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SPOILER ALERT! ;-p
Multiple folk have asked me how Britain's Got Talent went. By which I mean literally more than 1. Sorry if I didn't reply, I just wanted to answer everyone in one fell swoop rather than typing out the same thing repeatedly.
To cut a long story short:
It was fun. I was buzzed off by 'judges' and unfortunately didn't get to finish my act. A fun, interesting day regardless and I may or may not be on Britain's Got (more) Talent next season. I basically never watch TV so if you find out when the series starts, please let me know. I'll probably record the Glasgow episodes since that would be mildly interesting to have a copy of.
To extend that short story and make it long:
The day started in an all-too-familiar way. I slept in.
If it weren't for Andy and Kenny ringing the doorbell at 6:50 (10 minutes before the taxi was due to arrive) I may have missed the start of the show entirely. A quick shower and taxi ride later saw us at the front of the SECC, soon to be joined by Linda and Robbie - the final 2 members of my entourage.
If you're ever on one of these shows, I think it's kinda boring for someone to come along if they're on their own. Often, I was called away and in the 'pre-auditions' (which are actually the 'real' auditons) I felt bad for bringing Adam along since he was so often on his own. But with a few folk supporting you, at least they can entertain each other and make new friends. Of course, these are merely hypotheses since I had a slightly different viewpoint.
Ushered along a corridor and into a 'holding room', I was the first to be called away for an interview. Giving my usual, drawn-out, rambling answers, I did ask the dude if he wanted me to be more concise, Surprisingly, he declined. Instead, it seemed that he was trying to use some sort of mental trickery, repeating key words in the hope that I would say the same phrase back. Or maybe the long answers give them more material to take out of context.
In any case, they then had me come up the escalator repeatedly whilst they filmed it. Proclaiming to Linda that I would come up like no-one had before, I decided to swing my shoulders rhythmically whilst ascending - to a salsa beat. The first idea - to come up backwards - was quickly rejected by me for being too normal.
Then they filmed my 'registration' (which had the attendant moving the pen without writing and giving me someone else's number) about 7 times. This was the most 'forced' bit of the day and knowing that it's implied as fact when shown on the TV screen did make me feel marginally dirty.
At this point, ITV2 and ITV1 seemed to both want me for different things and I realised that lots of folk whom I'd never seen before knew my name. Sure, they were the show's researchers but that's still pretty impressive. I don't think I could go into a city and remember the names of a third of the contestants.
So I was asked to wait for a while until Ant & Dec arrived. Got talking to some other contestants - Lucano, a wee boy who does the robot on the dance floor and a drag-Queen who'd sing God Save the Queen. Though they performed when I was backstage, I only got to hear the sounds of them playing (and subsequent buzzers). It'll be interesting to see them on TV. Actually, to tell the truth, I'm more interested to see the other acts that I spoke to during the day than my own since I have a (slightly) better idea of how I looked than what they were like.
So after 5-20 minutes, AntnDec arrived and we had a bit of banter. They seem like good fellas.
Then ITV2 got 'Steven' to interview me and we ended up doing a skit where I was trying to cheer him up, pretending that he had just woken up and I was trying to cheer him up.
Something that you probably won't see on TV:
(him just saying his shower was crap and he ran out of soap)
me: "heres some shower gel. It's tingly!"
S walks off, then returns.
"Tingly?! That stung!"
"You're not supposed to shove it up your arse!"
At this point, literally everyone in the room burst out laughing but they asked for a retake. Apparently, we're meant to keep straight faces.
(him just saying his shower was crap and he ran out of soap)
me: "heres some shower gel. It's tingly!"
S walks off, then returns.
"Tingly?! That stung!"
"You're not supposed to put it in your mouth... You're not supposed to shove it up your arse either!"
Laughter again. I think 'shove it up yer arse' may not be TV appropriate. Or is it? I'm honestly not sure.
At this point, I returned to the holding room and 'Al', a dancer was pointed out to me by an attendant. I did a continuation of the skit with Al, the idea being that he's teaching me to 'shuffle' so I can cheer up steven. The whole thing involved loads of pantomine, silly thumbs-ups and some fancy footwork (the shuffle itself). If it ends up on TV, I'll definitely look like rather silly but as my Dundonian friends know, I'm no stranger to that...
Anyway, by this point it was almost 1pm already. There were big crowds outside the SECC who were now starting to come in and we were ushered backstage.
Before going on, they did some more filming and - as in the past - I was asked to keep my mouth shut (as opposed to sing to myself) and pose in various ways (mainly resting my bum against suitcases and stuff), which I was reasonably happy to do.
I was on 2nd. I have no idea how the act before did.*
I introduced myself by giving my stage name - Acid Darling. I told the crowd that unlike some miserable singers, I was there to remind them that life is AWESOME! There was a lot of cheering to that.
I started singing and the sound was terrible. Kenny later said that he thought the sound system was shit. I'll be curious to hear it on TV but will never have that first-hand experience, since the monitors were pretty much non-existent.
I'm not totally sure but I think the crowd were shouting for me to begin with. I'm not sure which happened first but it was only after the buzz that I realised they were now shouting 'off, off'...
I got buzzed off by the first 2 judges during either the 2nd stanza/verse or the chorus. The 3rd buzzed me off during the maraca interlude.
"Are you for real?"
"Do you have another job."
"Well, don't give it up."
Michael Mcintyre's joke was marginally more amusing, seemingly wilfully mishearing my 'name' and calling me Alistair Darling.
"I liked the maracas though"
"well, then, why did you buzz during the maracas?"
" Well, the other judges had already buzzed so..."
(and after finding out that I'd played in bars)
"The difference between there and here is that people aren't drunk."
I don't think they were ready for me. Sitting backstage, speaking to folk after me, about 2/3 of folk get buzzed off during the act so if my numbers are right, I'm in the bottom 67% of the top 5% according to the BGT team.
Anyways, coming off the stage, Ant n Dec interviewed me again, I revealed that they'd missed out on dancing and agreed to show a bit of that if they'd beatbox (to which they agreed).A beatbox and a dance later...
"That was good!"
"No, I mean, my beatboxing! I suprised myself!"
Steven interviewed me again. He wanted me to kid on I was actually upset, for a role reversal of the earlier skit. I only felt comfortable doing it if I was totally overacting though.
"Our audience isn't stupid! They'll know it's not real!"
After we'd done 2 'takes' with me pantomining the sadness (ensuring folk actually WOULD know it wasn't real), they asked to do one 'straight'. No acting.
Penultimately, they did a shot of me walking through a door. A door, which, incidentally, I'd never gone through before and isn't the actual exit. Of course we all know that BGT isn't a documentary but being asked to go through the same door 3 times really brought home how scripted the whole affair is.
Finally, pick up lines on top of the stage whilst the judges were on a coffee break. It seems that they aren't sure whether to call me by my real name or my stage name so they had me do more pickups. Directly before which, I head the compere getting everyone to practise their 'off, off, off...' I wouldn't mind sitting in the audience to see how hostile he persuades them to be.
Overall a fun day. The biggest crowd I'd performed to thus far and it was fun, even if I didn't win them over in the end. I'm still not sure if they turned because of the bad sound, because I may have misplayed due to nerves or because of the judges or compere coercion.Due to editing etc. I'll never really know.
If in the UK and I know when it happens, I'd be interested to give it another go. I mean, if gary from Pivo Pivo hadn't rung me, I wouldn't have known about the original November auditions. So I don't know how I'll find out next time.
I'd be interested to do something like my call-response song 'higher', though. If I could get them actually singing along that would be mega-awesome. Maybe with the backup of a couple of other singers and drummers.
Highlights - 'in yer arse', AntnDec, cheering after I say how awesome life is, friendly support.
* I did actually watch the first half the preceding act's performance, but was told to get back. They looked awesome but I don't think they made it through. I didn't actually hear any of the comments though.
Incidentally, the only other act I got to glimpse were the dancers dressed as fairytale characters whilst dancing to Thriller. But I only got to see them through a cap in the curtain on backstage-left. (Backstage-left is the quieter backstage, where the blue-collar joes go. Backstage-right is for the frippery, fanciness and fakery.)
For me, the adventure began on Thursday morning. For Luis and Andrea, the it had long begun. Others would arrive that evening or just pop by for Friday or Saturday. In any case, this is my story. And it makes no attempt to be complete. That's the beauty of a fully formed meet like this: with so many dimensions, everyone has a unique experience and takes away unique memories. I suppose it's partially that multidimensional nature that makes reading others' memories interesting.
Pulling into Manchester in the early afternoon, I was shortly greeted by the Bolivian duo and Kes (Happysheep). Kes proved his dominance at a card game, wherein he was the king and everyone else the asshole at various times.
We dined at a 'Thai' restaurant that gave Luis a chance to enquire about the karaoke advertised for upstairs. This would prove to be the focal point of the weekend. Venturing forth, we went to socio, a cocktail bar lounge with comfy seats and tasty, tasty treats. The music was funktastic but disappointingly, we didn't return for dancing. Probably would have been too small anyway for our ever-growing group.
Joined by Keith and JPI, karaoke was sung. I did monastic chanting to the tune of Bad Touch (something I've wanted to do for some time) and the DJ threatened to turn the song off if I didn't start singing. In the end I got away with it, maybe partially because a girl came up and started singing, trying to show me how to do so, repeatedly pointing at the screen... I can only imagine what they thought of my mental abilities...
Unlike last year, JPI is now not as good as I at Jungle Speed. Slightly differing alcohol levels may have been a contributing factor. Regardless, I won the rights to bed with Luis. Supposedly I'm now officially a 'regular'.
Friday involved meeting a lot of folk. Chiquito's fayre was consumed. New friends were made and older friends became better acquainted. Luggage was left in hotel rooms and games were played. At 9, we entered the previous night's Karaoke bar, where - as per usual - Luis's charm had won over the bouncers.
Again, a good night with dancing and singing and hugs. With the slightly cramped dancefloor and occasionally oppressive music, I felt the need to go out for a chat for nearly half the night. I wanted to talk! I felt the absence of a 'chill room' and witnessed a Mancunian girl taking on the bouncers, literally kicking and screaming incomprehensibly. Literally.
Coming back indoors for the end of the evening, I pranced around with Bahamut, Ockeroid and others. Maybe I just needed to be recharged or maybe it was the increased floor space as we took over the adjoining room. Lesson: I enjoy dancing but enjoy talking first.
As the night drew to a close, Wonchop, Ragnarokia and I walked back to play Uno, Jungle Speed and Ninja (in that order). Lazypint, present in body but not in spirit, started making some noises half-way through Ninja.
"Find a bin!"
Wonchop found it, tossed it over and I placed it under Kieran McLazypint's head just as he discharged vomit for the 3rd time that night.
"That's teamwork! Tenacious D would be proud! "
High-fives all round.
Kieran continued to sleep, oblivious to his misdemeanours.
Saturday, the 'main' day of the meet rolled around and 2pm saw me on my own, sitting on top of a large wheel, beside the 'big wheel'. The 'big wheel' being Manchester's ferris wheel and a great landmark. People arrived in dribs and drabs: some old faces, some new friends from last night and some completely new faces. "Tony!" "Jawdyn!" "um... shey, what's your name?"
Liljim, let down by a shoddy minibus company, took the skiiers and lugers in a taxi whilst the others marched to catch the bus. As one of the lugers, I feel a duty to review said experience.
I expected something more interactive. 4
First impressions: I was slightly disappointed by the plasticky pipe. From the photos I expected a channel actually cut into the snow or ice with big steep walls.
The first time I went down was exciting. I felt close to the edge and wondered if I might fall out - had I been trying to push myself in that direction. Subsequently, much as I tried, I just couldn't alter my course in any discernable way. The only control I seemed to have was raising my feet to lessen the friction. Grabbing the top rungs for variation merely meant that my back rested above the mat and became a bit sore. Throwing my body weight around from my shoulders rather than the core just meant that the mat slipped away slightly.
The conversation was interesting (as we waited and queued between our slides down the luge) but the ride itself disappointing. I expected something more interactive.
I'm thankful for the experience (I'll try most things twice) but don't think I'll be doing it again anytime soon. I'd either go for the skiing or just join the others in the bar to talk.
After luging and the subsequent bar meal, talk and Jungle Speed, we took taxis to the 'Kyoto Lounge, a bar full of widescreen tellys, PS3s, Xbox 360s and a room full of PCs. You'll doubtless hear a lot more about this place from others. I was slightly uncomfortable as I'd expected to go home to change into clean, dry clothes after wearing my luging gear. Though not originally massively interested in the games, I was coerced into playing SF4 and found (to my surprise) that I was far from the worst. Able to compete, I had a fair few more games. Having a chance to look through 3D specs at the 3D monitor, playing Ninja with Lucy and Michael (being complimented for bringing cards), funky music played quietly enough to allow easy conversation, cheap drinks... I'd definitely go there if meeting someone in Manchester.
The night finished, final farewells were bid, chicken was eaten.
With everyone seperated, Sunday was a day for shoe-shopping. I bought dancing shoes that are slightly too big but I may keep anyway. These shoes literally improve my dancing ability!
Jungle Speed was played, the Glaswegians caught the bus and we departed... until next time.
Just a quick note to let you know that I probably won't be visiting NG for a while. I've decided to stop my internet account since BT were overcharging me and rather than worry about the hassle of sorting shit out, I've decided to treat it as a distraction-free few weeks. I need to work on uni shit.
Since it's blocked at libraries, don't expect me to reply to any PMs. But if you need to get in touch, feel free to phone or e-mail.
Anyways, wish me luck with getting my resubmissions done and I'll maybe see some of you at some point in the near-future.
I am doing rather badly at uni. I have been a lazy bum for a while but am now working more seriously.
Therefore, I am probably not submitting any games in the very near future.
I just want people to know that.
Public apologies to Danny.
Sorry to Skears fans.
I know I've been saying for years that it'll come out today/yesterday (thursday) but... it's not gonna happen.
I'm aiming for Friday.
Also, it's not going to be the portal-rocking #1 challenger I may have suggested it will be.
At this point, I'm just trying to get it to be something I'd personally feel worthy of playing for some time.
To do: delete some levels
: delete some of the scoring info that's actually redundant
: make scoring bit prettier
: make sure the difficulty-adjustment works.
Lots and lots to do.
The way I've set it up, the levels can be 'tagged' and when a 'course' is selected, the levels 'tagged' with that label are played.
Originally, i was gonna have a large number of course, as well as the option to play a single level. now, I'm thinking that just 3 courses is best for simplicity - one short and simple, one medium and hard, one including every level.
Or maybe I should just make it 2 courses: one short/simple, one longer/more complex?
The difficulty is selected seperately and since there's (in theory) hundreds of different difficulty settings, I hope folk have fun playing through the same course repeatedly and tweaking the difficulty to get the highest multiplier they can whilst still getting the various bonuses.
Having fewer 'courses' will probably help the game establish itself better as a high-score-type-game. If there are too many options, then folk may get confused - scores are only interesting when you've got a comparison. With fewer modes, th...
I think I need to sleep.
Got back home today and thought I'd jot down some memories.
This is just the way I remember stuff. A great time, but distilling anything improperly is almost like diluting it - we can lose some of the potency along with the faff we get rid of if we're not careful. My point: I'm never gonna do this meet justice.
- Man of the moment: Luis. Thanks for organising this shit and making it all happen.
- best jean pockets: Cally (girls' jeans are always prettier. :-/)
- Being suprisingly younger than I thought possible for a lad of such skills: Tommy LM.
- Best Goggles: Wonchop. Next year I want to see some competition.
- Most able to be a stunt double: Dry Ice. Of Evil Dog.
- Most able to make me smile and feel amazing by virtue of smiling so much whilst singing karaoke: BBM
No-one else wins an award. Congratulations, you fall into the same category as Tom Fulp and many other respectable ladies and gentlemen.
Top X memorable moments:
- Sqeezy rapping freestyle to a backing of Daft Punk.
- Mogly starts to sing about sucking six. The regulars look on aghast.
- Singing Renegades of Funk, the mic is passes to Tom Fulp. Again, dicks are mentioned.
- those who actually bared their arse
- whipping out my thing and sharing it with Tom, Poozy and the Swain.
- Sampling 'skate'
- Crystal Maze is naff. Everyone chuckles.
- LilJim known who I am? How the hell?
- Swain improves my game.
- I fail horribly at singing 'Im Just a Girl'.
- Bob makes a note to try pashwari nan.
- We outnumbered the locals in the bar, 30:5.
- Playing Ping - a card game that JPI told us about.
- dancing to outrageous karaoke. Gay man starts fondling my hand. Pull away.
Top X disappointments
- No dancing-night.
- No giant game of knockout poker
Top X Lessons:
- going to the Sports Bar and dancing together is fun. We should definitely go dancing on future meets.
- I am not just a girl. I am, in fact, a man. A hairy man.
- Taking mugshots of everyone actually gets in the way of Bumper cars and bowling. And can make photography feel less fun when there's nigh on 50 folk.
- Skate is tasty.
- If people don't feel comfortable doing something, get Tom Fulp to do it first. That makes it harder for folk to refuse.
- Burst balloons make for an interesting instrument.
See you all next year! Or sooner!
Unofficial meetup in Pivo pivo, near central Station, Glasgow, 23rd February. I'll be there hosting an open mic night and you can come over and make literally any type of noise you want.
I will look through my photos and put the better ones online late this weekend. (Sunday/Mon). How many should I upload?
I'd like to give you all this gift.
I recommend either completing the maze with a brightly coloured brush in some digital program or printing out the 300dpi version and filling it in with a thick, coloured pen, crayon, brush or pencil. Something that shows up.
I won't bother repeating what it says. ;-)
Mazes can be fun. But when you finish, it can seem... like a non-accomplishment. Anyone can complete a maze by 'following the walls' and after I finish one, I don't feel specially satisfied.
This one is different. Once you finish, you may be pleasantly surprised. Or you would be if I hadn't foreshadowed the 'ending'.
I highly recommend you print it out, then fill it in with either a thick pen or brightly coloured pencil. Or, if you don't have a printer or want to save paper/ink, I suppose you could draw in it on your painting software package of choice.
300dpi printer-ready version here
1 - My name is BEhrooZ Shahriari. I was called 'Bez' in primary school when none of us would have known the Happy Mondays and that soon became how I introduced myself to non-Iranians. When a wee boy called me 'Bezman', I liked the sound of it and so started using it as my name in console games and then online.
2 - I like dancing but don't go clubbing often. When an excellent song comes on at college or at home, I find myself bouncing away to it, even whilst drawing or whatever. Sometimes I'll pause work for a minute or two, dancing rapidly just for a taste of adrenalin. I'm probably addicted to the drug, but seeing as my body supplies it naturally, hopefully it's all good.
3 - My favourite colour is purple. Or at least it was. I used to go to such lengths that Exploding Fungus and Skears (all the versions online anyway...) use no colours other than purple. That red? I 'improved' it by adding a touch of blue. And blue was similarly improved. God forbid something be green. Hopefully it's obvious that I've since started allowing other colours in my work and now I enjoy using the full spectrum. It's there to be enjoyed after all...
4 - I often hide or give up. If something seems like it's not good enough? hide. If I'm not sure if my song is good enough? I don't go to the open-mic night. If I was unsure if my e-mail was good enough? Delete it, write it again, then maybe delete it again and don't send it. I have more unfinished projects on my old hard drive than you'd believe. So many ideas that I never bring to life, just because I'm scared I won't do them justice or others won't appreciate them.
It is a stupid habit and I need to get out of it. If I were to psychoanalyse, I'd say maybe it's an egotistical thing - I wanna fail on my own terms rather than failing at all. Truth is though, when I actually play in the bars, go sketching folk in the street or finish a project, I normally get a good reception. I've got to start accepting the possibility of failure.
5 - I drew a 100-hour comic. After my nemesis took Scott McCloud's 24-hour comic idea to a new level, doing 72 pages in 72 hours, I tried to raise a bit of money for the post-2005 tsunami effort, drawing and painting 100 pages in 100 hours. I recently tried to revisit this challenge, spending 200 hours just drawing 200 pages (and essential stuff like eat/sleep) but it didn't work out, maybe because my head was in an awkward place. I hope to ready myself and do something this summer.
More notable stuff coming after I get front-page posting rights.