[ My Video Game Collection ] - [ Part 1 ] - [ Following Month ]
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I'm going to say in advance that if you want a better, more detailed description of what happened, look for Bahamut's news post. It's almost certainly going to be better than this. My recollection is pretty patchy, mainly because for 48 hours the only liquids I consumed were alcoholic and partly because we visited the Kyoto Lounge twice, which has fucked up my ability to recall what we did on what day. Oh, and chances are there's typos EVERYWHERE! I also wrote this in a bit of a rush before my memories become even more lacking. I may try and tidy it up at some point.
I arrived in Manchester at about 10:30am on the Friday, which I guess is pretty early but I don't have much of an option. Seeing as it was too early for most people to be up and about I decided to take a look around the Arndale Centre for a while. I figured browsing HMV would have been a good time killer only to find out that they closed it down... bastards.
Anyway, at around 2pm Luis arrived at the hotel shortly followed by TDK1987. It was then a case of dumping my bag and sitting around the lobby waiting for other users to appear. Turns out there were already a few sitting at the bar but Luis and I hadn't realised. I think after a short while a good chunk of the meet's attendees were all sitting in the lobby and eventually boarded a taxi to the Kyoto Lounge. All except Coop and TDK1987 that is as we somehow managed to forget them and run away.
We made it to the Kyoto Lounge (Coop and TDK1987 turning up slightly later and a little more wet than everyone else) and pretty much had the place to ourselves with the exception of maybe one or two people on the PCs. This is also the point where I consumed the first beer of the meet. The first of many. The first of that 48 hours booze binge that I mentioned earlier.
Some of the users ended up playing TheHappySheeps' board game. I forget what it's called. Katan or something? Anyway, when they were asking the bartender if he didn't mind them playing it in his bar he proceeded to ask what platform it was on, assuming it to be a video game. Their response was "cardboard", much to the amusement of the bar tender and several of the users. When I asked Oliver what this game was about, he told me that it's essentially a game of Jewish farmer wars, so I swiftly moved to another part of the bar in order to avoid having to play. lol.
We were at the Kyoto Lounge for what seemed like a few hours, but I don't think anyone actually played video games. Most of my time was spent speaking to the users, mainly DumbassDude and LazyPint, from what I recall. We generally just seemed to hang out and chat for a while before we went to the bar that was scheduled for Friday, The Odder Bar.
The Odder Bar was a pretty interesting place. Mainly because it was odd. Odder than most bars in fact, if you couldn't guess by the name. They just had some unusual decor, such as clocks covering one wall. It was a nice enough place, but it would have been nicer if they had drink prices closer to those of home. Manchester seemed more expensive this time than I remember it being last time, but I probably shouldn't have cared. It's an annual event for me, so it's not like I'm out there getting robbed by bar staff every weekend.
More than anything, the Odder Bar was another chance to get speaking to some of the users that I wasn't previously familiar with. I'm struggling to remember who the people users were that I met for the first time and got to speak to in the Odder Bar, but I seem to recall asking Will what later seemed like an excessive amount of questions about China and his experiences there. I then discovered that BBM and Ledgey had turned up and they're always a good laugh. I'm struggling to recall what we were talking about, but Leo seemed really, really happy or kinda drunk. It's hard to tell with that boy.
After discovering that a fair amount of users had already left, we decided to round up the remaining users and head towards the Karaoke bar, which is where we were reunited with the rest of them. It was also the first time that I encountered liljim this year and looking back I probably should have spoke to him for a little longer because poor jim wasn't feeling too great and had to leave the meet a little earlier than expected.
I think I must have spent more time talking to people just outside the karaoke bar because I can't recall many people at all doing a song on the karaoke. I certainly wasn't one of them, but Bahamut gave us a rendition of "Get by with a little help from my friends" which I was totally not prepared for. I was expecting some metal. Think I also recall seeing mrSimon sing but I can't remember the song. What happened outside the karaoke bar was, I'm guessing, far more entertaining.
My old chum Fim turned up Matt, eventually, and as always, a handshake wasn't enough of a greeting for Fim, so I ended up getting a hug. Although that wasn't the strangest hug that I received during the meet... But yea, after me moaning about beer prices (as Scots do) Fim took us to a Spar where he and Will decided they were going to buy cans/bottles and drink on the street like a couple of hobos. Friendly hobos though. Speaking of which, we met a very friendly hobo a few minutes later. The friendliest hobo I have ever met...
His name was Thomas. He was a happy Irish chap who took no shame in admitting that any money we gave him would be spent on booze, unlike the previous guy who claimed that he needed 81p to get him a bed for the night. Thomas was speaking to us for a pretty long time and he gave us a few laughs. All hobos should be more like Thomas, because as it turned out being a cheerful Irish drunk with no home is a good way to make some money. A few of the users seemed to quite happily hand him some cash, which he did later use to buy a can of Strongbow and he came back to prove it.
After Thomas departed I spoke to Fim and Matt for a bit before considering whether or not I wanted to stick with the NG users or head off to a club with these two. It was a tempting offer because I speak to Fim a reasonable amount online and I've met him twice before but we seem to have this tradition of only meeting up for a couple of hours, even if I'm down in Manchester for a whole weekend. In the end I decided not to go. Partly because this was a NG meet and deserting the NGers didn't seem like the right thing to do, so I stuck with them.
We headed to some bar that I can't remember the name of after being refused entry to another because the group of us was too large and clearly intimidating. Internet users are scary people and would quite easily beat an entire bar of hardy Mancs in a brawl, so I think the bouncer made the right decision by not letting us in. The pub we went to instead was far more welcoming. Well, I say that, but the guy at the door was probably a member of the Gestapo in a previous life. Never before have I seen a bouncer to rigorously examine ID cards, although Oliver did like about 4 in his photo.
Once we all got inside I got my first Guinness of the meet. It was a long wait, but Luis drank the last one in the Kyoto Lounge and the karaoke bar doesn't even serve it. I bought liljim a pint but that seems like nothing compared to what jim has done for me recently, but that another story and I'm keeping it top secret in order to add some suspense to this post.
Some time passed and a few users left whilst others decided to hit another bar. I figured I'd go back to the hotel because I'd been up since 4am and by this time it was now 2 or 3am and I needed some sleep. Plus, Coop was heading back and seeing as we were room mates I didn't want to come barging in a god knows what time whilst he was asleep. Seemed like the safest and best option.
A 10am wake-up and Coop was already recording stats and watching sports highlights. He was also kind enough to let me use his laptop to deposit. How many people get to say that they've used the mighty Coop's laptop? I can. I could feel the power surging through me as I pressed down on those keys.
Saturday was the day that we just planned to sit in the Kyoto Lounge all day and actually play video games this time. First we went out hunting for lunch. I had my first ever Subway although I wasn't all that creative. Cheese, ham and lettuce. LazyPint mocked my decision but it was still pretty tasty. I believe we also met Luis who was out for coffee at the time, all on his own without a cluster of adoring NG fans around him.
We did eventually round up the rest of them and make our way to the bar. We forgot Black-Ops though. Apparently he was too busy being beaten by socks filled with soap at the hostel to arrive on time. We did make it to the bar, Grant included, and got started on the main day of the meet. I had a game of Halo Reach with Coop, SomaGuye and Chris. Pretty sure Chris won but I'm certain he whooped my ass. Halo Reach is alright, but it's no Halo 3.
I ended up playing some Guitar Hero with DumbassDude. It's safe to say that he dominated at that but it was fun none the less. I seem to recall someone, although I can't remember who, taking a photo of us play. In theory it could make good profile pic material, in practice I bet it will look horrible.
That was really about the only gaming a done. I prefer getting to know the users to I spent a fair amount of time trying to speak with everyone for at least a a few minutes. Eventually Luis invited myself and LazyPint to the pub across the road. It was nice. The bar staff even lit a candle on out table after a while, which made things even more romantic. But seriously, it's nice to be able to chat to users in smaller numbers like that in a less crowded environment. It was also quite a privilege to be hand picked by Luis, assuming he didn't just pick me an Kieran because we happened to be standing closest to the door...
A few more users slowly made their way over to this bar. Ockeroid was the first, then a few others such as BezMan, LegolaSS, Bahamut, DumbassDude and probably a few more that I've neglected to mention. The prices were far more reasonable in this bar to which made me happy. I even had a few Jagerbombs in there, which isn't something that I normally drink but it seemed like something that might wake me up a bit. Meets are tiring things, so I can only imagine how Luis must feel throughout the weekend. He's a dedicated man alright.
DumbassDude had a few games of pool with with me before we realised that there were no other NG users left in the bar. We went across the road again to see if they were still in Kyoto Lounge but they were gone from there too. This meant that me and Lee had to make our way back to the hotel unguided and in the dark. We had a rough idea of the direction and set off. Obviously we made it back, otherwise I wouldn't be writing this post. The surprise was that when we actually got back, none of the NG users were actually around. Turns out some of them were in the pizza place right next door to Kyoto Lounge and we walked right past time. Lee even wanted to go in there for something to eat, but for one reason or another we never went in.
Sunday was a fairly quiet day, although not uneventful. By this time most of the users are already away home and just a few remain. It gives me another chance to get speaking to some of these guys in a less chaotic environment, which is always nice.
After checking out of the hotel and saying bye to Wonchop we set about looking for Coop's coach station. It was some effort but eventually we found it and I departed from my room mate. That left Kaynslamdyke, Bahamut and myself. We decided to track down Luis to meet up with the other remaining users at his flat. It feels like Luis' flat gets invaded on the Sundays when I assume he wants quiet time, but he stroked my face, so hopefully we weren't too annoying to have hanging around.
Most of the remaining users set out for lunch at a cafe just around the corner where some really pissed football fan got a little too threatening. Thankfully he was too pissed to speak normally, forget become too much of a problem. Keith explained to me how the world works, amongst other things and I discussed life as a BBS with Bahamut.
We went back to Luis' flat for a little while again before Chris asked if anyone wanted to go for a look at a science museum which was apparently near by. What a great and interesting decision that was... Well, it wasn't too bad really. It was a bit of a laugh I guess walking what felt like half way across the city only to discover that you can get around this entire museum in about 5 minutes. It's safe to say, I don't think it was as interesting as Chris promised us it would be. My decision to check out the second building wasn't all that great either.
This is the point where the last of the NGers departed, with the exception of Chris, Will, Luis and myself. We headed back to Luis place where Will and Chris decided to plan on how they can make 'easy' money during the London Olympics. I can't let you in on their business plan, but all I can say is that they're going to be minted. Maybe. Probably not. We'll see.
However, after the business idea brainstorming session came to an end, it was time for us all to go our separate ways. Luis stayed at his apartment where he told us he planned on walking around naked, seeing as he now had it to himself, Will went to the train station and I went with Chris to the bus station.
Essentially, that is the end. If you actually read this entire thing, I congratulate you. I wasn't expecting it to be this lengthy but as I started typing more and more came back to me. More than anything, this is just a way to preserve my memories. Any enjoyment or boredom that occurred from you reading this was an added on extra. Hopefully there will be some photos of this event cropping up at some point, but I'm pretty sure there will be nowhere near as many as last year. I saw Luis, Wonchop and Coop taking photos, so we'll see.
Users I met for the first time:
Will, Chris, DumbassDude, Idocreating, TDK1987, LegolaSS, SomaGuye, Coop
If I've missed out anything that you can recall, or I forgot to mention you in the post and you'd like to be included, leave a comment and I'll sort it out.