You Won’t Believe How Many Things “Coco” & “Three Billboards” Have In Common (no really, they’ve actually got quite a few similarities)

I’ll admit, I don’t go to the cinema much last year; I don’t know why, given that apparently it was the year that Marvel and DC both put out at least one great movie each, which should be bread and butter to a nerd like me. Therefore, when two of my friends suggested around New Year’s that we should become cinema buddies, I readily agreed.

Our first film was going to be The Greatest Showman, but we decided to watch Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri instead, on the basis that it had much better reviews. We went in knowing it would be dark, and we were not disappointed. We decided the next week to watch Coco, as a Disney movie would be a welcome counterpoint. We forgot it was a Disney-Pixar movie.

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Crimes on The Christmas Express

My parents sometimes buy theatre tickets for me (and themselves) around Christmas, and 2017 was one of those Christmases. Given that we all very much enjoyed The 39 Steps (a wonderful play whose website is sadly plagued by hackers, which now means finding new tour dates is completely impossible) at The Lichfield Garrick some years ago, they were delighted to see there was a new play that spoofed madcap old-timey thrillers, where the cast (a company known as New Old Friends) played multiple roles and invoked some inventive set design on a budget. Sounds ideal, right?

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Webcomics: Why do I still read this stuff?

As somebody who grew up during the dying days of Web 1.0, I got into webcomics pretty hard, often binge-reading stuff for hours.This continued well into the early days of Web 2.0 and then… I just sort of stopped. I don’t know why, but given what I was reading at the time it was probably no great loss. But I’ve already said one webcomic I read is one of the best comics ever, so surely I had better taste than I think… right?

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Long Live The Queen

After enjoying 80 Days a whole lot, I was in the mood to explore some more interactive fiction (in my day, we called them “text-adventures”) and Steam was more than happy to oblige, albeit in a really weeb way. It recommended me I try Long Live The Queen, which basically seemed to be Princess Maker, only less shameful. Its main draw was the many ways the titular Queen could die. An interesting way to market a game, but I thought I’d give it a go. Continue reading

The Ten Commadamwestments

I was having a clearout of all my stuff, and I happened across some notes I’d written down years ago, apparently as part of some free writing exercise. I’l share the one thing I wrote from that period (slightly edited) that I’m actually rather proud of.

Thou shalt have no other Caped Crusaders

Thou shalt not mock tights, or a joyfully camp tone

Do not bear grudges against those who do mock, for you know their laughter is empty

Thou may use “Bat-” as a prefix, but not for everything, for there is a limit

Remember the 1966 movie, and keep it in your DVD library

Honour thy Alfred and thy Aunt Harriet

Thou shalt not kill, but using the Batzooka against thine enemies is fine

Thou shalt not consort with Catwoman, for that is just asking for trouble, old chum

Covet no other Batmobiles, because when you look for a suitable parking space, it will not be there

Thou shalt not steal, even if thee send riddles beforehand

Nerd Cons in Brum: UK Games Expo 2017

I have ineffably fond memories of last year’s UK Games Expo… if only because it was part of the tail-end of 2016 before Britain lost its fucking mind and fell for complete and utter bullshit. Right, now that I’ve got that out of my system, I can get onto the actual convention.

As far as I can recall, there are two things I’ve never done at the Expo: booked in the full three days, and done a full day of roleplaying. The reasons were mostly logistical (it’s a good 40-60 minutes from my place to the NEC by train), but after using up some annual leave and 20 minutes on Trivago, I managed to get a three-day ticket and two nights at the Yardley Travelodge, a mere 20 minutes by bus to my destination. Continue reading

Adam West: 19/09/1928-11/06/2017

I was at one of my regular nerd hangouts when somebody mentioned that Adam West was dead. My first thought was “That’s got to be bullshit”, promptly followed by “Wait… it probably isn’t”, rounded off with “Now I’ll never get to send him that birthday card”.

See, I had it in my head that I’d send Adam West a birthday card, telling him how grateful I was that he was part of my childhood (one of my clearest memories is of getting home from school just in time to catch the beginning of another episode of Batman) and how I hoped to make his work part of the childhood for the next generation of Prestons.

I even bought the card last year… damned if I know where it is, because of course I forgot. The man made such a difference to so many lives, revived a character that DC had almost killed with stupid nonsense by imbuing him with silly nonsense, and endured so much petty sniping from people trying to be “cool” by pretending they never liked the show (let’s be honest, we all went through that phase).

And I never told him.

I forgot to tell him how much I loved him.

I never met him, but I loved him so damn much.

We all did.

He knew he was doing something silly, and he never stopped doing it, because it was so much fun. I can only hope I can go through life with as much humility, self-deprecation and good humour as he did.

Goodbye, Mr West. You had one hell of a good run, but I’ll still miss you.

We all will.