Sunday, 31 July 2016

UK PonyCon is now SOLD OUT

That's right: even though the actual convention isn't until late October, UK PonyCon 2016 has completely exhausted its stock of tickets. The last few Sunday passes were sold a few days ago, so we can expect a capacity crowd of pony people at Leeds Royal Armouries in just under three months' time. I'm extremely glad that I snapped up a weekend ticket in the first few hours after they went on sale, as I would have been desperately disappointed to have missed out after having such a good time last year.

It's a tremendous tribute (gosh, the alliteration is strong in me today) to UK PonyCon that its tickets have been in such great demand again this year, and a sign that even in the post-BUCK era British MLP conventions are still something fans want to attend. It's obviously a shame for anyone who couldn't commit this far in advance, but I don't see a way around that without vastly expanding the con's capacity, something that I agree with the organisers would change the atmosphere we all enjoy so much.

Anyway, if you have managed to get a ticket, I look forward to seeing you in Leeds!

Wednesday, 27 July 2016

Ponyfic Roundup 117: We Hope it's Chips, it's Chips

I'm away for the week as this goes up, so if there are any particularly dreadful errors you'll have to put up with them for a bit. You should be used to that from me by now! This week on PR, I'm bringing you a small selection of fanfics written in the My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic universe. I know, it's astounding, isn't it? Rather a mixed bag this week, in terms of my enjoyment of the fics:

A Different Kind of Jealousy by Woolly
Fluttershy Doesn't Know by Julia
Confusion by BleedingEquine
MVP by totallynotabrony
Heat and Hot Water by Astrarian

★: 3 | ★★: 0 | ★★★: 2 | ★★★★: 0 | ★★★★★: 0

Monday, 25 July 2016

Fanfic reading: The Unbearable Lightness of Bucking

I haven't uploaded a reading of one of my ponyfics since December, so it's time to rectify that. The Unbearable Lightness of Bucking was inspired by a throwaway JohnPerry comment about an "existentialist fruit story". And who better to link fruit and philosophy than Applejack and Twilight Sparkle? This is classed as [Comedy]/[Slice of Life], and the reading lasts just under 12 minutes. You'll note my... unusual approach to AJ's accent. Believe me, this way is a thousand times better than any "Southern drawl" voice I could ever do!

Saturday, 23 July 2016

Pony Music Library 19: "My Little Pony - L'amicizia è magica (Italian Opening Theme)"

There's been a (very minor) palaver recently about how much of musicians' sets at pony conventions should be pony music. I might get round to writing a post on that sometime, but in brief: at least some of it. I can get general geeky music in heaps of places, but not pony music. As such, I think fandom musicians shouldn't play sets devoid of MLP-related content. Anyway...

What? "My Little Pony - L'amicizia è magica (Italian Opening Theme)"

Who? Arianna "Oliriana" Bergamaschi, Graziano Pegoraro, Maurizio Bianchini, Susanna Balbarani and Antonio D’ambrosio. (Phew!)

Which? Official song (Italy)

When? August 2011

Why? While I'm not one of those people who dislikes the opening theme we get here, the Italians provided their own particularly good alternative, sung by Susanna Balbarani. It's really less an intro than a bouncy, vaguely anime-esque PMV. It was only used for the first season, which seems a bit of a shame. There's also this three-and-a-half-minute extended version, which was never used for episodes shown on TV but appeared on a compilation album issued by broadcaster Italia 1.

Legend of Everfree trailer released

It's been a ridiculously long time coming, but at SDCC has been shown a proper trailer for the fourth Equestria Girls film. The "summer camp" theme is no surprise, and the new guest character has been seen (as a still) already. But this is the first time we've seen any real indication of what the story of the movie will be. It looks decent so far – though I'm less happy that its 1st October release will be on Netflix. I can understand why, but I'd really like some sort of cinema release. Maybe we'll get one here in the UK, as we did for Friendship Games. I'd love to see it on the big screen!

Wednesday, 20 July 2016

Ponyfic Roundup 116: Pony Stories Again?

It seems to be summer. Won't last, of course. This week on PR, I have five fics to review, so I'm up slightly from last time in terms of number of fics read – if not in total word count. It's been quite some while since I read a five-star story, so will there be one this time? Okay, that attempt to build tension was pretty pathetic given the existence of the star summary below. The answer's no. But hey. Off we go.

Cutie Mark Graduaters by ponylaw
To Try For the Sun by Rune Soldier Dan
Pinkie Busters by Mocha Star
Hell Hath No Fury by Aquaman
Everypony Needs an Angel by Jingle

★: 0 | ★★: 4 | ★★★: 0 | ★★★★: 1 | ★★★★★: 0

Monday, 18 July 2016

Pony Music Library 18: "Cutie Mark Crusaders Go Crusading - Blues Arrangement"

A very nice surprise yesterday: the official Hasbro Studios Shorts YouTube channel added all ten of the tracks from the new Pinkie Pie's Party Playlist album – although for some reason, one of them ("In Our Town") is left off the playlist that HSS also added. Anyway, since there may be less time for this sort of thing once the hiatus ends at the end of the month, I'd better get another PML entry up!

What? "Cutie Mark Crusaders Go Crusading - Blues Arrangement"

Who? Octavia

Which? Cover version

When? May 2012

Why? Blues is not exactly the most common musical style in the My Little Pony fandom, and that makes the good tracks that do appear that much more valuable. Octavia's take on William Anderson's instrumental from "The Show Stoppers" is an absolutely brilliant one, too. I strongly suspect that Apple Bloom had a hoof in the production, too, since it just has so much sass!

Friday, 15 July 2016

Comic review: Friends Forever #30: Twilight and Cadance

MLP Friends Forever comic #30, main cover
Fun fact: "kung fu grip" was developed for the UK's Action Man before GI Joe got it
The moment I saw the brilliant Tony Fleecs cover (above) I got my hopes up for this comic. My Little Pony in general seems to be taking a relaxed attitude to poking gentle fun at the fandom recently, and I'm all for that. In this issue, we discover that cosplaying as the princesses and buying figures of them is A Thing in Equestria. Cadance isn't too happy to discover why people dress as her, and her sister-in-law tries to help her. This is a fun issue, with some nice jokes and slice-of-lifeness rather than high-stakes adventure. Rice gets the tone pretty much right and provides a nice ending, while Garbowksa's art is decent enough, if you can deal with her style. This is one to pick up. ★★★★

Wednesday, 13 July 2016

Ponyfic Roundup 115: Westering Home

With the end of the Season Six hiatus rapidly approaching, I reflect uncomfortably that I haven't written a single full-length fanfic since March. I do have the bare bones of one sitting on my hard drive, but it's not even at the stage where I can be sure that it's actually going to end up publishable. So, let's now have a look at some ponyfics that are published. Just three again this week (since following UK politics is absurdly time-consuming at the moment), but at least one of them is quite long!

Undeliverable by ocalhoun
Behind the Door by NightLord
Why Am I Crying? by Rated Ponystar

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

Sunday, 10 July 2016

Pony Music Library 17: "I'll Fly Higher (Scootaloo's Theme)"

Hmm, looks like I haven't posted anything on this blog for a few days – so why don't we have a Pony Music Library entry to break the monotony?

What? "I'll Fly Higher (Scootaloo's Theme)"

Who? Acoustic Brony & MandoPony

Which? Original song

When? December 2011

Why? This is really, really old, but it's been one of my favourite songs since my earliest days in the fandom. Made long before we had the drama of episodes like "Sleepless in Ponyville" and "Flight to the Finish", this was what first made Scootaloo one of my favourite ponies. It's maybe a tad overlong, something common to a lot of similar ballads, but it's uplifting and inspiring all the same. I heard a memorable acoustic performance of this song at Manchester's Bridgewater Hall during BUCK 2013's Lunar Eclipse concert, but this is the studio track. A remastered version appeared in late 2012, but I actually prefer the slightly softer style of the original release, so that's what I'm featuring here.

Wednesday, 6 July 2016

Ponyfic Roundup 114: I am so lazy, don't want to wander

There are now very close to 100,000 stories on Fimfiction: 99,666 when I last looked. Many are incomplete or terrible or both, but nevertheless: wow. This week on Ponyfic Roundup, we're back up to five reviews. Yay and such. There's a reasonable mixture of stories in here, too. Unfortunately none of them are either brilliant or terrible, which does reduce the fun a bit, but I can only give my honest opinion here. Maybe I'll go looking for random stories again or something in the near future.

Reformed Roommate For Rent by RainbowBob
Diamond Tiara Hosts: TwiliCon 2015 by Yukito
Gradual Dissociation by TheCheshireCat
Rara, Rarara by Masterweaver
A Joke Too Far by ZOMG

★: 0 | ★★: 4 | ★★★: 1 | ★★★★: 0 | ★★★★★: 0

Monday, 4 July 2016

UK PonyCon weekend and Saturday tickets SOLD OUT; Sunday tickets still available

I'm a few days behind with this news, but here's the proof: the UK PonyCon webstore! Sparkler, from the con committee, announced last week that all weekend and Saturday-only passes (adult, child and family) had completely sold out – for a con still three and a half months away. Stallholder tickets are also gone, while the limited-edition VIP tickets were snapped up a long time ago.

If you don't have a ticket, all is not lost, however! Sunday-only tickets are still available, and it's well worth coming even for just one day. If past years are anything to go by, we won't see even a provisional schedule for a long time yet, but I'd guess that Sunday hours will be roughly 10 am to 6 pm. The tickets are priced at £20 for adults, £10 for kids and £40 for families.

Congratulations to UK PonyCon on its popularity! It's not a huge surprise to me, given the extremely favourable reception given to its 2015 iteration, but it's nevertheless gratifying to know that there is still such a high demand for a My Little Pony convention in England despite the sad demise of BUCK. Wouldn't it be great if BronyScot made it a double by proving a sell-out too?

Sunday, 3 July 2016

Pony Music Library 16: "This Day Aria"

About time we had another one of these, I suggest.

What? "This Day Aria"

Who? Daniel Ingram, Steffan Andrews (orchestration) and Meghan McCarthy (lyrics)

Which? Show song

When? April 2012

Why? Really? Really? But okay: because it's still, to this day, one of the most impressive songs that Friendship is Magic has ever featured. Probably the first time that the term "Disney-like" really applied to one of the series' tracks, it provides a fantastic accompaniment as the linked stories of Real!Cadance and Fake!Cadance that closed Season Two step up a gear. It contains a wonderful musical joke and just happens to have come out at the moment I entered the fandom. It breezes into the PML.

Saturday, 2 July 2016

Comic mini-review: My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic #43

MLP comic #43, sub cover by Sara Richard
No credits for the team on Sara Richard's sub cover? Boo!

After the triumph of the issue #42 one-shot, we're back to multi-part adventure arcs in the main comic series. This is the start of, unusually, a three-parter, with Thom Zahler writing, Tony Fleecs drawing and Heather Breckel colouring. It generally looks good – one large panel featuring Twilight is particularly striking – though Fleecs still doesn't always convince with some of the more unusual angles. As for the story: we've had Mane Sixers going bad before, even aside from the "ha ha, fooled you" stuff in Reflections. It does take a while to get going, Rainbow Dash's part is one-note and boring, and you do wonder if there may be rather too many characters to give everyone a go. Still, the last few pages set up a nice cliffhanger. File this under "cautiously interesting" for now. ★★★