Posted by Sari
So, after a month of procastinating, here is my Finncon 2010 report. This, the first Finncon without Animecon since 2001 (which incidentally was the only Finncon I have missed since 1991) was, I think it is safe to say, a success. To my eye the attendance seemed to be around the same as it was in 1990s Jkylä cons. Uncle Alvar’s non-functional University main building was crowded but not over-crowded, and all the programming items I attended in one capacity or another had plenty of audience. It is time and work intensive to get accurate attendance numbers for free event such as Finncon, and the way Finland Festivals wants the numbers tends to inflate the head count, but be that as it may, a good attendance.
From personal point of view as a program participant and a gopher the organisers did a good job. I knew where I was supposed to be, when and doing what. The info mails arrived on time – well more or less – and had all the info I needed. Tech team answered my queries promptly, and gave good and clear instructions on how to use the gadgets. Even my most technologically intensive programming item where I was using Youtube, Powerpoint and two computers got off on time without tech problems.
As for programming on general, I am the wrong person to say much about it. My standards for speech programming are ridiculous. I can’t for example watch interviews or discussion programs from television because the muddled arguments and lame questions annoy me to no end. Thus I have yet to meet a discussion item on any con I thought was better than quite nice, and that includes my own programs which I really don’t ever want to see taped. Even though quite paradoxically I like doing programming, I am painfully aware that according to my own standards I suck. I tend to prefer speeches and lectures because there at least should be a coherent argument, or round-table discussions which allow all to participate. That said, I thought the topics for this year’s con were interesting, and have already said something about the ones I saw in earlier posts.
On Sunday my sole effort was a panel about building a dream con with Johan and Carolina. We definitely could have been more structured and talked more about the differences between dream con as an attendee and a dream con as a conrunner – very different animals – but even so, it was an interesting topic and something I would like to revisit it at some point in this blog.
What we did agree on in our dream con panel was that for a non Anglo-American con which does not get many professionals as members/visitors, the guests of honour mean a lot. And at least for me, Jyväskylä hit a jackpot with Ellen, Pat, Sari and Liisa, all wonderful, funny and interesting women with worth while things to say and write. And I have to admit that since Jyväskylä announced Ellen as GoH I had been doing a little happy dance because I was hoping Delia would come along as I have been fan of her work for years. So A++++ for Finncon for the guests.
The socialising aspect of the con suffered a bit because a) I had lots do do and b) it was freaking hot. Even with Hello Kitty fans, spray bottle fans and old fashioned lacy fans, sitting in Sohwi meant dripping sweat in your mediocre beer. Even so it was lovely to see old friends and make some new ones, even if I had to give my mind a good scrub because of certain Twilight interpretations…
So Yay for Animeconless Finncon. I know there are people who miss the colourful costume carnival atmosphere animefandom brings along, and still believe SF-fandom could siphon some young blood from animefandom, but I am pretty sure a generic anime-event concurrent with Finncon is not the way to go. If people want to have a colourful carneval – which I don’t – we should do the dressing up ourselves: animefandom is not there to make our con more exotic. If people want to do a recruitment drive, we should program stuff younger people are interested in and advertise in anime- and roleplaying events, maybe even Assembly. Those who have an interest in SF and Fantasy but are not fannish about it, might wander in to a free event if it happens to be in their city, and few might even get fannish about it as a consequence. Not that I am especially worried about the future, people have been moaning about the lack of new blood for the almost twenty years I have been in fandom and yet somehow every year I meet new faces in SF events.
Next year we are in Turku, with the big fare-thee-well separation party with Animecon. The logistics seem at least on paper quite doable, and Nalo Hopkinson and Richard Morgan are an interesting pair of GoHs. So looking forward to returning to the birthplace of Finnish fandom next summer. See ya there :-)