I have spent three days being fifteen people, most of them dead. I will explain later.
Yesterday’s Anywhere But Here contains one of the best dream sequences in comic form I’ve seen. You should read it.
Maelstrom is a Live Action Role playing Thing. Basically, it’s much like tabletop, traditional role playing, except there is no GM (though there are Refs, and the refs Know All. Or most) and the fighting is done using latex weapons and numbers instead of dice and numbers. The effects of this are that your actual, real person ability to, say, dodge an axe blow are a large amount of your character’s ability to do so. If you’re hit, you’re hit. (Probably, taking into account armour, magic and random acts of senseless plot). In the Geek Hierarchy LARP is looked upon as more geeky than normal RP. I can only beat my new level by becoming a 13 year old gamer. I have sunk to a new high of geekyness.
So, we have two stories here. They clash sometimes, intertwine sometimes, and sometimes they have no relationship to each other at all.
The first is the story of Nicholas ‘Aquarion’ Avenell, Sysadmin, Programmer, Geek and Larper, who has been convinced to go to Maelstrom. Wears glasses, a white shirt and red trousers. And a hat.
The second is Detail ‘Det’ Marshall, Self professed Light-greysmith, Gunsmith and seeker after cool new things. He has been sent to the New World beyond the Maelstrom by his father, who is a celebrated blacksmith, to learn to be a proper blacksmith and smith things. Assumably blackly.
He is my character. His background is basically that he was born into a family of blacksmiths and is awful at working iron, beyond the specific requirements for making pistols. Pistols not being the family trade, his father has given him the plans to build a smithy in the new world and the instructions not to return until he can use it. He plans to use it to make pistols, unless he finds something more interesting to do. His mother, however, is related to another family who have have representatives in the New World. These are Marshall Enterprises, and taking his new family’s name, Det has joined up to make as much money as they can.
Det wears glasses, a red shirt and white trousers. And a hat.
Friday I got to Cambridge, found my lift and got to Maelstrom (Thanks Geoff for the lifts both ways 🙂 where I hung around for a while getting an idea of the place until the rest of the group arrived when we filled in my character sheet, I handed it in to Game Operations Desk (“GOD”), and they suggested I come back for the full event pack (And stuff I needed to officially roleplay) in about an hour. Wandered around a bit more, put up tent, got into character costume and went to GOD to queue for ages and pick up pack. Hollow laughing. “Try tomorrow morning”. Blah. Dinner from the burger place.
Wandered around a bit with the rest of the group, but felt headachey and decided I had – despite hat and shades – been out in the sun too long, though it was late evening by then. Went for a lie down.
Woke up at 4am, and was heartily and repeatedly sick, fortunately outside the tent, whilst trying to remember where the paragraph about the phrase “Heartily sick” that was running around my head was coming from. Still headachey. Began to hate the world and everyone inside it. Drank lots of water. Went back to bed.
When GOD reopened I went to get my character pack, and began a wonderful pattern that lasted several hours. It would involve standing in the queue for a while, getting to within two people of being served, and then having to dash off to the toilets. Feeling progressively more dead tired and ill, I eventually lasted long enough to get my character pack and dashed back to the home base, via the toilets.
Got shouted at a bit for losing the representative card for a bit of equipment, was apologetic but didn’t care much due to death. Recharactered properly, and went officially In Character.
Advanced hatred of world and everything in it to hatred of whole new world which I didn’t understand and couldn’t comprehend due to illness. Failure to remain in character. Most of day spent dazed in tent drinking water. Grah.
We went and talked to a Dragon, which was interesting (The system requires dragons to require the full costume, which is something of an ordeal, especially on a weekend like this weekends was), and various other people. We watched Stuart Marshall – our glorious leader – overcome great odds to win a Circle of Treachery (Read: ‘Civilized’ Mass battle)
Saturday evening I recovered. So I ate some food, and satisfied that it was staying where I put it, did the only thing sensible after a day of feeling sorry for myself and dozing in the tent. We went drinking.
We found a pirate camp, where they were drinking
grog port. We sang songs, including the Pirate Alphabet, which starts like this:
A is for ARRRRRR! as in: “ARRRR! MORE GROG!” (Take swig of drink)
B is for BOOTY! which you can sell to buy GROG, as in: “ARRRR! MORE GROG!” (Take swig of drink)
C is for CHESTS OF BOOTY! which you can sell to buy GROG, as in@ “ARRRR! MORE GROG!” (Take swig of drink).
D is for DAVEY JONES’ LOCKER! ([hat to chest] [pause] [replace hat]) “ARRRR! MORE GROG!” (Take swig of drink).
E is for EVEN MORE BOOTY! which you can use to buy GROG! as in: “ARRRR! MORE GROG!” (Take swig of drink).
There was port, there was alcoholic liquid white chocolate, there was a pineapple and vodka drink in a hollowed out pineapple, and there were drinks of many and varied different sorts.
I slept… better that night.
Sunday was Fun. We talked to people, drank tea, and I was alive enough to enjoy the whole experience. Plans were plotted, deals were done, and in the background plot happened.
All in all, something I’d like to do again. Once more with health, I think.
On the way home we hit a pheasant, then I came home, had a shower, got a drink and promptly slipped on a bit of paper on the floor, hitting my head on the window and spilling my drink over my bed. To a large extent, this has not been my weekend.
- Transmitting sound files to a remote machine’s speakers
- tutorial is for OS-X, but will work for any *ix box
- I am going to Maelstrom for the hotest weekend of the year (Not that there’s a hell of a lot of competition). How would you like your Aquarion: baked, boiled or fried?
- For the They Who Evolve World Cup Sweepstakes, I have drawn the Ivory Coast. Who are doomed, for no better reason than their connection to me.
- Every so often I obsess over songs and grab all the covers I can find. iTunes’ Music Store is bad for me for this reason. I am not, apparently, the only person to do this. Thirteen covers of The Smith’s ‘There is a light that never goes out’
- The new Aquarionics design (v12) is mocked up and sitting in PSP. Soon, I will get around to implementing the blasted thing.
Since I appear to have forgotten to do this entirely, and I really did mean to:
If you’re looking for an ADSL provider with Actual Real People on the other end, that doesn’t suck in any way, shape or form and will regrade your line upon request within 24 hours.
I cannot recommend them highly enough if you’re just looking for “Bare wire” ADSL without any excess services beyond an outgoing mail server.
This weekend I inhaled more weed than I intended to, had my arse grabbed, drank lots of beer, watched an entire football match, bought a hat, nearly had my mobile ran over by a taxi, saw every Radio 4 Comedy Panel Game Evar live, and went to a Blockheads concert featuring Phil Jupitus and Geoffrey Perkins.
It’s 10 past 1 on Monday Morning, and I intend to see how far into this I get before I fall over.
So, lets start with the Strawberry Fair. The Strawberry Fair is, basically, what happens when you take your average village fete, blow it up until it is a City Fete and host it in Cambridge. It appears to be the hippy summer migration point of the universe, and there was not one but two massive stalls advertising “Herbal Highs” and “Legal Speed”, both with massive inflatable blue pills above them. I left home without my hat or my personal mobile (I also have a work mobile. The personal one was uncharged, so I plugged it in and diverted all calls to it it to the work one. You will be quizzed on it later), got to Cambridge, wandered around to see if I could find anybody, failed, and wandered around the Fair instead. At three, I went to meet larpers under the big blue pills (having sorted out which set of pills it was) and we hung around in the hot sun for a while, before half of us went home, and the half involving me wandered around the fair a bit more. By this point the streaming hot sun was giving me a headache, so I bought a hat. My Larp character is called Panama, so I bought a Panama style hat. It is a good hat.
It is slightly complicated to contact people when you answer your work phone with your real name which the people you contact don’t generally know you as, especially when they phone a number that diverts to the current number and are therefore phoned back on a number they don’t recognise. We met people, then we promptly lost them again. Then I went home.
On the way home I had my arse grabbed by a strange woman who proceeded to attempt to look innocent of such an act. This is a rare event in my life, so I am documenting it here. In fact, it hasn’t happened since university.
This is an observation. Not a complaint, really, but… it was odd.
Went home, remembered I was going to London Sunday and attempted to organise an instameet.
Wake, headache, laundry, shower, clothes, station, fight with ticket machine, buy tickets, wish Oyster would get this far, Train, London, Rearranged Kings Cross again, Tube, Tube, Chinatown, De Hems.
Now, De Hems is a dutch bar. The World Cup not having started yet, it did not even occur to me to check to see if there was going to be a match on in there today. There was, it was against Australia. The entire bar was bright orange, the staff had orange dungarees on. It was very odd. Anyway, being sat next to the TV, and having had beer (which, I found, helps) I ended up watching the entire thing.
One team or the other won, I forget which. Doesn’t really matter.
Got fairly drunk, owe Random much beer, then rapidly sobered up by mainlining Coca Cola (Careful not to use the common abbreviation there, fact fans) when I realised I was going to have to go to the theatre very soon.
Got to Victoria Palace Theatre in time, thanks to Random knowing the secret secrets of London Above, and I met my mum for a trip to the theatre.
The thing we were seeing was a tribute to Linda Smith, one of Radio 4’s panel pool of comedians who tend to appear on the various panel games. She died earlier this year, and this was a charity concert in her honour.
It started by being hosted by Jo Brand, not one of my favourite people of all time, and with Sandi Russell a jazz/scat singer and her group. The Jazz trio were excellent, I was less a fan of the singer.
Despite a few sound problems involving a dodgy mike, the rest of the evening was excellent, with the whole crews of “The News Quiz”, “Just A Minute” and “I’m Sorry I Haven’t A Clue” on hand to do a few rounds of their shows. It was like a “Best of Radio 4” theatre show, which is either your idea of hell or a wonderful evening, depending on who you are.
(Phil Jupitus made a joke which won’t make the broadcast, so I shall record it here for eternity: On Paul Macartney’s relationship problems: “You shouldn’t fuck a pirate”)
Also around doing standup bits were Hattie Hayridge, Barry Cryer, Mark Steel and Mark Thomas (Who talked about wandering around an arms fair as an anti-war campaigner. It was really complicated, he asked for a ticket and they sent him one, which apparently was the last thing they were expecting him to do. He is far funnier than the few TV bits of his I’ve seen would lead me to believe).
There was an interval, in which I had a gin and tonic. I blame Sian, who is a bad influance on my spirit drinking.
But the music was the best bit. Apart from Humphrey Lyttleton and his Quintet being wonderful, and Steve Gribbin doing a few political songs the best bit was the very last act.
One of my favourite bands of all time is Ian Dury and The Blockheads. The end of the evening was Phil Jupitus taking the place of the late, lamented Ian Dury for a number of the Blockheads greatest hits. The man was living my ultimate dream in part, and looked like he was having the time of his life. He was better at it than I thought he would be, in fact he was very good indeed. They opened without Phil with a song called “Spread It”, which I hadn’t heard before, and then Phill joined them for went though Wake Up And Make Love To Me, Billericay Dicky, Hit Me, and finally…
The last track of the evening was wonderful. They brought up on stage the BBC news/continuity announcers, Geoffrey Perkins to Charlotte Green, and they joined the Blockheads to sing “Sex And Drugs And Rock And Roll”
It was glorious.
There was a recording made, though I’ve no idea if it was for broadcast, or sale, or will never be seen again. If you see mention of it, find it. This show will never be seen again, and deserves to be heard.
On the way out of the theatre I dropped my mobile on the road, and was nearly run down by a taxi and a bus trying to get it before it got ran over.