Geek Apocalypse is one years old: sharing things is so much better

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On march 27th 2013, after several months of working on the site and doing 5 podcasts in february to prepare,  Geek Apocalypse was born and released into the rich emerald mine of knowledge that is the internet. And now we have reached today, march 27th 2014 that it is our one year anniversary! 58 podcasts later, a live event, a live show and a convention later, I cant believe it is only being a year and I have so much to be thankful for.

I’m going to break my rule of being proud of myself, because I have thought about Geek Apocalypse alot. One of the things that often angers me is how easy people think it is to do what i do. to talk for an hour, to organise things and promote other people and run the site, It is a full time job. Anyone that listens to the shows especially early on would know I wasnt sure what i was doing , all I knew was that I wanted to be able to be passionate and interested in not only the topics that come up but guests that i cared about and was interested in. I always feel that way, every single day I get up, and I know its something I’m so pleased I have, but to be proud about the shows is because I feel as I have done them I have gotten better at being comfortable being a geek. Being myself. And nearly everyone  thats been on the show has said to me afterwards ‘that was fun I really enjoyed it’ . So in that sense I have done my job. One of the things I wanted to do was to have a podcast that felt safe, that showcased people in the north east that were talented and fun, and also to reach for people in geekdom who I admire and appreciate. So to be able to achieve that all in the first year is quite unbelievable.

as I said to Jane who is on the show next week, all you need to do to be on the show is to be alive, and be interested. And from my personal perspective being the host, interested in things and people. If you think about it  how easy should that be? be yourself and be interested, ultimately one of the reasons I made the podcast is to convince people that it is ok to talk about things you love and like publicly. There are so many people I met who are waiting for permission, rather than simply breaking down the doors to then think ‘fuck it, if i fail I’ll fail, but ill be myself and do something I generally want to do’. Thats so key to me, there are people who come on the show beforehand that arent sure it is for them, and find themselves saying ‘is that it can we do more?’ The thing is as well, I am no one special, I am just someone who is respectful enough to be genuinely interested and is willing to give people a chance. 

Ofcourse, on a purely basic level I got to meet some people I admired for a long time, I got to meet the whole cast of red dwarf, which was the show that my family watched together and began my love of all things geeky. I got to go to conventions and meet Andrew Hackard whos been on tabetop, and matt leacock who made some of my favourite games, I got to talk to producers, actors, artists, poets, musicians, comedians, entrepeneurs, which shows I do not have a rule in who can be on. As I said on the first blog I wrote about starting Geek Apocalypse, Geek is simply a term of being passionate and interested in whatever you love. Its not what you love its how you love it, and for whatever reason how we love things seems alien to me or half hearted. Look at how impersonal life is becoming, with so many posts over actually speaking to someone over the phone, or going to see someone. For whatever reason we do not feel its important or relevant anymore.

I am proud of what I’ve achieved, but simply I am a person that works hard, I spend more of my day frustrated and angry than feeling I have achieved anything, but I am always grateful for the opportunity to enjoy the things I enjoy, and share it with people i know, and even people I don’t. that’s the beauty of life, thats why its so enjoyable. Sharing is so much better than doing things on your own.

The thing that means so much more to me though, is the fact that I feel in my own small way that I am making a difference. We did a convention that was a huge success and I get families coming up to me telling me stories all the time about how playing games together matters and has brought their family together. I also have opened up about my battles with manic depression and have 100s of people open up to me about how difficult it is and how me telling my story makes them feel like they are not alone. because 99% of the time I feel chronically alone but if I can help the person thats sitting in their bedroom feeling no one cares, then that means so much to me. we all need help, its whether you can find someone thats willing to help you thats the problem. The thing that most upsets me is how nothing feels completely different, people are afraid of telling the truth, and are afraid of doing anything that really matters, so i will keep battling that, we need people, we need you, we need me hopefully and the only way we can do that is realising we need to work harder helping each other. So I hope by me telling the truth makes anyone realise that we can beat this, and you can do what you want to do if you really want it.

so after 100’s of thousands of downloads later, another podcast that we produce, an album recording, a convention, a team of people who have helped me along the way, i have so many people to thank. i wish to thank my good friend graham for building my site and doing all the posters for me, because without him i wouldn’t have a thing to promote, to all the co hosts i have had, Wayne, Robbie, Drew and James and to every single guest who has been willing to give them my time and opportunity to get to know them. I really appreciate it. to  the few friends that have supported me and encouraged me to do this, i love you, keep up the support! This podcast gives me the opportunity to speak to some of the most talented people I know, and if this becomes the only thing I do I will be the happiest man in the world doing something i love as a job. it really is that simple.

And to anyone that has took the time to listen to the shows, or come to the events, or emailed me when they didn’t have to, thank you, it means the world to me, Don’t anyone ever tell you you don’t mean anything and you cant make a difference.

your loving geek

Steven Hesse

p.s Ill be releasing the podcast with shamol begum today as treat being the 1 year anniversary! so please do have a listen when it comes out!

 

 

 

 

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Screencon 2013 pictures/podcast

craig and chris with mark percyLast weekend in particular the 12th October was a brilliantly geeky day. And when I say day..we literally bleed all that we could from the wound that was that saturday! I had to get up at 6.30am! on a saturday!  I kept thinking this is why I do not want to be a milkman. to quote Robin Williams, ‘I was a vampire on a day pass’ That’s how weird my mind works but in a sense, I’m still impressed that I think like a dork at such an early time of day. (picture is with my mate Mark Percy who is hosting and will be on the podcast soon!)

I met my friend Drew at around 9 in Newcastle as luckily he was talking just as much as me about how excited he was to meet the guests and go to the con. Its a shame we never got the chance to record the talk where drew realised that the only Red Dwarf cast member he had not met was Chris Barrie, while the only one I hadn’t met was Craig Charles! we amused ourselves at how much of a geek we were being by saying it was a decades long quest we were completing! (we play Lords of Waterdeep together, and as I say we are geeks, deal with it! Don’t hit me!) So we head on the metro to the park hotel in Tynemouth and on the small walk from the station we spot a Bentley driving past us to which i say to Drew ‘you know, Chris Barrie drives a Bentley you know?’ to which drew spent the next five minutes repeatingly asking ‘Do you reckon that was really him?’.  like I say we were excited!

(funniest image ever! the guy in the middle is like ‘Im not going to get between this!’)

predator versus bunny

The first thing we noticed when we got there was hot packed it was, which made me happy. Anyone reading this in America or London or any major city that has regular cons will be going ‘get over it Steven’ or simply shouting ‘NERD’ but you don’t understand. We never have conventions here and ScreenCon earlier in the year started this interest and now conventions are thinking of coming regularly. I never thought growing up that I would have the courage or even the opportunity to go to something like this! I did feel bad where I went straight to the front of a 200+ people line and went ‘I’m media I’m looking for Dan please?’ I would just like to underline I would of queued! These are my people! But we had interviews to be had and I was sooooo excited!

mr flibble!sparrow and chris

The first thing we did is take a look around and I have to say I think Screencon did a great job with the stalls and organisation. Plenty of things to have a look around! including some great film props that drew and I were worried we would break and go to jail for!

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(Darth Vader signing Darth Vader!)

I am privileged to get the opportunity to talk to the some of the guests at the con. we managed to talk to Pam Rose (star wars,batman,superman) about george lucas, her role in star wars a new hope and working with David Tennant! Paul Gerrard (Battle LA,Wrath of the titans) about being a concept designer, how to promote yourself as an artist and exclusive talk about future projects Teenage mutant ninja turtles and Hellraiser. Ian Whyte (AVP,Harry Potter,Game of thrones, prometheus) talks to us about being the predator in AVP,Harry Potter,his career in basketball, working with Ridley Scott and upcoming projects Hercules with the rock and the bbc soap doctors! We then talk to Caroline munro (jamesbond, dracula) about the spy who loved me,british horror, horror studios recent comeback, and advice for young actresses! And if thats not all, we talk to Chris Barrie (red dwarf, tomb raider, brittas empire) about Red Dwarf Dimension Jump Convention, an exclusive response about the new series and All things red dwarf, with Chris doing a very special ending to the podcast!! now breathe!

you can find the podcast here www.geekapocalypse.com/shows or on itunes! 

Heres some photos of me doing the interview with a special thanks to Drew for helping with the podcast and the event itself. After the event we went to Newcastle Gamers to play board games till three in the morning! So bit of a long day. Also I was still recovering from fractured ribs! Your welcome!

 

me and rimmer

me and Chris Barrie, such an awesome guy!

 

 

 

Paul Gerrard

 

Me and Paul gerrard who is doing a full podcst in future!

 

ian whyte and me

 

Me and former eagle! Ian Whyte! man he is tall!

 

pam rose and the stormtrooper running away

 

‘my favourite photo, ‘we see you stormtrooper! Protect the princess!’

craig and chrisbatman cosplay

 

caroline steven

 

Me and the Beautiful Caroline Munro! 

 

 

simon bamford steven

 

the lost interview but simon is on the podcast in two weeks! The next podcast we are releasing is with James cook about his sci fi project Cassini II which sounds amazing and is well worth a listen! We are also recording a video blog Tomorrow so please checkout our youtube channel http://www.youtube.com/geekapocalypse and subscribe!

 

at red dwarf convention dimension jump 2013, why I give a smeg part 2


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Hello peeps welcome to part two of my weekend at convention! as part 1 was a general overlay of why I love red dwarf before I went heres the blog about the day itself! 🙂

I suppose the first place to start would be to genuinely convey how committed Viv and I were to get to Birmingham for the convention on time (I know such a hard life). In order to make sure we got there to see Tony Hawks Q and A was to set off around 5am from Gateshead in IMAG3540order to try and reach Birmingham city centre holiday inn for around 8.30/9ish. With my sense of direction it really wasn’t going to be a problem.  After missing the turnoff, going to the wrong town and nearly head out of Birmingham by mistake, we arrived after me being nowhere close to useful around 10.30. (I’m one of them people that can literally get lost in my own house, it really is an gift!)

Now, I’m sure Viv will back me up on this, but as we got to the front door of the hotel, I literally did a nerd dance, I couldn’t hold in the buzz of being able to do this! As I said in part one, red dwarf means a lot to me and i was like a kid in a candy store. This is why its great being a geek, to enjoy and be allowed to show how much you like and enjoy something, because it really does mean something, and it always nice to be able to enjoy something you like rather than entering the wave of negativity that many end up being in. We got our tickets from the lovely jo (ill be thanking her later in this blog) and headed into the main room, and there we were, all the dwarfers watching Tony hawkes film playing the Moldovans at tennis (which is well worth seeing!). I got a chance to speak to Tony (man he is tall! The first thing I noticed!) before he went on and agreed to talk after his Q and A which was excellent. I was shocked to find that it was Tony’s first convention, considering that he was most prominent in the early series but I’ve always liked him, especially the ollies and the 920 turns he can do.

IMAG3520Ok I’m playing with the misidentity that comedian Tony Hawkes gets with the skateboarder, but I thought I’d get it out of the way now as its IMAG3525obviously hanging over us (well it was me anyway). After his really fun Q and A I was taken to the green room where all the guys were, minus Robert and Chris who were arriving later. I got introduced to Hattie Hayridge and John Lenahan and we decided to do the interview all together! I really thought I’d offended Hattie when I asked her ,but once I told her about wanting to talk to her about Craig Ferguson we were suddenly on good terms. maybe its my geekiness, because I occasionally just feel like I’m annoying people and turns out I haven’t been ,but either way it ended up great as we got all of them to be on the podcast. We went down to the merchandise room and I have to say this now that the red dwarf fan club could not have been more brilliant in terms of access. Also, and I said this on the podcast, that I was with three professional stand up comedians! now I regard myself as being able to be slightly funny occasionally leaning in towards good, but I had no fucking chance here! And seriously the best podcasts I do are the ones sadly where I hardly say anything. The advantages are that they knew each other so they literally interviewed themselves! if you don’t believe me have a look at the video!

We then as often happens in conventions find unexpected nice people to interview, A sci fi writer named Ruth Wheeler. She gained my respect instantly by sitting at a table plugging her book all day every day! really it underlines if you want something and believe in it strong enough it can happen! As we mentioned to each other we shared some similarities in that regard, trying to find the audience that is out there by going to where our people hangout! She’s a really cool person and her books sounded amazing,if I wasn’t pumping all my money setting this up I would of bought her books instantly! We also recorded video for this interview and I will point out now, yes I made a mistake she wasn’t a red dwarf novel writer, I was too excited!

I want to then use this moment to explain how awesome Viv Wiggins is! We then went to have lunch and bought a chicken curry at the slowest Chinese takeaway place ever. I think they were literally chasing the chicken outside for half an hour while I stood there with my laptop and my bag on my back going this is fun. But I tolerated it because of Viv, I really tried and I hope I succeeded in making sure Viv was ok, and if she ever got annoyed she never showed it because she seemed so patient throughout the whole day! the fact that we did roughly a 20 hour day and she didn’t want to kill me was amazing! I say that because I know many who can’t live with my enthusiasm (I literally could of carried on another day like nothing happened) and I hope she enjoyed it as much as she could of done. Without her this never would of been possible by being a friend and she literally will have to live with me coming up to her and going ‘your the reason I got to go to something I never went to that I cared about’ so again, I hope I don’t annoy her with my genuine affection! so thanks Viv your awesome! 🙂

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we then got to do the photo shoot where we got our photo taken 🙂 which was amazing, virtually every guest minus Tony who if you watch the video we did literally left as we finished the interview! So it wasn’t set up as a few have suggested to me! Its funny, I IMAG3541have occasionally met people that I have been starstruck in the past, but my current theory seems to be that it all depends how they treat you that determines how starstruck you are. When I met Paul Merton for example, he was in a hurry so in a way it meant more that he talked to me for a couple of minutes, whereas I was in the same room with the red dwarf for a decent amount of time and they were extremely nice!IMAG3542

then the moment I was hoping for arrived! We got a chance to talk to Robert and Chris and they gave us roughly 8 minutes for each while they turned the tables round for autographs! It was great and the microphone did not become my friend during Chris Barrie’s interview, evil evil microphone! but both Robert and Chris were exactly what I hoped for, kind, interesting and understanding, so it was such a pleasure. What needs to be underlined, I grew up watching these guys, it would be like sooty ending up being a serial killer if they were not nice to me. So it really made the day extra special that I got to talk to them, and Robert was near us so I got to speak to him a little bit more after and I swear I have not been paid into saying they were nice to everyone there. They also talked to me about series 11 so have a look!

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We then got the chance to speak to some really nice dwarfers, particular meantion to Sarah and Craig who we played one round of  Love letters with (my next table game apocalypse episode features that great game!). kudos to them having to wait in the queue for so long to get their autogpraphs! They also sad they are going to uk expo this year which is awesome as we are!

I will also reveal on this blog that danny john jules walked in towards the end of the session and i tried to organise getting five minutes with him. I’m actually still not sure it wasn’t just me hallucinating that he was there, a kind of wish is father of the thought type scenario. but hey, next year its on!

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finally we got the opportunity to talk to Bill Pearson and Steve Howarth, who did some of the models and designs for Red Dwarf X! they were awesome, some of the work that bill has worked on is stunning! He worked on the nostromo in the original Alien with Ridley Scott, and did Flash Gordon and Crystal Maze, Battlefield Earth (the design was good the film was shit) and loads more. I could of talked to them forever..and they invited me to shepperton studios!  🙂 so if I can make that happen then it will happen! you can listen to the full audio of this interview and every interview on the podcast IMAG3550here

www.geekapocalypse.com/shows

we then said our goodbyes to Jo and Jez and everyone we could from the red dwarf fan club who organised the event. I can’t tell you how fun and awesome they are for letting us do what we did at dimension jump. The access, the generosity, the kindness, I feel so grateful that I am part of this community that is bonded by loving such an awesome show. Thankyou to jo for setting this all up and being aweosme, and fez for being nice and making things happen on the day, he had no reason to be so helpful and awesome so thanks to him. And everyone that organised the convention, it was brilliant and Viv and I had a great time!

if i gotten no interviews, I still would of enjoyed it, cos when it comes down to it…..I’m a boy from the dwarf 🙂

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red dwarf: why i give a smeg! part one

RedDwarfCastits cold outside theres no kind of atmosphere….I remember it so well, which must of been repeats because red dwarf started in 1988 when I was around 6 months old! but theres a really good reason why I knew of Red Dwarfs existance, my dad watched it. Considering I grow up in the stereotypical manner of  ‘this is dad time’ as in my dad watched whatever the hell he liked, red dwarf was one of the few shows we all sat down and watched as a family.

Series 6 I remember so well in particular, I even remember the first episode coming on and we all getting excited that it was coming on, which ironically is still my favourite series to date to watch out of the ten that’s been made. maybe due to nostalgia, maybe cos of the memories of my family being together, but pragmatically because in the canon of red dwarf it was the last time the two main writers worked on red dwarf. Also I always liked star bug so when they decided that they had lost red dwarf the show became a kind of ‘survival in space’ scenario that I think let the story develop better. or would you prefer my geeky response? It was just frigging awesome!

It seems weird to say but I owe red dwarf a lot, because for example one of the reasons I look at the show with fondness is that  i remember my sister being at home, being the youngest sibling meant i knew I was going to end up being the last to leave so shows such as red dwarf got my sister to stop singing sound garden every five seconds, my brother to stop annoying me, my mam and dad to stop shouting at each other, and for half an hour, we all laughed at the same show. What I find even more amazing, a sci fi show! lets not forget, at one point Red dwrf had 12 million viewers watching the show, which is still the highest bbc 2 has ever got and due to the amount of shows available, will never be beaten again. without getting to hollywood on you, it really felt like it gave us nerds and geeks the chance to be allowed to like these kind of things.  I mean who wouldnt like a talking cleaning robot, a human cat, a slob and a hologram? exactly!

So as my friend Viv Wiggins and I head to the red dwarf convention this weekend, theres one other thing that i think has a special place for us in regards to Red Dwarf. Its british! Viv and I were joking yesterday about the failed american pilot and the cast think its because, they don’t get our humour. They can’t do doctor who better than us(and red dwarf would be more known in america if bbc brought it back) and far be it for me to sound patriotic, but I love that it’s our show. Dont get me wrong most of what we make is shit, but occasionally we make brilliant series that last a long time and show that every now and again, british tv can make awesome brilliant shows that i can get obsessed over and spend all my money to go to conventions for……..

As i said when Geek Apocalypse first started, thats why I wanted to make Geek Apocalypse, to promote UK content that i felt wasn’t being represented well enough. So here i am, reporting for duty on the jupiter mining corporation ship red dwarf, and ill let you know what i find!

lets go out there and twat it! 🙂

SAMSUNG

the beauty of gaming, the life of a gamer part 2

part 2 team gamers unite! 🙂

land of the geeks

gamingI wrote a post a week or so go where I talked about the value of gaming and I had a lot to say about the influence, joy and importance it has had over my life. I then sat down, after playing several different games the last few days, that I barely scratched the service on other games that I play or have played.

I also missed a couple of really important points in regards to my gaming life, the influence of my family. Every family has something that binds them together, something that gathers dust until family members gather round and becomes the family tie of bonding everyone together. There was two things that did that for my family, The TV series red dwarf and games,  in particular card games.

Some of my earliest memories involve the family gathering round to watch series 6 of red dwarf,one of the few tv shows we…

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the beauty of gaming, the life of a gamer part 2

gamingI wrote a post a week or so go where I talked about the value of gaming and I had a lot to say about the influence, joy and importance it has had over my life. I then sat down, after playing several different games the last few days, that I barely scratched the service on other games that I play or have played.

I also missed a couple of really important points in regards to my gaming life, the influence of my family. Every family has something that binds them together, something that gathers dust until family members gather round and becomes the family tie of bonding everyone together. There was two things that did that for my family, The TV series red dwarf and games,  in particular card games.

Some of my earliest memories involve the family gathering round to watch series 6 of red dwarf,one of the few tv shows we all liked and was mandatory viewing (remember when all tv was mandatory?). not only did that time influence my geekiness and my love of sci fi, but after we would sit and play cards, like a simple version of poker, switch(which I affectionately call pick up 2) or kings or trumps. Even on holiday, the thing that we would make sure not to forget, was a pack of cards and yahtzee, that we played so much we had to print our own score cards off!! It even would be created into anecdotes like when I was around 8 years old and was overtly aggressive with the yahtzee dices that they rolled into the swimming pool. Imagine my brothers face when he had to dive in and look for floating dice that his younger brother was at fault for? I still think he holds it against me!

What I regard as beautiful about this, is when I was thinking about this last night, the reason It hit me was because, we were playing uno(the chinese version of switch) at work and it was reminding me how much games bring people together. I mean we were playing uno with 13 year olds, over 10 years older than me, and it was something we could share like there was no generational gap at all. Last night I was playing games with my dad in a bar, because regardless of how little my dad and I talk about serious stuff, we bond over games like snooker, darts and cards. Some people regard gaming in that sense as insignificant, but games are the reason my dad and have something to do, and maintains our relationship even to this day.

Snooker is a really important thread in my life, because It is about one of my two major regrets. My family were really fortunate growing up to have 3 quarter sized snooker table in the house, and I played all the time, some of my earliest photos were of me with a half a regular sized cue trying to pot snooker balls with my dad or brother. It still makes me smile thinking about how much fun I had. the regret I mentioned was I suppose not my fault, but a cruel twist of nerves and age. my dad took me to a snooker club, baring in mind I was hitting 90 breaks in snooker at around 10 years old, I was getting really good, and for whatever reason, I got scared of going in the club. it looked to me like the entrance to a ghost ride, with teeth for doors ready to devour me, so i asked my dad to turn the car around. I never pursued it  beyond that initial encounter, other than playing occasionally like I do now.

I often wonder how I would of done, because I also got good at football but in terms of playing that particular sport it never sustained my love and joy that snooker still does now. My friends often joke that once I play snooker you have to drag me away from it, which is true, now my only consolation is playing pool and hustling people who brag how great at pool they are (I feel I’m providing a moral service in shutting up douchebags…honestly!). But the thing is, I play things that I lose at too, my dad is much better than me at darts for example and i lost 8 games in a row at uno. 8 games! that means even with it being quite a luck orientated game, the only way i could of done worse is if i celotaped my eyes shut. or the cards were trying to kill me, yeah lets go for that.

But that’s the value of games that are brilliant. My fondest memory of last Christmas for eample was playing cards with my family and sitting next to my sister, we laughed all day, we forgot at several points that we were playing cards, and its a good memory because it was nice to see my sister being miss serious all the time and enjoying herself. it reminded me of playing snooker with my brother years ago, or more significantly, we’ve done the same thing for 20 years: gathered round my dinner table at home as a family and played a board game or six, or endless card games and maintained the most important relationships in my life.

That’s the beauty of gaming, is that the game gets the people you love, the people you know, or the people you don’t know and develops maintains or creates relationships and friendships that can last due to the mutual love of games, and I’m so grateful that they exist, because, I wouldn’t have the life I have now without them, the friendships that have last years, the family that bind together over playing them, and Ill always be grateful for that.

so as I look at my new edition of Munchkin apocalypse, I get the same buzz, the feeling of opening it, and knowing that I get to share this with the people i know, or dont know…..and I still cant wait to do that! 🙂

I will be at Newcastle Gamers celebration of international tabletop  day on march 30th do have a look here http://www.newcastlegamers.net/ and do come along if ya can! 🙂