Thursday, 31 October 2013

MCM London Comic Con

I took the train down from Glasgow on Thursday afternoon and met Lisbeth at Waterloo. We took the train out to Roehampton University, my home for the weekend.

Friday dawned loud and early, in the form of a fire alarm. I was staying with Lisbeth at her room in Roehampton University, and in October the fire alarm had gone off at least 4 times, my sister said. This Friday it went of at 6:15 a.m. Not very funny.

Thus we didn’t get up as early as I had planned, but it was good to blame it on the fire alarm instead of my own laziness. The first stop for the day was the Moomin Shop in Covent Garden. I think it’s safe to say I spent a few pounds in there.
Then we hit a few more shops before taking the tube to London Excel and MCM London Comic Con! This was a lot bigger than Lisbeth and I are used to and we'd never been to the Excel before. But because there were so many people we just followed the crowd and got to where we was supposed to be, the get-your-wristband queue.
It was a long queue, but it moved fast. And suddenly we were in! It was huge and confusing and we had no idea where to go and what to do. Now this was a little bit before 2 pm, and suddenly everybody started queuing down the length of the ExCel. We tentatively got in line, no idea what we were queuing for. At 2 pm we found out. The doors into a massive hall opened and everybody streamed in. This was the dealers' stalls, stands upon stands of sexy things you could buy. It was heaven.

While walking around the stands for hours is cool, we had no idea what else was going on. Where was the program, where were things happening? After a bit of exploring I think I found all of the rooms. As for program I caught a sneak peak of episode 1 of the upcoming Tomorrow People. I haven’t seen the original series but this remake looked interesting and I will follow it for a while when it airs.
All in all this was a pleasant day. There were many people, but not many cosplays. Lisbeth and I figured perhaps the British folk had school or work and wouldn’t break out the big guns until the weekend.


We thought the Friday had many people. Well it was nothing compared to the Saturday. It was crawling with people!
I did find the information stand and thus the con book so I could find out what was going on. It wasn’t much of interest as I haven’t seen either Haven, Lost Girl, Under the Dome, Warehouse 13, Young Dracula or By Any Means, the shows headlining and holding panels during the weekend. And I had no relations to the voice actors invited from the video games I haven’t played and the animes I haven’t watched dubbed in English. The only guest I was really excited about meeting was Kai Owen, who plays Rhys Williams in Torchwood. He’s a really nice guy!

Lisbeth and I spent the first part of the day working our way through Comic Village, looking at the work of the skilled artists. I fell for this comic by Mimi, Fruit Machine, and bought three volumes. And I bought some really cool tea room prints from Audrey Molinatti.

With all the people, I knew it was going to be difficult finding fellow Norwegians. We were in luck though, and stumbled upon this beautiful Game of Thrones gang.
Batbunny Cosplay, Starbit Cosplay, Santatory
Starbit Cosplay
Batbunny Cosplay, Starbit Cosplay, Santatory and Aigue-Marine Cosplay
Aigue-Marine Cosplay as Daenerys, Martine as Cersei, Starbit Cosplay as Sansa, Santatory as Margaery and Batbunny Cosplay as Ygritte
I'm afraid I didn't really take many pictures of cosplayers during the weekend. I did get a few.
Willy Wonka
Snow White
Poison Ivy and Batman
And we tried to take a spinning picture of me, but it didn't work out that well.

At the end of the day it was time for Euro cosplay. There were 30 and something competitors and the competition lasted about 2 ½ hours. There were so many stunning costumes and good scene shows.

I don't quite agree with the judges' choice of winners, though. Number one went to the Netherlands, to the same person who won last year. She was cosplaying Edward Elric from Fullmetal Alchemist and even though her scene show was very good and entertaining and her costume was great, I thought the choice weird.

It just had me thinking what it takes to win a cosplay competition these days. I personally like the costume part better than the roleplay part. I looked at all the cosplayers with their big and elaborate armour, their massive and fantastic dresses and their amazing props and thought WOW! Edward Elric walks on stage and I thought, really? The skit was quite funny though.

I feel like some of the big and elaborate costumes you see belong to characters who doesn't necessary have a strong personality shining through, or maybe doesn't have many lines, or any at all, in the franchise they are from. Thus it becomes difficult making a good scene show, you are stuck with e.g. battle scenes or waving your props around on stage. And then you have already lost in cosPLAY competitions I feel.

Now the winner, Iloon, did have the best Edward Elric costume I have seen and there is a lot of really good craftsmanship in the costume that weren't that visible from a distance. What irks me most about her winning is that she also won last year. How is that even possible? Is the winner automatically qualified for next year? The winner should win an awesome prize, like a trip to Japan like NCC does or many-monies-worth of fabric or foam. And then a new person should have the chance to win next year.

Well, enough on my thoughts about this. I don't have any pictures since my crappy digital camera didn't like the lack of light in the theatre. Moving on to 


I lay in bed sunday morning berating myself for not being able to get up, as usual. I finally got up 40 minutes after I was supposed to, and then my phone went and surprised me. It wanted me to confirm this new time it had detected, one hour back. Had I moved a time zone since going to bed? I finally understood I had completely forgot about turning the clock from summer time to standard time. I suddenly had an extra hour. We used it to get breakfast at Waterloo, how inventive of us.

We spent the morning going through the dealers' hall again. I always found something I hadn't seen before when I walked through. This time I found a Norwegian version of Lady and the Tramp and wondered how that ended up there.
 I also bought myself a Catbus plushie after considering getting one for ages. I am quite happy with it!
The only program of interest for us today was a UK Garrison panel, but unfortunately I thought it was at 2 pm when it was at 1 pm, so we missed it.

I did get some more pictures of cosplayers, though.
Mary Poppins!
221B Baker Street! Loved this one.
Don't know what this was supposed to be. I just took a picture to show you all how annoying it was. You don't bring this sort of costume to a crowded convention.
A giant rubik's cube
More Cats.
I also took a picture with the Tardis, Davros and K9

That was it for Comic Con. I went home, slept and awoke the next day to find there had apparently been a "storm" the night before. Thus getting from Roehampton University to Euston Station was made ten times more difficult by the trains being cancelled. Fortunately I had a lot of time and patience and made by way to the train station using a bus and some tube stops.

The train station was crazy. A lot of trains had been cancelled due to the storm. It wasn't windy at all in London at this point and wether it was because trees had fallen on the lines, there was windier where the train was going or if the British are just to cautious I will never know. 

When the platform to my train to Glasgow was announced everybody actually ran to the platform and were in a panic to get on the train. I had reserved a seat in couch B, but apparently that didn't mean I was secured a spot on the train. I was lucky to get on and ended up somewhere in coach D. I overheard a mother with to children who had reserved seat on the 8:30 am train, but that this train (at 1.30 pm, one train left for Glasgow per hour) was the first she had actually managed to get on. It was crazy I tell you, crazy.

But I got home in the end.

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Isle of Skye

This weekend I went to the Isle of Skye. It was a two day bus tour arranged by Glasgow University International Society. The bus was full of international students, in other words. We stopped at a few places along the way to take pictures and stretch our legs. It rained occasionally and sometimes it was windy. And the sun came out for a minute or two sometime during the trip.

Ok, pictures. First stop was Luss, a tiny village on the bank of Loch Lomond.

Then we stopped at a view point by Loch Tulla. We were now on our way into the Scottish Highlands, which are quite beautiful. The Highlands are so different from what I'm used to from Norway, because there are almost no trees and the mountains aren't as jagged, or maybe they are, you just can't see it under the grass.

Next stop was Glen Coe and the Three Sisters. Glen Coe recently became famous for featuring in James bond Skyfall. 

Now I haven't seen Skyfall, nor do I plan to. I was more interested in the fact that the Glen Coe area has been used in filming scenes from Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.

It's not really important what films the area has starred in though, what's important is that it's beautiful.

We stopped at Fort William for lunch. It is the second largest settlement in the Highlands, and a major centre for tourists and hillwalking and climbing, due to its proximity to Ben Nevis (1344m), the highest mountain in the UK. We had time for a brief stroll into town.

Next stop, Loch Garry, is famous because it supposedly looks like a map of Scotland.  Maybe from the air, but from our perspective? You'll have to judge for yourself.

Then there was Eilean Donan Castle. We unfortunately didn't have time to go into the castle, but watching from afar worked out fine. I heard it is the most photographed castle in Scotland, because of its location on an island with lovely scenery behind.

Then we drove over the Skye bridge and arrived properly on the Isle of Skye. We stopped at Sligachan Bridge to take some pictures of the bridge and the Cuillins (moutains).

Then, at about 6 pm, we arrived at Portree, the capital of Skye, and checked into our hostel. The hostel looked like a kindergarten on the inside.

We took a stroll around town, looking at the Harbour, a tower up on a hill and the view.

On Sunday we toured Skye. First we went to the Kilt Rock. It is a sea cliff formed by volcanic activities millions of years ago that now resembles a kilt. If you use your imagination.
 It is also famous because dinosaur skeletons and footprints are found in the area.
Next was Lealt Gorge and Lealt Falls. This was quite beautiful. It was also quite windy, it was hard to stay on my feet at times. 
This is the ruins of a diatomite factory.
A shepherd in kilt watching over the sheep.
We were now supposed to see the Old Man of Storr, one of the main attractions on the Isle of Skye, I think. It is a set of stone formations, but because of the mist we wouldn't be able to see them. We therefore stopped at two other places instead. The first was a waterfall by the name of Bride Veil Fall.

The second stop was another place with great view and hints of a rainbow.

And that was it. We drove back to Glasgow, had a short stop at Fort William again, and were home around 8 pm. I went almost straight to bed and dreamed sweet dreams. Maybe.