After shooting the required scenes, I went to transfer them onto the computer for editing - but: "Capture Device Offline". Not good. Since I bent the firewire plug on the computer while cleaning last week I assumed the socket did in fact break.
First solution: remove the casing mounted firewire port and check pin connectivity. Checks out fine - still no capture device.
Dump an old unused analog capture card and replace it with an old Firewire card (no other PCI slots free) in case the on-board IEEE port blew a fuse and connect the camcorder to that - still no capture device.
Hmm... I think it must be the cable then! It got bent quite a bit mind you so what else could it be? But it is Sunday and no computer store around here is open.
Monday: Bought new cable, connected to onboard and PCI IEEE controller... no capture device.
A bit of careful prodding with a needle turns out that one of the pins in the camcorder port broke. Argh! It had to be the most expensive of all options...
Now I'm here, trying to open the camcorder without damaging it so I can replace that socket...
Edit one hour later: I managed to open it. Now to find a replacement socket.