Tuesday 30 September 2014

LonCon 3: The 72nd World Science Fiction Convention (Worldcon)

LonCon 3 is the 72nd World Science Fiction Convention which brings Worldcon to London. Dates of the event were between Thursday 14th to Monday 18th August 2014 and was held in the Excel Centre.
Some round-ups of LonCon3:

  • The opening ceremony was held on Thursday 14th August 2014 at 12:00 with the closing ceremony on Monday 18th August 2014 at 15:00.
  • Each member was given a programme and Worldcon Souvenir Book with attendees receiving an additional badge.
  • The Retro Hugo Award winners were announced on Thursday 14th August 2014 to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the first Worldcon.
  • The Hugo Award was held on Saturday 17th August 2014 at 20:00.
  • Guests of Honour for this year were Iain M Banks, John Clute, Malcolm Edwards, Chris Foss, Jane Gomoll, Robin Hobb and Bryan Talbot.
  • In the Exhibit Hall, there were the Art Show (showcasing SF art works on display), Dealers’ Zone (stall sellers of SF novels, comic books and merchandising) and the Displays area (different organisation displays ranging from charities to fan websites).
  • The Capital Hall had the Fan Village/Hospitality Hall where you can find other Worldcon bids, board games tent and an opportunity to find out about many other clubs and societies.

There was plenty of opportunity to look around and stallholders were friendly and approachable. I began my crusade to look out for any She-Hulk but only managed to get an issue of The Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe (Master Edition) #6 with She-Hulk smack down in the middle of the front cover. The stallholder was nice enough to go look for any other She-Hulk loot he may have in his car but sadly came out with nothing. Continuing from the Hulk family, I also found Hulk: Gray by Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale which was an excellent find.
Before the event, I volunteered to help out with the general setting up. Volunteers were called in to start helping out on the 11th August and I volunteered from 12th August to 13th August. A lot of work goes in which was expected and it was a great opportunity to meet people from all around the world who have a pair of hands to lend. It was fun to meet people from such different backgrounds who have one universal interest in science fiction. It’s like an exclusive behind-the-scenes with what goes into running an event which an experience that I will take away was.
Just like any geek convention, LonCon3 had the whole lot: art and literature, film and music, gaming, comics. They held film screenings, talks and Q & As in various rooms and halls in the Excel. You can find out more about LonCon3 on their website.

#LonCon3 #WorldCon

Thursday 25 September 2014

Wikimania 2014

Wikimania is an annual event which is held in a different city in the world, surrounding the works of Wikipedia, Wikimedia and their related projects. This year it was held in London, UK. It’s is in the 10th year with attendees from 83 countries in attendance this year. It was held in the Barbican Centre between Thursday 7th to Sunday 10th August 2014.
Below is the round ups of what went down in Wikimania 2014:
  • Hackathon was held on 6th to 7th August 2014 which was a day where people with no experience to fluent users of the MediaWiki software come together to build and develop projects.
  • The Opening Ceremony was held on Thursday 7th August 2014 at 19:00 with introductory greetings from executive and directors from Wikipedia and Wikimedia as well as keynote from Salil Shetty from Amnesty International.
  •  All attendees were provided with a t-shirt and a goody bag (choice of red or blue).
  • Themes of the event: The Future of Education, Open Data, Open Scholarship, Democratic Media, Social Machines and State of the Wiki.
  • Community Village had Wikimedia and open-knowledge-related organisations with stalls set up to socialise and to find out different projects anew and ongoing.
  • There were 200 talks covering many diverse topics surrounding Wikipedia and any related contents covering from humanitarian topics or getting technical for the beginners. There was something for everyone!
  • At the end of the day, there are entertainment running through the evening with music, shows and stand-up comedians.
  • The Closing Ceremony was held on 10th August 2014 which the Wikimania torch was handed over to Mexico City.
There have been many discussions during the event and the main ones that struck me were the “monkey selfie” which became the starlight topic of the year attracting controversy left, right and centre. The other issue raised was “The Right to be Forgotten” which is not what Wikipedia or Wikimedia stands for. You can find further information on their Wikimania London’s website.

Wednesday 17 September 2014

London Comic Mart July 2014

The London Comic Mart is an event held at Royal National Hotel in Russell Square which usually occurs on the first Sunday most months of the year. They have stalls of people selling comics old and new occasionally with a guest star comic book writer or artist doing signings.
My first Comic Mart was all the way back in ___ 2011 when I began my conquest of collecting She-Hulk and Doctor Strange comics. Because of the intimate setting, it’s a great way of connecting with people and it’s where I’ve also made great friends. It’s one of the best places to find a bargain on comic books and merchandise.

This time round I got a few comic books as well as finding two other gems that I would usually not get at Comic Mart: two Taschens Tom of Finland artbooks! Both slightly lower than the retail price which were great finds.

Tuesday 16 September 2014

London Film and Comic Con Summer 2014

The London Film and Comic Con is an event that occur two times a year in West London, which features signings, talks, selling and showings centring around film, television and comics. The summer con was held on 11th – 13th July 2014.
The hotly anticipated appearance of Stan Lee at the event was most certainly going to create a major craze and send the place into complete lockdown. Stan Lee photo tickets were instantly leaving all latecomers (including me) with no chance to get that photograph with the legend himself.
Earls Court 2

Earls Court 2 hall had television and film star signings and photoshoots, panels, stalls selling memorabilia, Anime Zone, Cosplay Zone and Comic Zone with various foodies lined up on the side of the hall.
Brompton Hall
Elevator leading on to the first floor and a lift down, the Brompton Hall holds the Artists Valley, Video Game Zone and a line for Stan Lee that snakes the whole room.
I came across The Pride published by Queer Comix with the premise being Fab Man who finds no LGTBQ representations, forms the group “The Pride” which combats against supervillains that reflect real life issues that LGTBQ face in society. Issue 1 was sold out so opted to get the bundle deal of issue 2 and 3 plus Pride Adventures. You can find it on Comixology and can also be purchased in physical and digital depending on availability at this link. The day ended with a photoshoot with Milo Ventimiglia which was a dream come true as I’m a HUGE fan of Heroes.
Next summer, the tickets are all pre-booked to anticipate the high volumes of attendees. Further details can be found on their website. Tickets for winter on Saturday 18th and Sunday 19th September 2014, can be bought on the day and on the website.


Tuesday 2 September 2014

Summer Streets 2014

Summer Streets is an event held in Regent Street on every Sunday of July. It’s completely traffic free allowing that very rare moments during the year to roam the streets to and fro. This year, they had a theme for each Sunday: Garden Party, Love Food, Love Fashion and Summer Street presents Magnum’s 25th Birthday.
I attended the Garden Party which had a wide array of activities on show with some being the following:
·         Band and singer performances: There are stages and tents dotted up and down Regent Street with bands and singers performing.
·         Benches and garden areas: Benches lining up in the middle of Regent Street and green patches of “garden” areas for watching the performances and to sit back and relax.
·         Gig – Big Busk: Young musicians/groups performing which took off in 2012.
·         Heart: Heart 106.2 Radio offering a chance for people to get snapped on their massive deck chair.
·         Big Dance: A dance area which also featured on the day, a maypole erected with children performing the maypole dance.

Sunday 24 August 2014

Year of the Bus: LEGO Bus Stop

2014 marks the “Year of the Bus” celebrating the 60th anniversary of the Routemaster and the 75th anniversary of the RT-type bus. Part of the celebration, they have erected a Bus Stop made completely of LEGO in collaboration of LEGO, Transport for London and Trueform, marking the 200th year anniversary of the bus.
Walking along Regent Street you may notice by Hamley’s toy store a peculiarly looking bus stop right by it. The whole installation held an impressive 100,000 LEGOs consisting of the bus stop stand and shelter. Created by LEGO professional (official!) Duncan Titmarsh, the Bus Stop was there between 19th June 2014 to 15th July 2014.
I became immediately enthralled by the sight and was in complete awe of it.  It definitely was not hard to miss which brought a smile on my face and bring a smile on a face on any passersby. The first thing I did was do a 360 take running my fingers along. The colours are what you would expect LEGO to be: full of light and vibrancies.


Friday 8 August 2014

The Big Volunteer THANK YOU Party

The Big Volunteer THANK YOU party is for all the Pride in London volunteers. It was held on Saturday 12th July 2014 starting from 18:00 to 22:00 at the Two Brewers in Clapham.
I entered the main lounge and initially thought “where the party at?” and I’m sure I wasn’t the first to think that. After being pointed to the right direction, I crossed the threshold into a dingy underground illuminated by limited dim lighting skirting around the edges of the room with the main stage being lit.
The evening started with a chance to mingle with the other volunteers. Spoke to a few people there: a couple on the parade route, a groupie at the Trafalgar Square and an electrician. They all had amazing Pride experience stories to share and the electrician had stunning pictures.
The evening was home to two drag acts who belted out hit after hit with humour that added that dazzle of glitter on the evening. The evening ended with the prize draw with a lot of the tickets a miss with the people having already left. It was vouchers galore and runner ups were given Pride in London t-shirts. It ended with music dancing into the nights.

Thursday 7 August 2014

Pride in London 2014

Pride London 2014 was a quite a blast being Pride in London’s second year organising it. The running theme this year was “Freedom To...”
Meeting point for Pride volunteers was Metropolitan University where everyone was provided with a bag of food and goodies donated by Tesco and a drawstring bag donated by Citibank. Each volunteer was given a pink Pride volunteer wristband to show to participating shops along the parade route for free refreshments and discounts.
Split into groups, everyone made their way to the designated areas of their post. Once on site, we were orientated about the whereabouts of everything and a chance to get to know the group.
As it progressed on to the 12pm touching point, we were then suddenly greeted by heavy rain which had me completely waterlogged from head to toe. For the whole day, I did not manage to dry off but it definitely did not dampen any spirits as the atmosphere kept the love alive.
Got complimented for looking good with a “flag” around my head, got mistaken for “Bart Stewart” (still have no idea who he is... anyone please enlighten me!) and taking random selfies with pride goers were the many things that came out during my day at Pride. Bumped into a load of people I knew and having seen for some time. It’s so wonderful how Pride can bring everyone together – a celebration of the individual and community.
This year had a stellar cast of performers on stage with the 80’s making a grand comeback from the likes of Sam Fox and Sinitta. Sir Ian McKellen came on much to the applause of everyone. He then introduced Conchita who was the headline act for this year and I can pretty much say that received the hugest applause of the day. Conchita performed That’s What I Am and Rise Like A Phoenix.
Pride was amazing and I had a chance to meet so many amazing people. It’s why I will always keep coming back year after year and it will never grow old for me. Drinks up for Pride in London 2015!

Tuesday 5 August 2014

Gay Outdoor Club Evening Walk

The Gay Outdoor Club (GOC) is groups of organised social outdoor activities such as walks, cycling and rock climbing. This year they offered a free walk in conjunction for this year’s Pride event which was held in London’s Regent Park and to commemorate the 40th anniversary which is quite a feat for a gay organisation.
Starting at Regent’s Park Station, there was quite a crowd turn out for the walk. Starting off there was an introduction in regards the walk and a chance to see who came over from Pride.
Everyone I’ve spoken to were approachable and friendly even with the never-ending rain couldn’t dampen any spirit. I’ve had so much fun listening to all the different stories, interests and having many laughs walking down the route with the others.
We went through the Queen's Mary Garden which featured a spectrum bed of roses planted beautifully across different areas of this section of the park. This eventually leads up to the Open Air Theatre showing a selection of plays throughout the year. We went up Primrose Hill where we found London in view painted on a grey canvas of clouds London’s towering and cascading buildings on the forefront. After gathering in the views, we made our way through Regent's Canal to finish at the Black Cap pub. I've had an amazing day out and I will most certainly be up for another walk with the group.
For further information, you can visit their website at http://www.goc.org.uk/ where you’ll find information to join. You can give them a try out by attending to the walks to see if it is your scene. They also have an array of activities that does not only involves walking such as biking and rock climbing.