A trip to the PLAY Expo in Blackpool

We’re going down Blackpool, alrite?

You may well have noticed that I’ve not being particularly active on here over the past minute or so — this is mainly because I’ve been away in various places. Even now, I am speaking (writing? Typing?) to you from a place that is somewhat familiar, but not home. However, I’ve managed to find myself one of those fancy Internet posts to tell you about one of the very cool weekends that I’ve had recently — a trip to the PLAY Expo in Blackpool. Here’s a music video I made about the trip, featuring some appropriately lewd music.

You may recall, if you’re a long-time reader, that I went to an event rather similar to this late last year in Manchester. This time however I was a special guest, so I can really give you the low down on just what sort of decadence goes on at events like this. And well…there’s not much to say really — myself and other special guests had some rather flaccid rooms at the Norbreck Castle in Blackpool, including some unpleasantly milky scrambled eggs as part of our complimentary breakfasts. But we did also have a green room with coffee and the finest sandwiches, biscuits, salads and wraps plucked from the Meal Deal shelves from Tesco and Morrisons! As an avid connoisseur of the food from such places, this selection of free food certainly made the trip worth it.

But of course, the selection of arcades, classic console and computer games on CRT TV’s, traders, pinball and so on certainly made it worth it too — and while Blackpool isn’t exactly as grandiose as Manchester while also being quite staggeringly cold in February, it does have advantages such as a lounge that you can sit in and drink at if the legs get weary, or indeed a hotel room that you can stagger to after one too many friendly networking pints with fellow YouTubers and other luminaries of the scene. And of course, there were the talks given by the likes of the legendary Paul “Mr. Biffo” Rose of Digitiser fame, a big Spectrum Next panel, top DMA Design programmer Steve Hammond, and the Dizzy-tastic Oliver Twins…oh and of course, yours truly.

 

The YouTuber panel — brought to you here courtesy of the cracking lads at RetroUnlim — was obviously my big highlight of the weekend, featuring myself, Dan “DJ Slope” Ibbertson, Peter “Nostalgia Nerd” Leigh and of course, the man who reviews tat on his beat-up sofa — Stuart Ashen. The panel was certainly something of an experience as frankly, though I’ve done a fair bit of stage work, it’s the first time I’ve had such an audience turn up and see me, in the flesh…exciting! And it went brilliantly — we all bounced off each other very well, and it helps that we’ve all done loads of stuff together and are all very chummy, plus the awesome pair of Dan and Ravi from the Retro Hour did the business with the questions. After the panel, we did a meet ‘n’ greet where we all signed something we’d contributed to — Ashen’s new book, “Attack of the Flickering Skeletons”, which added even more to the general surreal feeling of celebrity someone like me tends to get on such weekends.

But the best thing about the whole deal, really, was just chatting to everyone — catching up with old friends, and meeting so many new ones. I’d hate to miss out anyone through trying to list them all, but seriously — it was something else. Tomorrow however, I will highlight as many examples of their work as I can in my YouTube round-up, as there are so many brilliant folk from the UK scene who deserve to be watched. Blackpool may have even felt like the start of something, with the YouTube panel at all — most high-profile panels tend to be US based, but this was one for us, and we all did a brilliant job. Once again, the folks at Replay Events smashed it — and really, there’s not much else to say except I’ll be back doing this again in Glasgow this June. Highly, highly recommended. 

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