Showing posts with label Buffy. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Buffy. Show all posts

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Geekfest 2013 - The Lowdown

This past weekend saw the first ever Nineworld Geekfest Con, held in London.

The Con was billed as a celebration of all things geeky, and an excuse to have a really big party, and it was held in two hotels at London Heathrow airport - the Renaissance and the Radisson.  I was impressed by the fact that a Con without a track record was able to secure not one but two major airport hotels.

Though I was looking forward to the Con, with it being new I was expecting a few hiccups.  I have to say I was impressed with the level of organisation.  And the amount of choice.  There were so many tracks running, we were all spoilt for choice.  There was a creative writing track, a Tolkien track, a Dr Who track, a Geek Feminism track, a video games track, an LRP track, a board games track - to name just a few.  it was impossible to do everything.

There were some comments about the cost.  I think possibly this is relative - I'm used to London prices, where everything is more expensive anyway.  Although the Con itself wasn't that expensive - depending on when you booked, £75 could get you a weekend ticket to just about everything, which I thought was reasonable.  The hotel cost no more than I paid for my hotel room at the Brighton Cons I have attended the last few years.  The room was decent, the air conditioning worked, the bed was comfortable.  Yes we had to pay for parking, but £10 for 24 hours didn't seem overly expensive considering we pay £6 or more to park the car in Croydon for an afternoon of shopping.  Yes, the hotel bar was expensive.  But £5 for a glass of wine is not uncommon in a London hotel bar.  Sometimes bars are subsidised at Con hotels.  Genre Con-goers seem to have the ability to imbibe a lot more alcohol and yet still remain well behaved and less aggressive than your average non-geek after a few pints.  If the hotel manages to figure this out, maybe a deal will be struck for next year.

My writing group had arranged to do a critiquing workshop on manuscripts that had been submitted in advance, and this was scheduled for 1:30 on Saturday afternoon.  Since we drove up to the Con on Saturday and hit traffic, we didn't have much time to do anything else before this was on.  So hubby went off to the "In Conversation with Chris Barrie" programme item and I sought out the workshop.

We'd had seven submitted manuscripts split into two crit groups - one group dealing with historical and other-world fantasy and the other group (my group) critting the stories with more contemporary settings.  The crit session went quite well and no one ran off screaming after their crit, which is always a relief.

We finished earlier than expected and I was hoping to catch the second half of the panel on women in the Whedon universe.  But sadly this panel was so full they were letting no one else in, so I went off to take a look around the dealer room instead.  I caught up with Hubby here, who spent a happy half an hour spending money on the stall with all the old D&D modules.  I was distracted by many geeky t-shirts and jewellery, in the end deciding to spend my money on a pretty dragon pendant from the Pagan jewellery dealer I see at pretty much every Con I go to these days.

We left around noon on Sunday, and I left wishing I could have caught a few more panels.  But with so much going on, I think everyone came away wishing they could have seen more.
Buffy singalong. Photo credit:  London Nineworlds Geekfest

The highlight of my Con experience was the Buffy sing-along in the Saturday night, where we all gathered round a chap playing piano and went through every song featured in "Once More With Feeling".  And because we finished faster than expected, when he got to the end of the music book, he started again from the beginning.  You can see me singing away in this picture - I'm there near the front in the pink t-shirt.  The t-shirt actually says 'horror writer' on it and has an image of a cartoon grim reaper on it, but sadly you can't see it in the photo.  I let down my Buffy fangirl credentials by having to refer to the lyrics at some point for most of the songs.  There were some die-hard fans that knew every word.

There was a lot of Cosplay at this Con, and even if you don't participate in this yourself, it's fascinating to see the array of costumes, and see if you can correctly guess the geek reference.  Some of them were obvious to me - Dr Who characters; Marvel characters; the Alien.  Others I suspected were Manga characters, and these I am not as familiar with.

GeekFest made a point of making this Con accessible to everyone - regardless of gender, creed, orientation, physical ability, or anything else.  Children were welcome - there were many families at the Con.  Any item that was deemed to be for adults only was clearly labelled as such in the programme.  It was a Con where you could be who you wanted to be, not necessarily who you were born as.  The name labels were blank so you could fill in whatever name you wanted to be that particular weekend.  Many people stayed in costume - and in character - all weekend.  There was an LGBT track running all weekend.  There were even gender neutral toilets.  I have a lot of respect for the organisers for this.  This was a Con where everyone was welcome.  You could wear whatever you wanted, be  whoever you chose to be, and be accepted and welcomed, without the labels of 'geek', 'freak', 'weirdo' that so many of us have to deal with for being in some way different from what society perceives as 'normal'.

In summary, this is a Con I thoroughly recommend for anyone who has any remotely geeky tendencies.  Next year's Con has already been confirmed at the same venue, 8-10 August 2014.  Tickets are available, so book up now before the price goes up.

Fellow geeks, I shall see you there...

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Women in Horror #1: Buffy


February is Women in Horror month, where we officially pay homage to the importance that women play in the horror genre.

This year I am going to be doing a series of posts acknowledging those kick-ass heroines who redefine the role of women in horror.

Buffy

OK, so let's start at the top. I am a HUGE Buffy fan.There are so many reasons why she is such a great role model. Joss Whedon said that the inspiration for Buffy came from the fact that in the horror films he grew up with, the blonde girl was always the one to creep alone down the corridor and get eaten by the monster. He decided the blonde girl should fight back. So he created his teenage California girl who had superpowers. Who was chosen to kick vampire butt.

There are a thousand reasons why I love Buffy. It's the only show I will make a point of watching reruns of when they are on. The only show where I can start watching a random episode and know within five minutes not only which series it is, but which episode it it. It has irony. It has real, flawed characters who are affected by the world around them and change from series to series. One of the great things I loved from the beginning was the way it handled adolescence with sensitivity and wry humour. Anyone who's been a teenager knows the hell that is High School. Every kid has to fight demons in high school. For most of us, those demons are metaphorical. Buffy's demons just happen to be literal. As well as having to deal with the usual adolescent angst of not being popular, whether she'll have a date for the dance, getting into trouble with her folks for staying out late, bullies, jocks vs geeks and so on, she also has to save the world from demons, vampires and the occasional apocalypse. And she still manages to graduate from high school (well, after she saves everyone from the ancient snake demon posing as the Mayor).

People who don't understand my obsession with Buffy have said: "if you like Buffy, you must like Twilight. They're both about girls in love with a vampire". If you can't get the difference, I can't begin to explain it to you. Just watch this terrific video. Yes, I know I've posted it before, but it so proves a point.



Yes, Buffy loves Angel. But at the end of season 2, when she has to kill Angel to save the world, she does it. Even though she loves him. Because a true heroine has that kind of strength of character. And that's another reason I love Buffy.

Friday, February 4, 2011

A little Spike-y goodness

Sorry for the late posting, it's been a busy day here at Casa de Clark and I didn't have a post ready to go. I've actually got a couple of good ideas for posts I want to do, but they require more brain power than I'm capable of right now. In lieu of an interesting post I offer you this - Spike making fun of Angel.




Oh, Spike, how I miss you. I really need to start that Great Buffy/Angel Rewatch of 2011 soon.

Have a good weekend!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Buffy vs Edward

I'm going back to Buffy for this week's post. It must be no secret by now, even to those new to this blog, that I'm a sad geeky Buffy fan.

Non-geeks, however, sometimes make the mistake of assuming if I like Buffy, I also like Twilight. After all, they're both about teenage girls who fall in love with sexy vampires, aren't they?

To a Buffy geek, this is a sacrilege. I could go on at length about why Buffy is miles away from Twilight, without even touching the quality of the writing.

Buffy is an independent minded young woman who kicks vampire butt. One of the main themes of at least the first few seasons is that she's not only the Chosen One, she's also an ordinary teenage girl dealing with the demons of High School. For most people, the demons of High School are metaphorical. Hers happen to be literal.

Yes, Buffy loves a vampire. But in the end she realises that the relationship is going nowhere and she has to leave him (and I am talking about Angel here - I never really believed Buffy was in love with Spike, but we'll leave that argument for another time). On the other hand, I believe Bella ends up marrying her vampire, even though a human/vampire relationship is problematic at best (and I've discussed that on this blog before).

But really, I think the best argument for proving why Buffy is better than Twilight can be found in the wonderful YouTube video 'Buffy vs Edward'.

I present Exhibit A.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Why Vampires Make Bad Boyfriends

Writers of any genre involving paranormal creatures are united in their fondness for "Buffy the Vampire Slayer". And sooner or later, amongst Buffy fans (at least the female ones), the question invariably arises: which of Buffy's boyfriends is best?

Fans of Spike and Angel seem fairly evenly divided. I, however, have always gone for Riley. Yes, I know, he's usually considered boring. I rather like 'boring'. Riley was solid, dependable, reliable, trustworthy (well most of the time, anyway). And he had a healthy respect for independent-minded women. And, most importantly, he was human.

I do understand what the whole 'sexy vampire' thing is all about. Vampires are the ultimate Bad Boys, and a lot of women are attracted to bad boys. For some reason, I never have been. The only 'bad boy' I ever had a thing for was Han Solo, and when I wrote my Star Wars fan fiction, at age 14, the alter ego I created to put myself in the Star Wars universe was Han Solo's half sister - even at that age, I had worked out that dating someone like him would lead to trouble.

But let's look at why vampires make bad boyfriends. First of all, there's the whole 'immortality' thing. If you want someone to grow old with, don't choose a vampire because they don't. He's still going to be looking young and sexy when you're old and wrinkly and drawing your pension.

Then there's the issue of not being able to go out in sunlight. You won't be able to go on beach holidays with your beloved. Or for picnics in the park. Or anywhere, in fact, that requires going out in daylight. That's going to be problematic in any relationship.

Another thing that occurs to me is that actually, it shouldn't technically be possible for a vampire - a male one, anyway - to have sex. Vampires don't have heart beats, and without a beating heart the blood does not flow through the body, and...well, let's just point out that blood flow is a key factor in being able to have sex, at least for men. But OK, vampires aren't real, we are talking fantasy, and the act of sucking blood has been equated with sex since Bram Stoker wrote "Dracula". So I am prepared to suspend my belief for this one, at least.

But ultimately, human/vampire relationships are doomed to failure, and even Buffy realised this in the end - it's why she accepted her relationship with Angel was over.

Maybe I'm far too sensible for my own good, and that's why I've never gone for the 'bad boy' idea. But I'm happy to let all the other Buffy girls fight over Angel and Spike. I'll take Riley. I prefer 'boring and dependable' over 'exciting and dangerous' even when it comes to fantasy men.

I accept I'm in the minority here. Maybe I'm just weird. I'll take a geek over a bad boy any day. In the long term, they'll cause less heartache.