DANNY ROBINS' EVENTS GUIDE 20 JAN 2011
Apparently, 'immersive games' are going to be big in 2011. These are kind of like a cool version of live role-play. They involve a mission, various gadgets, a bunch of actors and you (and lots of other people).
Fire Hazard, who are based in London, are one of the pioneers of this scene. They run games about once a month and describe them as "half-theatre, half-sport, all mayhem".
Past games have included Heist, where you have to plan and execute a burglary without getting caught - there are guards and motion sensors and stuff; Robbing the Future, where you have to break into a gallery protected by a high-tech laser maze; and Treasure Haunt, where you have to track down some treasure using night vision goggle after hours on Hampstead Heath (!).
They also organise more sporty events like Ninja Dodgeball and Riotball which is billed as "play football, basketball netball and volleyball. In the dark. At the same time." - it uses a glow in the dark ball and glowing wristbands.
They've got some new games planned for 2011, including Last Gasp, an adventure race against zombies and Overwatch, "a terrifying office attack".
Check out their website to see when the next game is - they get booked up pretty quickly:
In case you're worried, it all sounds very relaxed and good fun. It's aimed at everybody, including the sort of people who stop reading the word 'paintball' after the first 4 letters. The website says "We start at the pub, finish at the pub, and make sure we don't take anything too seriously in the middle."
There are other groups running outdoor immersive games around the country, some of them using phones to interact with players and give game instructions, others, like Fire Hazard using actors.
Check out Hide and Seek , Ludocity (a collection of suggestions for street games you could organise yourself) and IgFestin Bristol, a festival of street games that will take place later this year, run by the people behind 2.8 Hours Later - a night time zombie attack street game.
The Hedgrow Society
From running around parks at night to appreciating the countryside. The Hedgerow Society is a club night dedicated to culture and music inspired by nature.
It's taking place at the Basement arts centre in Brighton. There's a rare showing of the cult 1971 documentary The Moon and the Sledgehammer about a family living in total isolation in the woods away from modern life with only some steam powered tractors for company. They also have a talk from author Matthew de Abaitua who's written a book called The Art of Camping and will be talking about camping, The Long Man of Wilmington, a figure drawn on a hillside in East Sussex and early twentieth century antidote to the Scouts The Kindred of the Kibbo Kift, a sort of precursor to the Woodcraft Folk.
There's music from Welsh soft-psych band Colorama and experimental folk from The Diamond Family Archive - and afterwards a DJ set by poet Brendan Cleary.
It's all very folky, organic and in touch with the countryside. So get your wellies on and get down there. Tickets are £5 on the door.
A trailer of The Moon and the Sledgehammer:
Burns and Fire (not connected)
And finally, it's Burns Night on Tuesday 25th, the night when Scots everywhere have a traditional supper in honour of the poet Robert 'Rabbie' Burns. So if you're a Scot or fancy being an honorary one you need to cook up some cock-a-leekie soup for starter, a main of haggis, neeps and tatties and a desert of Typsy Laird (that's a sherry trifle to you and me). Oh and find a bagpiper.
Check out this handy website for more info about how to arrange a Burns Night supper
Speaking of burns, Europe's 'biggest fire festival' is happening even further North up in the Shetland Isles, also on Tuesday night. Up Helly Aa takes place in Lerwick, the capital of the Shetlands (there are other smaller festivals around the rural parts of the Isles too. It involves squads of men dressed as Vikings, marching through the streets holding flaming torches and then setting fire to a full-size replica of a Viking longboat that it's taken them 4 months to build. It's really spectacular if you can get there. A sort of third degree burns night, if you will (boom boom).