Hugi Magazine 32: Say It With Flowers

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Ways to REALLY kill the scene! (From the "Newschool, oldschool, who cares, they're all soontobedeadschool!" department!)

One of the most overused catchphrases of recent times has been the refrain "(Insert contentious topic here) is killing the scene!" In spite of the many alleged perils threatening us, the 'scene' seems to be a robust little bugger, coming out smiling from under any crisis that threatens it. In fact, most casual observers might conclude that the scene isn't really in any danger of impending death, and is healthier than ever.

It occurs to me that people aren't trying hard enough. It is not good enough to "kill the scene" as a metaphor, but maybe you have to start thinking outside the (wooden?) box, and consider physically eliminating those people who are behind 'the scene'!

Of course, this is going to be a awesome task, of the utmost difficulty, but it would be worth it just to feel the gentle nudge of tumbleweed blowing through the deserted canyons of, not to mention the cries of "Bass!" being stilled for evermore?

The greatest problem is, that the "scene" is widely dispersed through the world, mostly in Europe, but with colonies in North America and elsewhere. Dispersal is a good survival tactic which is difficult to overcome. Someone used that idea for the predecessor of the internet, DARPANET, to make it as nuclear war-proof as humanly possible.

We're getting to the good bit now, time to get some methods out for the lads!

1. We start with someone like the character out of Hitchikers Guide to the Galaxy, Wowbagger the Infinitely Prolonged, who goes around insulting everyone in alphabetical order. Our variant uses that method, and will raid the database to track down individual people, and then kill them!

The downside: Even if you get away with being less than infinitely prolonged, does anyone really have the spare time to do that? Can you really be arsed? Come on!

2. A coding party hall remade into a giant deathtrap! Sort of a Roach Motel concept for demo coders. The legendary Mekka Symposium parties at Fallingbostel and Bingen were already some way there with their famous cryogenic sleeping facilities. My suggestion would be to use the hundreds of on-floor electric power sockets as the means to a kill, and flood the party hall to ankle-depth with a conductive liquid like sea water. The result would be the biggest electrocution facility in the world!

The downside: It is unlikely that the organisers will give you the time and space to arrange all of that in. They are not very keen on large scale party fatalities, on the grounds of 1. Being spoilsports in general, and 2. Getting kicked in the head from their public liability insurers!

3. The classic Currywurst-borne pandemic! Also known as 'Shitting through the eye of a needle syndrome'. The initial infection vector is through consumption of quantities of almost correctly cooked currywurst. This later mutates in the fetid party hall conditions to something airborne spreading, even clinging to the wise vegetarians who gave the dodgy horses willy sausage the big thumb-down in the first place!

The downside: A pandemic can affect everyone, as a method, it is too indiscriminate. At worst, a Currywurst infection could make Bird Flu look like a little sniffle. Also see very large nuclear bomb...

4. This one is sort of related to the last one. Everyone in the demoscene goes on a weight-loss plan and goes too far. A drastic weight loss can take the form of sudden-onset curry related issues. Or perhaps a longer term situation where everyone in the scene suddenly gets insecure teenage girl issues of body image anxiety and self-esteem, leading to a slow decline through anorexia.

The downside: Come on, this is pretty bloody unlikely to actually happen!

5. Now take inter-scene warfare to new level, like a life-sized game of 'Risk', with real guns and pain! The seeds of inter-scene conflict are there, with the historic disputes between different platforms, Atari versus Amiga, Spectrum vs C64, and PC versus everyone else. What more do you need?

The downside: The end results would be farcical. There is more comedy potential than bloodshed to be had here. For instance, the Amiga faction would be stuck on the end of the runway, in their 1990 state of the art F16 Falcon, desperately trying to reboot the avionics from a guru meditation error. Meanwhile, the Atari faction, in the World War 1 Sopwith Camel biplane, "because they are lame", succeeds in crashing into them during an otherwise abortive strafing run, resulting in mutually assured destruction! Elsewhere, the PeeCee guys, with their brand new super-duper stealth UCAV fighter, stare sullenly at a trojan infection which has overridden their Bios, preventing it from going anywhere...

6. The dreaded 'EP' rambling monologue is set to a scrolltext. This hypnotises the viewer into a total brain seizure! The effect from reading such a text is described as similar to a fast-acting nerve gas!

The downside: This is one of the few forms of warfare still too horrible even to get a mention in the Geneva Convention! The people who keep the Geneva Convention up-to-date start gagging when they try to cover this topic!

7. A biggie, a Europe-wide nuclear bomb. You've got to think big if you're planning to kill the entire demo scene, and this one doesn't come any bigger!

The downside: This is major major overkill! The codename for such a device would have to be something like "Planet Fucker". We're also back to the specific reason behind the dispersal and survive rationale of DARPANET, to avoid the whole network being killed by a nuclear war, which would suggest even with something that big, we might not get them all?

8. A World-wide EMP bomb. This is a more humane variation on the nuke option above. The electromagnetic pulse bomb kills the scene by killing the computers. If outright bloodshed is not your bag?

The downside: This is a non-lethal option, so we're wimping out of the topic! But wait a minute! It will also kill every electronic device in the world, leading to a reversion to 13th century living conditions, with subsistence agriculture unable to support a vastly swollen population. So there's mass famine, disease, transport failure, economic collapse, oh, and you've not even got a Pokemon Mini me beautiful demo to console yourself with through the new and self-inflicted dark ages, so we're back at overkill after all!

9. The demoscene declares it is researching nuclear energy, but only for peaceful purposes, has no WMD etc! This is also known as the "Attract the attention of a paranoid superpower" gambit!

The downside: Have you ever heard of the self-basting turkey who looks forward to Xmas? His name was Saddam Hussein!

10. This is a traditional favourite. We're talking of excess alcohol consumption. You can kill the scene, by killing their livers! The great advantage of this method is that it is entirely self-inflicted, with no blood on your hands. With entire parties (Boozembly) given over to this task, surely this is the easiest and best method?

The downside: This is a promising method, but only taken up by a few brave high-profile individuals, so far. There are quite a lot of people still resisting the lure of the grape, or at least not drinking to Nosfe-ish levels!

11. And finally, we've got another non-lethal, but certain method, the nastiest of them all. This is competing time pressures from real life, work etc. This is the best actual serious chance of KILLING THE SCENE!

The downside: This is actually happening in a lot of cases!

And with that uncomfortable thought to close an otherwise comedy article, it's goodnight!

CiH, for Hugi Mag, Jan '06