After spending all day Wednesday sorting out the stuff for the Beyond Cyberdrome workshop and packing it into Fenchurch, I got up at 4AM on Thursday and headed off down to London. There were no major problems on the motorways (just a bit of congestion around Birmingham) and I arrived at about 10AM and spent a while helping to stuff registration packs before I had to leave and catch the tube into London to meet hermi_nomi at the Theatre Royal and see the Lord of the Rings musical. I was a bit nervous about getting lost on the underground or in the streets of London but actually it was fine and I had time to stop for a hot dog in Leicester Square.
The musical was worth seeing once. The live special effects (especially the giant robotic stage) were really spectacular. Unfortunately the songs were nothing special, and the plot really suffered from being condensed to less than three hours. I complained about all the stuff they had to leave out of the movies but the musical was much worse. Huge chunks were just skipped over. The part where Frodo was stabbed by a black rider occurred in the Prancing Pony. Later on Galadriel was singing about Lothlorien, then suddenly we were in the scene were Boromir tries to take the ring from Frodo. Among the more significant missing characters were Faramir and Eowyn. They never travelled the Paths of the Dead, never visited Minas Tirith, and we didn't get to see most of the important battles. I'm probably being too picky. As others have said, it may be more enjoyable for those who have never read the books or seen the movies (which also left things out but nowhere near as much as the musical). And there is the trouble - the people who enjoy this type of story have probably already experienced it in a better version. The songs and the acting could have made up for it, but unfortunately they didn't.
After the musical I walked back to Leicester Square and had a very nice pizza in an Italian restaurant, then got back on the tube and headed up to Camden for the Jonathan Coulton gig at Dingwalls. Shortly after leaving the tube station I was stopped by johncoxon, flick, and others who were waiting for somebody else. We walked up to the venue as a group and arrived nice and early, to find that there was already a huge queue in the yard outside. While we waited, aardvark179, ffutures, and several others arrived and joined our group - there were probably about 20 of us there who were also members of Orbital. The gig itself (once it finally got started) was absolutely brilliant. Jonathan Coulton is a really funny guy, not just in the songs he writes but in the banter between the songs, and the ad-libbed changes making fun out of the Americanisms in his lyrics. At one point he announced he was going to do a Christmas song, so we were all expecting Christmas is Interesting or Chiron Beta Prime, but instead he launched into an impromptu rendition of Feed the World, ad-libbing new lyrics as he went along. Hilarious. It was a very geeky crowd and everyone got really into it, singing along and cheering. Afterwards aardvark179 and I headed back on the tube and arrived at the hotel sometime after 1AM.
That's enough for now; I'll catch up with Friday's report while I'm supervising the BC workshop.