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Alive 8

Okay,  so this is a lot later,  and not at all realtime. I had planned to do
some  more  realtime  text-tapping when I was back at  Q-Funk's  place,  but
limited  opportunity,  inclination,  and  space  to set up in,  meant that I
didn't.  So  anything  else written from here on,  is going to be in a  past

One  of the corporately sponsored competitions was the mobile  phone  camera
picture  competition.  This  was laid on by Nokia,  generously providing the
facilities,  and  also a prize for this,  namely one of the top of the range
mobile  camera phones in question.  Entrants to this,  had a short time with
one  of  these  cameraphones  to rush  around  Gloria  and  the  surrounding
wilderness, to take pictures of whatever they thought would win a prize.

This one goes to a judging panel, rather than a vote, I am surprised to find
myself  part of that panel,  but the bulk of the decision-making is left  to
still photography fan Q-Funk, and probably a good job too.

In  the meantime,  I am distracted by another competition being outputted to
the big screen. This is the Text Mode Demo Competition, organised by Finnish
sceners  tAAt,  with  the  entries  for this one gathered  in  earlier,  and
screened here at the Alt Party. This uses a hairy combination of PeeCee demo
coding,  and  the  ancient  ANSI text mode,  beloved of a thousand  and  one
bulletin board logo's c.1991.

Apart  from the blockiness evident in using such a screen mode,  the effects
being shown bear every resemblance to contemporary demo stuff. It looks like
there are more colours used,  than for an old-style CGA/EGA PeeCee,  and the
level  of sound support is 'improvised' in places.  The overall standard  is
very  high,  and all the demos seem to run from within a smart 'shell' which
details the ranking of each demo, counting back to the number #1 entry.

In  the  end,  a cool Amiga style oldschool demo,  pips a more  recognisable
Newschool effort to the winning post...

With all thoughts of going back to Q-Funk's place before the prizegiving now
gone,  we  decide  to repair a food-related deficiency at that  purveyor  of
near-substitute  foodlike substances called Madonalds.  They do their  thing
rather smartly,  and we return to Gloria,  grab a vacant table upstairs, and
pig out on the food-substitutes.

Soon,  the  end  of  Alt Party V is near,  only the prizegiving and  closing
ceremonies are left....

Here is the official results file,  with comments added by myself at the end
of each category, where it might hopefully help to explain things better.

       ALTERNATIVE PARTY V   -   Results

Compo: Realtime Mobile Gaming

 1) Rasak

That one slid right past me...

Compo: Realtime Mobile Photography

 1) Hydro/Gluterol

The  event which was judged rather than voted on.  There were quite a lot of
cool entries for this one. Only one prize winner though!

Compo: Two-colour Graphics

 1) Is It True? by Ansichrist                         85
 2) Sad Creature by Ravel/Sleber Eid                  84
 3) Apt Pupil by DiamondDie/foobug^Numedia Cyclops    53
 4) This Forest of Love by Nosfe                      47
 5) XTC Legalized in Finland Only Minutes Ago by Geel/Faktory 46
 6) Bouh! by Baggio/Evulution                         45 (*)
 7) Really by Serialthriller/Moonhazard               38
 8) Paeaestaekaeae minut pois kalliosta by Scoopr     36
 9) Uncle-X:n iloksi by 333elite/ISO                  27
10) Turin by Visy/Tukka                                6
    Sadedelfi by DiamonDienpikkusisko/Numedia Cyclops
    (reason: author not present at the party)
    Mun bestiksen penis by 18v jatkaeae jonka mutsi jne of Jumalauta
    (reason: wrong file format, should have been png)

(*)  Not such bad going from our Swedish hero.  A few more votes would  have
put him in the prizes.

Compo: Realtime Short Story

 1) 6 by DiamonDie                                    43
 2) 5 by Elfie                                        37
 2) 2 by Nosfe                                        37
 4) 4 by MegaMies                                     35
 5) 1 by Sauli/JML                                    20
 6) 3 by Molox                                        19
 7) 7 by jobe                                         15

Compo: Elite Ship Building

 1) Battle-damaged Viper by Depressio/Naemok          84
 2) Shadow by Spiikki/Dekadence                       60
 3) Kukkia ja mehiläisiä by Tazze                     30
 4) Nosfe by Nosfe                                    30
 5) Kirkkovenealus by Britelite/Dekadence             29
 6) Afrikka by Ansichrist                             28
 7) Sidewinder by Ravel/Sleber Eid                    26
 8) j1g54w by DiamonDie/Foobug^Numedia Cyclops        25
 9) Cobra MK-1 Backwards Edition by Scoopr            10
10) Cobra MkII (?) by Tuoppi/Sleber Eid                9

This was a cool competition. Most people contented themselves with colouring
in  advanced origami recreations of classic Elite spaceships,  but the first
prize  winner  was  a decent attempt at  model-making,  including  authentic
battle damaged laser burning and scarring near the rear of the craft. Now if
it could have been flown?!

Compo: Sewing

 1) Pupu by ISO                                       44
 2) "Dragon" Lohikäärme by Elfie                      41
 3) Freedom Alt 2004 SEW by Entil / Fractal Kru       31
 4) Sunflower by Spiikki/Dekadence                    26
 5) Alternative Pacman by DiamonDie/Numedia Cyclops   25
 6) Squat the Planet by Nosfe                         18
 6) A Stupid Dog on a Surfboard by MegaMies           18
 8) ? by Karvaisten rkkien kasvatusyhdistys           17
 9) Growth by Stibe                                   16
10) Old School by Kristoffer Lawson                   14
11) Kala-allas by Molox                               12
11) "Die Rebels" by Tuoppi                            12
13) How to Get AMIGA by DeLada                        10
13) Porkkana by Maarit "Tazze" Klami                  10
15) Bernhardilainen by Rasputina                       8
15) Squiggly by Liberty                                8
17) QBE by Scoopr                                      7
18) OM by Atte Joutsen                                 5

Yes, there was such a compo, and the idea blows my brain as well.

Compo: General MIDI Music

 1) Gone Laserdancing by Little Bitchard/MFX^Kwl     137
 2) Blue Sparks by Pinza/Unique                       90
 3) We Operate by Jobe/Matt Current                   76
 4) BaBiBu by Paaris/Tukka                            48
 5) Sunny Games by Sauli                              44
 6) Rue Tama by Tonic                                 32
 6) Mun Biiisi by Nunna/ISO                           32
 8) Hiippailua by Waffle                              19

Missed this one, sorry, food was more important.

Compo: Dynamic Demo

 1) Juustomaariageneraattori by Exile Studios        194
 2) Micery by Bandwagon & Fit                        141
 3) L'art_pretentiux by MFX                           61
 4) Noir by Mäyrä                                     32
 5) Tukkage! by Visy/Tukka                            17
 6) TI-557 by Paaris/Tukka                            12
    Hilary Rozen by (Atari Falcon) (*)
    (reason: demo not dynamic)

(*)  That result wasn't unexpected,  but we could have got around it,  if we
knew in advance the calibre of some of the other entries. (Falling far short
of the competition rules by going for some lame randomisation,  in my view!)
Still,  it got shown,  and got the most laughs of the evening, which is what

The first place entry was some kind of cartoon with a random conversation in
Finnish  going  on  between  two  characters,  apparently  using  incomplete
fragments  of sentences,  and very funny for that part of the audience.  The
most impressive entry,  technically,  was the Mac-based 'Micery' demo, which
seemed  to  be more of a simulation with packs of  minature  clockwork  mice
roaming  around a maze,  being chased by different kinds of bouncing  balls.
Third prize went to Nosfe, for something that was a little bit too messed up
through  the  projector,   which  had  problems  handling  heavy  screenmode

The  fourth place 'Noir' was a black and white photo slideshow,  with a film
noir soundtrack,  both parts playing randomly.  Tukkage, the other oldschool
entry,  was a fairly simple Vic 20 demo, which managed to randomise colours,
and the TI-86 demo did something fairly dull with sine waves.

Compo: Software Sound Synthesis

 1) Glowing by ld0d                                  165
    (Windows; c; executable size 20480 bytes)
 2) Trollenscheisse by Viznut/pWp                    140
    (GNU/Linux, c & assembly, executable size 2100 bytes)
 3) Llamazonia by Gasman                              95
    (GNU/Linux, perl; source size 1259 bytes)
 4) Wavebuilder by Bass Cadet                         65
    (GNU/Linux, c; executable size 8231 bytes, patch file 2186 bytes)
    Jormation by Vesuri/da Jormas
    (AmigaOS, assembly; 7 executables, ~6370 bytes each)
    (reason: author not present at the party)

Missed  that  one too,  (See MIDI music compo).  It was a really good  curry

Compo: Poetry Recital

 1) Poetry Resist by ISO                              69
 2) Fire in Our Hearts by Nosfe                       56
 3) Elämä by Ravel                                    55
 4) Poetry Recital by Abho                            54
 5) Ode to the RIAA by Felice/Maggie Team             50
 6) Aamukuva by DiamonDie/foobug^Numedia Cyclops      43
 7) SMS by Lobotomy                                   21

A  closely  packed top order there,  only a handful of votes separating  2nd
from 5th place,  Felice was unlucky there!  Felice was also the only english
language entry, as far as I remember?

Compo: Silent Movie

 1) Vihannexia - Vegetables by MegaMies              125
 2) Harmu 19,417 by Kameli                            59
 3) Paranoid by Numedia Cyclops                       45
 4) Agnosia Live by Agnosia                           33
 5) Virne voittaa Nosfen kompossa by Virne            30
 6) The Last Best Hope by Ravel                       25
 7) Infinity^2 by Nosfe                               22
 8) Untitled by Stibe                                 20
 9) Aropupu by ISO                                    19
10) Mun on niin paha olla by Perselintu!              17
11) Kohtalon tanssi by Tukka                          13

One  of  the more memorable competitions,  apart from the fact that all  the
entries  blur together in a series of half-recalled impressions and  images,
so  the war grave movie blends into the silent band playing a  gig,  closely
followed by a couple of cartoon detectives blowing up a petrol station! Bass
Cadet on piano,  with his classic 'silent movie soundtrack' style, proved to
be an effective accompaniment to these films.

Compo: Realtime Comic-drawing

 1) 11 by Ansichrist                                  51
 2) 5 by Britelite/Dekadence                          39
 3) 1 by J. Pupu                                      26
 4) 3 by DiamonDie                                    25
 5) 7 by Nosfe                                        21
 6) 6 by Jobe/MC                                      20
 7) 16 by Spiikki                                     19
 8) 13 by Modust/Exile                                18
 9) 10 by Gasman/Hooy Program                         16
10) 4 by Uhef/Exile                                   14
11) 12 by Kanttu                                      11
12) 2 by cih  (*)                                     10
12) 14 by Felor                                       10
14) 15 by Antti Mikkinen                               9
14) 9 by Paaris/Tukka                                  9
16) 8 by Vizy/Tukka                                    3

(*) Yes I did have a go at that.  Twelth place reflects the fact that from a
thirty  minute  competition,  I spent ten minutes on my entry!  The funniest
entry was a satire of 'Clippy', the Microsoft annoying desktop widget, given
'alternative' work as a stethoscope.

A: You are feeling a funny pain in your left arm.
B: You are about to die!
C: Why don't you reboot windows..
D: Please buy this expensive health insurance!

Or something like that, anyway, I hope it won.

Compo: BASIC Demo

 1) Excellence[tm] by Ananasmurska                     90
 2) Solutus by ISO                                     71
 3) Hikiliikkuja - Perspiratual Motion Machine by tAAt 2004 61
 4) Sieni pakottaa by Nyyrikki                         49
    (MSX Basic 4 & X-Basic)
 5) Threederles by Spiikki/Nalleperhe^DKD              40
 6) Oksennus 2 by Megamies/Gluterol                    34
 7) One Last Time by Lucid                             16
 8) Sikakreisi by Pahamoka/Naemok                      14
 9) Mutsiis kans by Visy/Tukka                         12
10) 288 Lines of QBasic Power! by RV-1991              11
11) Weeden by Depili                                    4
    (Casio FP-200)

Cool!  The  Excel  demo won!  The overall standard of this compo was  pretty

Compo: World Domination

 1) IRC-Galleria

This  was  the  obligatory Setok fit  of  self-indulgence  competition.  The
general  aim  of this competition was to achieve 'World  Domination',  or  a
state  as  close  as possible,  and to have this process documented  by  the
media. This could have meant anything, from Finnish demo collective advances
world revolution agenda with excessively preachy manifesto,  to finnish demo
collective  swallows  and destroys Microsoft through cunning use  of  global
capital etc...

Compo: Most Obscure Computer

 1) Bethvoid/Bleubtreu (Texas Instruments some model)

Do  you  get  the feeling that the original interest in  older  hardware  is
slipping away rather too quickly to be decent?!

------------------------ A:\ Run exit procedures --------------------------

The  prize  giving  ceremony goes on for a while,  with  all  the  different
competitions. The lucky (male) winners have the added bonus of being greeted
by the lovely Alt Party mascot 'MaryCloud',  and more of her later, yes yes,
you've said that before!

From there,  dissolution is remarkably quick,  and the end is near. it is at
that  point,  that we get to meet some last minute people,  in the form of a
couple  of UK'ers who we managed to miss seeing for the entire  duration  of
the party up to now! These are a couple of Welsh females, with the look of a
mother  and  daughter  set-up.  I didn't get enough  information  about  the
precise nature of their relationship to each other?  They are connected with
the  inner  workings  of  Llamasoft and  the  sheep  cult  surrounding  Jeff
"otherwise quite  sane" Minter. We get on like the proverbial house-inferno,
they mention something about a Llamasoftie camping trip that might well come
about  in  the  summer.  With that news,  Alt Partygoers are flying  in  all
directions, and soon, it is our turn to leave the scene of the crime too.

Q-Funk  has  managed  to book a massively  luxurious  taxi-like  minibus.  A
vehicle  which can carry seven people and luggage in comfort has no  problem
with us three, and our slender baggage requirements, and pretty soon, we are
at the new Q-Funklie GHQ, somewhere in the outer reaches of Helsinki.

Whilst  we  have  been  running in a  self-contained  manner  in  the  party
environment,  outside,  some  fresh  falls  of  snow have been  making  life
interesting,  as  we  slather  the  last couple of  yards  back  to  Q-Funks
apartment. We soon settle in, a large degree of tiredness takes over for the
next couple of hours or so,  as Martin's bed is so very comfortable,  and he
catches up with various domestic items and IRC'ing, and Felice makes various
people reassuring phone calls to distant parts of the world.

Thoughts eventually turn to getting an evening meal.  This is within a short
walking  distance at the local Chinese restaurant,  which is having a  quiet
post-Xmas Sunday.  Whilst waiting for the three-course meal that we ordered,
Q-Funk explains that the Chinese restaurant trade around these parts is very
helpful,  as they are the only places open on Xmas day! Fine if you can't be
too bothered yourself.

Whilst  we  are eating our meal,  Q-Funk starts to worry about a French  guy
called  'Nystep' who turned up to Alt,  who is staying at some seedy dive in
the  downtown  part  of Helsinki.  Nystep latched onto Marty as  a  friendly
French-speaking source of help,  in an otherwise strange country.  Nystep is
experiencing  hassles  with  the  owners of  said  seedy  dive,  and  having
difficulties in drawing cash out of the hole in the wall ATM. (Both of these
problems  proved to be entirely solveable upon closer examination.)  Anyway,
there is a pre-planned pub crawl taking place from 20.00hrs on, in that same
downtown area. So it is, we are headed there just a bit later on...

The journey to downtown takes in quite a lot of public transport, both above
ground,  and the subway and also about half a mile's worth of sliding across
snow-covered pavements.  Setok is tantalisingly imprecise about where he and
the other organisers have located themselve to, but a phone call later finds
us in the right place.  We gratefully enter the bar, and the bartender seems
to be glad to see us, to the point of shouting greetings....

"Hey hey!" he shouts,  we think,  "Great, he knows us!", but his remarks are
addressed  to the two drunks nearby,  who are busily twatting each other  in
the near corner. Well it was mainly one guy hitting the other, who seemed to
be rolling rather well with the incoming punches.  We conclude that it would
perhaps  be a bit premature to start ordering drinks at that  moment?!   The
warring  parties  are disentangled and evicted,  with a cheery  "Fuck  you!"
issuing  from  the more insulted and aggressive party,  and we are  able  to
settle  down for the rest of the evening,  robbing the chairs that have just
been  forcibly  cleared  for our own use!  Apart from Setok,  several  other
organisers and their guests are present as well, including Baggio, Partycle,
Wiztom,  and several females seen in various places around the party. Q-Funk
goes to talk to Nystep, to sort out his situation, even leaving the bar with
him at some point, to sort out the hotel hassles.

The  rest  of the evening passes very pleasantly,  but we  gradually  become
aware of another fuckwit starting to intrude on our enjoyment horizon.  This
is  a middle-aged drunk,  complete with a Saddam Hussein style untidy beard,
whose  idea of haute couture is to wear clothing with the beer company  logo
printed  on it.  He is not unpleasant at first,  even speaking some drunkard
French dialect to the unfortunate Nystep. He, without his prior consent, has
been  previously appointed this evening's "Loony magnet",  thus freeing  the
rest of us from such drunken menaces!

By  the time people are starting to leave,  it is almost the midnight  hour,
and this guy is offering to fight people in English. We don't get to witness
the  aftermath,  but  gather that a vigilant bar tender managed to sort  out
this person, and send him on his way too.

Back across town,  and a dash for a late bus home. Miss late bus, pass a few
not  unpleasant minutes waiting for the next one,  and reflecting on the fun
and games of the party thus far. We get back home soon after, and put an end
to  Sunday,  a  general  collapse into various forms of  sleeping  equipment

READ B:\monday\big_sleep_in\dontwake.prg

Ah, pleasant blackness, soft but unyielding. Well almost, as when it is just
starting to get light, a dreamstorm across my cerebral cortex blasts me to a
brief wakefulness. A quick bathroom pitstop helps greatly, and the next bout
of sleep is a much more relaxing affair.

Eventually,  at  some  point  very  late in the morning,  or  early  in  the
afternoon,  we  all  manage to stir ourselves very  reluctantly,  eventually
doing  the getting up thing.  I finally get to meet Q-Funks' new  room-mate,
who  came with the new apartment.  He is a big improvement on the mad  drunk
from  the two previous Alt sleepovers.  His only fault is to look  something
like  a  Finnish edition of Yahoo Serious!  In the adjoining room,  his very
nice  cutie blonde girlfriend can be seen playing something with  a  shooty-
death mayhem theme on their PeeCee..

We  are  only  able  to  rouse ourselves very  slowly,  in  the  post  party
aftermath.  It  is  getting  into the late afternoon period by the  time  we
manage to drag ourselves off to town. We make sure that our after-party gear
is  taken with us,  as we are planning to make our way straight there in the
evening, without coming back to Martin's place. Outside, it has been snowing
somewhat, not too heavily, but enough to provide something of fresh interest
to walk on.

A  bus  looms  out  of  the grey and blizzardy  conditions  and  we  get  on
gratefully.  Then a very lengthy episode of bus and local railway gets us to
the residence of Q-Funk's current squeeze, whom we met briefly at the party.
She is at work, but Martin catches up on his sanitary refreshment there, and
that  apartment  is very comfortable,  too much so,  when we have to venture
forth into the snowfields once more..

We  go back into the city centre,  this time on a search for pizza.  This is
duly  found,  in a neat bar-cafe not too far from Rax's,  the domain of 'Eat
until you explode'.  Q-Funk is a regular there,  and the bar person seems to
know him well.  What is given to us foodwise, is plenty to be going on with.
Whilst  we  are  contentedly pigging away,  Nystep turns up,  his hotel  and
monetary hassles solved, and he is seemingly pleased to see us.

The  next  vital  and necessary step,  is to secure some  inportant  alcohol
supplies for the after-party,  and it is to the 'Alko' booze shoppe, that we
adjourn  to  next.  We spend an enjoyable fifteen or so minutes mulling  the
many  choices  over.  Felice  opts for a bottle of fine old red wine,  I  am
caught  in  a dilemma over several different varieties of  flavoured  vodka,
choosing a big bottle for public enjoyment,  and a smaller bottle for my own
abuse!  We pay for our liquor, carefully averting the distainful gaze of the
cashier,  who  no  doubt  has had state-sponsored  training,  with  periodic
refresher  courses,  in  the  art  of  looking down  on  people  who  choose
intoxicating liquids for pleasure.

Time is getting on by then,  the appointed hour of sauna is near!  Thence we
goto the mighty After-party!

A  bus ride gets us to the spot where we came upon Jeff Minter and  visiting
party last year,  and we head,  bottles clinking, firstly to the place where
the Reservoir Gods refused to bow down and worship the sauna after the third
Alt Party.  This turns out to be the wrong venue,  so we head on over to the
scene  of  last year's Yak-baptism of steam,  which happens to be the  right
location for this year's shindig.

RUN C:\afterprt.prg

Now  this afterparty left lots and lots of different impressions.  It  might
take  me  a while to gather in all the juicy ones,  so bear with me  a  bit.
Anyway,  I  can  tell you straight off,  that we were there nice and  early,
before most other people had arrived.

We  donate our booze to the kitchen supplies,  and start to discreetly crack
open the odd bottle or two ourselves.  Felice develops a taste for the vodka
that  I  brought.  Meanwhile,  he  has  unpacked his  laptop,  having  first
remembered  to bring it with him,  and we are initially absorbed in browsing
off the 'No Fragments' ST demo collection CDR, via the STeem emulator.

Other people gradually start to arrive,  the sauna is warming up,  a big log
fire  crackles  invitingly in the fireplace nearby.  Another stout  Atarian,
Baggio,  has  opted  to  stay around for this afterparty,  which was a  good
decision  on  his part.  Setok turns up briefly,  and disappears again for a
time, the better to catch some more sleep, other recognisable faces, such as
Twilighte, Partycle, and Wiztom all turn up before too long too.

The  expensive  Epsom  projector,  which  made the Alt  Party  bigscreen  so
viewable, is back with us again. The sponsors would no doubt be horrified to
see  it put to work in such a drunken and bohemian environment!  There is  a
muchly  varied  menu of things shown on the big screen.  A strange  game  by
Finnish demo collective 'tAAt' seems to be very popular,  which is a person-
mashing game at the hands, or wheels of a big truck. You take turns to crash
this person and truck into a wall, tweaking settings for position and angles
of ramps,  and even where to have this person sitting,  inside,  outside, or
right  in front of the truck!  Damage points are built up,  according to how
catastrophic your "solution" is!

Nobody we saw got into the really big points shown on the highscore,  but we
did have some amusing moments on the way,  such as the run which catapaulted
the  player perfectly onto the top of the wall,  or the crash which suceeded
in lobbing them over the wall,  but the camera panned around just in time to
catch  the  last limb-twitch of the newly created corpse!  Finnish  sceners,
criminally insane? Naah! Just "differently moralled"!

There are lots of different PeeCee things. A wide selection of demo material
over  the  course  of the evening,  fortunately without the  Amiga  gayscene
material  which  blighted  last  year.  We even have a little bit  of  a  go
ourselves,  as  Felice manages to hook up his laptop,  with the No Fragments
disk, and bash the population with a selection of the ST's greatest hits, he
chooses  oldschool stuff such as the evergreen Mindbomb,  where as I opt for
some newer smash hits,  such as EIL 3 hit 'Darkness'.  Of course,  the still
mighty  'Brain-Damage' got a choice spot,  out of respect to the members  of
Aggression who attended the party.  Wiztom delights in telling us which bits
of that demo, were cunning coding cheats!

And did we manage to get away without playing "H-Demo IV"? Of course not! It
is made even better when we are able to point out one of the participants in
that  notorious  video capture,  namely Baggio,  who tried to accentuate his
lack  of  hair  and growth of beard compared with  back  then,  but  without

It  may have been a couple of hours,  or possibly even more in,  by the time
the sauna kicked off?

The arrival of a still uncharacteristically quiet Nosfe changed the mood, as
he was in there first. Soon, a stream of people were making their way to the
changing rooms, for the latest instalment of naked steam powered action!

This  starts off in the usual manner,  familiar to readers of past Alt Party
reports. But after a while, certain format changes become apparent. A number
of  females conncted with the Alt Party have also turned up.  This injection
of the fairer sex includes the fragrant presence of the delicious Marycloud!

Marycloud                               Satan, erm Setok!

It  soon becomes apparent that these female members are not waiting for  the
creation  of a segregated sauna area,  as they strip off and join right  in!
Suddenly,  those people not already committed to the Sauna, become more than
usually interested!  Without going into details, and looking like a bit of a
pervert in the course of writing this report,  I might take this opportunity
to pass my compliments on to all the women who entered the sauna with us, on
the night of that afterparty! You were all very nice indeed!

Notwithstanding the interesting fact that a mixed sauna is not so common  in
Finland, most people take matters in their stride. A hotbox with added steam
isn't the sort of place where you get too excited.  However,  others weren't
so  easy with the concept,  as poor old Nystep managed to get a stiffy  upon
sighting the fair and unencumbered female flesh.  (I'm not taking bets,  but
I've  got  a feeling it was MaryCloud 'wot triggered that  reaction!?)  When
this was mentioned to her later, she took it as a compliment!

The  whole sauna thing goes on for quite a while,  a lot longer even than at
the previous after-parties. The action transfers to the smaller wood burning
sauna.  I was one of the first in there, whilst it was still getting to full
temperature.  It  was  a very nice sauna,  especially when the steam was up.
According to sauna expert Setok, a lot less harsh and easier to tolerate for
longer periods than the big electric one.

Some  people  went outside briefly,  Nystep with the ladies rolling  in  the
snow,  possibly to reduce his groinal swelling?!  I went outside for a while
with  Twilighte  and  others,  which  was a tolerable  feeling,  apart  from
everyone's feet getting very cold.

The  sauna action climaxes (ahem!) with a record of sorts being  established
for  the  most people in a confined space.  This would be two women,  and  a
dozen  blokes in a space which would fit nine people comfortably!  And I was
in  there,  at  one  stage,  sitting next to MaryCloud,  who was the 'middle
layer' of a lap-sitting 'sandwich!' She was clearly enjoying the  situation,
and the guy underneath had never suffocated more enjoyably!

The  whole  sauna  experience,  naked chicks and all lasted a long  time,  I
reckon past midnight. In between skinny-dipping sessions in steam, Marycloud
was indulging in a series of make-up experiments on various people, who were
prepared  to  put up with the minor inconvenience of her wrigging  on  them!
Twilighte  and  Partycle  were painted up to look  like  Rocky  Horror  Show

Partycle walks like an Egyptian, Wiztom and Felice reflect on a lucky escape!

In  the meantime,  our old friend,  and the refuge of the labouring classes,
DRINK had not been forgotten. There was plenty of it brought into the party.
I soon managed to finish off my own personal supplies, with the enthusiastic
help of Felice, who turned into a little bit of a vodka fan that night! Then
it was time to tuck into the substances that others had brought with them!

Quite a bit later, some people fell off the pace. Twilighte was one such, as
he  crashed  for a couple of hours near the end of the  party.  Some  people
resorted  to a Playstation dance-mat game for crazed entertainment.  The log
fire  roared on,  the drink was gradually searched out and drunk.  I seem to
remember  carrying out a search of the kitchen area with  someone,  possibly
Wiztom,  and  carrying on a loud conversation like something out of the  Viz
Comic "Drunk Bakers" strip.

"Looks like all the vodka's gone... Good stuff that is.."

"Here,  have a shot at this Pastis that Nystep brought, it's strong stuff on
its own, but better with water, turns all milky..."

"Mmmm, not sure about that one, tastes funny, like aniseed.."

A  bit  later  still and some people get an attack  of  the  munchies.  This
entails  eating anything to hand...  There was a nice open fire,  which some
people  were in danger of falling into,  but there was no reindeer stew,  or
barbeque sausages organised. The snacks and crisps supplied had long gone by
then.  I  do  remember  getting my hands on a small microwave  pizza,  which
tasted fantastic in the booze-fuddled and hunger-sharpened conditions.

Eventually,  at around 06.00, the party is beginning to run down. Everything
fun  or  useful has been done,  and everything consumable has run dry.  I am
starting to feel more than a little sleepy myself.  There is something of an
en-masse  departure for early buses,  as the bleary-eyed crowd staggers into
the new day..

Our  bus takes us most of the way home.  Not quite all,  as we walk the last
half  a  mile partway across the bridge back to the city centre,  which  was
alarmingly described as 'two kilometres' by the Q of Funk. So either he is a
very  poor judge of distance,  (See Altparty III report!) Or a  particularly
miraculous "beer taxi"(*) was operating that morning!

(*) Definition time,  ho hum, "Beer Taxi", the means whereby you somehow get
home  when you are very drunk,  without being able to recall too much of the
journey back!

So about ten minutes of walking later, I recognise that I am back in Q-Fey's
neighbourhood,  and  the  cheer  in my heart substains me the  last  hundred
metres or so to my waiting bed and SLEEP!

FIND D:\wake_up_dammit\tuesday.prg

We  struggled awake sometime around midday,  maybe a bit later.  There was a
simple  plan  for  our last day,  which was to meet up  with  the  remaining
international  visitors,  at  the  premises of 'Molly Malones for  one  last

It  is late afternoon before we have pulled ourselves together properly,  to
be  able to get away to town.  Q-Funk's room-mate is very helpful with a big
supply of fresh hot coffee on tap, but he has to leave as well.

We  meet with Twilighte in the rather congenial 'Pullman Cafe',  which is on
the  top floor of the Central Railway Station.  This has a limited but tasty
menu, so we order food, and linger for a fair while there. We do get talking
about  various ALT party issues,  and dishing out the gossip on some of  the
people  at Alt.  We also get to hear a bit more of the inside story of 'Alt-
TV',  and the people doing silly crazy things with it, early in the morning!
(Hi Setok!)

We get to Molly's first,  order drinks, and find out that a lot of our first
choices aren't actually available, for one reason or another, try again, and
again, until we all have something we're reasonably happy with, then proceed
to  find a spot in the far corner that can accomodate us,  and the rest when
they turn up.   Baggio,  Partycle,  Wiztom all arrive soon after. We spend a
considerable dollop of time at Mollys, at least getting another drink or two

Some kind of live music act is setting up on the small stage nearby, so most
of the visiting party leaves, apparently going on to some snooker place. But
Q-Funk, Felice and I stay where we are, as Q-Funk's girlfriend, and her best
friend  are  coming to meet us at Molly's.  The band start to play,  and  it
turns out to be an undemanding rock outfit, playing cover versions of middle
of  the road stuff,  at a not too harsh volume.  Clearly the exposure to the
many and varied live acts at Alt, has raised our game for musical endurance!

We  even get talking to some of the local females who are watching the  band
next  to  us.  I  end up chatting to a redheaded girl called  Miha.  (excuse
spelling  of  the  name?)  She  had been to the  UK,  and  had  gained  some
interestingly hairy work experience over there. She was good company, a good
laugh even, and she revealed that she had just finished with her significant
other, and was going out with some friends to cheer herself up. It seemed to
be working...  I get the feeling that I could have been onto a good thing if
the  situation  had  been slightly different?  But then again,  I  could  be
kidding myself ;-)

As  the midnight hour approaches,  Mollys is getting very crowded,  awaiting
the  climax of the live music,  but we bid farewell to our new friends,  and
start back home, as we have a bit of an early start for the flight home.

RUN E:\oh_fuck_is_it_that_early\time_to_go_home\exit.prg

Wednesday, 06.30hrs..

Wake up,  stagger in darkness,  lights go on,  bathroom,  get dressed,  pack
everything,  crush last gasp of air from air mattress.  Between the three of
us,  this final act is carried out awesomely quickly,  to the point where we
are ready to set off by 07.00.

So we do..

There  is  not a lot more to add,  we are well-served by the  various  buses
going  from Q-Funk's to the airport,  the latter service being the luxurious
direct shuttlebus connection.  It is still very dark out,  as we glimpse the
rush hour traffic building up but going the other way into town.

The  flight  back is a weary action-replay of the flight over,  and all  too
soon,  we  are back in time-adjusted to GMT Britain.  Stanstead proved to be
easy to negotiate, and we reacquaint ourselves with Felice's car, driving on
the correct side of the road, and so on.

One  little surprise was brought back with us,  no,  not Nosfe springing out
from  the  aircraft undercarriage well screaming "Fire in  your  heart!"  in
Finnish, but an increasingly Suomi-style snowfall, which got more intense as
the journey back to Felice's wore on. I pause for a short time at his place,
in  order to deposit the Alt-travelled Falcon with him,  and take up my  car
keys for part II of the journey back.

Now  the snowfall is really looking serious,  and by the time I get back  to
the  Northampton traffic mix,  I have more to fear from the stumbling idiots
failing  to  cope with the wet and slippery conditions than I  ever  did  in
Helsinki. I do get home in one piece though, and gratefully collapse, before
logging  on to check out all the lovely spam that has silted up  my  mailbox
while I've been away.

Another Alt Adventure is over!

PAUSE A:\rounding_up\summing-up\endbit.prg

Okay, so what have we learned from our latest soujourn to Finland, this time

This  fifth  edition was never going to be quite able to match  up  to  last
years  Minterquake.  This  years  guest,  a Finnish geek turned MP was  most
notable  for keeping his appearance brief and to the point,  but then again,
where were they ever going to get another guest of Mr Minter's calibre?

The  view in some quarters was,  that perhaps some of the competitions  were
perhaps  a  bit too alternate?  The main demo competition suffered  from  an
interesting idea,  which turned out to be not so great when people attempted
to put it into practice.

We  also  have to sadly note a certain number of missing  people  from  this
year's  party.  The  big man Teque briefly arrived at the party,  but wasn't
seen by many people. Pahartik didn't make it at all, and also on the list of
the missing, was Oric killer Dbug, who couldn't make it either.

The party atmosphere felt a bit more self-contained and parochial in  places
this time around. There seems to be a confusion over wanting to attract more
international visitors,  but there was a feeling that Alt could equally turn
inward  into a very local event,  with little to appeal to outsiders.  There
was  a  tendency  for the organisers and their friends to be  a  little  bit
cliquey  and  self-indulgent in some ways.  Is it possible  we could all  be
running  out of sharpness and excitement and stumbling into a well worn  rut
of  routine  now?  Maybe  we  were  feeling  the  acute  lack  of  something
Minteresque, to act as a sharp poke in the eye of complacency?

A lot of the competition entries and general entertaiment was in the Finnish
language, and much of it tended to run on in-jokes made for the benefit of a
few select people. This is fair enough, as it was their party, to run as you
wish,  but it got a bit teeth-grating to be told that something like that is
the  "funniest"  thing  on this planet,  when it isn't to your  ears,  which
happened to me more than once!

The  'oldschool' computer theme staged a brave rearguard action  against  an
increasing  marginalisation,  aided  and abetted by a certain  Falcon  '030,
against  the waves of relentless laptops.  There was even a semi-respectable
amount of entries from Amiga,  MSX, and Vic 20 in the competitions this time

With regard to the usual rowdy crowd,  they were there as well, very much in
a  nocturnal  sense.  I thought of making some kind of simulation,  computer
wargaming Drunk Polski vs Suomi sceners! It would be too close to tell which
would  out-drink  the  other?! These  seem  to  be  a  well-established  ALT
tradition by now.

It  was  great to see many familiar people again.  The usual  suspects  like
Marty  (Q-Funk),  Setok,  Partycle,  Wiztom,  and  Ravel  all  came forward.
Lobotomy,   another  of  the  organisers,  and  the  evil  arch-compo  entry
disqualifier,  became better known to me this time.  Of newer people,  I got
talking  to Diamondie,  sometime diskmag queen (writes for Hugi) and we  met
some  new people such as Nystep and the welshies for the first  time.  There
was also the welcome presence of fellow UK'ers like Ian 'Jagfest' Smith, and
the return of Twilighte. He now seems to be more involved in the Alt-TV side
of  things,  and  attended  last year's Assembly Party in the  summer.  Also
Baggio  made  up  for the rest of the Swedes not being  there,  by  sticking
around  for  the  afterparty,  a good move,  even when H-demo IV  was  being

I  seem  to remember that there was at least one other UK person  there,  an
individual  going  under the nick of "Gasman",  but we never got  around  to
spotting him.

The  afterparty  rocked!  It  gets better each year!  No other words  needed

Well,  just one more thing.  I send out greetings to Marycloud, Osyn and the
other  females who joined in the sauna with us.  You were all  fantastically
cool! (In a very steam-heated way!)

On  a personal note,  it was great to get the second Dildo Fatwa  production
out of the door,  and onto the big screen. Even if it didn't get anywhere in
the  competition,  we  did seem to wake up those parts of the audience  sent
comatose  by  some of the previous entries.   Maybe some people  capable  of
making  proper  demos on Atari might be more motivated to challenge  at  the
next Alt Party?

I  also give a lot of thanks to Martin (Q-Funky person) for putting up  with
us  as  always.  We hope that this year goes a lot better for you than  this
last one. Thanks again pal!

To conclude,  I ejoyed this Alt edition a hell of a lot, I'm looking forward
to  the next one,  but I won't get too wound up if it is rested for a little
while, and allowed to freshen up a bit.

CiH, for Alive Mag,Jan '04.

Photographic credits  on those pictures I  'borrowed' for use in this report
go as follows to Timo Rossi for the Battle Damaged Viper, and those stunning
After-Party pics.  MSK takes the rap for that  suggestive piccy of Marycloud
doing "things" with my Falcon!

Alive 8