Lots Of People Visit Aberystwyth

Sloppy blogging, on my part, but I’ve been a busy boy lately and haven’t had time to say a lot. On the other hand, I’ve been twittering a little (but don’t worry, you’ll never catch me telling the world what’s on my sandwiches at lunchtime or what song I’m listening to right this second… unless, of course, it’s a dolphin steak and cream cheese sandwich or I’m listening to the 1995 Beatles Reunion Album or something else that’s actually worth remarking about).

Adam’s Big Birthday

What have I been up to, then. Well; there was Adam‘s 30th birthday, which shall probably hereafter be known as “Adam’s twenty-mmgphhnn <cough> th birthday”, which – as it seems he’s not going to say anything about, I suppose I ought to, not least because it’s an excuse to share some photos I might not otherwise have bothered to.

His birthday fell on a Troma Night, so Ruth baked a stack of muffins which were subsequently decorated by everybody who got to Troma Night before Adam did. The idea was to decorate them with “all of his favourite things”… can you begin to imagine what a stack of muffins look like when they’re iced with the BBC logo, twinkly little stars, ejaculating penises, a TARDIS, and – on one particularly well-decorated muffin (thanks Penny!) – a fabulous looking Dalek.


The Dalek is particularly impressive, yeah? I was impressed, anyway.

Andy & Sian Visit

The other thing that’s occupied plenty of my time is the string of visiting friends we’ve had in town. First up was Andy & Sian, who came up from Cardiff to open the new football stand for Aber Town, in memory of Sian’s brother, who died suddenly a few years ago.

It was great to catch up with them, eat curry with them, and play board games with them, especially as I hadn’t expected to see either of them again before the oft-promised Cardiff Is Amazing (are we still doing this, folks? how does the new proposed date sound to everybody?).

Jen & Nick Visit

Next up on the visiting queue were Jen and her new man, Nick. She’d been planning to come as part of her tour of the UK (I gather that she was at a wedding somewhere over here, too).

Nick’s a fab chap, and he and Jen make a great couple. Oh, and I got a video of Nick and Claire singing karaoke at the Inn on the Pier.

Incidentally, Jen: is this your watch? If so, you’ve left it here – where do you want me to post it?

Matt P Visits

Next up was Matt‘s visit, over Easter weekend. Claire and I hadn’t even gotten around to putting away our inflatable bed since Jen & Nick had borrowed it the previous weekend, which turned out to be convenient on account of the fact that it saved us from having to get it back out again.

Ruth organised a collaborative Easter egg hunt for us all (by which I mean; she supplied us all with Easter eggs, each with somebody else’s name on, which we had to hide) out in a nature reserve in the Rheidol Valley, which was a lot of fun. Rory‘s posted a fantastic video from the event, featuring mostly me looking like a prat as I hunt for the most obviously-hidden egg in the history of egg-hiding.

On Easter Sunday I ate too much. But I didn’t turn into a butterfly, just a big flabby ball of chocolate-muching.

And There’s More…

Andy & Faye are in Aberystwyth until tomorrow morning. Didn’t know they were here? Nor did I, until Andy was already on a train. I guess this counts as a “stealth visit.” I got to meet up with them for a smoothie after work yesterday, but couldn’t make it out to the pub with them. I invited them to Sci-Fi Night, though, but I don’t know if they’re up for that or not. In any case, you all know where to find them, now, so I feel like I’ve done my part to decloak them, in that way I do.

And I gather that Bryn will be down for the weekend as part of some variety of LUG gathering. Don’t people phone, text or blog ahead any more? What’s the world coming to?

Plenty more to say, but I’ll save it for another day.

Quickly, Before They Turn The Glass Into Lesbians!

So, what have I been up to this weekend, you ask. Well…

“Cover The Mirrors” Launch Party

On Friday I took the train up to Preston. The train I was on broke down at Machynlleth when they linked it up to the carriages that had come down the Pwllheli line, and the repairs set me back by almost an hour, but it turns out that the rest of the rail network was running behind schedule that day, too, and so I didn’t miss any important connections. I arrived in time for a quick “birthday tea” with my family (for my dad’s birthday) before rushing off to the Waterstones for the launch party for my friend Faye‘s first published novel, Cover The Mirrors.

Dan with author Faye at the book launch

I drank as much wine as the store were willing to give me and bought myself a signed copy of the book. I even managed to get the photo, above, under the proviso that it’s only allowed to appear on the internet thanks to the fact that I’m holding a carrier bag in front of Faye’s face (she’s more than a little camera-shy). I haven’t started reading Cover The Mirrors yet, because I’m virtually at the end of The Night Watch by Sergei Lukyanenko, and I’d like to finish that first, but little doubt you’ll hear about it here in due course.

Dad’s Birthday

After the book launch, my sisters and I took my dad out for a few drinks to celebrate his 51st birthday. It turns out that, in my absence, Preston’s nightclub scene has really taken off. We started out in an 80s-themed bar which is part of a chain called Reflex. It’s so 80s it’s unreal: all 80s hits playing, David Hasselhoff and Mr. T decorating every wall, glitter balls and spots and mirrors everywhere… deely-boppers available at the bar… and so on. Really quite a fantastic theme venue. Then, under my sister Sarah’s recommendation, we tootled up the street and into a cafe/club called Manyana, where my dad got hit on by somebody young enough to be his daughter.

My dad and some 20-something year-old

I snatched this picture. I’ve no idea who she is – we didn’t get her name – but she seemed genuinely surprised to hear my dad’s age. So I had the DJ announce it, just to make sure there was no doubt in anybody’s mind that there was an old person on the dancefloor.

This influx of Preston nightclubs is making them all remarkably competitive with their drinks prices, too. I bought a few rounds for the four of us and none of them ever came to over a tenner, and one – thanks to the “buy one get one free” policy at Manyana – came to under £6, which is quite remarkable for a city nightclub on a Friday night for four people!

Back To Aberystwyth

On Saturday I had brunch with my sister Becky, my mum, and her boyfriend and then got back onto the trains to head back to Aberystwyth. Owing to line maintenance, the stretch of track between Crewe and Preston is unusable every weekend within sight, and so I was re-directed via Manchester Picadilly. Yet again, my train ran late, and I found myself sprinting accross Picadilly station, trying to find a train that was heading Shrewsbury-way…

…meanwhile, my friend Katie, having slept through her stop, woke up in Manchester Picadilly and, not quite awake, clambered off her train in an attempt to find a connection. I’d apparently featured in her dream, and so she was quite surprised (and not quite sure if she was seeing things) when I sprinted past her. She sent a text (which I chose to ignore: my pocket beeped but I was too busy looking for a train to take the time to get my phone out) and then phoned me before she was able to confirm that yes, it really was me.

As we were headed the same way, she joined me on my train for one stop, which was a nice surprise for what was a long and overcomplicated train journey. A few folks have suggested that this might not be a coincidence, and that she might be stalking me, but I’m yet to be convinced.

In any case, I don’t have a picture to go with this part of the story. Sorry.

Jimmy, Beth, and Troma Night

YATN. If you were there, you know how it went. Big thanks to Jimmy and Beth for coming along.

Lloyd Kaufman’s Visit

In case you’ve not been anywhere that I can pounce on you and go “squee!” recently, here’s what you missed out on. You’ll remember that last week I mentioned that PoultrygeistTroma‘s new movie – was coming to Aberystwyth. Well, it did. And it rocked…

…and better yet, Ruth, Claire, JTA, Paul and I got to hang out with Lloyd Kaufman, president of Troma Studios and producer of The Toxic Avenger, for a couple of pints and to share a bowl of nachos. The guy’s fabulously chatty and friendly, and if it weren’t for the awestruck feeling of “wow, we’re just sat here chatting with Lloyd Kaufman in Lord Beechings” we’d have probably been more interesting company.

Dan, Claire, !!!LLOYD KAUFMAN!!!, JTA, and Ruth

When he said goodbye, kissing the cheeks of each of the girls, I genuinely thought that they were in danger of exploding with excitment. Thankfully they didn’t, because I’d already bought them tickets to see Poultrygeist later on.

Which was, as I’ve said before, fantastic. It’s even better seen with a nice, energised audience, and better still when the director and several other people who worked on the film are hanging around afterwards to answer questions, chat, autograph things and so on. There are apparently 15 prints of Poultrygeist and the capacity to make more on demand, so if you want to see it and can’t wait for the DVD release, go speak to your local cinema now and ask if they’ll show Poultrygeist, even if only for a week (as Lloyd himself said, it’s better than showing Transformers on all 24 screens of some soulless megaplex). And hell, with Troma’s current financial situation, they could probably do with a helping hand with getting into as many projection booths as possible!

The title of this post – Quickly, Before They Turn The Glass Into Lesbians! – is a reference to one of my favourite lines in the film.

Paul might have bitten off more than he can chew, though, as he hinted on his blog. After some discussion with Lloyd, Paul is likely to be responsible for:

  • Re-establishing the UK division of the Troma fan club.
  • Acting as president of the above, for the forseeable future.
  • Investigating UK distribution of Troma films.
  • Oh, and making an official DVD subtitle track for Poultrygeist: Night Of The Chicken Dead, which describes the Troma Night drinking rules and reminds you when you should be drinking. He’s got a few ideas about things that should be in such a subtitle track, too, and if you’re familiar with the rules you’ll probably be able to guess what he’s thinking about.

I’ll leave it to him to go into detail, if he wishes.

Matt In Hospital

Between places, we also joined a growing crowd at the foot of Matt‘s bed in Bronglais Hospital. His operation was a success, but he’s reacted unusually to the general anasthetic and they’re likely to keep him in for observation for another few days. If you haven’t had a chance to visit him already, he’d probably appreciate the company (although Sarah seems to have barely left his side): visiting hours are 3pm-5pm, 6pm-8pm: just ask if you need to know what ward he’s in and how to get there. If you’re feeling particularly cruel, mock him by talking about how well your bodily excretions are working, or swap his drip with his catheter bag while he’s not looking.

But seriously: I’m sure we all wish him well.

Curry!

Finally – as if we weren’t full enough from a large Sunday lunch – after leaving the cinema, Gareth, Penny, Amy, Ruth, JTA, Claire and I slipped down for a late-night curry at the Spice of Bengal. Which was delicious, although there was a little much food for those of us who were already quite full.

Dan eating curry!

Nonetheless, a fantastic end to a fantastic weekend! I’m sure everybody else will have a different story to tell (Paul spent longer with Lloyd and went to more films; Claire and Jimmy got horribly drunk together on Friday night after she, Ruth and JTA failed to see a Meatloaf concert; Matt’ll have his own morphine-fuelled tale to spin, and so on), because it’s been a rich, full couple of days for many of us abnibbers.