Saturday, 31 October 2015

New(ish) music: "Peace At Last" by Arvianth (feat. M-G UniNew)

I don't cover music very much in this blog, which is actually something I'd like to change a little bit. Music has always been a major part of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, both the show and its fandom. It's probably harder now than it was four years ago for a new song to become well known across the fandom, at least unless it's by an already-superfamous artist like Aviators or BlackGryph0n. There's still some fine music out there, though, including this instrumental by Arvianth (feat. M-G UniNew), released in late September. The piece was inspired by the closing scene of "Do Princesses Dream of Magic Sheep?", with Luna at last able to sleep peacefully.

Wednesday, 28 October 2015

Ponyfic Roundup 79: Following the River of Fics Downstream

A slightly longer edition of Ponyfic Roundup than sometimes today, since for a change I've actually managed to get through more than five stories. There are eight this time – count 'em, eight! And not a single MarbleMac shipfic amongst them! As usual, they're all pretty short, but I hope there'll be a reasonable variety for you guys. Here are the fics I'm covering in this edition:

Scar Tissue by RadiantBeam
But it was for Equestria Darling! by CristalGalaxy
Featured on 08/31/1014! by alexmagnet
Kindred Spirits by Majin Syeekoh

Lunch by Titanium Dragon
Let Your Sprits Fly by Manaphy
Darkly, Through Dreams of Home by Chuckfinley
The Day the Reading Died by DrakeyC

Tuesday, 27 October 2015

Friendship Games on the big screen

As many of you will already know, Vue Cinemas here in the UK are showing Friendship Games throughout half-term week, ie from now until next Sunday. Prices seem to be around the £5 mark, quite cheap for a cinema ticket these days. I went to see it with my local meetup group in Worcester last Saturday, and there should be a full review in the moderately near future. Suffice it to say for now that I think it benefits from the big-screen treatment, though I still feel that it falls short of Rainbow Rocks.

Also, if you take along the voucher from your confirmation email, you can get a coupon for £5 off Equestria Girls toys at Smyths. (Minimum purchase £15.) I didn't bother as I don't collect those, but if you do it's worth having.

Monday, 26 October 2015

Episode review: S5E20: "Hearthbreakers"

Limestone complains about the state of the Rock Farm
"Pinkie! Are you telling me you forgot the rock cakes?"
It's episode review time again, and as it's late October we naturally have... a Christmassy episode. Well, of course. I can only guess that season five's original broadcast schedule would have had this ep airing in December, but that the mid-season hiatus messed up those plans. Anyway, this one was written by Nick Confalone, whose only previous My Little Pony episode was the okay-I-guess "Party Pooped". Second time round, how did he do? Read on!

Friday, 23 October 2015

Well, this won't do

DemonAngel13 said in one of her blind commentaries that there needed to be an episode starring Coco Pommel and Maud Pie. I agree with her, but as this seems unlikely to happen soon, I went off to Fimfiction to look for a story that had both character tags.

With the exception of one by Sir Hat that's both cancelled and M-rated, there isn't one. I am most upset, to the extent that I may even have to write such a thing myself. Though I probably won't, because, you know, laziness.

Wednesday, 21 October 2015

Ponyfic Roundup 78: Post-Convention Edition

Be honest: you knew this title was coming, didn't you? Anyway, before I begin: since Titanium Dragon dug his claws into We Who with Songs Beguile, I've had more upvotes (across my stories) than I have for ages. I already knew a TD NR was a badge of honour, but even so! :P As far as Ponyfic Roundup is concerned, it's a fairly short one this week as I haven't been in the best of health. Still, some interesting stories to look at. They are:

An Unepic Pony War in the Non-Distant Future by anowack
Shutdown by Cupcakes
Ice by alarajrogers
Ponies Debate Gun Control by PresentPerfect
Things Better Left Unseen by Take

Tuesday, 20 October 2015

UK PonyCon makes the mainstream media (again)

This happened in 2013, with a decent Daily Mail article and an iffy Guardian one (yes, it really was that way round), and it's happened again this year. For some reason, the only place I can find the article right now is here on, but it's not paywalled, so it's there if you want to have a look at it for yourself.

It's a reasonable article, though it calls the convention "UK Pony Con" and I can't help noticing that the title bar refers to "grown men" even though the headline says "grown ups". There's also heavy emphasis on bronies, even though UK PonyCon is an all-gens, all-fans convention rather than a brony event as such. No, I'm not in it – but several people I know are. :P

Monday, 19 October 2015

Episode review: S5E19: "The One Where Pinkie Pie Knows"

Pinkie literally breaks
There: proof that ponies really are marshmallows
After last week's episode brought one of the longest arcs in the history of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic to a close, we were all expecting something a bit more straightforward this time round. Well, as straightforward as you can get when Pinkie Pie is at its centre! This was the first episode to be written by G. M. Berrow (credited as Gillian M. Berrow, but I'm using the old tag for convenience). While her Pinkie chapter book isn't one of my favourites in that series, I was eager to see what she could do with a cartoon script.

Friday, 16 October 2015

UK PonyCon 2015 report: Sunday

The King's Hall early on Sunday
A quiet King's Hall early on Sunday morning. Idris in orange!
After a generally good night's sleep (despite a couple of students being annoyingly noisy far below), it was a slightly more leisurely start on the Sunday, thanks to not having to arrive early for registration. Admittedly this had been accomplished smoothly, but simply being able to wander in with con badge ready around neck once proceedings began at 10 o'clock was very nice. Leicester station was packed with people heading to the later Argentina v Namibia Rugby World Cup match, but I had no trouble getting to the Mercure.

I was very pleased to find Idris early on, and we had a short but pleasant chat before I wandered off to do a little early shopping. Despite being sorely tempted, I didn't buy Kuuru Pop's Filly Fluttershy plushie, as I felt one was enough! Instead, I picked up a couple more prints and a few badges. Back in the main hall, Idris and his remarkable cosplay made for quite an attraction, and our little group ended up hosting an impromptu fanfic-and-welding mini-panel. (No, really.)

Thursday, 15 October 2015

UK PonyCon 2015 report: Friday/Saturday

UK PonyCon 2015 merch haul
The obligatory "What I bought at the convention" photo
I'm feeling a little under the weather at the moment, but this year I left the con crud until I'd got home! As I've mentioned briefly in other posts recently, UK PonyCon 2015 made for an extremely enjoyable weekend. It was by far the largest in the con's history, selling out for the first time with a total attendance of around 600. Unfortunately this did mean that the planned on-the-day sales had to be cancelled very close to the event, which caused some people to be disappointed. I wouldn't be surprised if the 2016 con was advance-only.

For the first time in its 12-year history, UK PonyCon 2015 was held in the same venue as the previous year's event: the Mercure "The Grand" Hotel on the edge of Leicester city centre. We won't be back there next year, partly for reasons I'll get to in the next post, but in purely geographical terms it was a winner: close to both Leicester station and The Last Plantagenet, a Wetherspoons which was welcoming despite our con clashing with the Rugby World Cup! Mentions of "the pub" refer to this place.

Wednesday, 14 October 2015

Episode review: S5E18: "Crusaders of the Lost Mark"

CMC flanks with cutie marks
The cutie marks we wondered if we would ever see
Apologies for the lateness of this review, but trying to post about an episode from my phone in the middle of a convention would not have been a great idea. Especially this episode. It was an excellent con anyway, but this was the icing on the cake. I know there are those (including a significant number in the fanfic community) who were underwhelmed. Well, sorry, guys, but I'm not going to join you for this one. I'll go with my fellow con-goers, who were overwhelmingly thrilled. An emotional rather than a rational response? Absolutely, and proud of it!

As you will have realised by now, this review isn't quite following the usual pattern. There seems no point in avoiding spoilers four days on, hence my choice of opening screenshot. Still, I'd better use a break anyway to keep things reasonably tidy – so follow me past it to see me gush embarrassingly about how much I loved this, Amy Keating Rogers' penultimate My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic episode – which went out five years to the day after the very first ep of FiM did.

Monday, 12 October 2015

Back from UK PonyCon!

I loved it, too. Absolutely loved it. This is my fourth MLP convention (two BUCKs and two of these) and this, I think, was my favourite of the lot. I'll do a report post here in due course, but I'm too tired at the moment. There'll also be an episode review, of course – unsurprisingly, it was quite a topic of conversation on the Sunday of the con! Comic reviews will have to wait their turn, but they'll be here eventually. However, there will not be a Ponyfic Roundup this Wednesday, as I've had very little spare time to read. PR will return on the 21st, all being well.

Friday, 9 October 2015

And I'm off to UK PonyCon!

Later this morning, I'll be setting off for the wilds of Leicestershire. I have to leave early because the 40 miles from Birmingham to Leicester will take me nearly an hour, which is ridiculous. What is this, CrossCountry Trains, 1850? The other legs will be much faster, but I also need to stop off at Birmingham New Street to have something to eat. As you can tell, my con break is getting off to a truly fascinating start. :D

And yes, I have a Travel Fluttershy with me. (Okay, it's a blind bag figure, but that sounds less interesting.)

Wednesday, 7 October 2015

Ponyfic Roundup 77: Pre-Convention Edition

As those who are bored enough to read my Fimfiction blog may already know, We Who with Songs Beguile was reviewed by Titanium Dragon yesterday. He wasn't desperately impressed, and since he was reading it from the Royal Guard queue, that's one other thing I no longer need worry about. A rather more public rejection than last time, I suppose. Still, I'm well aware of how prestigious the "Not Recommended by Titanium Dragon Club" is, so I shall revel in my new-found membership thereof! :P

Anyway, with UK PonyCon bearing down on me like a beary-downy thing, I'm not sure whether there'll even be a Ponyfic Roundup next Wednesday. However, there certainly is one this Wednesday, so here goes.

Silence by Eskerata
To Be A Mule by archonix
The Beginning of Scootaloo by Stasiarose
Home by RBDash47
Pink Royal Blood by Ponyess

Monday, 5 October 2015

UK PonyCon tickets are SOLD OUT

For what the organisers say is the first time in the convention's 12-year existence, UK PonyCon has completely sold out. Usually, they sell tickets on the door – but not this year. Unfortunately, if you don't have a ticket already, you won't be able to attend. If you're in the area, by all means drop into The Last Plantagenet (the Wetherspoons pub just down the road) and say hello anyway, as it'll be full of pony people at lunchtime, but I do understand that it won't be at all the same.

I don't know what the venue's capacity is, but we (just about) fitted 350+ people in last year, and I know that there's more space available this time. I'd guess that a sell-out means at least 500 people, therefore. That would make this by far the largest UK PonyCon ever, and (because of the BUCK hiatus) also the biggest MLP event in Britain during 2015. If you are going, I'll see you next weekend!

Episode review: S5E17: "Brotherhooves Social"

Apple Bloom and 'Orchard Blossom' sing a duet
"Do you know the way to Amareillo?"
It looks as though a fourth Equestria Girls film is on its way. Hardly surprising, since we know the pony movie is scheduled for 2017, meaning there's a film-shaped gap in 2016. Well, there was. Personally, I thought the third film was weaker than Rainbow Rocks, so I hope this one can pick up the pace again.

Anyway, back to the main series. This week we have "Brotherhooves Social", an episode written by Dave Polsky, who last graced the Pony screens with the distinctly moderate "Appleoosa's Most Wanted". After the break, we'll see how he did.

Friday, 2 October 2015

Con-related slowdown approaching

It's now only just over a week until UK PonyCon 2015. I'll be away from Friday morning to Monday teatime, and will only have internet access via my phone for the duration, so this blog probably won't be updated during the convention. The review of that Saturday's episode will therefore be delayed a few days. As I need to get things ready, I won't be doing much between now and then, either – although there will be a Ponyfic Roundup of some sort on Wednesday. Naturally, after I've got home, I'll do a con report, though probably not straight away.