Saturday 26 July 2014

Bitten by Dracula at The Pleasance.

I’m more of a werewolf boy than vampire myself, but when the Edinburgh Fringe Preview email arrived from The Pleasance Theatre the other day one show stood out as intriguing. 

This was Action To The Word’s Steampunk adaptation of Dracula. Not quite sure what to expect we were presented with a rock opera/steampunk electrifying production, that delivered so much more than I could have dreamed of.  

This seventy minute production delivers a fast paced telling of the story, true to the original, but with an injection of originality. Jono Davies as Dracula is the first new vampire I’ve seen for a very long while that I can believe is dangerous because of his power of seduction. If he turned up on your doorstep you would let him in rather than say ‘not today thank you,’ like the reception I feel most cold calling vampires would now receive. I had no problem believing how Jonathan Harker would have originally been captivated by the Count before he literally rocks up in Whitby and claims his dominance there.  

Performed by a magnificent musician based cast who play all the music live this is a must see for anyone who like vampires, rock opera, steampunk or any combination thereof.

Written and directed by Alexandra  Spencer-Jones, supported by a fabulous creative team this show is amazing, with wonderful atmospheric lighting, set design and costumes - this show really must go a lot further than this year’s Fringe.

Dracula staring Jono Davis and Rachel Bright is on at the Pleasance Theatre Islington until 27th July before moving to Pleasance Courtyard in Edinburgh, 30th July – 1st Aug (previews), 2nd Aug – 25th Aug (not 11th

For more details go to:

Friday 11 July 2014

Mystery Model - Completing the Basic Structure

And so we come to the part where I put the last pieces of this 3D jigsaw puzzle together.

The roof pieces which I started with quite some time ago are now ready to be fixed into place. I find sticking the tiles on can be quite laborious at times, often left as late as possible and often causes me to slow down the work. This time I decided since the model was being built in pieces I could get this done and out of the way first.


I've stuck on the last parts of the towers, including the projecting rear tower. I've also added some triangular supports for this tower which were not in the original design.

The only piece not yet attached is #22 this is the stone column support from the first floor at the front of the building. Since this piece is very likely to get knocked off as I twist and turn the model I'm leaving it to last to attach, so you'll see some photos where I've pinned it in place and others where it vanishes whilst the rest of the framework is completed.

Previous article in this series: Mystery Model - Top Floor

Next article in this series: November Update

Wednesday 9 July 2014

Mystery Model - Top Floor

The model is growing - the second floor pieces get added on.

Piece #19
The second floor really was a jigsaw puzzle since this one was created in many pieces and I had to refer back to the original photos to try and identify which parts went where.

No I still have not found the book I drew up the original design in and listed all the pieces.

Here we have the central main section (part #3) just above the entrance.

To the right a rear room with its own roof and the front tower continuing up. Between them is going to be a section of just sloping roof.

To the left are parts 15 a rear tower and #19 a sloping extension extending the main section.

Rather than build the internal walls on these I've used strips of foam-board on the interior joins. This gives me something to glue together but does not use the whole sheet of foam-board up on internal walls. The strips I think will give the model enough internal support. They also give me something to hold onto on the inside of the model when twisting it about to work on at different angles.

Previous article in this series: More Wood
Next article in this series: Mystery Model - Completing the Basic Structure

Tuesday 8 July 2014

Postcards from Miltonburg

Over on Karl's Facebook page I've been running a series of 'Postcards from Miltonburg'. I've included one or two on this blog from time to time to give some colour to recent posts. But it's not an easy thing to achieve living in a suburb of London, to generate a series of photos that would fit a theme of Ye Olde Worlde. You have to avoid modern housing and constructions, people clothed anachronistically for the period you want to represent, buses and cars thundering past, in fact anything that breaks the spell.

This really leaves me with very few options locally, just the local park, hopefully when there are not too many people about and a few holiday photos that reside in the collection that can be adopted and manipulated.

Parsloe's Park has become the edge of the woods around Miltonburg, photographed from very tight angles to avoid parts of the Becontree Estate in the distance popping up through the trees. Photos in the collection come in a variety of shapes and sizes depending on how much I've had to crop. A visit to Cornwall gave me images of Bodmin Moor and Tintagel which have found their way into the collection along with The Bishop’s Palace in Lincoln.

That's all well and good, but not only is this world from the books Olde Worlde, it's also somewhere else in the universe, with a different sun, planets and moons in the sky and hence different light.

So now we need the additional tweaks - I need to adjust the brightness, contrast, colour depth and tone of the picture. A few years back that would have been quite a task. Getting the photos printed and then scanned and the amount of processing effort to get them adjusted based on what you had to work with in the first place would have been incredible. The photo editing tools were out there, but I find I could spend hours in front of the pc struggling with these tools not really knowing what was going on and not having the time to work through and comprehend some of the tutorials.

Now we have these mobile phones devices which do just about everything except make the morning coffee. (I’m not much of tea drinker.) They have apps, which are quite simple and quite powerful for image manipulation that would have taken some computers from my youth ages to achieve and process. There are quite a few of these apps out there but I’ve found PEStudio (Photo Effect Studio) does just about everything I need from cropping, re-colouring,  light manipulation plus the odd special effect thrown in for good measure. However I cannot find it the App Store any longer to tell you who made it, and there are no credits on the app that I can find. However I’m sure there are many others that can provide the same. And what’s more the image is transformed into a whole other world within a matter of minutes allowing me to post it direct to the page in question. So different from how things used to be.

Dungeon in Bishop’s Palace (Lincoln) becomes the Dungeon in Esmay

The Hurlers in the distance on Bodmin Moor (Cornwall) becomes Karl’s long walk home

Parsloes Park (Dagenham) with some cropping becomes secret way to Gerranthaul’s

View from Tintagel Castle (Cornwall) becomes a coastal climb for Karl & Spiker

Own model stone circle becomes gifted with special Solstice light

Sunday 6 July 2014

More Wood

Not a lot to say really, I’ve worked my way around the ground floor of the building. The basic framework has been done and the sections that are just wooden panels. 

The other sections which will include windows and the door will be done later.

This allows me to add on the pieces for the second floor.

Next article in this series: Mystery Model -Top Floor
Previous article in this series: Starting on the Woodwork