19 Jul

DUSTY, the musical

Now I have a confession. I started to listen to Dusty Springfield when I had listened to death all of Duffy and needed to move on. My love of Soul made Dusty Springfield a great next step and over the last four years I have listened to all and every album she did. But I knew very little of her life.

So when I saw a musical was coming to the Theatre Royal in Newcastle I jumped at the chance.

Dusty

DUSTY

Well.. I was in tears by the end.

This is an excellent musical, if you like soulful music and a witty book written by a writer who’s cut his teeth on Coronation Street, as well as a stunning portrayal by Katherine Kingsley, and good supporting work by Rufus Hound, then go see this.

PS: I have since read up a little on Dusty and the musical applies creative licence as to her  girlfriend, who in the musical is ‘Lois’ but in real life was fellow singer Norma Tanega. [Dusty had several other girlfriends and one tempestuous marriage to an American actress Teda Bracci.] For whatever reason, and perhaps since Norma is still alive, they have applied artistic licence there. Norma seems to be more of a folksinger to my ears, and she’s there on Spotify as well.]

 

 

17 Jul

Heaton!! First Night, a totally impartial review (not)

Opening night! So, so proud of the magical, multimedia extravaganza that is Heaton! Written by Peter Dillon, performed by the People’s Theatre, and inspired by the Great Exhibition of the North, it is truly a-maz-ing! Catch a preview on BBC Look North; those out of region go here: https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b0bb2nd1

Book: https://www.peoplestheatre.co.uk/whats-on/heaton

 

The Parsons Family

Votes for Women! Florence Nightingale Harrison-Bell

“The evening was a rollercoaster of film, music, dance and superb acting … a huge round of applause to all those involved” – NE Lifestyle Magazine

M.C. George Stanley, theatrical entrepreneur, in association with Shoe Tree Arts proudly presents Heaton!

Heaton: where Charles Parsons developed the steam turbine, giving the world cheap electricity; where social reformer Florence Nightingale Harrison-Bell campaigned for women’s rights; the birthplace of Ove Arup who built Sydney Opera House; where suffragettes set fire to Heaton Park Bowling Green Pavilion; home of Colin Veitch, Newcastle Utd’s most successful captain, co-founder of the People’s Theatre, and where today the Freeman Hospital is at the cutting edge of medical technology.

Inspired by the Great Exhibition of the North, this feast of drama, music, dance and film celebrates the lives and achievements of these pioneers, all intertwined with the love affair between time-travelling fictional couple Freddie and Catherine.

 

15 Jul

Delian Tomb works again

There is an introductory D&D scenario that has been adopted and *adapted* many times. Matt Colville in his excellent “How to DM” videos describes writing an adventure which he call the “Delian Tomb“.

In his version the Blacksmith’s daughter is kidnapped by Goblins and the players rescue her from a tomb. He did publish notes and so on, but I scribbled and drew as he talked, so my version is variant. I mean, in mine it’s Pete who was kidnapped, his Mum a Lancashire housewife. I have a different cast at the Gorgon’s Grog Tavern and so on.

I ran it today at Travelling Man Newcastle at the LGBTQI RPG day.

So it was time to mix it up again. Whilst Mum thinks Peate has been kidnapped, in fact they have gone off with their goblin pals from the Dreamcatcher tribe to hide them from the rival Magpie tribe.

Trapped in the tomb between a giant toad and undead, Peate was teetering on the cusp of their wild chaos magic emerging and becoming a 1m90cm electric generating afro haired gender fluid sorcerer.

Let’s say it went very well. Thanks to Wulf, Matt and Thomas for their great roleplaying of Raethis, Dendran and Loxley. Your trust and laughter made it. If I have mispelt names I apologize.

I want to play Peate now.. the players unanimously advised him to follow his path with the goblins.

… Kobolds next time…

14 Jul

UCU success, Lords of Waterdeep is great fun, had a good BBQ

UCU wins right to strike for migrant workers

After months of campaigning by UCU, including most recently the threat of legal action, the home secretary Sajid Javid has announced that he will be changing the immigration rules to ensure that migrant workers will now be able to play a full part in legal strike action without fearing the impact on their immigration status.
This is a big win for all trade unionists, not just those in UCU and it has come about as a direct result of our campaigning work. Thanks to everyone who wrote to MPs and in particular to members from overseas who took strike action despite these concerns.

Lords of Waterdeep is great fun

Paul, Andrew, Nigel, Alex and I had great fun playing Lords of Waterdeep on Friday night. It was really nice to boardgame, which is such a prep-free form of gaming opposed to rpgs. The game has just enough bells and whistles and ins and outs to be intriguing but with an essentially simple core engine.  I wanted to play it after I was rather delighted to hear that the new D&D adventure is Waterdeep:Dragon Heista guide to Waterdeep and a city heist adventure creation engine. I love city gaming, so it got me all fired up to explore Waterdeep in boardgame form.

A boardgame and a can of beer

Gaming and Lager

a boardgame

Lords of Waterdeep

BBQ

We had Conor, Kate, their sons Eugene and Tristan with Emmanuel, Catherine and their daughter Farai round for a BBQ. It was a very very hot and sunny day and the BBQ went well and Farai had a dip in the tub, and the boys really enjoyed Super Mario Smash Bros on the Wii. I got a bit faint and dizzy a few times, I need to keep an eye on that.

 

11 Jul

NWG innovation festival, the England world cup exit, and Liminal occult

I am trying to update my blog more often.

Today I went to the Northumbrian Water group innovation festival at Newcastle Racecourse. My invitation had been quite confused and the joining instructions were extremely poor. The infrastructure provided: the tents; the food; the facilities; were excellent. Despite the chaos I think that the “sprint” that I was involved in about transport will come up with some interesting ideas for the main patrons of the event who are largely the utility providers in the north of England. They all run extensive fleets of vehicles from cars, vans, trucks through to heavy equipment. As such there are many different routes to sustainable transport that they need to follow. I made some good contacts and I believe that I will follow up with some of them. #GetNorth2018 #InnovationFestival18

I I have recently started watching football and enjoying it. Anyone who knows me well and though have astounding this is. I think the last time I was actually invested in a football match I was 9 so that would be about 1974. however I have got invested in this world cup and I was really sad to see England being beaten by Croatia. The score was tantalisingly in England’s favour for a very long time. I have promised to not pretend to know anything about football so I won’t say or comment on the result. I am just sad that football is not coming home on this occasion.

I also played an online game of Paul Mitchell’s new role playing game called Liminal. it’s a game based on those who exist on the boundaries between the magical world and the mundane world. So very much like the books of Ben Aaronovitch or Charles De Lint, and many others. it seems to be a very light system essentially a variant of The Traveller 2D6 Roll High system. As such a Fade Into the background very quickly and is easy to understand. the value of the game when it’s published will be in the very large amount of material and source books written by an awful lot of my gaming friends. I look forward to the novocastrian supplement from Neil Gow.

05 Jul

ERTICO H2020 Workshop

The UK is still in the Horizon 2020 programme until Brexit happens. So we have a short window of opportunity when we can still participate in Research and Innovation projects.

The university is a member of ERTICO which is the ITS Europe organisation. I and my colleagues Paul and Simon attended the workshop brainstorming potential proposals and I think we both found it very productive.

The dinner for the event was very early so I was able to return to my hotel and play in Paul Mitchener’s Liminal game online. we are using the tavern discord server and I have to say I’m slightly disappointed in the audio quality of discord.