2010 con report


A filkCon usually starts long before the actual date. In my case this entailed getting some lanyards, sortig and making stuff for the auction, finishing the Random awards, drawing some pictures for the songbook of Summer & Fall, this year’s guest of honour over the weekend. I was in a very creative filky mood.


Friday at last, off to the con! First I overslept than roadworks caused the one or other delay and the arrival at Bad Salzdetfurth got delayed. So far all in tune with a filkCon. I had planned to unpack leisurely and than go looking for the ConCom but my plans were thwarted by Sönke wo ambushed me. With the kids as helpers my luggage almost flew to the room – oh, one large bed instead of two normal ones) What will Rika say? – and off we were walking into town where we wanted to meet 2the others” for lunch. Luckily Alexa spotted us as Sönke led me in the wrong direction It turned out rather well that we lunched not where it had been planned but where Sönkle had led me and I can honestly recommend the Restaurant “Zur Linde, opposite the Solbad (not the Solebad). Back at the hotel I changed the room for one with two beds and settled in for a relaxing weekend. I did not see it coming… I had used every opportunity to volunteer so I got a go at the registration table, helped to fill and cut paper slips for the auction and such stuff.

Time flew and there was the Opening ceremony! In the Opening we got a glimpse at the ConCom and the guests of honour as we had not seen them before – complete with childhood pictures to fit the tall tales. I’d never have guessed that Crystal had been with the circus!

After the opening Alexa remained no in front of, but on stage and entertained, amused and touched us for an hour – with the help of her children who were heard to call out between songs “Mom just keeps going on!”

Following Alexa came what I had been looking forward to for about a year now: The first concert of Summer & Fall. Any who have seen the two in action know what a joy they are! They can make things that you just know to take a lot of practising seem quite simple. You can feel the harmony not only in the incredible pictures woven by the voices. Some performers make me jealous or envious, that I cannot do as they do. Summer & fall just make me happy to be able to enjoy their set, feel their music. They transport their joy of music, their attention to the details and their bond in a way that touches me directly. Even if I do not understand one word of the lyrics.

After a dinner that somehow did not happen, being still full from lunch (I admit to having eaten Sibs cake but this does not count as dinner) I went to the circle. Just a few days have passed since and yet I cannot clearly remember the songs. Lisande sang “Tales of a hero” for Rika. Than there was Alexa, Sönke, Lisa with her Gingercookies, Steve with his own version of Paperworlds. And Crystal presented me with one of the songbooks as a “thank you” for the illustrations. (I tried out the songbook at home. If you just play the chords on the guitar and otherwise keep quite quiet you can hear them sing. Amazing!) And I found my to-do list featuring “write song!”… I went to bed shortly after the Kinders arrived and my (next to) last thought was “Have you really agreed when they asked you to join the ConCom?”


The alarm was set for either half past eight or nine, but I was up way before that. Too far awake to go back to sleep and too thoroughly reminded of the missed dinner. At breakfast I met Robert and Janet who got my mind working again. I had something planned today, what was it? Oh yes, my massage!

It made me late for Crystals introduction to geocaching so I decided to just hang around the pool, swimming and relaxing. Lunch did not happen but was replaced by cake. And I tried paying a compliment to Crystal. I obviously need some training in that. Crystal was surprised to hear that I thought her at ease and confident on stage. She confessed to being totally nervous but I cannot say that I saw anything of that in the performance.

But again the programme called me to action: Main concert and auction! Rafael later made a list with Alexa, stating that only nine out of seventeen songs performed in the main concert were really filk songs, but it sounded rather like an interested comment than like a reproach. I am just glad that all went well with my songs, having left one of the two I wanted to sing at home — I could have sworn it was in the other songbook…

The auction went fabulously, though some things like Arnes wooden brooches went far cheaper than I had anticipated. I got myself a bargain that way and the auction still collected quite a bit but you could see that money was a bit tighter on all sides. I spent less than I had planned, partly because all the beautiful things that Ju had brought were too large for me. Top items in the auction were the collections that got Rafael a hat and make-up in the colours of Germany and a Bavarian hat for Eva. Rafael wore his gains bravely. And “someone” will have to have his or her picture taken in a lab wearing the “mad scientist” outfit. If you want to know who or want to see the picture: come to next DFDF!

The main concert gave the next generation room to shine. The first time that I had sung “Major Tom” I was about Juris Age. And I accompanied my sister and me on a balloon-guitar and had a string round my ankle by which a paper spaceship could be raised and lowered while moving back and forth. Childhood memories! Dinner was interesting… we were sitting in the bar featuring the flatscreen – world cup and all – with various bunches of filkers talking over/into the din, but even with misunderstandings concerning the food ordered after a while all was sorted and all were happy. (And I was able to show off at work being the only one who knew that Argentina had definitely played against Nigeria on Saturday.)

After the break the programme commenced with Nella Darren, occasionally accompanied by the Magician, who had his stage time directly afterwards and who supplied beautiful harmonies to sleeping beauty. I am right glad that Nella has awoken from her sleep. Gorgeous voice. and she always sounds a bit more, dunno, dirty? angry? in any case different than others. And the Magician obviously does not care for “Schwarze Tee”.

Was it really time already for the second concert of Summer & Fall? A breathtaking moment was a song I cannot either remember name, topic or melody of. Eva was on the left at the keyboard, Crystal with the flute in the center and Rafael to the right – seen from stage. Slowly all the voices and instruments faded but the keys which quietly echoed as if the song wanted to say “good-bye” before leaving. I was holding my hands from applause, waiting for the last note to fade and into the almost-silence one by one the instruments and voices joined in again, so fluidly, so easily as if you did not have to practise that sort of thing for ages, as if it just came from within. My eyes filled with tears for the beauty of it. I cannot write about Summer & Fall without the risk of sounding like a kitsch-infested wannabe poet but normal words never seem to suffice. After a concert passing like a wave of sounds, pictures and emotions I realized that a real fan does not applaud but fetch and carry.

The collection of instruments had to be moved from the stage to their room. I cannot remember what kept me on my way back, but when I arrived in the main room the chairs had already been moved to form a circle, though no-one was sitting there. A small group had squeezed in between the chairs and the wall with wine and chocolates singing tavern songs. The Kinders were there, and Alexa, Lisa, Franklin, Holger and … uh, others. It was the right mood to wash away the dreamy-eyed after effects of Summer & Fall but after a while I longed rather for “real music” and wandered off to the programmable room where others of a like mind had already collected. It was not as such a filk circle, at least judging from the songs we played. We played mostly stuff that “everybody” knew or could sing/play along to somehow. Which is why I say “we”. It was more of a jam session than a circle. And it was great. Keris added a base line to everything, Eva improvised at the keyboard whenever possible. Rika moved between the circles. I went to bed only as the large circle in the main room dissolved and we got too many to keep going as we had started out. It was a rather perfect end to a rather perfect day.


Why was it only “rather” perfect? It got rather late, or early. And when I woke up it was too early for me to be able to read my watch correctly and I thought it was nine when it was only eight and got up for breakfast. The thought of taking a nap after breakfast was intriguing but not enough to keep me from the aquapella/waterpolo-workshop. Eva joined in, asking “what are the teams?” A simple “no” summed up the chaotic disorder. What voices were not tought their melodies were allowed to play. Everybody stayed warm, but slightly out of breath. Lunch was again cake – but the cake really was good. I could have gotten cream as well, the kind lady from the service said it would be no problem, she would just have to go to the other house to get it. I decided against it.

A few pieces of cake later I enjoyed the advance request concert – with some more auction items in between. Some of the requested songs had been played in the respective concerts so there was no need to hurry. After 14.00 hours and Witnesses Waltz, Forever Knight, Wars’ Daughter and man, what was it that Katy played? It was not Pageant Legend, as she’d rather sing that one with Ju in the circle than without Ju on stage, but again I can’t remember. Sleep deprivation had begun to take its toll.

After the ARC we saw Sebastian Kinder, presenting old stuff, (to my ears) new stuff, alone and with help from the family, followed by Franklin who said something about having to work on his relationship to the keyboard. I went up to my room, to have a drink and do something against my building headache that had nothing to do with Franklin.

I kept one eye on the watch as I did not want to miss the closing ceremony. I listened to the last songs of Barbership reclining on the sofa at the registration desk. It was very comfy and one could hear well enough. The pounding between my ears got less insistent. In the closing ceremony Eva got to draw the winners of the Random Awards. A.J. got one, and Rika, and Arne and last of all Eva, as the last ballot read “ich” (“I”). I was quite pleased to see that the little witches came as a pleasant surprise to the winners. The closing did not only reveal next years guest of honour, the fabulous Rika, but also named me the new member of the ConCom. Alexa called me “Madam Volunteering” … We had planned to have a short ConCom meeting after the closing, filling me in on important details, but this got delayed by dinner or the lack of one, rather. A few excited moments later everyone had a chance at dinner after all, some in the restaurant, some in a hastily readied conference room, some went to see the local inns and restaurants. The personnel was rather thin stretched due to the public viewing and had not planned on so many of us staying for dinner. I ended up in the conference room and we started our meeting with a vote for drinks. Large Diet Coke was approved with a vote of 11 for and 1 against (an odd vote for apple juice). As we had the room to ourselves we enjoyed dinner quite thoroughly, having a short guitar lecture from Rafael thrown in as well.

After dinner we went filking. We proved that the neck of Rafaels guitar is no wider than the neck of mine and were prepared for further surprises. Or not. I was totally surprised by Gary who is a wizard at the keyboard. I dared to play “Land under Water”, my one and only discworld song. Rika thought it “long but nice”. I got called away from the circle by the resuming ConCom meeting that did not take too long, so there was enough time to listen, sing and enjoy. I went to bed earlier than before. Not only because I wanted to face the drive home after a good nights sleep but rather because I could not bear it anymore. It hurt too much not to be able to share any of this with Ratz anymore. In these moments I miss him most.


I had a really bad night and set out as soon as I could, longing for home. It took me longer than planned because I had to take two breaks on the way. The first was for a nap and the second for a piece of cake. The chocolate cake at McCafe is quite good. I stopped at the office and was home soon after. I did not notice my mother’s message on my answerphone – but I would not have wanted to solve an OpenOffice problem at that time anyway. Have I always been this tired after a weekend away? I cannot remember. Does that mean that it was not so or just that my memory is fading? Next time I will need to get more sleep. Or take Tuesday off as well.

Das Frühlingsfest der Filksmusik