Remember? Last year I wrote an article about the Parcon/Istrocon in Bratislava. And yes, I am the Austrian. (My mother tongue is German.) I am one of the very few Austrians who have even been seen in international fandom.
This time I decided to go to another Slovakian convention. The SlavCon. The reasons? Conventions for SF-fans are always great. It is only one hour to go from our capital Vienna the Slovak capital Bratislava. There is a reason why they are called “twin cities” and in fact they are the closest capitals in whole Europe.
Another reason was that a German fan was making a holiday in Vienna – he is one of the organizers of one of the major conventions there, the BuchmesseCon – and of course you came to think what he would probably like to see.
The SlavCon is an event that lasts for three days, but we were only there on Saturday.
Finally we were a funny group: Four Austrians, a German and a Polish who lives in Vienna right now. We left by train and already had our own fan meeting there. (On some club meetings, the number of attendants is worse!)
The description for getting to the convention on the webpage of the SlavCon was pretty good: It explained which bus and tramway to take from the railway station. It was only in Slovak, but automatic translation does a pretty good job these days. (Of course you can´t feel pleasure reading a creative text translated this way, but checking out things like “how to find my way” works well.)
When we arrived, we felt disorientated. Until a member of the group found out that the word “SlavCon” had been written with chalk on the pathway – and one just had to follow this and the arrows. A simple, but really good und useful idea!
Checking in was simple. First of all the members of the travelling group were surprised: Beer, half of a litre, for a single Euro? Is it a mirage? Is it probably icky stuff? – No, neither a mirage nor icky. In fact the cheapest beer offered (there were two other as well) was Velkopopovický Kozel, which is a Bohemian beer and in my point of view even one of the best brands in the whole world!
Fortunately I met a friend again whom I got to know at Eurocon 2012 and he asked one of the con-organizers – an open-minded young woman who wear the costume of a witch – to give an introduction to us in English. She stressed out that it is just a small convention.
But I do not believe so: I can´t compare to Austria, as we do not have any conventions on speculative fiction at all. But I can compare to conventions in Germany and to the Eurocon, and I suppose that this “little” convention had been bigger than each of them. There was much space, in all the panels at the same time, in the lobby, among the fair stands, even outside – and no matter where I went, I never felt lonely.
The reason is in my point of view that young and old and fans of the different parts of fandom like literature, movies, TV-shows, comic/manga, role-playing et cetera seem to get along quite well in Slovakia, while in the German-speaking fandom all these are separated from each other.
Later we went around, looking at the fair stands and also at the camp made by fans from the mid-ages outside. It was lovely, you could try to throw axes, watch a cooking performance over open fire, beat each other under supervision who also gave advice how to do better with harmless exercising weapons and see living birds such as owls.
It was really a pity that I do not know Slovakian: There were so many interesting panels on science-fiction!
Finally we decided to see a concert where a young man was singing filk-songs. It was fun to see, especially as he was also playing the concertina which is an unusual instrument for us and well performed. Small mistakes made him even more likeable. I am a fan, but I love real art, not so much the perfect mainstream stuff made by an industry.
We spent a lovely day at the convention and I suppose that everyone of the travelling group had been satisfied. Before we went home, we had dinner in the gorgeous inner part of Bratislava.