Sunday, 28 May 2017

Pony Music Library 42: "Hay Ms Derpy"

Now that we're heading into a hiatus of unknown length, it seems a good time to revive the PML. Something that's really rather special to me now. Not because of its subject matter, but because of when it appeared. Read on for more on that...

What? "Hay Ms Derpy"

Who? Forest Rain

Which? Parody

When? April 2012

Why? This song appeared at pretty much exactly the time I joined the fandom. It was one of the first fan-made ponysongs I ever heard, and certainly the first by Forest Rain. It's less well known than her "Great to be Different" (PML 4), but right from the gentle piano opening through its upbeat, cheery body it's just about perfect for its subject. Although often seen as an original song, it's clearly heavily inspired by "Hey There Delilah" by Plain White T's, so I'm classing it here as a parody. I wish Forest Rain had acknowledged that from the start, but the song itself is still lovely. Bear in mind that, when "Hay Ms Derpy" was released, the unhappiness of Derpygate was less than three months in the past. So a cute, fun, upbeat song about the muffin mare was all too welcome.

Friday, 26 May 2017

May's Flashfic 150 is over

The second Flashfic 150 contest brought 18 entries, the same number as April's inaugural edition. Pascoite's pick as prompt, "Laugh so you don't cry", produced a decent variety of interpretations, which is pleasing. My pick as winning author, PostNinja, said they'd never entered anything like this before – which just goes to show! If you're reading this and are interested in entering, the next contest will begin on 1st June. The prompt is not yet decided, as PostNinja's "prize" is the ability to decide that.

Thursday, 25 May 2017

Episode review: S7E11: "Not Asking for Trouble"

Gummy, Pinkie and Prince Rutherford in the snow
It strikes me that, in just three days' time, those of us on the Canadian schedule will be halfway through Season Seven. It's going by so fast! Still, the only way I could avoid that would be to move to the US schedule, and for a variety of reasons I'm not going to. So, episode 11. We had yet another new writer in May Chan, about whom I know nothing. After the break, a short review. I just don't have much to say about this ep.

Wednesday, 24 May 2017

Ponyfic Roundup 158: Run With Us

Read it Later story count: 444 (nc)

Another lightweight edition of PR today, I'm afraid. It's actually even lighter than I was expecting; I was planning to read at least one more fic, but then Manchester happened and I just didn't feel like it any more. The story in question should be in next week's batch, though. A mere three fics to look at this time, as follows:

A Light in Dark Places by Lucky Dreams
My Little Introvert: Being Home is Magic(al) by Rossby Waves
The Call by RealCrimsonBlade

★: 1 | ★★: 1 | ★★★: 0 | ★★★★: 1 | ★★★★★: 0

Monday, 22 May 2017

Episode review: S7E10: "A Royal Problem"

Celestia shows Luna a pancake with a smiley face on
New headcanon: Equestria has pancakes instead of emoji
The synopsis for this one looked pretty intriguing: a Royal Sisters episode at last, but one with added Starlight. Since I'm in the "quite likes Glimmy" camp, this didn't put me off, but I was still a little anxious about whether the writers could make it work. In this case, said writers were Joanna Lewis and Kristine Songco themselves, which boded reasonably well. Past the break for my take!

Sunday, 21 May 2017

Comic mini-review: My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic #53

All very meta. I do like the design, though
And at last it's time to review the final part of the Shadow Lock arc! My usual supplier for some reason didn't stock #53, and so I had to get it electronically this time. (I'll pick up a paper copy in due course.) As with Asmus's previous issues, there's a sense that he's got the basics but doesn't quite have the ponies' characters down pat. (Fluttershy, for one.) On the plus side, there's what looks like foreshadowing – and given that we've been told this arc ties into the show's plot, I'm intrigued! The interior art credit, I've noticed, is now "Tony Fleecs and Garage Art Studio". Oh, and we get "kick your haunches" this time to add to the flanks, rumps and tails used in the past! All in all, a fairly enjoyable comic once again. This arc hasn't been a classic, but it's been entertaining. ★★★

Saturday, 20 May 2017

More on UK PonyCon 2017!

At the end of last month, I published a very short post about this year's UK PonyCon. Since I have a lot of time for this convention, and all being well will be attending for the fourth year in a row, I'd like to give it a bit more publicity now. So, here are some of the key details, as well as my thoughts on a few of them:

Dates: Saturday 21st and Sunday 22nd October

This wasn't any surprise, as they're basically the same as last year's dates. They're at the beginning of the school half-term holiday, which makes sense. This is about as late in the year as I'd want the con to be – I wouldn't like to have it after the clocks go back, or even worse over the weekend when times change! But these dates seem fine and give us plenty of time to save up.

Venue: UWE Exhibition and Conference Centre, Bristol

Bristol seems like a very good choice for host city. It's a good way from the places that have hosted UKPC for the last few years, for one thing. In an ideal world I'd have preferred a city centre venue to this out-of-town one, but I suspect that anywhere big enough would have blown a big hole in the con's budget; Bristol is not a particularly cheap place. So I'll take this.

Road links are pretty good (close to M4/M5/M32) and rail links are acceptable – the nearest major station (Bristol Parkway) is 25 minutes' walk away. As the con's in university termtime, there's a 24/7 bus service to the city centre, which makes it viable for non-drivers to stay there and still stick around at the convention until the end of the schedule late on Saturday evening.

Hotels aren't quite as convenient as in recent years. There's no hotel on site or just over the road, which sadly has meant one very popular fursuiter having to pass on UKPC this year. There are a few within walking distance, though, plus the various establishments in the city centre. As mentioned a minute ago, Bristol is not that cheap, so best to make reservations soon!

Food doesn't look like being a problem: the on-site café will be open until late afternoon, at least, and there's a bar too. Also, luxury of luxuries, you can take your own food in! Cold food and soft drinks only, but that's no hardship. BUCK's venues were almost hilariously fussy about even bottles of water. Saturday evening could be tricky, but there's a retail park 12 minutes' walk away.

Theme: Wild West

This was actually announced well before everything else, and it's proving to be a popular choice. Not only with Applejack fans. ;) Given that the con is being held at the University of the West of England, it seems a very appropriate choice, too! Doubtless there will be the usual fine cosplays, lots of singing ("Raise This Barn" looks a certainty) and if we're really lucky, some cider at the bar too!

Tickets and prices

The stock of 35 VIP tickets sold out in six hours(!) but for the sake of completeness: these cost £89 and bought you early entry on both days, priority seating, a goodie bag including a VIP-exclusive print and the con-exclusive plushie. I strongly suspect that it's guaranteed access to that plushie that's driven many people to buy this level of ticket!

A Standard Adult Weekend pass is £30/£35 this year; the £5 Early Bird discount applies until 3rd June. This is a small increase on last year's price (I paid £27 for my EB ticket in 2016) but it's still perfectly reasonable. UK PonyCon has an excellent reputation for offering value for money, and it's great to see them continuing to keep their prices moderate.

An innovation this year is the Supporter tier, which costs an extra tenner – so the weekend pass is £40/£45. This includes a £5 donation to con charity the RDA, a special button badge and your name in the con book. Any money left over goes to support the convention. I feel this is a nice idea, and indeed this is the type of ticket I've purchased for myself.

There are various other ticket options, for children (4-12), adults and families to get single-day or weekend access to the convention. They all seem good value, except perhaps the Family One-Day Supporter – £82 is a £40 jump on the equivalent Standard ticket; I think that's rather steep, especially as Family tickets have no EB discount.

Anyway, enough of my rambling. You'll have noticed I've said a lot more positive than negative things about UK PonyCon, and I would thoroughly encourage anyone reading who likes the idea of a family-friendly all-gens convention to attend. You can buy tickets for yourself by going to the link below:

UK PonyCon 2017's official ticket page