Hello, Jukka Halme here for the last time (*sniff*)

I’d like to thank Jeff for this opportunity to spout my agenda of Finnish speculative fiction, frivolity and chamber opera. Which went great, by the way, thanks for asking! I was able to remember my lines and even extend my limbs in such way, that some of the attendance actually thought I was “performing”! I wish Jeff had been there, for since he is a great fan of weird instruments, there was one that would’ve met his high criteria for uniqueness. I give you… DeLaval Original Liners! Which is such an unfortunate name, as the same thing is in Finnish as “alkuperäisnännikumit“. As in “original nipple rubbers”. These are the rubber parts of milking machines that attach directly to cows udder. And we had a performer tonight that played music with said rubbers!!! How cool is that?

I will now go back to that world in which I can sleep for more than four hours a night, read books and spend some quality time with my lovely wife, Sari. As someone wise once said: “This has been an interesting week, writing about these things and talking with you about them in the comments”. Much appreciated.

But before that, I want to share a personal memento. Tero wrote about a friend of ours, who had suffered a stroke. The moment I heard about this incident, I knew that fandom would do something really cool and worthwhile. How do I knew that? Well, you see, they did it for me, too.

Some five years ago, just a few days prior to Finncon 2003 in fact, I got an early diagnose of sarcoma. I was scared, bewildered and more than a bit apprehensive about future. I went to the con and did my thing, with a swelling feeling within, that this might be the last time I have this opportunity to enjoy fandom fully.

My diagnosis was altered however from sarcoma to aggressive Non-Hodkings Lymphoma. While this was good news, it was still more that a bit daunting. I went into this heavy-duty treatment of three days of chemo every two weeks, followed by some failed radiation therapy and eventual surgery, where I was releieved of more than a kilo’s worth of dead cells in a tumor.

During this time, I had a birthday and since at the time I was already well on my way to recovery, we decided to have a birthday party for me. And of all the presents ever, EVER, in the world, old and new, this one takes  the biscuit. The wonderful fandom ladies (and two swell guys) had been knitting, crocheting, weaving, looming, felting and conspiring all this time, in order to make me a quilt.

(OK, it isn’t technically a quilt, but I’m using the word anyway, as I see it most fitting for this. They called it a “Peittoprojekti” (Operation Blanket), but – dash it! – want to call it quilt, so there.)

This “blanket” is humongous and covers a fine looking gentleman like me from top to bottom. It is a work of sublime artistry and such love that I don’t really know whether I’m ever able to give back to the people responsible. I love you all.

The QUILT of Speedy Recovery

The QUILT of Speedy Recovery

There are more pictures here. “Peiton kokomista” means “Assembling the blanket” and “Valmis peitto” stands for “Finished blanket“. “Melkein valmis” is “Almost done“. And yes, it says “Live longer and prosper”. BTW, I’m now fully recovered, so hooray for socialised medicine!

Thank you one more time: Johanna V-U, Elli, Mervi, Inkeri, Petra, Ninni, Hannele K, Kanerva, Satu, Sari L, Katariina, Maria, Eija, Susanna, Hannele P, Tarja, Merja, Saija, Juho, Johanna S, Anna, Eeva-Liisa, Ylva, Mia, Kaisa, Terhi, Leena, Ilana, Liisa, Päivi, Arja, Marja, Irma, Minna, Maija, Paula, Maarit, Lotta, Tuomas, Senja, Onerva, Hanna, Marianna and the love of my life, Sari.

Now, I think I must be going. Ta.


  1. Johanna Vainikainen-Uusitalo says

    Just for balance, before y’all get too teary-eyed – and also to give you another fine example of Finnish collective musical weirdness: here’s the one and original Helsinki Complaints Choir in YouTube: