Report: The Gathering '99
Written by Thor`n
The Night Before TG
The fog lied like a transparent blanket over Hamar. It was midnight, and I was outside my motel room taking some fresh air. The Viking Ship glowed in the night, and I was eagerly waiting for the next day to come. There was little activity outside the hall, and the glowing lights worked like a bug zapper on me. I walked the 100 meters across the road, and I was right in front of the ship. A few people walked in and out, and I took the oppurtunity, and walked inside. Two guys laid on a bench, taking a nap. I approached the door leading to the olympic arena itself, and took a look at the crew, occupied preparing the ship for the next morning. I walked around for a long time, looking at all the empty rows. Finally, I left the arena. Some security guards were about to lock the doors, when I was told I was not supposed to be in there. They also asked me how I had got inside. I was feeling tired, and I didn't want to be up all night, so I went back to my motel room, and went to sleep.
The First Day
The next morning, the parking lot at The Ship was filled with people waiting for the doors to be opened. I spoke to a few of them before I and my portable got into the queue ourselves. The queue was a very intimite experience, and everyone was almost glued to each other. If I would have wanted to escape the queue, I wouldn't have managed to. When I finally got into the building, I got an orange and white arm band on, and went out back for my computer, which was still waiting for me outside the hall. To my surprise, a bus had parked inside the hall, with attenders coming out of it.
When I came to my row, it was completely empty. No one had put up their computers yet, so it was pretty simple for me to install my network adapter, and get online. About the Internet connection: It worked *immediately*. I didn't even have to adjust my DNS settings. I was online without having to fiddle with anything. Impressive!
As the party went on, the other people in my 'posse' (sitting group) arrived, and put up their computers, and I made a few new friends. When talking about my expectations, they differed totally from what I had expected. The hall wasn't as dark as I had thought, even with the lights off. The food stands were not where I thought they would be, and I expected the music to be louder (none of these are bad things). Also I was expecting more sceners. Actually, I expected at least one per row. The food basically sucked, the hamburgers had little or no taste, and I was expecting Mc Donald's, not "Nordre Sving" (correct me if I'm wrong about the name).
The Demo Crew
One day I went to the demo crew room, where they told me a pretty sad story about how the arrangers of the party had made them the lowest priority crew, and how they got the last choice of equipment, etc, etc. The guys in the demo crew were nice fellows, and although I wasn't supposed to be in the crew room, they didn't chase me out ("Crew Only" the sign said). I visited them many times during the party, but they wouldn't let me see the demos before they were shown on the big screen (they just followed the rules).
I remember when the lights were turned off on the first day. Everyone had been nagging about them for a while at #TG99 (EFnet) when the lights came off, and everyone cheered, peeped and clapped. When that happened, the party really started taking off with lots of stuff happening at the big screen, laser pointers, projectors in the roof, light sticks and loud music. I was excited at being at this major event, which I had been dreaming about attending for years.
I was initially going to contribute with a demo, but I never got started, and when I was at the party, it was too late, but it was a nice party anyway. I spent most of my time walking around talking (walkie-talking) to people in the hall, eating junk food, while IRCing.
When the party was nearing its end, the light boards were reporting the number of people that had collapsed, and the number of ambulances called. One of the texts said "If it smells bad in the hall, it's not because someone's dead, but because of the high production of underarm sweat. Bring your deodorants next time". People were beginning to leave, there was a constant stream of visitors going out of the ship, and I had to leave, so I wouldn't miss my train back to Trondheim, where I had been staying with my older sister before the party.
I'm not sure if I'll be attending the party in Y2K. I was expecting it to be more like a scene party, but most people were gamers. If you like to play Quake or StarCraft on a LAN, I'd recommend it for you, but if you want be amongst sceners, The Gathering isn't for you. Until the next article, I'll be looking for the ultimate party for sceners.