Thursday, 23 October 2014

Welcome to Night Vale Live

So on Sunday I headed up to my home city of Birmingham and went to the Glee club to see the Live "Welcome to Night Vale" show. I was surprised about the number of youngsters in the queue with their parents. Apparently the podcast has a high number of young female listeners!

The show started off with a set from The Weather - Mary Epworth. To be honest, i could have done without this. I'm sure she's very good with a band, but her solo guitar playing seemed hesitant at times and she did a song using backing track from an ipad. I couldn't help but think that if you aren't going to have your band with you, then maybe you need to pick different songs from your set to play.

Anyway. On to the show!

Jeffrey Cranor as the mc, who gave a humorous recounting of healthy and safely and rocked an awesome bow-tie. 

Cecil Baldwin as Cecil! You can tell that not only is he an excellent voice actor, but has also done a lot of theatre. He knew how to play with the audience and with his gestures and body brought us into the story further.

And then we have Joseph Fink as Intern Joe. He looks completely different to how I imagined, and it was great to have him on stage.

Then Jeffrey came back on to do a turn as "Dave" the voice of American Express.

Kate Jones as Michelle Nguyen was a lot of fun, and the eye rolls add so much!

Desiree Burch as Pamela Winchell, because we need emergency press conferences about Librarians.

The entire cast, including The Weather by Mary Epworth.

The show was funny, and interactive. I thought more people would cosplay though. I saw a Kevin and a few Cecils. There were also a lot of people wearing Night Vale t-shirts, which violates the gig-going code.

Overall it was a great experience, the cast clearly loving the experience and the feedback from the crowd. I know they stopped around outside to take pictures and sign posters for the young fans. 

I'd be interested in seeing Baldwin in another role, as he is so closely tied to Night Vale but is clearly a very good actor.

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Ticket to Game

One of my favourite games to play with non-gamers is Ticket to Ride. The rules are simple and easy to pick up, there is a good mixture of chance and strategy and the board and pieces are of a high quality. I have got my mum and my sister, who only play cluedo and monopoly, to play this and it went to down very well.

I was really pleased when we got this out for games night, and here is my view of the board. I'm black, and I think i was in 3rd place at this point in the game.

Then the whiskey was bough out. Really delicious with a massive ball for an ice cube. Yes, jokes were made. Yes, i am really about 13 years old.

Here we are a bit further into the game. It looks like I'm quite a long way behind, but the beauty of this game is that you can be building up your routes and carriages and then suddenly place them and leap into the lead! I think I came 2nd or 3rd overall.


So this past weekend I attended a mini Gathering. I've written before about a game I used to, and still do, play called The Stone. Meet-ups were called Gatherings. I'm not sure why, maybe from a rolling stone gathers no moss, or maybe some other reason. I haven't been to one in years.
I fact the last one i went to was probably 11 years ago.
But that changed this weekend. There was supposed to be a nice sized group heading to Stratford (the real one, not the fake one in East London) but over the weeks people dropped out. The organiser asked if my hotel was refundable since so few people were going, I replied that it wasn't but also that I wasn't fussed about it being smaller than Gathering I had attended in the past.
In the end it was myself, a player from my neck of the woods back in the Midlands, and the organiser, her husband and their daughter.
It's funny, I thought I hadn't met them before, but it turns out that I had! At the very first Gathering I attended, they had been there, along with their daughter who was a babe-in-arms, I just didn't remember. Mostly because I was quite drunk.
It was a lot of fun, after I had checked in, the organiser bemoaned that myself and the other midlands should have brought our research notes on the game, so that she and her husband could help. There was a pause, and we both replied that we had!
As if i was going to pass up the opportunity to get some help on puzzles I had been stuck on for years!
Anyway, after we met at the hotel, we took a slow walk into Stratford and the marina by the theatre. I've been to Stratford many times, since when I lived in Birmingham it's under an hour by car, and it's usually a bit touristy for my tastes. I think picking September was a good idea, although it was touristy, it was a lot quieter than when I have been in warmer months.
We took a tourist cruise around a section of the Avon, which was fun. Although I consider myself a land-locked Brummie, I have a fondness for rivers and canals. We sailed past very expensive houses, and pondered how much we would have to win on the lottery to be able to afford them. 

After this we trotted off to the Old Thatch Tavern to have a delicious meal. I had a massive portion of steak, mushroom and guiness pie, with gravy (not pictured!) with chips and seasonal veg. I almost wished that I had asked for a children's portion as it was so filling.

Of course I had to have dessert, and went for a vanilla creme brulee with a top that was so thick and solid it really required a good hard crack with a spoon.

Then it was time to roll down the road back to the hotel. People can be snobby about Premier Inns, but the bed was good and the room clean, although it had a slightly strange smell to it and the windows don't open to let fresh air in. The staff were all as polite and helpful as one could wish. One obligingly took a group photo for us, and let us have an ice bucket for red wine. 

Although the bars on the windows of my room were a little off putting.

We spent the evening chatting and trying to get myself and the lass from the Midlands a little further in the puzzles we were stuck on. Generally, a good time was had by all!