• Member Since 20th Apr, 2012
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Hold your ground but do not be unkind. (Ponyphonic, "Shy Heart") He/him. Ponyfic Roundup reviews every Wednesday.

More Blog Posts419

  • 4 weeks
    State of the Unicorn: Poor

    That's poor in both senses, I'm afraid! Though before I say any more, I need to stress that I have a warm, safe home, enough to eat, internet access... the essentials, really. I am not in danger of losing those. However, I won't be doing much beyond those essentials for a while. Without going into boring details, I will very shortly be going in for dental work to be done. Which, as

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    9 comments · 143 views
  • 8 weeks
    Happy Hearth's Warming Eve!

    I keep my online activity to an absolute minimum on Christmas Day, so I'll take this opportunity to wish all of you reading this a Merry Christmas!¹ However life has treated you over the past year, I hope it treats you better over the next. I shall be back to reading Fimfiction on Boxing Day!

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    6 comments · 64 views
  • 12 weeks
    So then, Doctor Who

    Loved it! A few little quibbles, not all the acting from the newcomers was stellar and sadly parts of the gender-related stuff felt awkward and forced, eg "something a male-presenting Time Lord wouldn't understand", but I liked much more than I didn't. Plus one of my worries about the new Disney-cash-infused Who has been dispelled: this definitely did

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    7 comments · 104 views
  • 18 weeks
    Bloody Covid

    Fortunately not in the literal sense! But yeah, I'm currently stuck at home, yet not feeling well enough to concentrate on ponyfic. It's a seriously annoying combination. :pinkiesick:

    13 comments · 137 views
  • 20 weeks
    UK PonyCon report

    This is inelegantly copy/pasted over from the (slightly) nicer looking report over on Louder Yay. Of course, I'm sure you all read Louder Yay anyway because you're such great people, but just in case here's the report here as well...

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    3 comments · 100 views

UK PonyCon report · 10:42pm Oct 4th, 2023

This is inelegantly copy/pasted over from the (slightly) nicer looking report over on Louder Yay. Of course, I'm sure you all read Louder Yay anyway because you're such great people, but just in case here's the report here as well...

Not a Vodka McFlurry Heart. Probably.

It was a flying visit to UK PonyCon this year, so the report is just one (long) post, but off we go! Although there was a train strike on the Saturday, trains were running on Friday so I got to Birmingham by rail. Thence by pre-booked National Express coach to Derby -- I'm not that experienced with coaches, but this one was fine for an hour and a quarter. Stayed in the Derby Cricket Ground Travelodge, as last year. After check-in, I got the train to Nottingham – First Class, a very rare experience for me, as CrossCountry have cheap First tickets.¹ Well, when the trains run at all they do...
¹ And I really do mean cheap. It cost less to book specific First trains in both directions than to get a Standard Class flexible return.

Friday night is Roebuck night – the pub where the Worcester Shires and various friends traditionally have our pre-meet. It was pretty noisy this year (even more so than usual) but still a lot of fun. People came and went at different times, which I think helped stop conversation from getting repetitive. For me it was cider (Black Dragon, very nice), cod and chips, then ice cream. For some reason my two scoops came in two separate bowls! I left the pub a little before nine and got the tram back to Nottingham station – First Class again. Nice and quiet.

No trains on Saturday morning, so I was up before seven to check out and walk to Derby Bus Station to catch the 07:20 Red Arrow express bus to Nottingham. Thence to the Gooseberry Bush for a cheap breakfast.¹ I'd expected to be on my own, but Jowy wandered over and invited me to sit with his little group for a bit, so that was a really nice way to properly start convention day. It was only five minutes' walk to the venue, so I didn't leave until a bit after nine. The queue was already growing by then, so I'm glad I didn't wait any longer!
¹ I can't be expected to start a convention without bacon inside me.

The Elley-Ray Experience

QueueCon is usually good fun, and so it proved this time. Waving (and possibly jeering) at friends who had posh tickets and were in the priority queue happens every year, though weirdly the one passer-by who I noticed staring at us weird pony folks this time was wearing a Sonic the Hedgehog T-shirt. Mate, you have no business thinking people who like colourful talking animals are odd. :P Besides, I was standing next to Cheese Sandwich, which kind of made it impossible for it not to be fun. At ten (more or less) the doors opened and we were on our way through registration.

The opening ceremony was a little delayed but also pretty short, not consisting of much more than the usual welcome, theme reminder ("Generations", to mark the 40th anniversary of MLP¹), rules reminder and welcome for the Guests of Honour. Elley-Ray happened. Oh yes she did. In all honesty I think one or two people had hyped up her personality a little too much – she was indeed really nice and fun and warm and unpredictable, but not quite the utterly wild force of nature I'd been led to believe. (Though maybe that side of her came through more on the Sunday; I don't know.²)
¹ Kinda sorta ish.
² From things someone said after reading this, that was the case. But I wasn't there, so it doesn't count for this report. :P

Stalls shopping is usually a big thing at UK PonyCon and has been since the convention began as more of a collectors' fair back in 2004. (Yes, 2004. Not a typo.) I was so tight for cash this time round that I couldn't buy much at all, a real shame when there were over 70 stalls – certainly a UKPC record and I believe a record for any European MLP con, evarrrrr. Dying fandom, are we? Still, I was able to pick up this year's T-shirt, which has a nicely distinctive design¹ that I'm very pleased with. I shall be wearing it the next time I go to a Worcester meetup!
¹ The only pic I can find is on Facebook and doesn't seem to show up on mobile. Apologies for the awkwardness.

Yes, there was a G3 Alphabittle

Time for the first panel! I chose to go to the cinema room lecture theatre thing for Catchphrase, a ponified version of the hugely popular British TV game show.¹ The traditional computer glitches were overcome and the game worked very well on the room's big screens with teams using squeaky donuts and chickens to buzz. There were some inventive phrases,² and the use of multi-generational symbols/cutie marks to cover the image was inspired. This is definitely an event I'd be happy to attend again at a future UK PonyCon.
¹ Actually a US game show first, but the British one has been vastly more successful: 469 episodes and counting.
² Con mascot Britannia holding a bee with Rarity reflected in her eye? "Beauty is in the eye of the bee holder." :D

Next up was Jez's Spectacular G3.5 Panel, which was pretty much what it said on the tin. The actual panel ran rather short, possibly because of Jez's slightly grumpy-sounding and perhaps ill-considered "If I want audience participation I will ask for it" note on an early slide. You know better now! Still, there was some fun stuff and I'll even mostly forgive Jez for saying that he preferred the G3.5 movie¹ to the G4 one because "No Fluttershy". Mostly. We were left to watch said movie, but though it was quite fun it was abruptly stopped early to let the next people set up...
¹ Twinkle Wish Adventure, including Kelly Sheridan as Cheerilee. I have it on DVD! :D

...and hay, this was a convention so inevitably there was then a loooong gap when nothing happened at all! The next panel was in fact Transport Ponies, hosted by my friends Ace and Zenfox.¹ This is more of a general panel about how to travel effectively (including to conventions!) by rail, air, coach, ferry and teleportation. A nice relaxing hour, presented nicely as usual. For silly reasons there has been a running theme of cake in this panel over the last couple of years, and Culdee won a cake voucher for answering a question correctly near the end.
¹ Kind of an A to Z of Transport, then...

G3.5 Scootaloo is a bit of a brat :D

You know the 2 bit of the 6-2-1 rule? We-ell... I kind of skipped lunch this year, so I actually had time to wander around the stalls. (I did have a pasty on my way home. That counts as a meal, right?) Not to buy, but at least to admire the impressive range of stuff. One or two stallholders seemed to be pushing the limits of having mostly Pony items, but very few. Sewpoke's plushies stood out as usual – way beyond my budget, but lovely to see anyway. I'm irritated that I forgot to try the RDA charity tombola (cash only – see, you do still need it!) but hopefully next year.

And now it was time for my last event, which was the custom script reading with Kelly Sheridan and Elley-Ray doing so in character.¹ All good fun, with some particularly amusing lines from Starlight, followed by a very good and well managed Q&A session. No inappropriate questions, very few that rambled on and on in the way that a few did for Andrea Libman and Anneli Heed last year, and answers that were both entertaining and insightful. (Apparently you're well set up for VA jobs if you can belch on command...)
¹ Okay, characters.

And that was all. Because the con was still happening I wasn't able to say goodbye in person to as many people as I'd have liked, and I had to head out into the rain at six o'clock. The walk to the bus station was dreary and damp, the coach back to Birmingham was packed and not as nice as the outward one, and the train strike meant an almost interminable double-decker bus to Stourbridge for my taxi home. Not a good ending, but it had been a good con. A very pleasing £11,710 raised for the RDA as well. Thank you, UK PonyCon. Hopefully I'll be back properly in 2024!

The Mane Four. Apparently

Comments ( 3 )

Sounds like a great time! The streets weren't rowdy this year around the Travelodge, or was that a previous year somewhere else? G3 Alphabittle is cuter and I really like her mane. As for the mane four, I note they all have proper beds to sleep in while the sheriff usually sleeps on filing cabinets in an office.

The rowdy streets were indeed from a previous year, when I'd stayed in a different hotel.

It's not G3 Alphabittle in the main picture; that's Britannia the UKPC mascot. I was referring to the list of ponies down the right hand side of the screen.


I was commenting on the Alphabittle in the Strawberry Reef link you provided, the G3 pony with the alphabet soup cutie mark. ^_^

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