Monthly Archives: November 2013

Inspiration at London National History Museum


Drawn by the talented sister.
It made me laugh excessively.

Last week I went to the Natural History Museum in London and I was struck by what an inspirational experience it was. Not only in a ‘wow, look at all the amazing stuff there is in the world’ way , but also in a creative, arty way. Depending on where you live and how you have to travel to get there, the Museum is cheap for what you get out of it. Entry is free, and I could have happily camped out in it for a week and not run out of things to see and do. The place is huge.

As a writer, and someone who admires artists, this place was such a rich source of inspiration. My friend and I started off with the dinosaur section. It was brilliantly  under-lit to give it a creepy atmosphere. There was  a walkway which ran across the room, accessed by stairs and from it you could view the dinosaur skeletons hanging from the ceiling. It was like a scene out of a nightmarish laboratory, with various bits of skeleton and animatronics on display. So much fun!


Awesome shadow 🙂

It also included a section dedicated to humanities interpretations of and fascination with dinosaurs across the ages. A screen cycled through various films and television programmes that have featured dinosaurs, from the stop-motion original Godzilla to the more sophisticated models in Jurassic Park to cartoon dinosaurs.

Not only the dinosaurs were amazing, but I loved looking at the more contemporary animals. I think most of them were taxidermy specimens, but old ones because the Museum doesn’t support that form of collection any more.  Some of them were like something out of the fantasy art books the Brother owns, which I like to look through on occasion. I mean, just look at this crazy guy…


Lesser Egyptian jerboa

I don’t know if it comes across well in the picture, but its legs are freakishly long. I also like how the reflection on the glass kind of makes it look as though it has a unicorn horn. I can just imagine him as a piece of fantasy artwork, set on an otherworldly desert background.

The Earth section was also pretty cool, although some parts of it were shut down for maintenance so I didn’t get to look around all of it.  Eerie space-like music played and an escalator took people up into a hollowed out globe. The whole thing looked like something out of a H.G. Wells novel. It was very impressive.


Just beyond the escalator was a group of statues of mythological figures. One of these was a cyclops. Beneath the cyclops was a skull of a mammoth which was found in Greece. The cavity in the skull from which a trunk would have protruded looked just like a single eye socket. It’s thought that the ancient Greeks found skulls like it and thought they belonged to an extinct race of one-eyed giants, thus giving birth to the myth of cyclops.

The section on the minerals was like something out of a science-fiction film. Some of them glow under ultra-violet light and although I wasn’t able to get a picture of it, it looked just like a Borg Cube from Star Trek. It’s amazing to think that such colours and constructs appear naturally. Some minerals looked like space-age weapons or glowing magical wands. There was even one that I was at first convinced had a city skyline painted on it, but it was in fact naturally formed.

I wish I could have stayed longer and taken more of it in! It was such a great day.


Supernatural meet-up at London MCM


Photo from the Supernatural Cosplay Facebook page

The Saturday that I was at MCM London Comic Con, my sister and I cosplayed as Sam and Bobby from Supernatural. We also went with a couple of friends who were dressed as Castiel and Dean. So when we heard there was a Supernatual meet up going on, we hightailed it on over there. It was great fun, and if you get the chance to go to a fandom meet up at a convention, I highly recommend it. Especially when everyone is in cosplay!


(Picture not taken by me, I got it from the Facebook page)

The meetups are an awesome photo shoot opportunity, to recreate scenes from the show or to make up ones the fans would like to have seen! There were quite a few calls for ‘ship’ photos, such as Castiel and Dean together, or Castiel and Crowley.


Dean and all the Castiels! (Taken from the Facebook page again)

I went to the meet-up not really knowing what to expect, apart from a lot of tan trench coats and plaid of course! What really surprised me was that the Bobby-love that I received. So many people were shouting ‘Bobby!’ at me and coming over to ask for hugs and pictures. A lot of them said they’d never seen a Bobby cosplay before, which is sad because he’s such an awesome character. I got a lot of compliments on my hand-knitted beard, which was nice. 🙂


What I really wasn’t prepared for, was being involved in the photo shoots! I guess I should have seen it coming, but when the call went out for Bobby, it was scary. I’m not used to so much attention being on me and I froze up a  bit, any poses I might have idly thought of went straight of my mind and I think I looked awkward in a lot of the pictures. I kind of wish I could have been warned in advance and had time to mentally prepare myself, but I guess it will get easier with time! This was only the second time I’ve cosplayed. Even though it was scary and awkward, I still really enjoyed myself.



And I got to re-enact the Crowley/Bobby kiss scene with a lovely Crowley cosplayer!

It was also awesome to see a few Welcome To Night Vale cosplayers. A few of them hung around on the fringes of the Supernatural meet up, and the couple I spoke to were so friendly and their cosplays were awesome. I did see one Cecil wearing what looked very much like a hand-knitted tank top with an amazing WTNV fair isle design, but unfortunately I didn’t get a picture.



The day was everything I love about conventions – getting to geek out with fellow nerds who love the same stuff as you!



Big Conventions vs Small Conventions

Last weekend I was at MCM London Comic Con, which was held in the Excel building. I’d been there before for a Star Trek Destination London con, but this time more people attended and more of the rooms were open. MCM was probably the biggest con (in terms of physical size) I’ve attended so far, and it got me thinking about big cons versus the smaller ones. So here are my thoughts… Enjoy!


  • Small cons don’t attract well-known celebrities, but at big cons you can’t find the celebrities

I don’t know if it was just me being unobservant, but at MCM I didn’t see any signs or anything to show where the celebrities were being kept hidden. So many people and so much space to navigate meant that even if I knew I had to get to Autograph Room A, my lack of ever having been in Brownies or entry-level orienteering left me unable to find Autograph Room A.

It’s kind of a lie about small cons not attracting big names, by the way. My hometown con, held in the local leisure centre once boasted Chris Barrie and Danny John Jules from Red Dwarf. That was something of an exception, though.

Part of the steampunk section display

Part of the steampunk section display

  • Big cons have more stalls, but you can get more merch-buying done at small cons

MCM had at least two rooms selling merch that I could find, one of the rooms being bigger than my aforementioned hometown. The size of it meant that I couldn’t adopt my usual system of walking around the stalls, so I ended up wandering aimlessly. I saw some awesome merch, but most of the time I was too tightly packed in by the crowd to get in for a close look. At one point, it was just a solid non-moving human crush. At least it saved me a lot of money!


  • You don’t necessarily have to buy a ticket to enjoy big cons, but small cons don’t cost that much to get into anyway

So much goes on outside at MCM that some people don’t bother to buy a ticket to get in. Fandom meet-ups, photo shoots, dancing and chase scenes took place outside. I probably spent more time out there than in. It was a really good opportunity to people watch and drool over all the amazing cosplays. I also felt that the atmosphere was friendlier and more party-like outside. Although you can get that atmosphere inside at smaller cons. Less chance of getting rained on, too. A storm was predicted for the day I was there, which would have looked great for the Supernatural meet-up photos, but we got no rain in the end.


  • Cosplay!

Recently, cosplayers have become the highlight of my con experiences. They can be found at cons both big and small, although at small cons there’s usually less of them and the costumes aren’t as spectacular as some of the ones you see at big cons. MCM seemed to be almost all cosplayers, which was amazing to walk around.

The verdict: Can I wimp out of making any kind of decision and say that I prefer medium-sized cons? No? Then I’d choose the bigger ones. Although both have their good and bad points, there’s more going on and more to see and do at the big cons.

Let sleeping cats lie

Let sleeping cats lie

Been busy the past couple of weeks and I’ll have posts about what I’ve been up to soon, but meanwhile here’s a picture of my cat napping on some balls of yarn. Aww….

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