Watching With Mother (and Father): Good Karma Hospital, Paddington 2, Ordeal By Innocence, The Play That Goes Wrong

One of the things about living in close contact with your parents is that you sometimes end up watching TV with them. Usually that’s not too bad, especially when there’s a really good act on Britain’s Got Talent, they’ve got that comedian you like on Would I Lie To You or it’s that episode of Midsomer Murders you enjoyed when you first saw it over a decade ago, but sometimes it’s a pain in the backside when for some reason they really want to watch something that doesn’t even have the good grace to be bad, like The Good Karma Hospital. Continue reading

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You Might Not Realise How Much Black Panther, The Shape of Water & I, Tonya Have In Common (okay, I might be stretching things a bit here)

My film buddies and I have managed to see three more movies, all of which also happened to be nominated for this year’s Oscars, and have even won a fair few between them. Having seen these movies, I think they all deserve a rundown on just why they’re so damn good, how they deal with their themes (there’s only two that overlap with all three, but I’ll come to those in good time). I will also try to avoid spoilers because I genuinely want you all to see these movies… besides, everyone knows how the story of I, Tonya goes – it’s like Peter Jackson’s King Kong. Or Dino De Laurentiis’, for that matter.

bp et al Continue reading

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.

3bco Continue reading

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?

Image result for crimes on the christmas express Continue reading

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 we liked it) 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