- Date: Wed, 30 Apr 1997 18:34:21 +0100
BABEL-On 2 issue one
- This zine supports BECs [Bug Eyed Cons:)]
- by Fiona
Well, I had a very mixed response to my first flier about the possibility
of a future BEC series Some people thought I meant it was a definite plan
to happen in the very near future - while I would quite like that to be
the case, I dont see enough support across Europe generally as yet. Once
my Intuition work is over with (Eastercon 1998), then will be the time
that I will start looking round to see what is feasible and who is interested,
but I would expect it to be at least 2 years after that before something
concrete can possibly happenMeanwhile this fanzine is one method by which
I hope to persuade people that travelling to cons abroad and actually meeting
and making friends with fans of different nationalities is fun! So that
when the dream turns to a reality, people will understand the idea and
know how they feel about it, hopefully engendering positive support :)
Some people also thought my fanzine was going to be seriously worthy -
while the aim is indeed a worthy one (in my opinion!), the idea is first
of all to have fun - there is nothing more deadly boring than being worthy
all the time!! To that end, the articles included in this issue are all
about the various fun things people might want to try out in a foreign
country - Hermans unforgettable list of Norwegian food, Juergens fascinating
look at a rail trip in the UK from a German point of view, and Mikes equally
fascinating account of a con in Germany from a Brit point of view, and
then my own article .
My criteria for accepting articles are that they should be interesting
or amusing fannish anecdotes, that they shouldnt be "worthy",
that they could be about things to see and visit in your locality, or about
anything at all that you think fans might want to read. But the main criterion
is it has to interest me :)
Ive ended the zine with a *very* short listing of european cons, the criteria
for this issues list was that they all had to be a con I myself have a
definite urge to visit (even if the urge outstrips the cash!!) Next issues
criteria for listing cons will be more random, depending on what sorts
of information people send in to me about cons in their (or other) countries.
Anything sent to me in response to this zine will be assumed to be for
publication, unless you *clearly* indicate otherwise.
- by Herman Ellingsen
The subject of whats the food like in other countries came up recently
(a recurring favourite fannish topic) and this fascinating list of Norwegian
food was contributed by Herman, after others had mentioned lutefisk (a
revolting-sounding fish thats been soaked in lye) and geitost (goats cheese)
Prim - Sweet breadspread made from melted Geitost and sugar.
- Torsk, lever og rogn - Boiled cod with cod
liver and rom.
- Torsketunge - Cods tongue.
Kjottkaker med stuet kal - meatballs with cabbage stew.
- Far-i-kal - Sheep'n cabbage.
Fiskekaker - Fishcake? - I'm not going to explain this one, but don't eat
it for desert!
Fiskeboller - Fishballs - Substitute fish for the meat in meatballs.
- Gravlaks and Raklaks - rutting salmon.
Rykelaks - smoked salmon.
Pinnekjtt - Salted and dried sheep, then rehydrated for a week, and steam-boiled.
Served with Kalrabistuing, which I'm not going to try to explain!
Smalahove - Sheeps head.
Ribbe - Roast rib of pig.
Ribbefett - Ribs' fat - Served with Lutefisk or Ribbe.
- Reinsdyrstek - Roast reindeer.
Elgstek - Roast moose.
Finnbiff - Moose or reindeer cut in thin slices, and then fried.
- Hvalbiff - Steak of whale meat. (Much too
- Sel - Seal.
Tilslorte bondepiker (Some kind of desert).
- Kokte poteter - Boiled potatoes, served with
anything, including rice or pasta.
Kumle, Gumpe or Raspeball - Coarse mashed potatoes pressed into a ball,
Lefse - "Thick potato pancake".
Lompe - "Thin potato pancake", often found wrapped around sausages.
- Vafler - wich you might have tried at a Norwegian
- Suksessterte - Almond bottom cake with egg
cream and chocolate.
- Karbis (or karbonade) - What passed for a
hamburger until McDonalds opened their first outlet in Norway.
About a hundred different milk-based dishes, in addition to about 400 different
ways to make Geitost. (Only about 20 of these are available in the shops,
due to the diary monopoly's policy of making everything bland and similar.)
Karsk and Kaffedoktor - Coffee with booze...
- Skillingsboller med kanel i svingane - A
danish with cinnamon in the swirls.
Kneipbrd - Bread according to Dr. Kneipps recipe. (Dr. Kneipp was German,
but in Norway this bread is to be found in any shop, and most gas stations,
as it's the most popular kind of bread in Norway, where in Germany, you
might find it at some bakers.)
- Sylte - ...
Vossakorv og Mar - Norwegian sausages.
Fenalar - Smoked leg of sheep.
Flatbrod - It's the side dish that looks and tastes like cardboard.
- Lapskaus - Norwegian casserole.
Fleskepannekake - The Norwegian Pancake, thick as an American pancake,
diameter similar to a French crepe, and heavier than plum pudding. Its
served with a piece of meat, preferably added while it was frying, and
one of these should be enough to serve a family of 12 - but watch out:
according to legend, it's apt to try to run away...
- Delfiakake - Marmite cake.
Sadd og Trondersuppe - Soup.
Rommegrot - Porridge of sour milk.
Risengrynsgrot - porridge of rice. Should be served to Santa at Christmas.
Rislapper - Pancakes made from left-over risengrynsgrt.
- Eplekake - Apple pie made from apples, in
place of apple jam.
- Riskrem - Fluffy risengrynsgrt?
Trollkrem - Try it, it's actually very good...
- Gammelost and Pultost - Too old cheese.
Sursild - Pickled herring.
(There's bound to be some errors and omissions, but I just realised this
must be one of the most comprehensive guides to Norwegian ethnic food available
everywhere. Watch out for Germans trying to take back their famous bread,
though - but they ought to be glad I didn't go for their pilzner...)
And what does the average Norwegian eat? Pizza. And when they run out,
they'll send for more. When they're being sophisticated, they'll even make
- by Jrgen G. Marzi
Using a foreign transport system is always interesting. Sometimes it is
exciting and sometimes just frustrating. This article tells my observations
on my way to a convention in Great Malvern.
For Attitude: the convention I used the plane to London Heathrow. There
are better and there are worse airports than Heathrow. A good argument
for that airport is the direct link to London centre via the Piccadilly
line of the Tube, the local subway.
Attitude took place in Great Malvern near Worcester. I had to use a train
to go there. No problem with that, I am pretty much used to it. In fact
I prefer this way of travelling so much, that I sold my car and lived happily
London does not have a central station but a couple of terminals. Different
lines use different terminals. This is not an uncommon arrangement, Paris
for instances has the same system, and it has historical reasons. But when
you come from a country which works with central stations that is something
to get used to. In my case trains to my destination left from Paddington
or Euston station to Great Malvern. There is a distance of some miles between
these stations. In the Internet there is a webpage from the British Rail
with a nice search feature (http://www.rail.co.uk). This page worked well
and I had used it for planning my trip. By the way you can find a European
version of this at http://uni-muenster.de/WiWi/home/wilting/pl anner.html
with links to a lot of other European rail services.
Due to a delay in the flight (I really cannot recommend British Midland
because in 5 out of 6 flights they had delays from 30 to 240 minutes -
my personal record for the most unpunctual airline) I choose Euston station
where the next two trains should depart. It was easy to obtain a ticket
and the service was convincing (they accept all major credit cards) but
very slow so took quite a while in which the first of the mentioned trains
left. So I intended to wait for the next one which should leave in twenty
minutes. Should" is the right word because this train was cancelled.
But help was available - two ladies at an info desk. They were very friendly
and did not only help me to find the next train to Great Malvern but also
recommended a more convenient route. They also showed me a terminal where
I could have done this enquiry on my own - had I seen the somewhat hidden
terminal. It could even change to the German language.
Taking the next convenient train meant going by tube to Paddington. What
looked like a complicated trip via tube was quite easy after I followed
the instruction given to me. I definitely spent more time in the thube
than in the air. London is really BIG.
The first thing I noticed at Paddington was the lack of litter bins. This
was a bit odd at first but then I thought of the IRA and their noisy ways
of getting attention for their cause.
Waiting for a train differs from Germany where everyone waits on the platform
In the UK in the bigger teminals you wait in the main hall until the train
is called (which happens after everyone got out of the previous train).
This is less hectic and more civilised than the German system.
My Intercity looked very stylish. But I had to pay for that with a lack
of comfort. Instead of three seats in a row like in the Austrian wagon
or four in the German ones there are five seats. This means it gets uncomfortable
for someone of reasonable size like me. I remembered the luxurious space
I enjoyed at the plane..... But obviously British Rail also has more comfortable
trains available - on other routes of course.
I noticed the lack of a leaflet like the German Zugbegleiter" which
shows you the planned arrival of the train in every station and all the
trains you can interchange there. Also I missed hearing announcements of
the stations via loudspeaker. This meant I had to be very watchful and
did not allow me to become too intensely absorbed in my book.
When I had to change trains in Worcester I noticed that there is no system
in choosing the platform for the next train. In Germany you just have to
cross the platform. At the other side the next train waits. This is very
convenient and allows short stops.
All in all it was not a bad experience. I will repeat it for this years
- by Mike Cheater
It was my third Teutonic foray in less than a year and because Dortmund
was apparently the brewing capital of Germany I ended up travelling out
ahead of Fiona (my usual interpreter and SF Tages Fan Guest of Honour)
so my limited language skills would be tested more than usual. I'd failed
my German O level twenty years ago and my subsequent training was limited
to watching the first ten episodes of a BBC German course (repeated exposure
to the Puppet theatre and Shanty Choir prevented me from continuing). But
Fiona had booked a room for me at the Hotel where she was staying and assured
me that the staff spoke English and a room was waiting for me.
Having successfully negotiated the trip from Dusseldorf to Dortmund I decided
that the safest thing to do on arrival was to take a taxi to my hotel.
My heart started to sink when the taxi left the built up confines of Dortmund
and twenty minutes later deposited me in the countryside outside a modern
building completely surrounded by green fields.
I gave my name to the receptionist and in faltering German explained that
I had a room booked for me until Tuesday. In slightly more confident English
the receptionist disabused me of this fallacy, there was no room reserved
for me but not to worry there were plenty of rooms free.
After settling into my room I went back to ask the best way of getting
back to the main station; I didn't fancy the expense of a taxi ride. The
woman behind the desk explained that she was Spanish, as were most of the
staff there and she didn't know the area very well. This may have explained
my lack of accommodation. Eventually I was directed to a distant group
of buildings across a field that was apparently the University where I
could catch an underground train direct to the main station.
I was due to meet up with Juergen Marzi at his hotel in the town to go
and sample some of the local brews but finding that I was an hour early
decided to wander around the town and do a little preliminary research
my self. On my first trip to Saarbrucken, Fiona and I had been about to
cross the road to the post office when an old lady a few yards in front
of us had been hit by a bus jumping the lights. Having explained this to
a police officer we had the interesting experience of being given a ride
in a German police car and having to give a statement to two police officers
who spoke no English.
(Fiona: the police officers may have been less than overjoyed to discover
the perpetrator spoke only French, the victim could just moan, and the
witnesses were Brits - not their day! However the victim at least survived,
which I was dubious about at the time, and has since written us a letter
of thanks for making our statement).
History must be cyclic (or is that psychic) because whilst waiting at the
first pedestrian crossing I came to a Motorcyclist decided to spectacularly
part company with his machine. I quickly surveyed the scene and decided
that I had seen nothing and swiftly left before the local fuzz arrived.
After a wander around the town and a few beers, I returned to Juergens
hotel. Again announcing in German that I wished to speak to Juergen Marzi
who was staying here the receptionist replied in faultless English that
he was in room 236 and handed me a telephone.
After sampling the product of one of the local breweries in its own pub
and a hurried pizza I returned to my hotel, not before getting thoroughly
lost in the dark of the un-signposted University campus and having to walk
half a mile down an unlit road with no pavements. Fear is very good for
sobering you up quite quickly.
Friday morning and I meet up with Juergen again, this time for the even
more important appointment of visiting another brewery, this one with its'
own museum. Arriving there after a long walk on a hot day we are faced
with the choice, go round the museum or quench our thirst. Thirst beats
knowledge and we decide to have a beer or three. Juergen wants to know
what we should start with and confronted with a choice of six taps I suggest
we start with the one on the left and work our way along systematically.
Somewhat unsteadily we tour the museum where I discover that the design
of the Grolsch lager bottles which impressed everyone in England when it
was introduced a few years ago with its rubber bung attached to the bottle
with a hinged wire cradle had in fact been a traditional German design
for centuries. A few more beers and off to lunch at a Chinese restaurant.
In the afternoon we split up and agree to met again in the evening for
the start of the con. I'm aiming to go back to my Hotel but I taken a wrong
turning and end up on the opposite side of town to the station. Suddenly
I see an arrow pointing back with the "Einbahnstrasse" written
on it. "Ah yes", I say to myself, "I saw that street sign
last night by the station I'll just follow the arrows back". I've
walked for a further five minutes before I translate the name and realise
I'm walking down a one way street.
That evening the convention has yet to start properly but since a large
number of fans are already there the con committee have arranged to run
a shuttle bus service from the con site to a pub called "Space Indians"
a truly bizarre place decorated with alien space ships and totem poles
and where the bar staff dress up in the space suits. Juergen and I both
leave about midnight since the mundanes are now outnumbering the fans and
Fionas train should be due in around now and 'd decided to meet her at
the station. Fiona isn't on the first two trains from Dusseldorf and there
isn't another for forty minutes. I decide to get something to eat but unfortunately
the only eaterie still open is McDonalds and I have to settle for "Ein
Big Mac". Fiona fails to show up on the next two trains and I assume
that her flight must have been delayed so I go back to the Hotel this time
failing to get lost and leave a message for her with Hotel reception.
That morning Fiona has beaten me to breakfast. Apparently she had been
waiting at the airport for some one from the committee to meet her, but
they having heard that Juergen and I are going to meet her apparently decided
that this wasn't necessary.
(Fiona: this was all a series of misunderstandings. Id originally had no
intention to meet anyone, since I knew Id be getting in late, because of
having to work that day, but then was offered the chance of a lift from
Dusseldorf, which I leapt at. Mike and Juergen knew nothing of this offer,
and had decided to meet my train at Dortmund. However, them mentioning
this led the concom to assume this was a fixed arrangement, and therefore
meeting me at Dusseldorf was redundant. Meanwhile well, suffice it to say
that I made my way to Dortmund without too much hassle in the end)
Arriving at the con centre, an office block belonging to a publisher with
excellent conference facilities I note that there is no bar there. and
no programme scheduled for a couple of hours so I frog-march Juergen, Fiona
and token representative of Norwegian fandom, Herman Ellingsen off to the
site of Thursday nights research. It also gives Juergen the chance to show
off some of the Brucon publicity material he has been working on.
After a fairly ordinary opening session a bar has now appeared amongst
the registration desks and overflow from the large dealers room. Unfortunately
there is nowhere to sit down in the lobby area. It would have been nice
to have brought down some of the settees from the lounging area on the
18th floor. Today also most of the programme is in English since Steve
Baxter and Ian McDonald comprise a significant portion of it. However I
never do seem to get out of the lobby and bar and before I know it it's
evening and groups are gathering to go out to eat.
I join a party including all the guests hosted by a local fanzine editor.
I'm glad to be at a table including Steve Baxter, whom I hadn't had a chance
to speak to since Starwinds in Portsmouth a few years ago. Unfortunately
Steve is cornered by an individual, who shall remain nameless but will
surely represent his country when the Eurovision Bore Contest is televised.
Steve's' eyes glaze over and he starts to exhibit all the characteristics
of a rabbit caught in a trap and contemplating gnawing through his rear
leg to escape. In desperation on the way back to the con site he even asks
Fiona "Tell me all about your dislike for the Eurocon....in private
please". But Eurobore is unstoppable.
Spotting a friend he proudly announces "This is Steve Baxter, he is
a great author, this is Fiona Anderson, she runs Worldcons but you are
just a humble gopher and will never aspire to their greatness". Luckily
he doesn't include me in his introduction since I would have been forced
to kill him. Steve looks positively grateful as he is led away from the
free beer in the party to do a reading.
(Fiona: actually I thought he was joking when he said that, as that is
the typically offensive sort of thing that Brits are always saying to each
other. Indeed the better friends you are with someone the more offensive
things they are likely to say to you :))
Sunday, the final day, and I get to attend two programme items, the first
a discussion in German on the future of large conventions in Europe where
my participation is limited to trying to slow down the machine gun speed
of Fiona and Eckis talking so that the linguistically challenged can understand
The second is Fiona's GOH item, a con running game where I am one of the
judges. Unfortunately we get no contestants since an over-enthusiastic
gopher outside the room thinks that a limited participation Kaffeeklatch
is in session and is busy turning away the audience.
(Fiona: this sort of embarrassing screw-up happens to everyone sooner or
later, and anyway I can always run the game at some other con, if people
are interested - its about how to run a worldcon for real newcomers to
That night at the dead dog meal in a local pub the committee look radiant
but shattered. Final attendance was over a thousand and they had coped
with a staff of just sixteen. (To put it in context a similarly sized Eastercon
would have a staff of over 100). I dine on splendidly sweet, tender lamb
that may have been introduced to the concept of flame, washed down with
copious amounts of Altbier. Steve, Ian and myself give the massed Germans
a quick chorus of "You'll never walk alone", for no apparent
reason other than it seemed a good idea at the time, and the traditional
post con smoffing gets underway. Here I make my fatal mistake. "Of
course what you need next year is an active British agent", I say.
Two minutes later I've got the job. Plans are made for a visit to Koln
the next day with Steve, Ian and a few of the locals but unfortunately
I don't make it. I oversleep, the amount of Beer drunk having nothing to
do with it of course.
I spend my last day wandering aimlessly around Dortmund when I notice a
shop selling souvenirs of Borrusia Dortmund including a Teddy Bear dressed
in the teams colours. I decide that he'd make a fitting centre- piece for
a SF Tage table at cons. I return to the Pfefferkorn for a last helping
of the Altbier and wonder what to call him, Eric Cantonbear?, Teddy Sherringham?.
No I wonder what logically one would call a large, hairy, German Bear.
I get a few strange looks when I pull the bear from the bag and say "Naturlich
er heisst Bear-Luger". Come to SF Tage next year to see the resemblance
between my bear and Herr Post.
Memberships in the UK are available from "German Conventions",
42 Elm Grove , Southsea, Hants. PO5 1JG. Cheques made payable to German
Conventions except I haven't been informed of the rates yet. Watch this
zine for more information.
By Fiona Anderson
Reading my way through Ratzecons PR, I couldnt fail to spot that one of
the attractions listed was the local ice cream parlour "famed throughout
Northern Germany". If only more cons would put in this type of detail!
Yum!J Ratzecons PR then goes on to list the other attractions of holding
a con by a lake - sailing, open air drinking, trips down the waterway to
Lubeck (marzipan capital of the world) or across the border to Sweden after
the con for a Fantasy Festival, etc. Such a refreshing (in every sense)
change from the usual boring trivia about programme, guests, and the like!
Meanwhile for con details across Europe, check out http://www.smof.com/
which is The Magicians conlisting. Personally, Id very much welcome people
writing in to me with details of cons in their countries, including something
more forthcoming on local weather norms, local accommodation types, local
attractions, local food, etc, as well as the main con details. If people
are going to even consider visiting a con somewhere abroad, then I think
most people would want to know the tourist type stuff as well, since theyre
probably going to make a holiday around the con, to make travelling that
Actually I like tripping abroad a lot - if only I won the Lottery, Id probably
spend a couple of years traipsing round the world, before settling down
in the warehouse of my dreams! But the main two problems are money and
coping. With money being the more important factor (as always)getting a
BEC series off the ground is going to have to depend on persuading fans
that shelling out for travel costs is worth it. Coping isnt such a problem
after youve taken the plunge the first time - its easier if you speak the
local lingo, but at cons most fans speak English, and many more Europeans-in-the-street
speak English than Brits speak anything else, proportionately - though
many of them are shy to do so at first. Except of course when we were taken
in by the police for questioning - as witnesses I hasten to disappoint
The real plus about gadding around is after youve been congoing in your
own country for a while, everyone looks the same. I mean, you see the same
generic Con Faces In The Crowd at one con after another, and while I like
most of these people and indeed only see some of my friends at Brit cons,
its nice to meet new people (to actually speak to someone who cant predict
your every conversational gambit nor you theirs is wonderful!), to experience
new stuff, and to actually be a tourist too, all with a con thrown in and
therefore a bunch of fannish types, so youre not stuck in Mundana Abroad
Though Im not the sandy beaches type (but I won a beach towel in a competition
recently, from the German Tourist Board!), theres usually plenty of other
interesting stuff to see and do, including interesting and weird foreign
shopping, and (even more vital) new tastes to sample food-wise. The absolute
high point of my trip to the USA was trying out the buffets in Las Vegas
(nothing can prepare you for the reality of Las Vegas!), and of my trip
to Saarbruecken the various foods and ice- creams, though Hansecon in Lubeck
was the outright winner with its marzipan-flavour ice cream - Heaven!!!!
Well, I look forward to continuing my arduous comparative research project
into ice cream possibilities in July, hope to see some of you there :):):)
The idiosyncracy lies in that these happen to be cons I would like to go
to if I had time or money enough, as opposed to just listing any old con
that details have surfaced about
Ratzecon 25-27 July 1997, Ratzeburg
Contact: Christoph Luhr, Korvettenstr 17, D-23558 Lubeck Promises the aforementioned
lakeside joys plus superior ice cream Also the SFCD con (non-SFCD members
welcome), and a Baltcon this year too. Attending Membership DM 35
http://ourworld.compuserve.com/homepages/EDMarwitz email: Christoph@tlnet.de
NaSaCon XIV 1-3rd August 1997, Stockholm Contact: Wolf von Witting, Algatan
7, 133 44 Saltsjobaden, Sweden promises to be a relaxacon
Attending Membership 100 SEK (about GBP 9) email: email@example.com
Quartercon 97, 15-17th August 1997, Bergen Contact: Quartercon c/o Bjorn
Tore Sund, Lobergsveien 100A, 5032 Minde, Norway
Theme: Building Universes
GOHs: Katharine Kerr, Ingar Knudtsen
Attending Membership NOK150 to Apr 6, NOK200 to con, NOK250 on the door
http://www.ii.uib.no/~bjornts/quartercon/ email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Intuition, Eastercon 1998, 10-13 April 1998, Manchester This is going to
be fun!!!! (Well I would say that wouldnt I!!!)
Eastercons are increasingly attended by fans from outside the UK, and have
a pleasant social atmosphere, as well as plenty on the programme, due to
being the biggest regular cons in Europe. It's a while since an Eastercon
has visited Manchester, where there's plenty to see and do.
Accommodation in the convention hotel can be booked via the convention
tself (enabling you to take advantage of the special rates negotiated by
us), which is to be recommended as it adds to the atmosphere, but you can
also book your own accomodation independently, and Manchester Tourist Board
will provide an Accomodation Guide and a City Guide on request - their
telephone number is 0161 234 3157, though of course you need to add the
country code first...
Intuition's overseas agents can handle most requests concerning Intuition.
However, please note that ONLY our German And US Agents are able to handle
memberships and other financial matters. All other nationalities should
join via our UK address.
- Intuition, 1 Waverly Way, Carshalton Beeches,
Surrey SM5 3LQ
- German Agent:
- Juergen Marzi, Scharnhorststr 27, D56073
- Croat Agent:
Igor Tabak, Srebrnjak 62, 10000 Zagreb
- Eire Agent:
Brendan Ryder, 30 Beverley Down, Templeogue, Dublin 16 email@example.com
- French Agent:
Tom Clegg, 9 rue Arthur Rozier, 75019 Paris
The Netherlands Agent:
Nico Veenkamp, Aart van der Leeuwkade 83, 2274 LB Voorburg firstname.lastname@example.org
N. Cenk Gokce, Tufan Sokak 12, Yenimahalle, Ankara 06170 email@example.com
Sharon Sbarsky, PO box 453, Needham, MA 02194 firstname.lastname@example.org
Attending Membership GBP 28 til November 97, when it goes up again...
*WARNING* you have entered a Tact Free Zone