Oh, how I need a time machine now!
It's noon, Saturday 19th May, 2007 AD, and I'm scared as hell. My mind is filled with a constant buzzing, a kind of white noise in which I can recognize words, sounds, images: Beam system! Food! Beer! Prizes! Timetable! Oh my God, help me, please! I'm going into panic mode.
The first serious and official organizing meeting will take place in 2 hours or so, and then we're going to realize the shape and size of the damage we are causing to ourselves. Man, I'm so fucking scared.
And here we are. Little more than a month is left and then we'll know the truth. We'll know if Italy is really the wrong country for demo parties, if we're just a bunch of wannabes and unprofessional morons. One thing I'm sure about: we're putting some serious effort into this thing, whatever it will turn out to be. Personally I'm eroding my precious and limited spare time with things for which I bet my wife will slap my face for the rest of my days.
I just wanted to have a try. Success or failure, only time will tell. Only time. Oh, how I need a time machine now!
Skan, main organizer
To tell the truth, I'm getting too old for this crap. But if I lean back and relax, I can clearly see the days of our youth: endless afternoons, summers, and winters, filled with games, demos, and dreams, with our beloved Amiga always switched on, night and day.
I remember an April's afternoon, 11 or 12 years ago maybe. I was playing around with DPaint on our coder's A4000. He was playing with his brand-new PlayStation. A moment of silence, then I asked: "Tony, why don't we organize a demo party?" His answer: "Amiga is dead. We are dead." He went on playing WipeOut, no emotions in his eyes. None of us realized, but he took his first steps outside the scene in that very moment. But that's another story.
Somewhere between 1995 and 1996, my mind began putting some small pieces together: I could clearly see a glorious demo party, "Utinum '96". OUR party! Damn silly dreams of youth. Now, I attribute that to too much spare time.
Still, here we are. Little more than a month left and then we'll know the truth.
The party is over. All guests have left. A few empty bottles lie around. An unreal silence surrounds the party place. We're alone now, with our cleaning and Internet duties, washing floors, packing releases, updating, uploading, upset, but extremely satisfied.
Everything worked properly in the end. Not perfectly, for sure, but considering this has been "the year", we've been blessed with some great luck beyond any expectation or hope.
The weather rocked, too. Until this very moment at least, since it has just started raining.
I could tell you about the million things we did before the party. Months, weeks and minutes before the door opening. About the location management, the prize packaging, the food and beer supply, the beamer and sound-system setup and the verification of every little detail in general. But no, I'm not going to flood you with shitloads of silly and boring words, nor boast about how cool we've been to organize an event, albeit small and limited, in such a wasted country like Italy.
Horde has been an event with its own spirit. That "friendly and relaxed atmosphere" many people speak about, but rarely experience. It could be said that "chill out" is our motto and we have nothing against it, but there's something more than this. It's hard to explain. You should have been there. Just ask the people who attended. The sure thing is that I'll always have fond memories of these 3-4 days -- days spent together with the other organizers and the friends who came -- carved deep inside of my heart and mind for the rest of my life.
We'll never forget Broderick's friendly and happy face suddenly appearing at the threshold in the early afternoon. We'll always be grateful for his precious help organizing compos (his good old trustworthy notebook saved us again!), and during the party in general. In the same way, I'll never forget the ride to catch kb at the local train station, with Phobya's car. Nor the moment we turned and saw Gargaj and the rest of the Hungarian crew crossing the garden, followed by the Italian one a bit later in the evening. Not to mention Rubberduck. I was serving drinks at the "infodesk" and almost had a heart attack when I saw him coming out from nowhere, asking for a beer and telling me he was just there for a few hours, just to say hello. Priceless moments, indeed!
In the end, everyone worked along with us to make this a special event, not only we organisers. How would you explain kb's and Gargaj's effort in party coding otherwise? A few hours, and their 4k was ready for the compo, just for fun and support. The same goes for Raimo, Dixan, and all the other dudes who supported us with their productions.
OK, we've not been flooded with releases, and I personally missed the Amiga entries this time to be honest, but we cannot complain.
Everything has been simple and special at the same time, and even the most stressful moments like the organizing of compos (it's incredible how you're always late when you try to get things done well) turned into funny situations. Four guys around the beamer, crawling below the big screen, with the audio mixer and two PCs trying to synchronize themselves, is a live performance in itself.
The highest reward remains people's happiness and satisfaction. We served original Italian pasta (fusilli all'arrabbiata) on Friday evening, had a nice BBQ on Saturday afternoon (bratwurst with ajvar) and ordered some (ten!) huge tasty pizzas in the evening. Trx and the other Hungarian guys never saw a pizza with fried potatoes on top before and they were quite amused, and satisfied, with it. We exceeded requests just a bit, since we managed to sell an entire pizza to the Italian crew and another to the Hungarian one for their trips back. Even after the party, the organizer team, and kb, ate pizza for the whole Sunday. Yeah, I guess I won't have any for a month or two now.
What else can I say? Too many thoughts in my head, too many wonderful moments hard to explain. I'm tired and a bit drunk, but I'm so damn happy anyway. We made it. We survived, and guests left with smiles on their faces, tears in their eyes, and wearing Horde T-shirts. What else could I ask, except: we'll meet at Horde 2008, right?
Personally, I must thank my good old friend and groupmate Irbis who came back to Italy from the US for one month of vacation and found some time to help us. Thanks, brother, you know how much this, and you, mean to me.
And, of course, thanks to Mary, my wife, for the endless patience.
Additional party report by Delilah
So that is it. The party happened and we're still amazed by the whole thing. We were ready and self-confident, but this was very different. It was meant as a demo party, not a simple meeting and a few beers.
I started panicking one week earlier already. As Skan said, we weren't totally sure it could work. The scene in Italy is different from the scene in other countries, and ours was just a small and relatively new event.
I really can't describe how happy I was when I realized people were actually coming and visiting the party. Until the very last moment, I wasn't even sure I would meet kb again, despite the fact he told me that he was really coming over. And I would surely never have expected to hyperventilate and crash on a chair after realizing the Hungarian crew was *there*. I mean: Woah. I am well known for my heart being Hungarian so you can see it meant a lot to me.
What's all this excitement about foreigners coming? It's just that we didn't expect such great support. And we loved it. During the following few hours, many other people arrived: Dixan, Raimo, Pan, and generally "the Italian scene" started showing up.
Our deejays arrived around 9.30 instead of 6.00 PM, so the show had to be delayed. They provided some interesting c64 combination equipment with a modern sound system, while the beamer showed a documentary about the glorious Commodore days.
After the performance, some people went to sleep and others just sat most of the night in the garden enjoying nice, long talks. For this reason, the next morning, most sceners were still sleeping quite hard -- everywhere. So our evil plan to wake everyone up with a Variform demo show explosion dramatically failed, as we couldn't access the amplifier. Too bad.
After some major fixes to the compo-presentation, the show went on. As a very first entry, "Arancia" by Farbrausch and Conspiracy was shown on the big screen. Right after, it was Gabbafuk's turn. Made by Ram Jam & Jumalauta, it was the ultimate demo.
A couple of graphics entries were shown, by Rjtrik and Mav. For some weird reason, the viewer managed to auto-change picture and we spoiled Rjtrik's steps. Sorry, guy, we didn't mean it! (My fault -Skan.)
The last part of the demo show involved the music compo. Needless to say, such a powerful sound system worked very well with the I-AM-PURE-HARDCORE Gargaj tune named "Subtle Hint of Failure", which was the most appreciated by the audience and eventually got the first prize. It was so appreciated, that people were constantly asking for the "track number four" to be played again, over and over. The second place went to Nutman of IRIS. His "Carbon Fibre Fields" rocked big-time. Third place went to Broderick, with his "Nostalgia" chippy tune. A couple of songs were definitely too long for the compo itself, but in the end we forgot about preselecting and just played them anyway.
During Ciccilleju's "Fire in The Sky", the crowd got the rhythm and started singing, Karaoke-style, the music to "The Popular Demo". I really hope someone got the chance to record it.
Beer and long talks followed. It was quite late already so the crowd split. Some went to bed, having to travel back home the next day, and others just kept the conversation alive. I clearly remember going to take a nap at half-past five in the morning.
The last day, after the voting, after the people just *had* to leave, we managed to split the award ceremony into small parts. The prizes consisted of the typical cookies, sweets, wine and other alcoholic fluids in bottles. Everything was purposefully customized for the party.
After the prize-giving, we sadly had to say goodbye to everyone. Kb managed to stay one day more, and he spent the whole afternoon recovering on a sofa in the organizer's area while we were working on the releases, results, news and generally all that you need to do after a demo party.
That evening, one very last demo show took place. We managed to see a bunch of Amiga prods by using Skan's Amiga and then we turned on the compo machine to enjoy some of the best PC demos and intros ever made. I fell asleep early morning, woke up a few hours later, and dragged poor sleepy kb to the train station, at which time he definitely left.
The party is over. All guests have left. A few empty bottles lie around. An unreal silence surrounds the party place. Outside, it starts to rain. We clean, check that everything is OK, pack up, and close the door.
Thank you, everyone, for being there.
We really look forward to see you again next year. Keep an eye on horde.untergrund.net , dates will be announced soon. Start working on a prod!
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