How to survive a London comic con

With the MCM expo fast approaching, I thought I would compile a handy guide to help you survive a London comic con.

1. Arrive Early

Parking fills up quickly and public transport gets exceedingly busy. I recommend arriving at 8:30 AM and going for breakfast at a local restaurant. You’ll then have plenty of time to queue, before the doors open at 10 AM.
This will also give you time to check out the schedule to see what you would want to do for the day.

2. Virtual queues
A lot of the big-name (most expensive stars) will have a deli ticket style virtual queue. Hit all the big-name stars first, then come back at your allocated time.

3. Go For Comfort

Wear Comfortable shoes and clothing – you will be doing a lot of walking, standing and sweating.
Even in the winter, it will be exceedingly hot in the venue, so shorts are ideal.
Nobody likes a smelly fan, so double spray/roll the amount of deodorant you would normally, I’d also recommend carrying some in a backpack.



4. Take a backpack

Bring a small backpack for your snacks and memorabilia.
Also, think about your phone battery too, a portable charger will set you back about £15.

5. Bring Your Own

Bring water and snacks with you. Con prices for food and drink are ridiculous.
I normally take three small bottles of water, a caffeinated drink, and a couple of bananas.

6. Schedule a Break

If you get tired, there are tables to sit at, but these fill up pretty quickly.
I recommend finding a pub a short walk from the venue.

7. Plan

The best way to make your time at a con enjoyable is to plan out a strategy on how to spend your day. Check out the timetable online before the event and mark what you really want to go. Also, make an alternate list in case you can’t get in or don’t want to wait in a long line. If you’re only going for one day – check the programs and find the booths/celebrities you would be most interested in and check those out first, then check out the other fun stuff.

Friends conspiracy theory

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Now, I am currently suffering the flu and am whacked out on flu medication so, this may be crazy talk. But, something hit me like a bolt of lightning earlier today. The entire 10-year run of Friends was a social experiment set up by Doctor’s Niles and Frasier Crane. I haven’t quite figured out what that social experiment is, but I’m assuming it’s something to do with memory loss and post-traumatic stress.
First off, none of the friends really know anything about their own life’s.

In one of the early episodes, Joey and Chandler offer to take Ross to a hockey game for his birthday, and the date in that is said to be October 20th. He says, “my birthday was 7 months ago,” which would place his birthday in March, yet in the episode where Ross tries to punch Joey and breaks his thumb, they fill out his details, Ross says “you know my birthday!?” And Joey says “May-tem-ber???” And Ross says “OCTOBER 18”!
Ross’ age is a bone of contention across the whole series. He stays 29 for three whole series whilst the other friend’s age.

In the episode where Ross and his girlfriend Julie are getting a cat, Monica talks fondly of their childhood cat and even has his old toys. In the very next episode, when Monica is tasting the Fistachio product she says she’s allergic to cats and is for the rest of the shows run.

Phoebe often talks about her hard life living homeless on the streets, yet lived with her loving grandmother. She is fluent in French, yet in a later episode doesn’t speak a word of it.

The spelling of Rachel’s last name changes every year sometimes it’s ‘Green’ then ‘Greene’ then back to ‘Green’.
Chandler and Rachel met 4 times before the first episode is set and they don’t remember each other, she saw him get his toe cut off, you remember seeing someone get their toe cut off.
In the first episode it’s established that Ross and Carol split up a year prior to the episode, yet later that series Carol turns up 8-months pregnant. We’re also told that Carol was the only woman Ross slept with, but it later turns out he slept with an older woman in college.



Joey and Chandler’s apartment number changes from 4 to 19, whilst Monica’s changes from 5 to 20 without any of them realising. A whole episode set up the fact that Chandler has never cried, yet the previous series showed Phoebe make him cry.
Phoebe claims her dad left before she was born, yet later he walked out when she was 7.

Along with “get a life!” I hear you say “but Frasier and Niles were never in friends”.
No, they were never in friends. But, they did exist in the same universe. Phoebe’s twin sister, Ursula was a character in Mad about you, the characters from mad about you appeared in Friends. Chandler appeared in an episode of Caroline in the city. Caroline appeared in an episode of Friends, who else appeared in Caroline in the city?
Joey’s intelligence also takes a drastic knock over the years. He started out as an average guy then got dumber and dumber as the years went by.

What do you think? Does my theory hold any weight?
I’m likely to add more to this as further inconsistencies pop into my head.
I also think there’s something to the same people popping up with a new identity. Phoebe and Monica’s old Friend Amanda was later Joey’s agent, Bobby and Chandler’s psycho roommate Eddie, was Joey’s sister’s childhood boyfriend, Jimmy.

Why I don’t care for Big Bang Theory

Many of my friends and family LOVE The Big Bang Theory. I’ll admit, I’ll watch it if there’s nothing else on. but, something 20130309-165819.jpgabout the show has never sat right with me and, I think I’ve just figured out what. I’ve recently been suffering from a bout of chronic insomnia. So, one sleepless night I reached for the ever faithful, ever comforting, continually funny, Spaced.

Now, Spaced is without doubt the best geek TV show ever made. It’s made by geeks, for geeks.

For the unfamiliar, it’s a British sitcom about two strangers — Daisy and Tim (played by co-writers Jessica Hynes and Simon Pegg) —who have to pretend to be a couple to get a flat.

Like the Big Bang theory, Spaced featured in-jokes and movie references. With the Big Bang theory, they’re screaming “There’s a reference coming, We’re about to make a reference, here’s the reference, Did you get the reference? No, ok. Well here’s what the reference was about”.
Spaced was smarter, it worked on multiple levels. If you watch it as a straight sitcom, with no idea of the references, it will still make you laugh, but if you watch it and you pick up the references it makes you laugh in a different way.

It rewards multiple viewings. 14-years later and I’m still picking up things I’d missed before. The references aren’t gratuitous, they move the story along. There isn’t a random reference, for the sake of a random reference.
I can’t help but feel that the Big Bang Theory is just making fun of “geek culture”. Pointing the huge finger and shouting “THIS IS WHAT NERDS DO!”. Most of the humour comes from the audience laughing AT the characters and not with the characters. You’re not meant to be laughing at the jokes they make, you’re meant to be laughing at the guys themselves and that’s what doesn’t sit right with me, I’m meant to be laughing at myself, at my friends.



The characters aren’t likeable at all, now. Not every character has to be likeable. Every character in Seinfeld, Curb your enthusiasm and Arrested development was a detestable human being. But it takes skill to do this. The writing team on TBBT are too busy high-fiving themselves for squeezing in another reference, or lazy pop shot at geeks to give us believable characters. Instead, we get another overused stereotype, not seen since saved by the bell.

Leonard is whiny, weak and a mummy’s boy, Raj is shy around women and just irritating, Howard is sleazy and belongs on some sort of register and the star of the show, Sheldon is just a complete and utter dick.
Would anyone really be friends with him?

At first, I thought it may just be a cultural difference between a US show and a UK show. But, step forward Community. A show made by NBC which like Spaced, deals with geek culture in a respectful and realistic way. With community and Spaced, you never laugh at the characters, you laugh with them.

TV REVIEW-DEREK

Before people had even seen this, they were lampooning Gervais for “playing disabled”. Yes, Derek isn’t smarter than the average bear, but neither was Baldrick, Mr Bean, Homer, Trigger or Father Dougal, were any of these characters mocking disabled people? Derek’s innocence isn’t the subject of ridicule.

Derek is a sweet caring and kind man.
To say this isn’t the funniest thing Ricky Gervais has produced would in no way be a criticism. What we get instead is a touching heartfelt drama about Britain’s forgotten.

The only moments the script fails are when it tries too hard to be funny. The script actually works best during its tender moments. Yes, the show wasn’t perfect, but aside from Being Human, what pilots have been?



Thoughts on Elementary

I was incredibly lucky as a child to have very supportive parents that wanted to push my learning through literature and education. My Father taught me the intricacies of espionage and shared with me his Le Carre collection and my mother was always there with a bit of Mr Tolkien.

Little did I know at the time, but a character created in 1887 by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle would have a huge impact on my cultural learning during adolescence. Sherlock Holmes became a staple read during all the periods of my life and various incarnations on television and the movie screen have given me hours of pleasure.

From The adventures of Sherlock Holmes in the late 1980s early 1990s to the latest Guy Ritchie-helmed versions starring the wonderful Robert Downey Jr, Jeremy Brett was always my Holmes. He had the tortured, intelligent addict down and every performance was a masterclass of acting.



Then came the latest fashion in screen media, the reboot. I think what Steven Moffat has done bringing a classic old-time character into the 21st century has been miraculous and so when I heard that CBS in the United States had an American Holmes being lined up I was really hopeful of another take on classic tales.

But then came the press release…

Continue reading Thoughts on Elementary

Who next?

There are many debates happening on social network sites regarding Doctor Who. What are you hoping for from season 7? What do you think will happen during the 50th anniversary year? etc. etc. What nobody seems to discuss is who’s next?

Now before you all attack me for wishing Matt Smith would go, please hear me out. Matt has done an incredible job – he has really made the role his own and is second only to Colin Baker in my affections so I want Matt to stay in the part forever. However, I am a realist that has gut instincts that I usually keep to myself. So why am I bringing this subject up now I hear you cry? well, a couple of reasons as it happens.

Continue reading Who next?

Happy Birthday Mr. Christopher Eccleston

Christopher Eccleston was born in Salford, Lancashire on the 16th of February 1964. After being classically trained as an actor Chris won the role of Derek Bentley in the great British Film “Let Him Have It.” I best remember Chris for his long-running role as the lead detective in the ITV show “Cracker” alongside Robbie Coltrane and for his excellent acting the well-cast BBC drama “Our Friends in the North” with Daniel Craig and Mark Strong, amongst others. He has had a moderately successful film career with hits such as “The Others” with Nicole Kidman. Strong-willed, he’ll only take parts that appeal to him as am actor; not for the fame. He even turned down a role with Steven Spielberg in “Saving Private Ryan.”

When rumours surfaced that acclaimed writer Russell T. Davies was relaunching the Doctor Who character, Chris emailed his old friend and asked to play the title role. Even though Chris admits publicly that he was not a fan of the show and was just after the opportunity to work with Russell again, he became the first actor born after the original 1963 transmission to take on the role. Maybe it was the qualities of his acting or disregarding the expectations of fans but when Chris became the 9th Doctor he set a benchmark for future actors in the role. He brought humour, humility and darkness to his portrayal and brought a new style to the Doctor/companion relationship with Rose Tyler, played by the brilliant ex-pop star Billie Piper.

We are probably not going to see Chris amid the forthcoming 50th-anniversary celebrations as he doesn’t like to talk about Doctor Who and doesn’t tend to go back to roles once he has left them; that will be a great shame. Christopher Eccleston made the Doctor character his own and made sure any future portrayal would have to be top class.

Happy 48th Birthday, Mr Eccleston.

Last year Bad Wilf broke the news as to why Chris left the role – check it out



Whovian

It was pointed out to me this week – by my mother – that I may have been wrong when filling out my census. Apparently the “what is your religion” question was supposed to have a more conventional answer than the choice I made of “Whovian.”

For those of you that do not know, (why don’t you?) Whovian is a fanatic of all things Doctor Who. I had heard that many thousands of people answered “Jedi” on the last one and thought I would have a little joke with the guys that have to read and analyse all these millions of bits of paper. Then I got to thinking – which is never a good sign – Whovian is my religion! I have actually thought this through and will layout for you now my argument.

I would like to start though by explaining these are the thoughts of a non-religious, slightly mad and very tired chef with a warped sense of humour and are not to be taken too seriously. They’re certainly not meant as disrespect to those of you that are religious! I guess I’m asking you to read this and not to hurt me afterwards! Continue reading Whovian

My Doctor

Colin Baker had the role of Doctor Who at a point in time when the British Broadcasting Corporation was experiencing what can only be described as an explosion of internal politics. Producer fighting executive, new talented writers being stifled, little or no budgets for shows. For the first time, Doctor Who was put on hiatus for 18 months.

The show returned with new effects, a new theme arrangement from Dominic Glynn and a shorter 14 episode single story arc. Popular writer Robert Holmes wrote the majority of the season and, under a single title, ”The Trial of a Time Lord ” came kicking and screaming back onto our screens.

It came with a warning from the then Director General Director of the BBC, Greg Dyke: “succeed or you will be cancelled.” This threat to The Doctor was one that a couple of years later would become a reality. Continue reading My Doctor