Tag Archives: festival

The Best Geek Locations in England

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A lot of people in England want to realize their nerdy dreams overseas. This is because a lot of what we love comes from other countries. We want to visit Hollywood to see the museums and filming locations of our favourite movies. We want to visit Japan because it gave birth to anime.

It’s easy to forget that there are plenty of perfect geeky or nerdy locations right here in England. And when I use those words, I mean what we usually mean. I’m talking about fans of films, books, comics, theme parks and technology!

Here’s a quick, but by no means exhaustive, guide to some of the best examples!

Comic conventions

There are plenty of comic conventions in London. The most famous example would be the MCM Comic-Con. Contrary to popular opinion, this isn’t officially the British version of the San Diego Comic-Con. But this is closest we’ll get, and it’s amazing in its own right!

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When the MCM Comic-Con is on, you’ll know about it wherever you go in London. Geeks from all over the country flock here in their best cosplay outfits. Celebrities attend the event and meet fans. Comic stands are everywhere. And beware, those of you who think selfies have replaced the autograph! Celebrity autographs are still alive, kicking and very much available at the MCM Comic-Con!

The next MCM Comic-Con takes place in late May. The celebrity guests will include Warwick Davis and Meg Turney, the Internet’s favourite cosplayer. Remember, though, that there’s more than one comic convention in England! There’s also the London Super Comic Convention, which takes place earlier in the year. For less mainstream tastes, there’s also the brilliant East London Comic and Arts Festival. You can find out more at http://www.elcaf.co.uk.

Theme parks

Theme parks are a great way to pretend we’re in a loud, colourful fantasy land. For geeks with courage, there’s not much better than a roller coaster! For many of us, it’s the closest we’ll get to the thrilling action and speed we see in our favourite movies. There are a lot of theme parks in England, but you may as well visit one with the best roller coasters.

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The names Thorpe Park and Alton Towers often come to mind. But if you’re going to experience roller coasters, you may as well do it properly. Blackpool Pleasure Beach is consistently ranked as the best theme park in England and one of the best in Europe. (Remember that it has to compete with Disneyland Paris when the whole of Europe is invited to the competition!) It has more roller coasters than any other theme park in Europe. Its attractions are also world-renowned record breakers. When it launched in the mid-nineties, the Big One was the tallest and the fastest roller coaster in the entire world. It’s still the tallest in the United Kingdom! There’s also Valhalla, the longest indoor roller coaster in the world. (It was also the most expensive to build!) You can find out more at https://www.blackpoolpleasurebeach.com.

Not too far away from Blackpool is the Laurel and Hardy Museum. It’s the only such museum in the world. It has a 1920s style theatre that shows classic comedy. It’s a must for movie buffs!

Literature hotspots

England has an amazing history of literature! For any book geek, it’s one of the best countries in the world. The first place you may think of is Baker Street, where Sherlock Holmes lived in Conan Doyle’s novels. In these stories, Holmes and Watson lived at 221b Baker Street. Back then, though, there were no property numbers beyond 100 on Baker Street! These days, 221b Baker Street does exist. It’s the Sherlock Holmes Museum! Any fans of the stories or the BBC show must see this museum. You can read more about it at http://www.sherlock-holmes.co.uk.

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The real homes of many authors can be visited by the public. The Brontë Parsonage Museum preserves the residence of the literary sisters as it was when they wrote their classics. The home of legendary poet John Keats can also be found in Hampstead.

The hangouts of some of the great writers are also easily accessible. A trip to Oxford isn’t complete without a visit to The Eagle and Child. This is the pub where the fantasy writers C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien used to drink and chat with each other. Cornwall also houses the Jamaica Inn. The name isn’t a reference to the Daphne du Maurier’s classic horror novel. The novel was named after the inn! du Maurier stayed there on a particularly foggy and scary evening. The inspiration for her novel hit her there.

Qormi Air-Raid War Shelters

Casal Fornaro is an event that happens in my home town Qormi, on a yearly basis. This is a festival which celebrates bread, and how it represented the town through the years, even during wars. During the time when the island was under attack, bread was made out of rice and tasted horrible, but at least it ensured that the citizens had something to eat. Nowadays the city of Qormi is still renowned for bread and together, we celebrate an event full of bread, pastries and culture.

On this day, the two local war shelters are open for the public, and to me, these deserve a visit every year.

In one of the shelters there is a re-enactment from World War 2, explaining the situation of the poor and the politicians. Then you are allowed to roam around the shelter and imagine for yourself what life was like during that time. The re-enactment happens in Maltese which is a disadvantage for any tourists visiting, however one can still visually appreciate the surroundings.

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In the second war shelter, there is a bread exhibition sponsored by the leading bakery ‘MayPole’ – One can find fancy bread available in the shelter just for viewing as can be seen in the images below.

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One is able to buy similar bread through the many stalls in the festival as well as from their bakery any other day of the year.

Lip Syncing

What are your thoughts about lip syncing?

Lip syncing, is very similar to miming. In the sense that one would sing or talk ‘soundless’ and right on time with the audio. Artists do this when they are not confident singing live or perhaps when they are feeling poorly.

I despise this trait that singers nowadays seem to be doing on TV as well as in some concerts. This has happened to me last Friday when I went to Festa Palazz.

There was a medium sized crowd watching in front of the stage, and one particular singer who this year has been quite famous in Malta, for reasons I won’t write here to keep the anonymity, who was lip-syncing. It was so obvious that it was making me annoyed. If I could spot it, so could the rest of the audience. Maybe I care too much about the music, to not let it bother me. But why on earth would you go on stage, and not make a live performance? Especially considering that artists before you have done this, even with live instruments!! The sound was excellent, there was no excuse.

I would love to know your point of view, as to know if I am overreacting… But shouldn’t the live music be live in such events?

Getting recognition

I can tell when a blog post has been popular, from the number of views and visitors in the stats page, but one other way to get to know how it’s doing is with the number of shares the blog post had on other social media sites such as Facebook.

The most satisfying thing about it however is when you come across people and pages (in my case bands) sharing your link. Even more fun is when you see others commenting on links to your blog made by strangers.

The review I did on Rock the South, had this kind of feedback:
https://steffisays.com/2015/04/13/the-sun-has-set-on-rock-the-south-malta/

So far it has 30 shares on Facebook, which I’d say is good traffic for me and the kind of blog I own:

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And I have come across one of the shares last night which made me smile 🙂

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Appreciation is Key

What a fantastic feeling it is, when you are appreciated for what you do….. Be it your job, your hobby, or just doing something nice for a friend or random person.

After the reviews and coverage I have done during Rock the South Festival, I have  been contacted by a number of musicians who thanked me for this and for mentioning them on my page. Some have friend requested me, and one particular band has contacted me to forward me their album. It was such a nice gesture, and it certainly made my day, if not my week ❤

I won’t mention the name of the band for now; but I will, once I receive the album and I give it a listen… I can’t wait to share this with you, and hopefully it will open more doors and more possibilities for everyone involved.

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The sun has set on… Rock the South Malta

Attending a festival such as Rock the South, makes me realise how much talent there is in such a small island, and how unfortunate it is that most of these bands will not make it far because of lack of proper marketing and how difficult it is both money-wise as well as luck-wise to get recognised and heard by music labels; Let alone being chosen to tour within Europe and further away.

It’s very hard to chose and pick my favourite bands that participated within these 4 amazing days, but my favourite picks are:

1. For Strings Inn – My top favourites from the whole 45+ bands. I have followed these guys since 2009 or 2010 and they have come a long way. The vocals has improved so much and the music is not repetitive whatsoever. These guys rock my socks.

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2. Massacre House Party – Loved their music videos but never seen them live until this festival. Must say they do not disappoint and sure know how to party and get the crowd going! Won’t be the last time seeing these guys.

3. Brodu – Seen them live twice in a month; varied music, sometimes serious, sometimes almost funny. What about the jokes? All the guys are hilarious, especially the drummer!

4. Cosmic Erotic – Mentioned them once, but will mention them again. Just amazing, with the right promotion this band could make it far.

5. Sempliciment tat-Triq – A pleasant surprise for someone like me who’s not a big fan of hiphop and rap. That French guy did certainly give them the edge!

Honourable mention goes to… The Silent Disco! I have never experienced this before in my life, and I most certainly wish that events like this will happen again, possibly with a bigger spectrum of music genres.

One of my huge disappointments during this festival, apart from the fact that it had to end sometime, is that Cable 35 cancelled their participation pretty much at the last minute (on the day) and left their fans baffled. No words can be said when I looked at people’s faces… I am not their biggest fan but I can say that it also killed some of my buzz that night.

One other mistake I made from my end is taking my camera without an SD Card. Yes, I was really pissed at myself, but these things happen I guess…

I would like to thank from the bottom of my heart the organisers of this festival as well as Zion for hosting it. I look forward for a bigger and better one next year! For now we can only dream and hope… But the count down has already begun!

Rock the South Malta: Day 2

At the Blue Stage:

  • 07:35PM – 08:05PM – Mistura
  • 08:45PM – 09:15PM – Sempliciment Tat Triq
  • 09:55PM – 10:30PM – Brodu

At the Orange Stage:

  • 07:00PM – 07:30PM – Dull Eyed Lama
  • 08:10PM – 08:40PM – Juno and the Wolf
  • 09:20PM – 09:50PM – Fuzzhoney
  • 10:35PM – 11:10PM – China

Closing the Night: 11:20PM – Bass Culture

Rock the South Malta: Day 1 Review

Bands start quite early which means that I had to unfortunately miss the first three bands, and this was not out of choice. For us people who work office hours, it is a bit tough to make it to the fest at 6:40PM. One has to go home, have a bath or quick shower, rest a bit from a busy working day and have some quick dinner. I had to add a 30mins drive to that, which make me arrive at St Thomas Bay at around 8:15PM.

This was my first time at this festival, and also the first time at St Thomas Bay and Zion itself. I expected the outside area to be bigger, and perhaps I can blame this on the map I found online. I thought that the distance between the two stages was more than you 20 seconds walk 😉 But I am not complaining! Especially considering that no bands were playing at the same time, so there was no sound interference, and one could watch all bands if they wanted to.

The only suggestion I would make at this point is about the 20150410_105003wristbands. I have bought a 4 day ticket, and I have a green paper-made wrist band. I already know it will be a challenge for it to survive 4 days on my arm! I think that at least for those who are attending the 4 days, we should have been given a plastic/rubber wristband which is more durable and can be removed while we are at work, having a shower or doing chores.

With regards to the bands, I think all have been amazing in their own style, but I would like to give a special shout out to The Cosmic Erotic, which were the biggest surprise to me. I loved the music and all of the songs they performed. Yews was also awesome especially during her first part of her performance. Keep it up girl, and I hope to see you live again sometime soon. Violent Violets never disappoint with their metal guitar riffs.

Photos will be added during the weekend as I’d rather get ready for day 2 now 😉

Rock the South Malta: Day 1

Join me today to watch the bands below

At the Blue Stage:

  • 06:40PM – 07:10PM – Central Strip
  • 07:50PM – 08:20PM – Jane Doe
  • 09:05PM – 09:35PM – Cosmic Erotic
  • 10:15PM – 10:45PM – Violent Violets

At the Orange Stage:

  • 07:15PM – 07:45PM – The Busker
  • 08:30PM – 09:00PM – Kriz Haze
  • 09:40PM – 10:10PM – Yews
  • 10:50PM – 11:30PM – Berne

Closing the Night: Geddumu

Rock the South MALTA – 9th-12th April

rdsFinally, the day is upon us! Tomorrow is the first day of a four day festival which happens in the South of Malta. The location is Marsascala and this happens in the limits of Zion, right opposite Thomas Bay.

Although this will be the first time I will be attending, I have heard good things about it and it is why I am looking so much forward to it. There will be two stages, merchandise area, indoor and outdoor bar, food stalls as what is known as a silent disco area. During the weekend before the weekend starts,, there’s the chillout area open for those attending!

This looks like it’s going to be the ‘place to  be’ in the next days.

Have a look at the line-up and further below you can have a listen to a couple of bands which will be rocking the stages in the coming days. Do say hi if you make it to this fest 😉

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My very favourite: Massacre House Party

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For Strings Inn

Crux (Teaser of Upcoming Video)

China

Sempliciment tat-Triq

Bass Culture