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.

The Addams Family Musical

Well, of course I was going to write this. Given how I’ve covered pretty much every Addams Family adaptation (not counting the live-action TV shows and films, because everyone’s talked about those… Shit, am I a hipster?) it was inevitable that a) I would go see the musical when it came to Britain and b) blog about it immediately afterwards. This isn’t exactly rocket science here, people.

The plot is quite straightforward: Wednesday’s all grown up, and she’s inviting her new boyfriend, one Lucas Beineke, and his tight-laced parents round for dinner. So far, so “Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner meets The Rocky Horror Picture Show“. Now, I’m not going to go into any further details, because I genuinely want people to see this for themselves – it’s that good. Seriously, go book your tickets now. Continue reading

International Tabletop Day 2017

Spring has sprung, which to nerds like me means two things: first, sporadic (yet potentially profitable) sales for Rifftrax and Steam; secondly, somebody in the local area will be organising something for International Tabletop Day. This year was no exception, and quite a few places in Birmingham put something on. Manaleak (a gaming store just off Birmingham’s Irish Quarter) was doing a miniatures event on the day, but as I’m not much into that sort of thing I decided to go with something a bit more local.

Clifton Road Youth Centre was holding two events – one in the afternoon for families, and one in the evening for grown-ups who wanted to play something a bit more complicated than Kerplunk. I have to admit, I was expecting the afternoon event to have a decent mix of grown-ups and kids. The fact that the first game I played was Hungry Hippos broke that delusion quite thoroughly. Granted, I managed to get a game of Ticket to Ride: Europe soon after, with the organiser and a boy who almost got the longest route, but still…

The afternoon ended with me playing Mancala with the girls I’d played Hungry Hippos with (I know their parents through a few local board game meetups, so it wasn’t just me ingratiating myself with random children), which was very enjoyable; in our world of games with apps and custom meeples, we tend to overlook traditional board games. However, all good things must come to an end, and the organisers were literally packing things up as I was making my last move.

The evening event was, of course, a little more varied. It started off with a little Batman Love Letter (we ignored the new rules, because nobody could be bothered to look them up) and we moved on to playing my copy of Thunderbirds: The Co-op Board Game (I actually consider it better to base Pandemic, even if we lost on the easiest difficulty) and were halfway through Colt Express (second-best programming board game – best is 404: Law Not Found), before we realised we were running out of time.

All in all,  a good day.

Cartoons You Probably Don’t Remember: The World of Peter Rabbit & Friends

Having recently been on holiday in the Lake District (since you asked, a stone’s throw away from Windermere), I was of course inundated with quite a bit of Beatrix Potter paraphernalia – hardly surprising, given that she wrote her world-famous books whilst living in the area. As such, I was reminded of the first time I came into contact with her work; a short but very sweet series of nine animated specials from the BBC, spread out from 1992 to 1995.

Image result for world of peter rabbit and friends Continue reading

Comics By Celebrities

IDW have announced that not are they publishing Star Trek comics, but they’ll soon be publishing a graphic novel plotted by Mister Sulu himself. It may sound weird, but it’s not the first time George Takei has contributed to the comic book industry; he co-wrote Star Trek Annual v2 #1 with Peter David, a very good done-in-one tale that I’d definitely recommend to Star Trek fans.

Image result for star trek annual 1 all those years ago Continue reading