Tag Archives: geek

Geeky nostalgic fun times! (I’m ill, don’t judge)

I’ve been on one big nostalgia kick recently, as everyone who follows me on twitter can attest. The issue with being ill all the time is that I’m in need of things to entertain myself, so this blog has become more a “Palace of Entertainments” than “Palace of Distractions” of late. For some reason my mood’s taken me on a pretty awesome trip down memory lane, and I thought collecting a few of the bits and pieces here would be a fun thing to do while I wait for my head to mend.

Firstly, one of my favourite books as a child I discovered through a BBC adaptation in 1994, when it was known simply as Moonacre. The Little White Horse tells the story of a slightly spoilt orphan girl who is taken to her family’s seat of Moonacre Valley at the death of her father, where through self-sacrifice and some pretty nicely done character development she works to save the valley from the evils of man’s pride via some slightly magical pearls. This book is nothing short of adorable if you can weather the Christian overtones – personally, I’m fine with the religious aspect to it, as the author was born in 1900 and it feels like it suits the story she was trying to tell. A film was made of it a few years ago – 2009’s The Secrets Of Moonacre, starring Dakota Blue Richards of Golden Compass and Skins fame, a chaotic mess of a film that wins through simply because it’s so charming and filmed absolutely beautifully, with fantastic costumes, sets and locations. It’s incoherent but I enjoyed it; it’s a great film to watch when you’re hungover or tired, and the bits of the book that most affected my tastes and writing remain strong in the movie, so overall it was satisfying. It’s not as good as I remember the BBC’s Moonacre being though and I heartily hope that the BBC decide to release the 1994 version on DVD or online – partly because it featured the always lovely Noah Huntley. Please, BBC, show it again!

I’ve also been spending time looking at geeky t-shirts on eBay. She-Ra, He-Man, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Final Fantasy VII – there are so many! I’m glad the retro geek chic thing has taken off, it makes my life as a geek with a passion for nostalgia so much easier. That slightly hipsterish tendency to look down on people who were late adopters of a thing I feel passionately about is something that annoys the crap out of me – it honestly fills me with joy when a new reader picks up Game of Thrones and gets into it, not because I can stand there and say “Oh just you wait for Storm of Swords!” but also because that first moment where a book or series clicks and you get it and you’re into it – it’s the closest thing to magic. The geek chic craze makes it okay to like things and enjoy with enthusiasm. I can’t be annoyed by that, as much as people think it’s all about making money. I WANT people to find things that they’re going to get into and enjoy the hell out of, even – no, especially! – if they’re things I’ve been into for over ten years, because that level of enjoyment and involvement and support for a thing is fabulous.

Speaking of ten years, I’m re-reading Inuyasha at the moment, my favourite manga as a teenager. They’re printing omnibus editions and I’d never finished the series so imagine my delight when they appeared in the shop – I’ve had my eye on them for a couple of weeks, and as soon as I could I went right for them and laid claim and now it’s like Natalie and I are skiving off college to go buy manga and wander around the British Museum again and argh, I love it, I really do. Inuyasha’s a half-demon who’s controlled by Kagome, a girl from modern Tokyo who falls through a well into feudal Japan, and there’s all sorts of romantic tension and funny asides and family stresses and horror and nudity and complications and it’s such a glorious mess of a concept that I can’t believe fans of manga have moved on from it so entirely since it and Ranma 1/2 were all the rage. Next I want to find Ayashi no Ceres or whatever the English title was, because I have a terrific thirst for the manga that I used to be addicted to.

And don’t skive off college, kids. Obviously that’s a thing you shouldn’t be doing.

I’m going to hunt down some Bucky O’Hare next, and the Russell T Davies shows he did for the BBC way back when, Dark Season (starring Kate Winslet, who was a favourite of mine from that point onwards) and Century Falls.

I’ll leave you with one of my favourite videos – Captain Planet vs Hitler. No, I know, I KNOW.

What treasures from your past have you rediscovered recently? Is it all as good as it was the first time round, or is it just the rose-tinted glow of nostalgia?

ALSO don’t forget your opportunity to win a copy of Ash Mistry & The Savage Fortress by commenting on my blog post here!

MCM Expo May 2011

My phone’s camera settings have gone weird so before I begin, I apologize for the quality of the photos.

queuing like it's going out of fashion

I had a whale of a time at MCM Expo. A hulking great blue whale of a time. It was the sort of event where even the queue to get in felt a bit like a carnival – everyone in costume, loads of good feeling, and I was behind Pedo Bear and his box of sweets which was great. It had a brilliant atmosphere.

Pedo Bear and his sweeties.

There was a spate of high-fiving everyone in sight as we filed in and to top it off I high-fived a Stormtrooper – that set the tone for the day, because seriously, the only thing better than high-fiving a Stormtrooper is getting a hug from Darth Vader.*

By the way, the cosplayers were fantastic. Massive congratulations to everyone who dressed up, there was some astonishing work with the costumes, the props and everything – it really paid off. You were all amazing, well done!

The tumblr generation has happened

To be honest, MCM Expo wasn’t the event it could have been. If it’s trying to be the UK’s response to Comic Con then there could have had more and better content; not enough special guests, not enough events, not enough exclusive previews or suchlike (although the games area was thriving), it was so very difficult to find out what was scheduled for when or which day (I think it wasn’t on the Expo site but the Buzz site) – I’m not entirely sure that it was worth the £15 early ticket for your average geeky person although, let’s face it, anime and manga fans were happy as clams. A few people interested in going decided not to because they couldn’t afford spending money on something that, at best, seemed set up partly as a big geeky shopping event. I regretted not getting to Kapow! earlier in the year but for sheer spirit, I loved MCM. I’m definitely going back in October, not only for the cosplay and the atmosphere but because the only way to make events like this bigger and better is to support them, and I’m willing to do that. I had fun, simple as, though it needs to improve.

However, I was only really interested in one area outside all the X-Men, Doctor Who, Green Lantern-type big name stuff – the Comics Village. How good was the Comic Village? Excellent, that’s how good it was – I spent all my money in that one section. It’s a completely different game when you can stand over a table of brilliant artwork and talk to the artists and, best of all, hear stories about how William Shatner approved a cartoon version of himself. Jess Bradley and friend, you guys were great! Not only that but the talks I got to see were pretty informative and enlightening (the Amulet of Samarkand panel talking about the trials of turning a book trilogy into graphic novels was especially good) and it was, as a whole, the best area of the Expo.

I spoke to loads of lovely people and bought a lot of stuff (so much I caused myself a mischief carrying it around all day) because it’s excellent work decently priced (£1 for an A5 print?! £4 for a booklet?! Bargains!). I found several new names as well as artists I’ve admired and enjoyed for ages. I bought a poster with zeppelins and tea and ninjas on it, books, badges, posters and booklets, and I would have bought more. I still have Adam Cadwell’s Blood Blokes and Self Made Hero‘s Sherlock Holmes and Lovecraft books which I meant to go back for. In fact, here’s a photo without my brilliant duck jumper (you can see it on my Flickr if the spirit takes you) or posters, because I am a terribly lazy person and I’m not apologetic in the least.

Featuring (in a slightly wonky) clockwise from top left: Timothy Winchester, Jess Bradley, Liz Lunney (and the depressed cat), Joe List, John Allison, Josceline Fenton, Paper Science and Adam Cadwell, all of whom are clearly awesome. Not seen: Marc Ellerby‘s Chloe Noonan (in my bag cuz I’m reading them) a Geof Banyard zeppelin silhouette poster and my duck jumper.

If I had gone for any other reason than for the comics I wouldn’t have been very impressed. I do think it’ll get better; the events in San Diego always look so huge and fun but this just wasn’t on the same scale. It’ll get better, but I bet there are loads of small-to-medium British or European projects that could have used an event with 60,000 members of the public attending as a springboard as well as getting publicity for the larger releases – The Thrill Electric is a great example, but there could have been more. It felt like a missed opportunity on several fronts.

On the other hand everyone clearly enjoyed themselves and lots of money was made, so maybe in a sense it doesn’t matter. I still plan on going in October, and might even dress up myself this time!

*It’s very high on my To Do list.