This time I departed later than usual. With a lot of huffing and puffing (and sweating) I get everything into the car in time to collect Sven and we set out for the con. Travel is fairly smooth and we talk about this and that, talking for longer than at the last FilkCon.
Upon arrival we check in and start looking for Ju, who has the key, and whom I do like to see anyway. We find her and Silke in the bar, Silke told us of her dream last night and I suppose I am not supposed to tell that here, so, next time, come early or suffer the suspense.
In the course of the evening Katy and Steve arrive as well as Sib and Alexa. We set a time for meeting early tomorrow and I am off to bed. Interesting times lie ahead.
Our meeting holds a bit of a shock: Volker and Kirstin did not arrive late yesterday because their car broke down. They hope to make it and we start thinking about alternative solutions for tech. It is not only the having of stuff, someone needs to operate it as well…
Alexa and Sib talk to the hotel, Sib and Steve go shopping, Alexa and I set about the badges and start decorating the rooms, I hang my dandelion banner. And Volker, Kirstin and Nicholas arrive! Such a relief! And I even get a chance to practice again with Silke, for the first time with Ju and Katy and even with Michael, whom I could borrow from Bine.
I got the ConCom concert this year and thought to get some reinforcements. The filkers arrive in a steady stream, now quickly grab a cake at the cake deal and off I go! Steve added some nifty special effects to my presentation for the Opening Ceremony and the audience seems to like it. Once that is done it is my turn. I am rather excited, my first one hour concert and the first time with so much help and so little practice, but I do not feel too nervous. I have lots of fun though I frequently have to search for my capo and forget my watch but the audience is really helpful on those occasions. Silke plays the violin on “Home” and my new “Trollsong” (I do quite like trolls), Michael sings on “Only me” (which I keep looking for under L, but it is not called “Legolas”), Ju plays the flute on “Doctor Who” (although she said she did not understand the structure of the song. Structure? What structure?), Katy and Ju help me on “The Drummer” and Katy is thoroughly amused by “Tools of Communication” – I had been half way afraid she’d be mad at me…
After my set I could relax and enjoy Steffi. It is easy to enjoy Steffi! This time I can even remember single songs, the one about the Beatles (“The beat goes on”) is really moving. The last one is beautiful anyway. And the song about Stand by me. That is about half of the set… what is up with my brain? Steffie, for me, is a work of art. Utterly cute to look at, even in her more casual outfit today, with this smile and those sparkling eyes, that make her seem shy but enchanting. And that voice! You cannot hear it right now but Steffi has a really big and beautiful voice. And to me she is an anachronism. The dresses, the shoes with the bows and polka dots remind me of old movies, of retro advertisement, the metal anniversary box of Persil. A time where girls did wear ribbons in their hair, learned how to sew and cook and who went strait home after school. Ask Steffi for her favourite recipe and you will see how much is just my impression and how much is real, but still… Could well be that this is the reason why I remember so little of song titles. This time I have been set to enjoy, not to think or take notes.
After a short lunch break – the pre-ordered food works more or less, there is room for improvement – we have our first Community Commons. Here everyone can say what he or she wants to offer or tell the community. Some advertised their conventions (FilkContinental will be with tricky Pixie, get a membership! Urlaubscon und Meer will be in Kiel this July) some their CDs (Summer & Fall “into the Blue”, which I am listening to right now, Silkes “Nachtcafé”, Zanders “Owls”) some their services (Thesilée offers to translate German/English and the other way round and will try to remember any song you are looking for, SteffiGoosie offers a Reiki experience, I hawk my 3-Month-Muse: Inspiration on demand, and all of those services are free of charge!), their projects (did you fill out a postcard für “die Welt in 1000 Jahren”?) and some just shared information (almost everyone knows about the Pegasus Award, the Filk Hall of Fame is not to well known here). After everybody had their say chaos ensues as the party and CD-sale start.
The circlestarts late and there is the search for Bine and Michael, because Christopher was missing his parents. We ran through half the hotel, looking in the bar (only drunken sport people who obviously enjoy female visitors), the pool, the parking lot (the car is still there)… we suspected an alien Filker abduction but they only had been off to practice with Kjenjo and Silva. So, back to the circle. I remember “Evil Eyball” (the crossover version Steve played as well as the original) and Danielas “Black Helmet”. For me the circle ended soon but I must have gotten lost in time somewhere between there and my bed…
My first appointment after breakfast is the relaxing massage, followed by Aquapella, where I admittedly spend most of the time chatting with Katy and trying to make an underwater photo of Sib that includes her head. The Song-writing Support thing does not happen, as Thesilée needs some time yet and all others are elsewhere. So I will just meet Thesilée on my sofa at some later date. The Main Concert & Auctionare significantly better attended. Luck is with me and I get the one hour Photo-Session with Wolfgang. Other magnificent things in the auction (today and Sunday) were
- a short story or poem by Zander (you get to suggest topics!)
- a song arrangement by Zander (almost any style but dumb-step)
- Bine bakes a cake especially for you and you can come collect it at her place
- three 10-minute sessions with Wolfgang
- Lissas Gingercookies
- a Kazoo (as a musival instrument is the tarditional gift for the 24th wedding anniversary and this year we had the 24th britiisch filkcon)
- Steves old guitar Thomas
- Alien puppets made by Katy and Steve
- a photo from Jus travel to Ireland, printed on canvas
- a songbook by Daniela
And I had put an oil painting, a felted shawl and Dragon-egg-cozies on the table to sit among various filk tapes, edibles, wearables, readables and other stuff. The Grabbox got emptier as well (it is full again, amazing). But that was only the programme between the parts of the concert!
- Christopher (Keybord)
- Juri & Sönke
- Pavlov’s Duck (with Thesilées German translation of “The Wreck of the Crash of the Easthill Mining Disaster”)
- Silva & Kjenjo (with Bine and Michael)
- Summer & Fall
- C.J. (with Daniela)
I can remember very little of the actual songs. Going over the auction items with Steve to decide what to auction off next obviously took more of my attention than I had thought. Next time we might want to prepare that better and have ready stacks to go between concerts to be better able to enjoy those. Feel free to add names of songs you remember in a comment. You cannot comment reports, but the post informing you of the report.
In the well earned break I even got to partake of the cake deal before the Song Sharing Circle, which again was really good. I really should have practiced my first song before. And Thesilée really had written a beautiful, touching song “Firefly” under her blanket. Very beautiful and very Thesilée, not in an “everyboy is dead” kind of way but in a personal, private kind of way. Daniela (something with dreams and demons that follow you your whole life through) and CJ did not bring new stuff, but that is not a requirement. Eva brought a song about the 100 lives that roleplaying enables her to lead and the one life that she has known even before it’s birth. I probably have forgotten at least two songs… Silva sang something not new, but fitting. And I had another one, that I even could play without constantly wondering what comes next.
Before I get Dinner I get to blow up balloons with Sib. We want to hide hints leading to our next years guest of honour. Thesilée asks how many balloons we need and Sib says “40″. We decide to use only given names and need only about 15. With the help of other filkers those are filled in next to no time. Food now. This time the pre-ordered food arrives after 15 minutes instead of half an hour. Enough time to settle down, order a drink and chat a bit, but not too long. And since all people who wanted to eat at a certain time had been seated together everyone had their food at roughly the same time as well. So, no awkward waiting for the last dish to appear.
Thus fortified we are ready for Lissa who opens her set with “President of the Lima”. She does not entertain us alone but also one of the sports guys who waders in, settles down on the floor and listens silently but obviously with pleasure. Lissa practically glows with pride when I tell her. And the pride is justified, it was a great set. I use Silkes set-up time to climb over chairs and tables on stage to get the scenery in place. Luckily I brought more than enough tape… With the tables and the decorations it really looks like a café.
Silke begins, alone on stage, with one of my favourite songs. Song by song she invites others to join her in the café. I have the setlist here, but instead of listing all the songs I’d rather revisit single special moments. I was really happy to gear Sven play again.
That one is a phenomenon. He is sitting there on his chair, quiet in middlish position but seemingly in a corner, one foot propped onto a guitar case that has been shoved under the chair and idly plucks the strings of his guitar, almost oblivious to everything else. Totally relaxed, in jeans and T-shirt it seems utterly simple. Unless you move away from the overall impression and take a closer look at the fingers. It still looks effortless but no longer easy by any means. No matter how fast the fingers move he still has that lazy air to him. Paragon of understatement.
Having Bine on stage always makes my ears smile in anticipation. She does those harmonies that flow smoothly under or between the other voices or instruments, sometimes only half heard but always there, tickling, teasing down your spine.
I would not have noticed that the Magician never had practiced with the group but with sound files only. Valerie is very elegant, a real lady. And Zander is, well, really big. He is mostly sitting down during the set else he would not only be drawing the ears to him. He is really good at the keyboard, has a special voice that can either lead or blend in, as required, but those are things that I always know, that I hear on tapes or CDs, so pretty much a given, in so far as musical talent can ever be a given. But I always forget how tall he is. This might be due to his talent to tune his impressive presence down until he almost blends in with the scenery. And in order to make Silke happy he also did everything live, not karaoke. Because he really can.
Steffi is always worth a second or third look. Today she looks really neat. And she sings “Remember me” and “Die die’s niemals gab”, enough to make my world a better place. I know, I always wax eloquent on the GoH Concert , but those are just brilliant. And thus tehy are allowed to offer us a dessert or two.
One of those is sung by all, alternately and together, and I have tears in my eyes. Because it is simply and utterly beautiful. Not that one song especially but the whole set. The way they change between all, parts, single performers in this comfy-friendly atmosphere where the mood takes me away and I am grateful to be here, to enjoy this. When we invited Silke I thought she would be great (we would not ahve invited her otherwise, would we?) but I would never have guessed that it would be so amazing. The different styles, moods, combinations of Silke/Angry Ants/Milchstrassenstreuner/Cosmic Trifle and Bine gives such a rich and deep tapestry.
After the first encore Silke remains alone on stage and sings “Tag in Köln”. I sit beside Thesilée and consider my tissue reserves. I love that song. It is beautiful. It is horrible, but beautiful.
I am reasonably sure that I made it to the circle after preparing and hiding the balloons, it might even be the one where I hear Daniela and the Kinders with their song about computer games, Alexas “Oliver Kahn” and Aryana plays one of Jus Songs. I dimly remember Eva and Rafael with “Woman, Sea and Lover”, but I set my sails for bed rather early.
After a lazy breakfast I need to improve my appearance a bit because my appointment with Wolfgang is drawing near. And my, that hour is work. If you consider bidding on the one hour photo-session, make plans on what to do in all that time. It is not too easy to “just be yourself” for that hour. Consider bringing friends or props, that should help. I had not really considered how long an hour is, but Wolfgang was really wonderful, suggesting things, positions, really, really helpful. But still it was tough. Lunch break was very much yearned for. And I missed the Poetry Workshop with Silke.
Todays concerts started with Zander who did some very beautiful things, though this time karaoke. I always find that fascinating, because I think I would not know when to do what. He even accompanied himself on the ipad. Technology these days is pretty nifty. Being rather old fashioned (and traditional) I rather love to see real people on stage, but still it is amazing and a good alternative if you do not have a band handy. Zander played “Centipede Questions”, which made Franklin an me start a centipede polonaise, that turned out to be slightly taxing as the song went on. What happened to my muscles? I had some, once upon a time… And he played “No such thing as dolphins”, another song I love.
Countess Axylides handed out the Countess Awards when Zander was done singing. The awards went to Juri, Daniela (feel good award), Thesilée (Translating the untranslatable) and me (Interior Design). Juri gave the bag with the awards a searching glance before drawing one. Thesilée was beside herself with joy, having wished for a Countess Award for ages.
Next on the programme: The Advanced Request Concert and the second part of the Auction. The concert featured:
- Heaving on a Jetplane (Lissa and Steve)
- Necronomicon (COSMIC TRIFLE)
- Enterprise (Katy)
- Light Sailor (Katy and Steve
- Mina’s Song (Silke)
- Arden (Magician & Summer & Fall & Rafael)
- Horse-Tamer’s Daughter (Steve)
If there is a song you really would want to hear, request it for next year. We will try our best to make it happen. But what of the balloons we had placed yesternight? Some had already guessed the answers and so we now officially announced our next years’ guests: Our main guest will be Franklin and we will have an additional anniversary guest, Chris Conway! And already I am grinning like mad whenever I think of those two. Way too soon the last concert started.
But Silke took my mind off the fact, that the con would soon be over but rather drew me into the moment, to enjoy the here and now without thinking. This time she was even joined by Svante, who occasionally adds an eighth voice to the harmonies. It does fill me with joy just to hear the echoes in my memory.
The Magcian drops his bodhran drumming tool during one song, just grabs the next one from his pouch and keeps drumming, hardly missing a beat, as if he’d meant to that.
Bine is a real eye catcher in a short black dress with an intensely colourful swirl on it, Steffi wears a black dress with a cute white collar, but who is interested in looks when you can concentrate on the sound? I particularly loved “Der Gecko” (where Sven makes dear Katy really unhappy. She is sitting beside me, saying “I tried to play thatm but I just can’t. It is way too difficult!”), “Herbst” (did I mention that I am partial to Bine?), “Put the Kettle on”. Katy gets tears in her eyes as Valeries Voice breaks in one song, and even translating these words I seem to have something in mine as well. Must be smoke or something.
In “Über die Brücke” those tears spread over the whole room. I could go on and on, praising, highlighting single moments but this report is rather long already and who would want to read all that?
Now there is only the Closing Ceremony left, with thanks to all. Silke has to stay with us until she has drawn all the Random Awards. The first award has been donated by the Countess as an additional Random Award and it goes to – the Countess. Much mirth ensues, especially after she tells us that this is her second Countess Award already. The second award (first of ours) goes to “Bine for Bouncing”, the third to Sue and the last two Random awards go to our Steffis, as the ballot was not specific on which Steffi.
Leafing through the Random Award Ballot Box gave me the impression that the rule “people on the ConCom are not eligible” is apparently somewhat hazy, as we had nominations for “Alexa’s Sherlock-Song” and for “Jela for just being Jela”, and, guys, that is half the ConCom nominated. If you are not sure whether someone is ConCom or not, check the badge next time you run into him/her. If it says “ConCom”, do not nominate that person
But thank you anyway!!!
I am late for the Feedback Session, because I help Volker a bit getting the tech down and have to take down the decoration from the café, collect the things Silke had forgotten to take with her… the usual stuff. The session goes rather well, it seems as if we would keep the Community Commons and we will try to improve the one or other thing. The option to pre-order your food will be kept, as this has worked rather well. Instead of going to the circleI start loading my car with Grabbox, Random Award Box, decorations and go to bed. I want to be off early tomorrow. Better safe than singing,
A quick breakfast with those who are up already and than Sven and I are able to use a break in the rain for a quick run to the car. At the next fuel station (when you are leaving the hotel drive left at the t-junction directly below the hotel and than straight ahead, passing the exit to the motorway and soon the fuel station will appear on the right hand side) I learned how to open the hood of my Blue (very easy, no dirty hands from digging for the catch) and how to add oil (and how to find out which one I need).
The drive home is prolonged by more traffic jams than I would have liked, but stuff happens. In the parking lot where I drop Sven off we try to warn another driver that he just dropped important looking bits of his car (including a gear the size of a fist and a wide streak of oil) but he just drives away and I am too tired to care.