Two months ago Ang and I struck a deal: I could let my ten-year old self run wild at Jodrell Bank if we spent the Wednesday before the Royal Wedding at Alton Towers. I thought I was on to a winner there, I loved roller coasters, I didn’t have to watch a wedding, and I got to play with big science: what could go wrong? I hadn’t been on a really big roller coaster in ages which is why this was the result:
Picture the scene – 1985, days before a bedraggled Irishman put on a little benefit show for Ethiopia, nine-year old me was brought to Blackpool Pleasure Beach. This was the year the Space Invader opened, a black hole ride that I’d just seen on John Craven’s Newsround and I wanted to go on. Dad hates roller coasters so I told him it was just a gentle indoor ride, I begged, I wheedled, I got my own way. Imagine a man terrified of all fast rides, his young firstborn, and a single car climbing up in the pitch dark. That was the day I learned my first swearwords.
Ang just won free passes to another amusement park and this was my reaction:
For years comic book fans in the UK have looked across the sea at San Diego and New York and wondered why the land of Wells and Clarke had nothing to offer. While the US had their huge events, premieres and panels, all we could do was wait for grainy videos and vicarious emails.
No longer! Kapow was the first attempt at a big British comic convention and proved that it’s not the size that matters, but what you do with it.
Queuing started at 8am with many already in full costume, and didn’t stop until the day was over. The first panel we attended was a Fans vs. Pros quiz, hosted by Jonathan Ross which pitted John Romita, Jr., Mark Millar, and the immortal Dave Gibbons against Stewart Lee and a couple of fans out of the audience. Obviously no real substance, but a lot of fun and a nice way of letting the coffee injections take effect. The fans won, of course.
With a bit of time in hand to look around the stalls, picking up some nice stuff from Genki Gear and Insert Coin T-Shirts, it became increasingly difficult to navigate the Supermen, Batmen, Penguins and Steampunks so I dragged Ang away from the yaoi and started queuing again. How many Supermen does one city need before it starts to feel like a Monty Python sketch! Next year I’m going as Bicycle Repair man.
We got really lucky with the last panel of the day; the one every geek, nerd, and fan wanted to see, the Thunder God himself, Thor. After a lot of herding and surrendering of technology (the comic book fan equivalent of Gitmo) five hundred of us got to see twenty-five minutes of footage from Branagh’s movie (with script co-written by the Great Maker) and if the whole movie is as good as those few minutes then it’s going to be a real Easter treat.
In lieu of any proper content, have a gallery of images from our recent trip to Cornwall. Included are Tintagel (the alleged birthplace of King Arthur), Land’s End, and Goonhilly Earth Station (site of the first parabolic antenna in the world).
In other news, the RSS feed for the site has changed. Please update your readers to point to here.
At the weekend I did end up going to Colchester, despite inviting myself and it being on a Friday rather than a Saturday. As I’m in full training for another driving test, the conversation on the way down involved mostly talking about driving and roads – especially the scary Girton Interchange.
The party itself was fun. It was good to see some of the people I’d met before the last time I was invited down there, and also good to drink vast quantities of wine. Of course this led to a Saturday where I didn’t rise until three in the afternoon – only because a friend’s text message vibrated my trousers until I couldn’t ignore it any longer. Due to fragility we didn’t leave Colchester until seven pm and the rest of the weekend was a complete writeoff.
Well here it is – a diary I’ve been planning to keep for the past god-knows how long. Hopefully Blogger will make it a little simpler than writing a lot of bloody HTML.
Just back to Cambridge from a weekend home in Dublin where much alcohol was imbibed and many brain cells destroyed. The only problem was Ryanair – The Low Service Airline. I got into Stansted Airport in plenty of time for my 7:10pm flight when it was delayed, not for fifty minutes, not even for an hour, but for four long hours. Airports are depressing places at the best of times, but having to wait until 11:30pm while three flights to Dublin leave ahead of you, without even a cup of tea from the airline is enough to make you go looking for the nearest clock tower.