Last month was Fenixcon in Brno (the Czech Republic) – as a special highlight it was also Parcon this year, the big event for the Czechoslovak fandom.
It was the first time I have been to the Czech Republic to a convention – as I am Austrian, I am also not the average visitor …
Of course I also used the chance to see some of the sights of the beautiful city of Brno. So I have been there one day before – and was very surprised to get an invitation to the organizer´s meeting in the evening! – As I had a lot of questions in advance, they had my e-mail and mobile phone number.
Basically, I came to Brno to meet other fans, so this was not a chance I wanted to miss. We met in a bar – but it was hard to find. I have been told later on that the name of the bar, “Na Blbym místě” means anything like “the wrong place”. But it finally worked out and it was pretty nice and fun. Unfortunatly I had to leave around midnight, as I had caught a really bad cold and wanted to be fit for the convention the next day.
Of course I had been recognized on the Fenixcon and I have been guided around in the location, the Hotel Slovan. (As it had already been booked up, I slept in a nearby hotel.)
In fact the convention wasn´t that big. On room with fair stands, three lecture rooms and the hotel bar. But everywhere people and everybody was in such a great mood! Certainly the convention – that is also called “slipper con” by some of the fans, as one can walk in slippers from the hotel room to the convention – was a highlight of the whole year for many of the visitors.
In the evening I had my own panel. I made a little power point presentation and narrated about my adventures at conventions in different countries. I held my panel in English, but nevertheless had a translator. The translator was really amazing, he did not know what I was going to tell, nevertheless he translated in … well, I would call it “warp speed”! It was so amazing for me, especially as my mother tongue – German – is so different from the Czech.
People cooked themselves a cup of tea on my panel, but well, I guess this is their usual way to relax during the program. Anyhow, I have been intruduced to the trustee of the Karel-Čapek-Awards afterwards – (Remember: Karel Čapek was a Czech author is is most famous for inventing the word “robot“ for a human-like machine) – who also listened to my panel and she seemed to be interested in our fandom. And yes, this was also a convention for networking: There are many authors, illustrators, publishers and other active members of fandom. I was very happy that I have been introduced to many interesting people what made it easy to have nice chats. I also met some fans I have met before again – I have been to Slovakian cons already three times, so I have known more fans from this country before. There were a lot of Slovakians this time, funny how also a woman in riot gear with a frying pan with the Slovakian blazon on it. When I was asking about it, the answer was a question to me: “Do you know Captain America?” – Well, sure … Ah, I see, this was Captain Slovakia!
Unfortunatly I did not see much of the program due to the language boarder. Of course someone like me peeps into the opening and the awarding ceremony, but without understanding a single word …
As it was a meeting shortly before christmas, fans drank quite much, especially as it wasn´t far into bed in the hotel room. The Czech Republic is famous for its delicious beer, but of course it was not only that. For me the event had finally been great – somehow exotic in my point of view, but I got to know so many interesting people and it is not an experience I would like to miss!