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The 'Alternative' mindat conference report!

Last Updated: 2nd Aug 2011

By Liam Schofield


First and foremost, I must be serious for just a moment and take the time to thank the organisers for an outstanding week of learning, exertion and of course drunkenness. I think it’s fair to say that you did a fantastic job, and I for one, am looking forward to the conference in 2012!

So, on with the ‘report’. It’s worth mentioning that this should not be assumed to be a serious report. There will be silly comments and stories about things that might not have happened. And reports of things that did that are so stupid, you might not believe them. I’ll say now, that no insult is meant by anything here! However, if anyone is not happy with certain comments or pictures, I'm happy to remove if necessary. I will be skirting around the presentations and field trips here; these will likely be covered in some depth by others and the value of this information should not be muddied or sullied by my less serious report.

This is Mavis;


Some of you will know him, others won’t but Mavis (Christian) doesn’t go anywhere without his sunglasses; they are pretty much surgically attached to his face. So when they are removed, they are done so for good reason. Such as drunkenness;


This is Mike. AKA Rummy. AKA Rums. AKA MC Rumster. AKA John Rumbo. As you will see the Sunglasses have been donated to what can only be considered a good cause. The hat is another story, and I’ll get onto that in a moment. The evening of the 12th was, without doubt, a great evening. Penned as a barbeque-come-knees up, we were blessed with everything from pink druids;

pink druids!

through to a bonfire and party tricks;


No, you’re not hallucinating; My elbows are the wrong way round. Go on, give it ago...

Don’t you feel foolish now?

Anyway, so the alcohol flowed... some could manage proper drinks;

Roger Lang showing us how it's done!

while others took it slow;

Sipping Vodka?

But it didn’t matter one bit because the result was still the same;


So, the hat. Well, I’m pretty sure I borrowed it from one of the pink toga fellows, but honestly, I’m not sure. Regardless, we ended up with it and so ensured the photographs...

You’ve been struck by a smooth criminal...

Like a Rhinestone cow girl..!

Miranda Yu

Clothes swapping seemed to be a fairly regular occurrence this evening. Here is Agata wearing my shoes;

It's big foot...ARRRGH!

I can confirm that my feet do fill those shoes. And as for the size... well, that’ll be my little secret.

To be fair to those afflicted (myself included), most of the stupidity this evening can be traced back to a single person...

Tom and his evil drink

Ah Tomasz; the source of more hangovers than I care to remember. Speaking of remembering, I happen to know someone who would rather forget this;


Love at first sight;

We work hard, and we play hard...

Everybody dance now..!

I’m still not sure what the hell was happening here. Maybe Christian’s had suffered a venomous snake bite and Tomasz was bravely and selflessly trying to suck the venom out. I’m not aware of any venomous snakes in Poland, though. You’ll notice Christian has removed his sunglasses, so maybe this is one of those occasions. Unfortunately Mavis doesn't want his escapades with Tom getting into the public domain so they must remain his little secret. However, if you drop him an e-mail, I'm certain he'll show you the gory details if you dare. Or not, as the case maybe.

In other news, Wednesday evening saw the nursed hangovers, swapped for the nursing of more beer. This time though, we swapped the conference centre for the sights and sounds of Lwowek Slaski. As a change to proceedings, Jessica Macfarlane, decided it would be nice to shake things up by ordering herself a bottle of Champagne;


Self confessed princess, Jess soon decided that she needed a Lech, so thought that smuggling them out was the only way;


There’s the other Lech; Chris.
Oh, in case you’re not aware, Lech is a beer and not a life style choice in Poland. Switzerland... well... it might be the other way around...

So, as the beer and champagne flowed, we began to talk the obligatory crap. And, right at the top of our steaming pile of conversation was a discussion about a Mindat band. Who would be in it, what their name would be and even what their style of music would be. Well wonder no longer people! I give you, Ricardo and the Intrusions;

Richardo and the Intrusions!

Ricardo Modanesi on Vocals, Mike Rumsey on Drums, Edgars on the Horn, Kate Davydenko on the accordion and Tomasz Praszkier on the Cello playing their own brand of country Jazz fusion. They’re sure to be a hit!
A musical interlude;

Peter Gabriel was a point of great debate, one which I’m sure will continue unabated around the world. I, among many others, was adamant that Sledgehammer was one of the finest songs ever written. Others... well, not so much. I’ll let you all continue the debate for us.

Back in the real world and things were continuing as they had begun;

Kate modelling the Mindat Vodka

Kate here, modelling a bottle of genuine Mindat Vodka. Unfortunately, where you find Mindat Vodka, you inevitably find drunk Mindatters. Fisticuffs soon ensued on the subject of Agates;


Poor Miro never knew what hit him. This gave us all a good idea what was in store for us when we decided to play Uno with Ida. Many of us simply conceded the point that winning was not worth the risk to our health and as a result we stayed safe. That’s my excuse anyway. Mavis though...


Well, loosing seemed to be a skill of his. I’m sure someone else can correct me, but I think he lost every round by about 100 points on average. He was sober as well. Thankfully Ida kept her rage bottled so nobody finished the night with a black eye.
Food was something of an experience for many. I have always been someone who has insisted that everything should be tried once and I can happily report that traditional Polish food is fantastic- I mean seriously good. With one exception;

Evil Jellies

A savoury jelly. Now, I’m not unfamiliar with the concept of a savoury jelly BUT there is something deeply disturbing about a meat based jelly with tuna and egg inside. It was a truly frightening texture and was the only thing I couldn’t finish...which is odd when you consider that other things on offer included pickled herring and cold pork fat to spread on bread, both of which were positively palatable in comparison.

One item I must commend the organisers for is the sponsorship they lined up in the form of Tyskie beer. Additionally, there was a locally produce larger which was equally as enjoyable but the beer never stopped flowing throughout the whole event.

Off now to the parade, an experience I found somewhat bemusing especially after ending up with a kid on my shoulders..!

Leading the Parade

If it looks like I’m concentrating really hard, it’s because I was so frightened of dropping the little guy. I was so scared, I was gripping his ankles a bit too tightly and I got told off. Whoops!

Meanwhile, Alfredo was getting into the swing of things;

Poor Alfredo. At the end you see him die a little inside when he realises he's been videoed. I have been experimenting with creating an Alfredo kick line but that might have to come later..!

It didn’t take long for others to follow suit;

So that’s part 1... I’ve been so lazy I’ve had to split it up into two bits and there are so many great photo’s to share I couldn’t do it in one go.

Article has been viewed at least 13270 times.

Discuss this Article

2nd Aug 2011 22:40 UTCRoger Lang Manager

Hey, took a long time for an "alternative" report - i like it ;-)
That was a great experience and whoever answered the trumpet call ;-) that was made at 3 am on the Lwowek Main Street ...
Thanks Liam!

3rd Aug 2011 00:21 UTCWitold Goral

Thanks for the report Liam
The little guy name is Filip and he enjoyed very much to see the parade from the highest shoulders in Lwowek. And when you put him on the ground again he said that it is a very funny feeling not to be able to feel his feet any more. But I guess most of us felt more or less the same after the evening parties;)

3rd Aug 2011 03:20 UTCFrank Ruehlicke 🌟

Shouldn't it be Ricardo and the Inclusions?

Great report. Pretty much the way things went down. :)

3rd Aug 2011 07:36 UTCLiam Schofield

Thanks Witold and sorry for not remembering..!

3rd Aug 2011 12:43 UTCRiccardo Modanesi

Thank you for having put me in a musical complex, even if just virtual!!! Ok I was told once I had a good voice, but this time I laughed so much!!! It' always a good memory of the week we spent all together looking for minerals and sharing a hobby we all (or at least the biggest majority of us) have since our childhood!
Greetings from Italy by Riccardo.

3rd Aug 2011 12:48 UTCRiccardo Modanesi

Oh I forgot another comment: As soon as I got back home (with my bicycle through Germany and a two-days-stop in Freiberg of course!!!) I called all of my mineral- and gemstones- friends of mine and told them they lost a very good and beautiful occasion to enjoy that week with us and have the satisfaction to look at a specimen and think: "I found and got out this one!!!" I think they lost something extraordinary!!!
Greetings once again!
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