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Interview With Bacchus
by Cactus/Axelerate/Samar

What can I tell you about this man? He's 31 years old. He has been coder and cracker for all his scene time. He's currently head of a unit in the main cellphone operator in Sweden, where he is responsible for the technical side of statistics and interconnect billing. He's married and has two daughters. In his spare time he plays golf... He can be the only one... BACCHUS/FAIRLIGHT.

C - interviewer, Cactus/Axelerate/Samar
B - interviewed, Bacchus/Fairlight

C: Hello Pontus!

B: Hello to you, too!

C: Could you introduce yourself to our readers?

B: Well, I'm Pontus Berg. 31 years old, educated lawyer ("Master of Law"), father of two daughters, married to Gunilla since 5 years. I work as "head of business support" in the main Swedish cellular operator, but will change job and become consultant in the telecom and IT field on April 1st this year.

C: Well, many people would like to know more about your long C-64 activity. You spent 15 years on the scene. Tell us how all that started?

B: Well, 15 years is not quite true - I've had a C-64 for 15 years, but I count my scene history from December 1998 when I joined FairLight. I started out when I met a schoolmate (Mats), who had also C-64 and we played games from tape. Games were the reason I bought the C-64 and the disk drive. A funny detail is that I bought it from a guy called Alexander (a member of the synth group SPOCK), but this shop was the one, where the guys from WASP and the Scanian section of WCC hung around. Strider worked there, then WCC split up and FairLight was formed. What could be noted is that I bought the C-64 and disk drive at the same time - I never had "tape only".

Mats went to another school than I did, and one of his class mates (Mattias) was coding on the C-64 and this lead me into the art myself. I have forgotten the details, but somehow we were soon members of something called LCT (Lund's Cracking Team), where Lund is town we went to school. Mattias (The Scarlet Pimpernel) released the serie of demos called "Skychart" and they were actually rather decent for that time.

During time when I did my military service, TSP and me were discussing a name changing. My suggestion was CPU (Crackers & Programmers Unlimited). I recruted Wedge and swapper named Mr. Lead (while joining FairLight he changed it into Grayhawk), what meant I pretty much took over the active members, and TSP was still releasing his stuff under LCT label.

In early December we founded Oneway (the same group that lives today!). Galleon, Questor and Razor came from some other groups and I brought the CPU members. We were in for about a week before Grayhawk told me we got an offer to join FairLight. It didn't take much thinking to decide to go with the legends. So my history is LCT/CPU, Oneway and then FairLight for 12 years!

C: What were your biggest achievements on the C-64 scene?

B: Well, I can't say there is a stellar achievement I wish to say was a peak. My biggest achievement is rather a long and continuous number of years of hard work and steady flow of top class releases.

C: You were mainly coder and cracker in the past. Have you ever tried any other job?

B: Well, I was mainly a leader and cracker with coding as third task. I swapped tools and my own cracks with some 30 selected guys, but when it comes to music and graphics, I leave that to the professionals.

C: How did you learn coding and cracking? Has someone helped you?

B: "Programming the 6502" is the obvious goldmine, and along "The Commodore 64 Whole Memory Guide" - they are my favourite sources (I never liked "Mapping the C-64" as much as I know others did). One guy, "Brynolf" from Brynolf & The Cookie Man of SSSS (Southern Swedish Spreading Service or whatever the fully spelled out name was), hint me on the two basic SYS'es to load the tapeheads without activating autoloaders, but from there I was only on my own!

C: How many scene parties have you visited? Have you ever been to the copy party abroad?

B: I should be able to name them all: The Horizon parties in Sweden and some of the parties in Denmark. The best of all was still the Ikari+Zargo party in 1989. It ruled BIG! Imagine a party with guys like Mario van Zeist, Hobbit, Grendel, K12, and so on present! It was GREAT, including the fact that I'm sure K12 broke the world's puking record of all time :-)

C: You live in Sweden. How do you like living there? Have you ever thought how is the life of other sceners like? For example in Poland...

B: I like Sweden and can compare to some extent as I worked in Denmark for six months. It's a rich country and public service is good. We have a long history of right to feel free to speak and genuine democracy. I am fully aware that the computers cost differently in different countries. It depends on strength of the currency. Poland suffers here of course, but you still have some amazing coders. Hain is an old pal and he could do amazing things. Marek Matula and his friends in Taboo also made an impression.

C: You are married and have two daughters. Don't you miss "good C-64 times" when you were young guy?

B: Well, I had my days and I'm glad I had them. I'm also happy that I didn't geek in and turned into a porn leeching bastard with no social life. I have strong memory to a very nice period of my life - it can never come back, so why wishing it should? The only thing that happens is that you lose the chance of making today a memorable day if you waste it regretting yesterday has passed. Besides, the Commodore 64 and cracking games isn't the meaning of life - think about a new generation!

C: So what is your opinion about today's C-64 scene? After all there are still many famous groups, good demos are being released... It is still not dead!

B: The scene, as I knew, is dead and has been dead for years. If the scene is built around cracking groups and with no protected games around, there can never be any competition, which is the soul of the scene. The scene is challenging an opponent by cracking before and better than he ever can, beating the shit out of him - but afterwards go and have a beer with him. This bizzare IRC junking for 20 hours a day is a mystery to me - I have a social life and you can't combine that with spending all the time awake chatting on the net. It doesn't even create something lasting as a demo or a game - it's talk and talk is cheap (especially in these quantities)!

Sure there are demos, but none can say that orriginal innovation is deriving from the C-64. The effects, which some try to clone, are from the PC scene and the level isn't what it once was. We're in a downhill as there are simply no youngsters to recruite anymore!

C: Tell our readers something about your current job.

B: In real life you mean? I head a group of ten people producing statistics out of two gigantic datawarehouses on the key cellular operator in Sweden.

One warehouse is used for the customer analysis and another one for the figures for the Interconnect business. I head the support for 3.5 GSEK (billion Swedish crowns) yearly (figures from 1999). As I said in the beginning, I'm changing job to something that might be not so kewl, but better paid!

C: I know you code on the PC and do C-64 related tools for this platform. Can you say something more about it? Don't miss the chance. :-)

B: I head a section of FairLight called FairLight tools, where I gather some of the finest tools' coders. For the details I would like to suggest to visit http://www.fairlight.to/tools for the memberstatus and projects. My own current project is a program that registers your C-64 programs - much like people use Easy Catalog 2000 today on the native C-64. My program is on the PC and handles D64 and Lynx files instead of physical disks and hopefully it's a lot of easier than its C-64 cousines. It's progressing rather far - pick up the most recent beta release from http://www.fairlight.to/tools/bt.html

C: What kind of music do you prefer?

B: Rock, not metal. The genre is wide, but stuff ranging from Deep Purple to the softer things like U2 covers, I guess. Pink Floyd is the ultimate band, "Amused to Death" by Roger Waters is the best record of all time. Most Irish music is highly decent. U2 is the jewel in the crown, but there are several other bands in the flora. The Pouges - when Shane McGowan was still in the band also ruled big!

C: And what food do you like? Which is your favourite drink?

B: It all depends on time and mood. Classy food in a good restaurant can sometimes be topped by a pizza when you're hungry and feel like pizza. Red meat is great and I have to stress my childish lust for chocolate! :-)

C: Let's get back into C-64 scene. Say your favourites now...

B: * demo group - Horizon, for amazing standard over a long number of years!
* cracking group - Ikari, for amazing standard over a long number of years!
* coder - so many, I take Pernod/Horizon
* cracker - Antitrack
* graphician - I like RRR's logos, but The Sarge makes competition weep when it comes to Koala bitmap!
* musician - Tim Follin and Hubbard among the pros and Reyn Ouwehand on the scene (if he's not to be concidered a pro as well)
* swapper - you can train a monkey to swap disks, so who cares?
* cover designer - The Hobbit
* demonstration - Dutch Breeze
* disk magazine - Magic News/Scene Press (the same mag during different periods)

C: Okee! You can feel free to say anything you want at this moment...

B: Well, keep coming back to http://www.fairlight.to and http://www.c64.com whenever you can spare a few minutes from your IRC sessions. :-)

C: Thank you very much for this nice interview then. I hope to meet you one day...

B: Same to you and best luck with the mag!

C: Thanks!

Interview by:

CACTUS/AXELERATE/SAMAR

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