth around some of the EIL  free
breakfast.  On  the bar and really running the party,  are the rather lovely
girls Antje and Christina. Soon,  sorted out with food and stuff,  and after
giving Havoc an early preview of the world famous fake demo 'Bud teh  Chud',
I start to look around and see who is doing what in the party space.

In the room that we set up late last night,  the Reservoir Gods are in situ,
but  sleeping as hard as they can.  We are set up on the end of their  table
annexe,  the Acorn and TFT combination, Felice's laptop, and Felice's Falcon
with a 15 inch CRT. The Res Gods have access to a mixture of laptops running
emulated ST's,  and real hardware.  Further down the room, is the ten-strong
Dutch contingent, with their assorted gear, especially Tinker's Falcon, with
the  brilliant  paint-job on the case,  done by a fairground  artist,  which
serves very well in his absence,  to make sure that the 'Bud teh Chud' disks
survived  the  trip over.  Havoc and Earx are at work on some  textures  for
Earx's  current  Falcon  demo,  which was going to be  strictly  a  post-EIL
production, owing to time constraints.

1.Mmmmmmmm! Pizza!
2.Oversize Fuji emphasises it is *not* a PeeCee, alright!

On the opposite side of the room are some 8-bit guys,  of which, more later,
and  I'm pretty sure that Satantronic were in the room with us,  with  their
CT2  tower  Falcon.  And how could I forget tSCc,  with Ray sitting a  short
distance away from us, working hard on their Falcon demo!

The  next  room,  with  the bar and food serving area,  mainly contains  the
Swedes,  who  are  all presently away from their workstations,  fast asleep.
Also  in  this same room,  is a lonely Acorn fan,  with a couple of advanced
prototypes  of the new Iyonix super-powered Risc PC machines,  which are  to
the  Acorn and RiscOS fraternity,  what the Coldfire Project is to us  Atari
freaks. I got a good close-up look at this machine, the desktop gadgets from
RiscOS  seeming  very familiar from my use of my own RPC 600.  There  was  a
major  difference  in power between the two machines,  as not  content  with
displaying  a huge res desktop in 16 million colours,  it ran a Quake engine
smoothly,  where  my  humbler  Riscbox would manage the same engine  at  2-3
frames a second, if it was lucky!

It wasn't quite finished,  with odd screen glitching moments,  and a refusal
to  load more than one large jpeg at a time,  but surely getting there  very

So  on to the third room,  which was the largest room,  where the big screen
was  based,  and  the organisers corner where the competition  entries  were
processed. This housed a lot of people, including a large French contingent,
who  turned out to be a bunch of cheese-eating demo completing  monkeys!  In
there,  we  could  find the beloved figures of STS and Moondog,  also fellow
Alive! contributor Paranoid, who was having troubles making his own demo. In
an aside about his still awaited Commodore Plus 4 emulator, he reckoned that
The  Plus  4 was as good as the C64 for producing 'new  school'  style  demo
effects,  and that some demos had been made for it!  Get cracking and finish
the emu Oliver!

We  also  found a figure remembered from last year's debacle of a  party  at
Mekka,  the  very  relaxed NerVe, all the way from Norway.  In an increasing
trend,  he had brought his girlfriend, er actually, fiancee, as he is due to
get married later this year! Bringing her to an Atari-powered insomnia hell-
hole is one way of testing the love and devotion aspect of the  relationship
-(Ed  not  deranged  enough to bring his girlfriend to this  sort  of  party 

As  other  people  came  to life,  the next point of  interest  was  in  the
imminence  of some of the competition deadlines,  for the graphics and sound
competitions  were drawing closer.  I managed to get my hands on some of the
relevant  entry forms,  both for my ascii graphics entries,  and the "demo".
These were handed in,  and handed back,  a bit later, with some new forms to
complete!  This  I  did,  along with what turned out to be the joint  second
place  ascii  entry from a finnish lady called DiamondDie,  who was  at  the
*other* Easter party,  the Mekka  replacement called "Breakpoint".  (Sitting 
around a camp-fire  outside the party hall  at that moment,  if my memory of
her report on that event is correct?)

And with that, I think it's back to the realtime for a while!

(Next RTA bit)

12.52 - CiH

I've played with the new Risc PeeCee machine,  the Iyonix.  With a gazillion
pixel  x gazillion pixel in 24 bit mode,  it rocks,  if a little unsteadily,
with  a few last minute glitches to be killed off before the machine  really
properly goes on sale.

Other  news,  I've  handed in my competition entries,  and now I've seen the
party, I got the t-shirt ;-)

The pressure is mounting to order some pizza.  If I get on with that now, it
might be ready by the time darkness falls ;-)


Felice here to add a bit more to the realtime :-)

Other  than what Chris has already written,  it was a bit of a pain  finding
the  new  place,  however,  having  found it,  I am (or indeed we are)  very
pleased.  the  space  is  plentiful,  allowing us to set up our  systems  in
relative comfort and still have plenty of space in which to move around  in.
I  went  up to the nearby gas-station to get one or two bits of  food,  they
have gone down well and it is hoped that it can do until later on.  The idea
that Chris had for ordering pizzas for dinner round about now sounds like  a
good one :)

Asteroid  1.15pm  - Just waited about 2 hours for pizza me  and  Comp7  were
sharing,  and  its finally here,  appears that the local pizza probably only
have  one  employee answering the phone making and  delivering  the  things.
Strangely  the pizza has arrived in a shoebox sized box folded in  half,  so
maybe they are out of the correct boxes??

This  party  is a blissful experience for beer fans as many  different  half
litre  bottles  are  available  for just 1 Euro  a  throw,  the  Swedes  are
especially pleased as they tell me they pay 5x that price at home.

13.40 - CiH

I  knew there was something else I overlooked.  *Felice not teetotal shock!*
The  dreaded liquid alcohol passes his lips on Thursday night in Utrecht  at
the Karsmakers gathering. It was red wine too, something of a minority taste
for most people, so bonus points to the Felicing one..


Saturday  afternoon goes quietly.  MC laser/Lotek rushes around handing  out
copies  of the latest YM Rockers production 'Popstars'.  Looks like I'll  be
one of  the few people with a rare *unsigned* copy?

15.40 - Asteroid in Amstrad outrage!

Just  been off to shops in pursuit of finding a rubber belt for a drive  for
an old Amstrad CPC computer,  off to Conrad electronics,  a mammoth computer
and  electronics store which makes Maplins and Radio Shack look  very  small
and  pathetic indeed,  Unfortunately the woman on the components desk  shook
her head,  not too much of a problem as I can get the exact part at home for
1  each,  so  I  will be shipping one out to Comp7 when  Im  home.   Anyway
Conrads  really is a terrific place for Geeks to do Window shopping,  on the
baskets  close to the check out counter they had huge 5 litre cans of  beer,
seems  Conrads  play a major part of refuelling the minds  and  spare  parts
boxes of some of Germany's most talented technical people.  Got a few things
from  the convience store and I was a bit puzzled to see why I didnt  get  a
carrier bag,  turns out you have to pay E0.10 for one which they are stashed
hidden  under  the  till,  I was unaware you had to pay one which  the  till
assistant reminded me as I stuffed my food items into it.

Did I mention beer earlier,  I did but in this particular store,  more 500ml
bottles  are  stacked up all over the place for as little E0.35  (UK  TWENTY 
PENCE!!!) yeah! Germany rocks!!!

- Asteroid

16.15 - CiH

Wine rules!

(Rule no 1:- Drink too much homemade stuff and your legs will go all wibbly-
wobbly, and loss of self-control and self-esteem will follow!

Dune  'Illusions demo;,  legendary and long-lost production almost released,
it  managed to get to the intro and hung there,  like a poodle suspended  by
its  collar  and  lead  from a raised  railway  level  crossing  barrier....
Organisers working out how to connect an ST to the bigscreen beamer.  That's
why the compo entries proper are pre-recorded ;-)


Illusions demo finally off the runway,  and it kicks oldschool French design 
ass!  The  non-competition  and  general EIL-inspired release rate  is  very
gratifying, Ace Tracker, Popstars, and now this! And we haven't even started
the competitions yet!

(You forgot the EIL3 t-shirt! - fashion editors note.)


And  now  to  add  to the carnival air of  jubilation,  the  Reservoir  Gods
personalised pen and address book has been released!  (A Sad but highly paid
PR person writes..)

17.30 - CiH

The late late pizza show has been to town,  and gone again. Amigo pizza, not
one of their best unfortunately.  overcooked, and left to cool for too long,
but edible enough when the wait for it started a shade before 13.00hrs.

The entry deadlines for art and music entries passed an hour ago,  but there
still  seem to be an awful lot of people pixelling and tracking  out  there.
Even some that are coding ;-) Their deadline isn't for another 23 hours.

Lemmings  music  from the direction of Comp7 and Tinker  filling  the  whole
room. Not so much YM Rockers, more YM Mockers?!

(End of RTA part)

Back  to the retrospectively written account now,  as the Saturday afternoon
wore on.  Some events did take place, a very long wait for a pizza, as I had
missed  the end of the lunchtime rush,  and had to wait a lot longer,  until
teatime for this. Asteroid and Felice headed in the direction of town, and I
dodged  rain showers to take a quick look around the leafy locale  in  which
this party was based.

MC Laser,  or Lotek,  was gleefully handing out free copies of the latest YM
Rockers  release,  "Popstars",  and  this  even got some airplay on the  big
screen  in  the  main hall.  This prompted the Reservoir Gods into  a  disk-
signing frenzy,  looking to get each others,  and everyone else's autographs
on  to  the disk label.  I've got a relatively rare unsigned copy,  how will
that look on Ebay?

The other two major events of this Saturday afternoon, concerned the showing
of a long-lost demo, and the release of a large container of home-made booze
into the community!

The latter item first,  this was a large multigallon glass container of home
made red wine, which had been put on to boil shortly after the last Error in
Line, and was now judged to be ready. At a Euro or so a glass, it was deemed
worth  a  look,  and  tasted  like a red wine should,  maybe with  a  subtle
background  hint  that  it could do some real kidney damage,  if  you  over-
indulged  in it!?  I sensibly stop at a couple of glasses,  before blindness
sets in...

The long-lost demo was brought to us,  thanks to the activities of the large
French contingent. This was the legendarily disappeared "Illusion" demo from
Dune,  a reputed first prize winner from a demo party back in 1993,  but not
seen  since  then.  First attempts to get it going aren't promising.  It had
been debugged and reworked,  apparently to allow it to run on a Falcon,  but
just at the end of the intro sequence, the demo kept hanging.

Eventually, with the right sort of hardware, it ran properly, and for a demo
of its advanced years, had aged very well indeed! This is looked forward to,
as another high quality release, associated with Error in Line. But Dune had
not  finished  there,  as they were working on a fresh EIL production,  with
many of the other Frenchies!

But all this wine/long lost French oldschool demo action is taking its toll.
After  an overlong journey which only terminated in the wee small  hours  of
the early morning, and not too much sleep after, it is time to retire, for a
short  time,  to  the sleeping gym, there to crash for a time,  listening to
some  consumptive person at the other end noisily expire into  his  sleeping 

Curiously  refreshed  after an hour of this,  I get back,  and with Earx  in
company, show off some of the lighter side of the Akorn box.

Do  we get to see how beautifully drawn the 3-D is,  in Starfighter 3000?  - 
You betcha!

Do  we  also  get  to see how hideously  difficult  the  control  system  in 
Starfighter 3000 is? - Sure thing!

I also make sure he gets a full load of demos,  both from the Archimedes (as
in  the  ARM  2.5 generation and upwards),  and  those  full-blooded  RiscPC
productions, that deign to run on my crippled-by-having-no-VRAM box.

Some  of  these  impress  the hard to  impress  Earx,  expecially  the  1997
Siliconvention  entry  'Era',  and  another Archie intro 'Jojo',  which  has
tunnels that even Evil would be hard put to beat! All this activity takes us
deeper into the evening, and back to the realtime for a while.

(RTA Resumes!)

20.55 - CiH

This has been away a long time?

So  was I for an hour,  as I felt tiredness catching up fast.  I went to the
health and fitness orientated sleeping room (the Gym),  and half-listened to
someone in the far corner cough their guts out.  Strangely enough,  after an
hour of this, I felt quite a lot better.

The  rest  of  the time has been used in releasing the Akorn  box  from  its
realtime  duties,  and  having  a  bit  of  fun,  as  in  games  and  demos,
particularly with Earx looking on.

The  deadline for the pixelling and noisemaking was extended by three  hours
from  its  original deadline,  which explains the frantic post four  o'clock
activity earlier.

9pm asteroid

Things  are  quiet  at the moment,  so some of us who don't have  their  own
computer along,  like me are just hovering over what everyone else is doing,
so  it  is a little boring at the moment.   I've just been  sharing  another
pizza with Comp7 and watching one of girls (sorry dont know your name)  from
one of the Dutch crews playing Lemmings on the ST.

Seen with interest how to cram a Falcon into a 1.5m high PC tower case, as a
Spanish guy called David has done an excellent job of his,  and has inspired
to  finish  mine  off  properly.  It's kind of an feat to  have  the  system
performing well in a different chassis,  it's another art to have it looking
tidy with port extension cables and fittings mounted in neatly with no  bits
hanging  out.(I  have  nightmares of how terrible my Falcon  looked  in  the
Desktopper case.)  My next job on my system is to fabricate a metal panel to
hold the keyboard port in place where the ATX ports panel goes,  and make up
a SCSI cable to make the hard disk/CD/ZIP drive.

21.40 - CiH
Joke only understandable to Mr Pink and a few other people...

Mr Pink,  bathed in the pale ghostly light of his vdu, looks a lot like Jack
Dee  on  life  support!  (The British comedian who  takes  masterclasses  in

Organiser dudes are recording the art and music compo entries.  It will take
a while.  I am more than normally interested,  as 1.  I'm represented in the
ascii  graphics compo,  and 2.  A couple of modfiles have been made with the
newly released Ace Tracker.

Compo's soon?

Present  speculation  is  for a 01.00 start for these?!  This is  main  demo
competition sort of lateness, not usually graphics and music ;-)

Current EIL demo compo rumours..

Dead Hackers / ST demo, caught the tiniest glimpse (hee hee!) 
Thomas of New Beat / AN other, an intro, using a standalone Ace replayer. 
An intro/demo by Dune, this is not Illusion, it had new 'EIL 3' graphics.
Something from Escape? I'd be surprised if they didn't.
tSCc Falcon demo, if they release it? 
*Two* ST demo's from different parts of Reservoir Gods! 
An ST demo that Nerve and others made, STS reworking some graphics for it. 
At least one fake demo....

No  release from Earx,  his effort will not be ready until after the  party.
Grey  mentioned  on  the Bulletin board there was going  to  be  one  Polish
release,  but  a lot of Poles are 'missing in action' and didn't get to  the

I'm  sure  there will be room for a couple more surprises,  either  way,  in

(ED NOTE:- Apart from the "surprise" of Checkpoint's resurrection, this list 
was pretty accurate in relation to what was shown at the competitions.)

11.35, or 23.35
Now  MSG  has been told that "something will happen on the  big  screen"  at

11.55: He wasn't told that the "Something happening" would be done to him!

11.59: MSG update, now it's back to 01.00hrs, or is that 13.00hrs??

00.00! - CiH
It's Sunday!!! SUNDAY!!!!

Pink is coming down with SARS?!  Don't breathe over here! This could explain
the perpetually pained facial expression he's had all day?

I  got  a good eyeful of the tSCc Falcon demo,  rather good,  and in a  very
contemporary  style.  Very  common on PeeCee style productions,  but  rather
uncommon here,  and thus new and interesting.  I hope they do release it and
show  it  properly  in  the competitions.  The  standard  of  production  is
extremely high, and is a credit to all concerned :)

Still  waiting  for  compo  entries,  organisers recording  an  atari  8-bit
chipsong.  Also  advised that there are three likely Falcon demo contenders,
the  tSCc  production,  a  demo  from Cruor,  and Escape  with  a  presently
unfinished work.

I'll  close  this  RTA down for now,  get back  with  some  post-competition

(End of RTA bit)

And back to the supporting text...

There  was a lot of waiting around for the first series of  competitions.  A
lot more than would be normal for the efficient Error in Line  organisation.
Much of the delay was technical,  trying to get an 8-bit Atari to connect to
the video to record a Pokey sound tune for example.

Some were unable to bear the wait,  which dragged into the very early hours,
and  went  to  bed.  The organisers made a sensible decision to  replay  the
graphics  and sound competitions later on,  when people were awake.  But for
those of us with no fear of bedtimes, and hardened insomnia, they went ahead
at some time around 02.00 anyway!

Beds, we don' need no steenkin' beds!

Competition viewpoint, post-party;

Ascii graphics:- Nice work Kev, you were a deserved winner! 
Soundtracker music:- Ace Tracker rules! It's near orgasm time! 
Soundchip zikz:- A great set of tunes, best ziks yet!? 
16 Colour graphics:- A crazy but cunning plan from Flash!

And so to bed soon after,  in the darkened stumbling sleeping room.  "Excuse 
me, was that your spinal column that I just kicked in?!" Actually, there was
plenty  of room to spread out,  and I found my bed without any such trouble,
and slept with even less trouble for a few hours.

(RTA fanfare!) 

04.07(!!) - CiH, the other two had gone to bed!

Competitions for the graphics and sound finished,  and some very interesting
entries  among them.  The modfile tracker saw the first use of Ace  Tracker,
with  an  excellent tune from Nemo in particular,  (which picked up from  an
earlier  composed  soundchip  tune entered for  the  chiptune  competition!)
Soundchip  tunes  saw a wide variety of hardware and tools  used,  with  505
probably  edging that one.  The sixteen colour pictures saw a cunning  limit
breaker,  as  the "holy" 320 x 200 pixel limit was broken by a  storytelling
tapestry  format from Flash of TNB,  which had an incredibly huge horizontal
resolution, themed with classic demo makers art from past productions.

Ascii-art proved interesting,  with the captions for my entries mixed up ;-)
(MCL quote:- "Used hardware? Why ask this question? This is ascii!")

The  only  one which was slightly behind the times,  was a fair to  middling
truecolour competition with a smaller number of entries than the rest.

These were a good series of competitions, with the musically orientated ones
managing not to outstay their welcome for once.

(End of part one!)

This EIL  report  has been  split in two,  to  allow us to  bring  you  some 
screengrabs  with  the  article,  having  experimented a little with  "safe" 
textfile sizes  to accomodate piccies within them. It seems like a good idea
to stop about halfway, at this point :)

What will happen with the demo competitions, not to mention the aftermath?!

Read on, in part two!! - CiH

Alive 7