Doctor Who Season 8 premiere in Cardiff part three

Geronimo!!

Welcome Whovians! The third and last part of our review from Cardiff Premiere is finally here. If you’d like to read two previous entries, use the TARDIS database links below. Please be careful, the time archives are very delicate! One careless move and you will rip a hole in the fabrics of reality. That might have a terrible consequences: people could be misplaced, clocks could be stopped, unspeakable terrors could slip into our dimensions… Just be aware ok? And whatever you do, don’t push any big red buttons! We don’t have any big red buttons anyway, but it’s always better to leave them alone.  And don’t go wandering off – the pool is closed. We think, we have an illegal Kraken on board…

So hurry up, read the archives and get back to us!

Doctor Who Cardiff Premiere Part 1: http://cocamidemea.wordpress.com/2014/08/07/doctor-who-season-8-premiere-in-cardiff-part-one/
Doctor Who Cardiff Premiere Part 2: http://cocamidemea.wordpress.com/2014/08/09/doctor-who-season-8-premiere-in-cardiff-part-two/

All right, that was quick!  Now, where were we? It’s always handy to keep notes on what you have written before. You can pick up your tale from the exact moment where you finished it last time. Isn’t it brilliant? And we also did a bit of a research to make this part even more interesting.  Ah! That’s right, we witnessed the arrival of the 12th Doctor and his companions, we fought off the Daleks and escaped the Cybermen. Quite a busy morning! Our destination was the St David’s Hall. It may look like an ordinary building constructed in 1982, but in fact… it is an ordinary building constructed in 1982…

St David's Hall - a view from the outside

St David’s Hall – a view from the outside

Just in case you forgot where you are :)

Just in case you forgot where you are :)

BBc crew at the entrance

BBC crew at the entrance

Well, St David’s Hall may not be an UNIT Headquarters or Torchwood Institute but it still made a big impressions on Doctor Who fans. It has a very strange and remarkable shape – nothing like any other building we have seen in Cardiff so far. It has been designed and erected by Seymour Harris Partnership to fill a small gap between existing buildings and the newly created St David Shopping Centre. The performing arts and exhibition venue has capacity of 2000 people and contains foyers, several balconies, auditorium, dressing rooms, bars, restaurant, cloak room, offices and technical crew area. We were surprised how spacious it is inside. Sounds a bit like a TARSIS – it’s bigger on the inside and smaller on the outside. Time Lords engineering? Several major artistic events are held at St David’s Hall: Welsh Proms (annually), BBC Cardiff Singer of the World competition (every two years), Welsh Artist of the Year Awards Ceremony, Roots Unearthed folk series and A Taste of the Fresh Welsh Sound among others. The venue is also a home to BBC National Orchestra and Chorus of Wales (the BBC NOW) that kindly provides soundtrack to Doctor Who series.

Our ticket to heaven - front

Our ticket to heaven – front

And the back

And the back

Official website: http://www.stdavidshallcardiff.co.uk/
Official Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/stdavidshall
Official Twitter: https://twitter.com/stdavidshall

After entering the building, we have been greeted by BBC Crew that provided us with some neat promotional materials (including a set of three unique Word Tour character cards) and we were asked to go to the first floor. Upstairs, we had a chance to buy something to eat (chocolates and jelly babies) and to refresh ourselves.  A large group of fans who arrived before us, were queuing to pose for an official “companion” picture for BBC in the main lobby. Rita was tempted to have a go but the line was long and you had to sign a consent form as the pictures were to be uploaded to official BBC Facebook profile. Realizing we were very tired, we had to give up. It was time to find our seats and rest a bit. The lady checking our tickets was incredibly professional. She told us a bit about the venue, explained how to get to our sector and even showed us where we could find the fire exits (a necessary knowledge for claustrophobics like us). The control strips have been then torn off our tickets and we finally entered the auditorium. Our jaws hit the floor. The place is enormous and beautiful. The interior is very new and it contrasts with the 80’s feeling of the building itself. The auditorium has three levels: front, middle and upper with balconies located at both ends. Finding our seats was easy – we were sitting in the front row, next to the exit leading behind the stage. You may ask how do we know it. Well, Rita usually checks if the fire exits would open. They did and she walked right into three men carrying Dalek heads and Peter Capaldi himself. The Doctor threw her a long surprised look and disappeared in the dressing room and Rita gave him her best nervous grin. Call it a perfect timing! Mr Capaldi must have just finished his red carpet duty by then and was on this way to prepare himself for the premiere. It’s a real talent to bump into celebrities in the most inconvenient/humiliating moments possible: Malicia met Sharon Osborne in the Ozzfest  kitchen area, who was munching on strawberries, we caught Sharon Del Arden (Within Temptation) going out of the dressing room wearing a towel on her head, Metallica in their pyjamas asked us for breakfast, Rita poured Mark Lanegan a drink and bumped into Andi Deris (lead singer of heavy metal band Helloween) while he was going out of a shower, completely naked…The list is very, very long…

Pictures from previous shows are decorating the walls inside the venue

Pictures from previous shows are decorating the walls inside the venue

Musical instruments on display

Musical instruments on display

Doctor Who diet? Yes, please!

Doctor Who diet? Yes, please!

We don’t have to tell you how happy we were sitting so close to the screen.  It was a truly fantastic place to be.  We had an excellent view at the main stage, we could  just turn around to see the entire auditorium behind us and we were seated in the VIP section – what else could you ask for? Rita took several picture of the crowd sitting next to us and they even waved at the camera. Thank you people – you are simply the best!

Around 12:30 the lights in St David’s Hall dimmed and the public went wild again. BBC Director, Rhodri Talfan Davies entered the stage and greeted visitors again, saying that he barely could believe so many people traveled the world to be there. The audience jumped to their feet when Peter Capaldi, Jenna Coleman and Steve Moffat joined him for few minutes. Jenna and Peter were now dressed differently – Mr Capaldi wore a black suit and Jenna replaced her red dress with a dark shirt and Bella Freud ‘1970’ Jumper in black & ivory. We have been asked not to share or mention anything regarding the “Deep Breath” to anybody as leaked transcripts and raw videos released on the Internet weeks earlier caused the producers a lot of grief. When  2 .000 people promised to behave by screaming at the top of their lungs, Rhodri Talfan Davies laughed and gave the signal to turn off the lights.

Crowd of fans waiting for the doors to open

Crowd of fans waiting for the doors to open

Do you want to be a companion? Stay in line!

Do you want to be a companion? Stay in line!

Peter Capaldi as the 12th Doctor

Peter Capaldi as the 12th Doctor

We will not spoil you anything, so if you are looking for illegal content, sorry but we are not able to help you. However, we can list few interesting things about the first episode that are worth waiting for. Please take a look at our personal top ten of “Deep Breath” highlights:

1.Peter Capaldi – It is a common knowledge that Peter Capaldi is one of the most talented British actors today. He has received all important awards to prove his skills including an Oscar and several BAFTA’s. As 12th Doctor, he is wild, exciting, new and fascinating. He can make you laugh, he can make you feel scared, he can terrify you – all at the same time. Steven Moffat is a genius and you can believe us, there is no other actor that could play the new incarnation of the Doctor better. Mr Capaldi is a life long fan and he is not just playing the Doctor. He is the Doctor. This is a great opportunity for young audience to become introduced to Peter Capaldi. Remember that name – Peter’s on a roll!

2. 12th Doctor – say good-bye to flirty, young Doctors. This newcomer is not a romance material. He is not even Mr Nice Guy. He is not a human being, but a Time Lord and now you will see the difference. Part of the Doctor hasn’t changed – he is curious like a cat, unpredictable, headstrong, smart, funny and charming. But number twelve is not forgiving or kind. He has a lot of darkness in him, and we could say he nearly walks on the thin red line that separates the good and bad.  Do you remember the Time Lord Victorious from “Waters of Mars” episode? The 10th incarnation came close to that line several times, but only crossed it once and it shook him to the core. The new Doctor is not afraid, he embraces the dark side like an old friend. You cannot trust him. He is deceitful, angry, cruel. He can abandon you without second thoughts. And at the same time, he is lost and scared. He needs somebody beside him. The Doctor has as just regenerated – new persona, new body confuses him. He is suffering. He doesn’t understand his old friends and they don’t understand him. The Doctor is discovering himself and the inner investigation is not a pleasure trip. Our favourite scene is that with an homeless man and a broken mirror.  Rita thinks that the 12th Doctor is like a Shakespearean play  – it is brilliant, dark, serious and you know that the blood will flow in the end but you cannot stop reading (or in this case watching). Is this the best series of Doctor Who yet? Possibly!

A view from the VIP section

A view from the VIP section

The auditorium starts to fill in

The auditorium starts to fill in

3.  Clara Oswald – The impossible girl is no longer in the lead. She might have wrapped the 11th incarnation around her little finger, but the charm is now broken. She is stuck with a stranger and the stranger doesn’t care. She needs to learn how to dance to his tune and this is not a waltz, rather a wild pogo at heavy metal gig! The 12th Doctor is wearing Doctor Marten’s for a reason. Clara ‘s situation is rather desperate. She wants to trust the Doctor, but he lets her down. She offers her friendship and he doesn’t take it. She is told to be quiet and follow him without asking question. Clara has been truly born to save the Doctor and she is still doing her job. She is ready to sacrifice everything what’s dear to her (including her own life!) to help him, but the Doctor she knew is gone. The relationship they had is now strained – there is confusion, hurt, sadness and doubt. For the first time, Clara is doubting the Doctor and this is a seriously scary experience for her. So far, he has always been there to cover her back. Will he still be able to do it? Will Clara stay? Fantastic performance by Jenna Coleman – there were several sobs coming from the audience during the screening.

4. Madame Vastra –  by popular demand the Veiled Detective is back with a vengeance. Well, maybe not with a vengeance, but she still brings a lot of humour and action with her. Her relationship with the new Doctor is not going smooth, she has to trick the Time Lord to actually keep him in check (for a little while at least). We find her a bit frustrating in the first episode, especially her baseless accusations against Clara can struck few nerves. Then again, Silurians have never been particular charming creatures, were they? It’s good to see her again and we hope that she will continue to appear in the future episodes as well. Madame Vastra is played by actress, Neve McIntosh.

Panaorama of the entire auditorium! We took it first and others followed by our example.

Panorama of the entire auditorium! We took it first and others followed by our example

Upper part of the auditorium and balconies

Upper part of the auditorium and balconies

5. Strax and Jenny Flint - Madame Vastra’s wife (Catrin Stewart) and butler (Dan Starkey) are also present. Those guys are exactly the same as usual – Jenny serves the best afternoon tea in Victorian London and looks gorgeous in a latex cat suit delivering high kicks left and right.  Strax is having continuous issues with distinguishing human sexes (still calls Clara a boy) and praises the Sontaran Empire at least 10 times a day. Old friends of the Doctor, they will come to his aid as expected but even they are surprised how strange the Doctor has become. A touching scene between Jenny and Clara will make you think how bad her situation truly is. Catrin and Dan still have a great chemistry together and we hope that somebody at BBC will finally produce a spin off series to The Paternoster Gang.

6. Dinosaur – Yep, there is a T-rex in Victorian London. Yep, it makes a lot of noise. Yep, you know what happens to dinosaurs in Doctor Who.  Apologies were demanded during the QnA session but certain person haven’t offered any. One of the most heart breaking moments of the new episode, what have you expected!

7. TARDIS – We only see the new interior  briefly at the end of the episode but be prepared. We have loved David Tennant’s TARDIS the most but the new design is perfect. It fits the new Doctor like a glove. Obviously, somebody’s not going to like it!

8. Special effects – Finally BBC is spending the right amount on special effects and the end results are brilliant. Victorian London looks like it should – it’s dirty, smelly, foggy and lovely. The dinosaur is animated really well and the bad guys are properly scary. You will find your kids hiding behind the sofa as they should be!

9. Music – there is a new remix of the Doctor Who theme.  We absolutely love it. We could sing it, but you will not hear it. Sorry.

10.  DW logo/Title credit – It has been confirmed nearly two months ago that a new opening sequence has been created by Doctor Who fan, Billy Hanshaw. He posted it on YouTube where it was discovered by Steven Moffat. You will see a lot of clockworks, fob watches and time travel co-ordinates. TARDIS is still in flight through the time vortex, but the animation is much different. We were truly impressed.

Well, we think we are also allowed to criticize a bit now. The opinions are divided: one of us liked the episode in every detail, the other was kind of disappointed. If you don’t want to know why, skip this paragraph. No spoilers ahead, yet we need to explain.

Q&A session - Jenna, Peter and Steven Moffat

Q&A session – Jenna, Peter and Steven Moffat

A boy named Elliott asked for an autograph and Peter was more than happy to make his dream come true

A boy named Elliott asked for an autograph and Peter was more than happy to make his dream come true

The episode has everything what a great Doctor Who episode should have: trilling storyline, perfectly measured dosage of light and dark moments,  scary bad guys, great acting and a lots of action. There is even more: a new Doctor, new TARDIS, new relationships between established characters – in one word you will not be bored. So what is there to complain about? Well, we have seen it all before. Rita was expecting something big, an earthquake, some fireworks, something new. And the new “new” still feel a bit old. She doesn’t know how to explain it better, but the audience is left feeling hungry and craving more.  Rita had the same feeling about “The Time of the Doctor”, the last episode written by Steven Moffat for Matt Smith.  We admire him, don’t get us wrong. He is one of the most talented writers out there, but let’s put an emphasis on it again – we have seen it all before. Mr Moffat can deliver – go and watch Scherlock’s “His last vow” and you will start chewing your fingernails. This is what the “Deep Breath” is lacking.  If we are promised darkness, please give us the pitch black night, not just twilight.  Maybe we are spoiled, maybe our expectations are too demanding, but some ideas only work once. “Deep breath” is connected to fans beloved episode from David Tennant’s era (also penned by Moffat) and while the connection is truly appreciated, the whole mystery surrounding the bad guys is reviled too quickly. And this is not an argument for the Moffat haters trolling every forum and comments section on the Internet. Steven Moffat is where his place is and we hope he will stay for at least several more seasons.  This is just our own, unbiased opinion.  If we were to rate the episode, we’d still give it 9 on a 10-point scale. “Deep Breath” is an excellent, solid episode that will keep you hanging till the last minute. Yet, it could have been so much more: an instant classic, a ground shaker, a history maker, but it’s not. And it’s a crying shame.

“Deep Breath” is set to debut on BBC on Saturday, August 23rd at 19:50. It will also be screened in selected cinemas around the world, and we are thinking of actually going to see it again on the big screen. The episode is 80 minutes long (a respectable length for a TV special) and it looks wonderful. There is no such thing as too much Doctor Who, remember that!

It must have been nearly 2 o’clock when the lights returned again. There was silence for about 10 second after the credits finished rolling and then the public started raising from their seats. Another standing ovation, so loud that it was surely felt several miles away.  Rhodri Talfan Davies appeared on stage again and tried to silence the crowd. In vain. People were cheering and clapping and the only thing Mr Davies could do was to invite Jenna, Peter and Steven to join him.  Once they sat down, the audience calmed down a bit, but occasionally somebody shouted “Jenna marry me” or “Peter, I love ya!” interrupting the Q&A session.

Whovians are the best!

Whovians are the best!

Waves and sonic screwdrivers

Waves and sonic screwdrivers

Q&A stands for Question and Answers. We have never attended that type of interview before so we were rather curious how it would look like. Well, it was very quick. Quick question, quick answer and another question. Some were asked by chosen members of the public, some were asked by Rhodri Talfan Davies. Questions ranged from utterly silly (“How many lives does the Doctor have?” to which Moffat answered “26” while hiding his face in his hands), obvious (“Will the Doctor Who Experience change since we have a new Doctor?”, the answer was “Yes”) to really complicated ones that nobody knew how to answer. Our favorite question came from a 4 year old boy named Elliott (with double T’s) who asked Peter Capaldi, if he could have his autograph. Mr Capaldi was very touched and gave the boy a big hug as well.

We have learned few interesting things: Steven Moffat thinks that webisodes are an excellent idea to introduce old and new characters to Doctor Who fandom and they are going to use them more often in the future. There will not be a Doctor Who – Sherlock crossover, not even for Comic Relief or any other charitable cause. Not because he is against that idea (he isn’t), but other producers are not happy with it (he called them “killjoys he has to work with”). He also thinks that Madame Vastra is the real Sherlock Holmes in Whoniverse and there is no place for another great detective. Mr Moffat also added that it’s better for Sherlock and The Doctor not to meet as they would sit in TARDIS’ corners sulking that somebody is more intelligent than they are. A good news for Paternoser Gang fans – Steven Moffat said that he would love to give them a spin off series but nobody has offered any financial support yet.  Let’s write to BBC, shall we?

Peter Capaldi admitted his Doctor is influenced by the Classic Who actors (especially William Hartnell, Patrick Troughton and Jon Pertwee) but also by Peter Cushing. There is a lot of  Malcolm Tucker in him minus the cursing, of course. Peter has always thought of Doctor Who as a show for an older audience (certainly not for young kids) and considered the Doctor to be a dark character. He would travel to Ancient Rome if ever given a chance and encouraged the fans to keep on doing what they love, without looking at anything or anyone.

Jenna was asked how Clara feels about the new Doctor and she replied that her character has a lot of growing up to do. Clara is lost  and confused, and she needs to learn how to  co-operate with the 12th incarnation of the Time Lord. She would go to NYC in 1920’s to learn how to dance. She also dropped a small bomb saying that the next episodes are very dark and scary for Clara.  We simply cannot wait!

And the show came to an end. Peter and Jenna waved their good bye’s, sent few kisses and disappeared quickly. Steven Moffat stayed a bit longer, talking to fans and co-workers. The entire crew was going back to London straight away and they didn’t even have time to grab something to eat.  We were tired as well. Slowly, we made our way to the door. It was a perfect day and we were glad we could spend it with other fans.

Steve John, Doctor Who animator at Craft folk event outside St David's Hall

Steve John, Doctor Who animator at Craft folk event outside St David’s Hall

Original sonic screwdriver

Original sonic screwdriver

Close up of Steve John's  art shed

Close up of Steve John’s art shed

We would like to thank several people for making our trip to Cardiff possible. First of all, a big  THANK YOU to all St David’s Hall employees, especially the ladies in box office department. You are wonderful, true stars! We had so many problems with buying the tickets, but we are glad that the issues were positively resolved. Your patience and assistance is more than appreciated. We will never, ever forget your kindness.

Rita would like to personally thank several BBC employees that assisted her after the premiere. Thank you for listening me out and for your interest. That means a world to me and many other readers.  And finally best wishes and eternal thanks to Peter Capaldi, Jenna Coleman, Steven Moffat, Samuel Anderson and the entire Doctor Who crew who made it all possible. Without you, we would probably spent the day at work, making the Excel spread sheets looks prettier and being bored out of our minds.

There is one last thing to be added. After leaving St David’s Hall, we noticed a row of small wooden sheds standing some 50 meters away from the entrance. The sheds have been previously locked as the entire street was closed off for pedestrian traffic. Once the premiere was over, the street was re-opened and sheds were now accessible for tourists. We were told that they belong to Craft Folk (fair crafts organizers in South Wales) and allow local artist to display their works in popular places around the city.  What a great idea to promote Welsh makers that came from the Council itself! You know we are always interested in art markets and we decided to take a quick look. To our surprise, we found an artist displaying Doctor Who drawings and an original sonic screwdriver! The artist name is Steve John and he is a well known Cardiff based cartoonist, painter and animator. He specializes in super cute cartoon animal artworks, but can create animated wonders in Flash. His work has been featured on numerous times on TV, printed media and on the Internet (Doctor Who animations for BBC1). Steve is a graduate of Farnham College of Art and Design and has a diploma in Animation and Graphic design. He has been professionally working as an artist for nearly 30 years.

Official website: http://www.bang-bang-art.com/
Hugs Art project:
http://www.hugsart.com/

The exciting day finally came to an end. After 12 hours of running around with camera, taking pictures and talking to people, we were simply exhausted. We have returned home with our heads filled with dreams about time and space, intergalactic travels and possible scripts for Doctor Who adventures. Who knows, maybe we should start writing fan fiction?

Once you start running with the Doctor, it feels like it will never end.
We don’t even want it to end.
The journey must continue and there are amazing places on this planet that we still haven’t seen. Please return soon as out tale is not done yet. Our next stop – Doctor Who Experience!

You just watch us run!
XXX
Rita and Mal

Doctor Who Season 8 Premiere in Cardiff – part two

Allonsy!

Hello again Whovians! We had a bit of sleep and we are back in action! Today, Doctor Who crew and stars are attending the premiere in London and on Saturday, they will fly to Korea! It’s going to be a mega busy weekend for them but this is what you get for being involved in the biggest s-f show on the planet! Traveling through timezones, meeting crazy fans, lack of rest – this is Whovian history in the making and everybody is very excited.

Clara, be my pal. Tell me, am I a good man?

Clara, be my pal. Tell me, am I a good man?

Red carpet treatment

Red carpet treatment

If you have missed first part of our review from the red carpet, please click on the link below. Doctor Who fans are incredible and we had buckets of fun chasing after cosplayers to take their pictures!

http://cocamidemea.wordpress.com/2014/08/07/doctor-who-season-8-premiere-in-cardiff-part-one/

Now, the second part is where things are getting truly interesting. As you know, we had to split up to fully cover the event. Mal was assigned to keep an eye on the main door to St David’s Hall and Rita went to check the entrance to the red carpet area along with other journalists. This strategic move allowed us to notice everything worth knowing about. It can be a hard thing to work alone – even the Doctor needs companions to help him! At least every previous reincarnation of the Doctor did. The 12th Doctor doesn’t seem to need companions or assistants at all. He has carers so he doesn’t need to care!

Daleks arrive in cloud of smoke

Daleks arrive in cloud of smoke

Dalek chasing the BBC cameraman

Dalek chasing the BBC cameraman

Stop filming and run or you will be exterminated!

Stop filming and run or you will be exterminated!

At 10:30, Malicia witnessed the sudden arrival of two Daleks in a cloud of smoke that scared the children nearly to tears. The Daleks were soon followed by Cybermen and the full invasion began. It is worth noting that both Daleks were radio controlled, while hired actors were dressed in metal suits. Doctor’s enemies paraded up and down the street, trying to exterminate passer-byes or strangle the photographers and BBC workers. One Cyberman got into a short row with a police officer. He was not pleased and didn’t take kindly to being pushed around. The machine was threatened with pair of handcuffs and confrontation seemed unavoidable. Luckily for everybody involved, the BBC Radio Wales presenter Jason Mohammad was able to separate them and Cyberman returned to its routine patrol. To lighten the mood, Jason announced that he would be interviewing the stars and running a Q&A session after the premiere of “Deep Breath” episode. His revelations were received with huge applause and cheers from the public.

Police officer is warning the Cyberman to behave

Police officer is warning the Cyberman to behave

The invasion continues - Cybermen arrive

The invasion continues – Cybermen arrive

Cyberman is looking around - you will be upgraded or deleted!

Cyberman is looking around – you will be upgraded or deleted!

Cybermen ready for action

Cybermen ready for action

We have to tell you more about Jason Mohammad. He is an incredibly energetic person and a brilliant commentator. He was practically all over the place – interviewing fans and guests, cheering and dancing, braking up fights between Daleks/Cybermen and journalists. Jason has joined BBC in 1997 right after graduating from Swansea University in broadcast journalism. He worked for BBC Wales Today as a reporter and hosted a number of successful radio shows for BBC Radio Wales. Since 2013, he is the host of Final Score on BBC One, snooker commentator and presents a daily morning show for BBC Wales Radio. He has also been featured on Doctor Who twice: in “Christmas Invasion” and “Voyage of the Damned”. He is the right person for the job then!

Jason dancing on the red carpet

Jason dancing on the red carpet

BBC Crew taking pictures of Mini TARDIS

BBC Crew taking pictures of Mini TARDIS

Mini TARDIS has been featured on Doctor Who Facebook page

Mini TARDIS has been featured on Doctor Who Facebook page

You can learn more about him at:
Jason on BBC: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/profiles/4msqlXLpFWdFmjTJZ07yygn/more-about-jason
Jason on Twitter: https://twitter.com/jasonmohammad

Reporting from red carpet is not only a privilege but a real adventure as well. The best part of the job was hanging with the other photojournalists from every respectable newspaper in the country. The journalists are a crazy bunch, we tell you. They carry at least 30 kilograms worth of equipment (at least two Canon or Nikon cameras with tele-lenses), backpacks willed with different filters, additional lenses and external flashlights. It seems that the bags and cameras weight nothing – they move around at the speed of light, joke, laugh out loud, tease each other mercilessly.  They are not afraid to lay flat on the ground just to get a good shot, a rare dedication for the job. And while they work their hardest to catch every moment, they still find the time to have fun! Daleks are trying to exterminate the audience? All cameras ready, but the photogs (a slang term describing a photojournalist) were screaming their best advices to the crowd how to fight off the monsters. “Hey, give the can a healthy boot!” – a smiling 10 year old girl tried to kick the Dalek to the loud approval of the people and hit home. “For the Doctor!” the journalists were triumphing and we were clapping with them. The girl was declared a hero of the day and would be featured in the press! Does anybody want a selfie with a robot? There is always a right moment to get the smartphone out of the pocket and take a picture. Cyberman is chasing you? Let’s hide behind the cameras and pretend you are not there. It was a pure joy watching them work and play. Carpe diem, tomorrow you might be dodging the bullets in Gaza…

Ready, steady, shoot!

Ready, steady, shoot!

Waiting for the arrival

Waiting for the arrival

Here they come!

Here they come!

It’s true that time does go fast when you are having a ball. We haven’t been watching the clock but suddenly we realized we were running late. The description on our tickets said that film premiere would start exactly at 12:15 but the stars have not arrived yet. One look at the BBC crew was enough to confirm that we were correct. Nervous looks, endless phone calls, whispers – and then at 11:45 a black car showed up. Journalists threw themselves to get the best places, public went wild – they have arrived!

Peter Capaldi approaching BBC crew for an interview

Peter Capaldi approaching BBC crew for an interview

Interview is about to start

Interview is about to start

Interview in progress

Interview in progress

Fans are the most important - the new Doctor started signing autographs straight away

Fans are the most important – the new Doctor started signing autographs straight away

Where are you from? Poland and Malta? Malta is a beautiful country! Mr Capaldi signing picture for us

Where are you from? Poland and Malta? Malta is a beautiful country! Mr Capaldi signing picture for us

Peter Capaldi emerged from the car first, casually dressed in Hugo Boss dark navy suit and a shirt. Jenna Coleman appeared seconds after him, wearing a stunning red dress from Peekaboo Vintage Red Maxi line. She was followed by Samuel Anderson in an elegant three piece grey suit.  Sorry girls,  if you are thinking about purchasing a copy of Jenna’s dress, we have a bad news for you! It has been sold out completely and apparently, Jenna could keep the last dress the famous London boutique had on stock.

And here it is! Signed photo from Doctor Who World Tour

And here it is! Signed photo from Doctor Who World Tour

Peter is not on Twitter or Facebook but you can follow BBC to learn more about him and the  new series: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p021r78j
Peter has a long entry on Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peter_Capaldi

Mental note to ourselves: bring earplugs next time we are about to attend a red carpet event! 10.000 screaming fans can severely hurt your hearing. It ‘s impossible to describe what was happening when Peter Capaldi rose his hand in a greeting and smiled. It was like a bomb has exploded somewhere near us and the shop windows started to shake! Thousands of hands holding posters, autograph pads, magazines, t-shirts and million of other items were thrown out in his direction, melodic chanting “Peter!Peter!” filled the air. You could have seen the shock on actors’ faces when they saw the crazy crowd. Rita has been standing right next to the barriers and noticed that Steven Moffat, who left the car as the last person, looked around and whispered “WOW!”. Lots of visitors were expected to attend the premiere but the real number of fans surprised everybody.

Steven Moffat being interviewed ans Samuel Anderson walking right behind him

Steven Moffat being interviewed and Samuel Anderson walking right behind him

Samuel Anderson  as Danny Pink on Doctor Who world Tour character card

Samuel Anderson as Danny Pink on Doctor Who World Tour character card

Samuel Anderson on Twitter: https://twitter.com/theblackpaddy
Samuel on Instagram: http://instagram.com/theblackpaddy

Peter, Jenna and Samuel quickly recovered from the astonishment. They posed for the obligatory portraits and spoke to BBC reporters about their first impressions of the opening day. Peter was first to approach the fans saying “Who wants my autograph?” and he laughed with delight as people used all kind of tricks to get his attention –  from climbing the barricades, shouting utter nonsense (like “I love spaghetti!”), waving flags and declaring their feelings to the Oscar winning actor. We are sure that Mr Capaldi must have signed more than 400 autographs during his walk on the red carpet.  He kept signing during photo-shoots and interviews, stopped to talk to kids and even signed a Big Issue magazine for a vendor!

Jenna interviewed for the first time...

Jenna interviewed for the first time…

And for the second, all in about 10 minutes!

And for the second, all in about 10 minutes!

Jenna signing autograph for us as well - we were lucky!

Jenna signing autograph for us as well – we were lucky!

Barely visible autograph, but at least we have it

Barely visible autograph, but at least we have it

Please visit Peekaboo official website at: http://www.peekaboovintage.com/
You can follow Jenna on Instagram: http://instagram.com/jenna_coleman_
or Twitter (we recommend both!): https://twitter.com/Jenna_Coleman_

Jenna coleman as Clara Oswald on doctor Who World Tour character card

Jenna Coleman as Clara Oswald on Doctor Who World Tour character card

We have already mentioned that Jenna Coleman looked like Disney Princess in her beautiful long red dress. Following Peter’s example, Jenna greeted her fans waving her hand in true royal fashion and then posed for photographs along with Peter, Steven Moffat, Samuel Anderson and solo. In real life, Jenna looks even prettier than on screen but it must be noted that she is very tiny! Karen Gillian, the actress playing Amy Pond, a ginger haired Scottish companion to 11th Doctor, was incredibly tall. In contrast, even wearing golden high-heeled shoes, Jenna barely reached Mr Capaldi’s shoulders. Her delicate frame might look worrying but it is not stopping her from doing her own stunts on the show. Jenna spoke to the press and signed couple of autographs including our own.

Red carpet Rita

Red carpet Rita

We haven’t been able to reach Samuel Anderson to get his signature as he was quickly moved away from fans and spent a long while talking to the press and TV crew. We think that BBC producers were a bit afraid that fans could start asking him questions, but if that’s the case, it was unnecessary caution. There was absolutely no time to ask questions and it was too loud to hear any answers! Also, the probability that the actor would like to share any secrets with us at the red carpet  is minimal. We thought that once the guests are seated inside, we would have a chance to approach him, but we couldn’t see him anywhere. Oh well, there’s always another time. Samuel Anderson will play a recurring character named Danny Pink, a teacher at famous Coal High School and a colleague of Clara’s. Some sources are claiming that he will join the TARDIS duo in their travels, but we had no official confirmation for that. We will have to wait and see.

And here's another picture of a Dalek - just because we think they are cool

And here’s another picture of a Dalek – just because we think they are cool

The stars spend nearly 40 minutes greeting the fans. Finally it was time to go. As VIP ticket holders, we had the chance to walk the red carpet ourselves and we have used that opportunity to take some pictures. In the lobby, we have been greeted by BBC workers that directed us to our seats. Thrilled to the core we have made our way up the stairs but that’s a tale for another day!

Please return tomorrow as we still have some excellent news to share!
Till we meet again!

Your Whovians,

Rita and Malicia Dabrowicz

Doctor Who Season 8 premiere in Cardiff – part one

Hello sweeties!

What a day! What a crowd! What an experience! Doctor Who Series 8 World Premiere in Cardiff has been a huge success! We have just returned from the capitol of Wales and we have to update you straight away. Please excuse this short review but we are barely alive. It’s been 12 hour marathon for us, but we will remember this day for many years to come.

This was our first ever red carpet event. We set up very early, at 7:30 in the morning and we arrived at Saint David’s Car park around 9:30. Saint David is not only a cinema/theatre – it is a huge shopping centre with multiple shops, restaurants and a car park that looks like a futuristic abandoned industrial complex. Going to level four on foot in a spiral staircase is enough to give you a major vertigo. Now try that in a car  – Rita felt like on a roller-coaster. A great idea is to dedicate a whole level to blue badge holders – somebody who thought about that should receive a pay raise. The car park was perfect for such a big event. There was nearly 1000 free spaces available when we arrived and you didn’t have to fight for a spot to park your vehicle. The spots are also bigger than normal and we could  fit our large car without any issues. The only downside is the price. 6 hours will cost you 18 pounds. Ouch!

The Hayes closed off to normal pedestrian traffic

The Hayes closed off to normal pedestrian traffic

St David’s Hall was located only 5 minutes away so we had a leisurely walk into town. We were very lucky with the weather. Previous days have been cold and rainy but we had a true summer sunshine and clear, TARDIS blue skies. The whole street leading to the theatre has been barricaded off as announced the day before on the organizer’s website. People were already taking places along the red carpet and a large crowd was packed near the entrance to the building. The TARDIS was parked in the middle of the street, but sadly it has been placed behind barriers and fans had to stay at least 2 meters away from it. We had no problems with the security measures but kids were devastated. It would have been better if there was a staff member near the blue box keeping an eye on it instead of a 3 feet metal barricade. One teary 4 year old was asking why somebody has put the TARDIS in jail and his poor mom had no answers to offer. Talking about security, the even has been protected by regular police officers, private security companies (we have seen at least three different uniforms and badges), BBC security staff and St David’s Hall guards. There were no incidents or any aggressive behaviour – Whovians showed up in peace and everybody had fun. Whole families arrived to celebrates. We have seen hordes of teenagers, young adults, newly born babies dressed as the 10th Doctor, two year old girl wearing Cyberman mask (she didn’t want to be photographed) and fans well into their 70’s eating ice-creams and waving American flags. The love for Doctor Who has no boundaries. Your age, nationality, country of origin, religion  – nothing matters. Fans came from Jamaica, Canada, USA, Iraq, Maldives, Japan, China and all over Europe (Poland, Germany, France, Italy, Bulgaria, Holland and Norway). We are sure even more countries were represented in Cardiff, but we only had the pleasure to speak to fans from the mentioned places. Can you imagine a conversation regarding Doctor Who Experience between Iraqi couple, two German tourists, yours truly, an American, a Canadian mother and a Chinese student? We have used several kinds of English (American English, British English and Engrish), a mix of our native languages, gestures, body and sign language and we all understood what the other person meant. Fantastic!

TARDIS ha been arrested

TARDIS ha been arrested

To fully cover the event, Mal and Rita decided to split up and each of us covered the other end of the show. Mal was located by the main entrance and kept an eye on everything/everybody going into and out of the building. Rita moved about a lot – she first walked up and down the street talking to people and taking pictures of cosplayers. Later, she found a comfortable spot by the journalists stand and witnessed the arrival of Peter Capaldi, Steven Moffat and Jenna Coleman at 11:15. To learn more about what has been happening on the red carpet before and after the stars arrival, you will have to wait till tomorrow. Right now, we would like to show you some of the best Whovian costumes. Forget the haute couture fantasy fashion shows at Comicon last month. Doctor Who addicts rule and we have lots of pictures to prove it. Take a look at some of the best costumes in time and space!

1. Monica and Bill

Monica and Bill came all the way from the lovely state of Iowa. They haven’t slept much. They flew from Iowa to Chicago, then to Ireland and finally to Cardiff. We have spoken to them around 10:00 am and they were on their last legs but excited and happy! This American couple is married and had Doctor Who inspired reception. Monica has two rings in TARDIS blue: her engagement ring and her wedding band.

They will spend their honeymoon in Cardiff and they started off with Doctor Who premiere! Monica is also a big  Sherlokian fan. Her mobile phone is SHERLOCKED (fans of the TV series will understand). Congratulations to the happy couple and may your journey together be a good one!

Monica and Bill showing off pictures from their Doctor Who inspired wedding

Monica and Bill showing off pictures from their Doctor Who inspired wedding

2. Nadine

Nadine is probably the most professional cosplayer we have ever seen. Not only she was dressed in the exact replica of Amy Pond’s policewoman kissogram costume from “The eleventh hour”, but she gave us her business card where her profession is stated simply as “Whovian”. Pretty neat! We cannot give out her email address but it contains references to both 10th and 11th Doctor and simply rocks. If you’d like to send some fan mail to this red haired Irish beauty, please direct them to us at rdabrowicz@yahoo.com and we will pass them on!

Nadine was picked from the audience and had a chance to ask the cast a question after the premiere of “Deep breath” episode. She also encouraged Peter Capaldi to  say “Judoon Platoon on the Moon” (David Tennant’s favorite quote from “Smith and Jones” episode). the audience gave both a standing ovation!

You can follow Nadine on Twitter: https://twitter.com/SheldineCooper

Nadine posing as Amelia Pond

Nadine posing as Amelia Pond

Amy Pond and UNIT officer

Amy Pond and UNIT officer

3. UNIT officer

We don’t know the name of the UNIT officer pictured below but his costume is probably far better than the original UNIT uniforms used in the show. The soldier was accompanying Nadine and together they created a lot of buzz! Thank you kindly for allowing us to take the picture, sir!

UNIT officer

UNIT officer

4. Fan in a red shirt

Not many people feel comfortable giving out their names to a stranger with a camera phone in hand. We can understand this but it’s a bit of a shame not being able to tell you who those fans are and what they do. An old red t-shirt that says “Trust me I’m a Doctor” was truly unique among hundreds of other Doctor Who related shirts. (Luckily, it was a Doctor Who premiere and not a Star Trek one. Otherwise the red shirt would be somewhat unlucky – Mal)

Trust me I'm the Doctor

Trust me I’m the Doctor

5. The 11th doctor

We have met this 11th Doctor twice. First time he was on his own, posing for pictures and pointing his sonic screwdriver at other fans. The second time we saw him, he was with a group of friends that included Amy Pond and Clara. Unknowingly, we asked him to pose for us at both occasions. You deserve a cookie for your patience!

First encounter

First encounter

And second meeting

And second meeting

6. Boys in fezzes

No, this is not a name for a Whovian boy band (although it is an cool idea) but a nick name we have given to two teenage fans that arrived to the premiere with their fathers. They introduce themselves to us, but we have lost a piece of paper with their names written down.  Sorry about that guys. Please look at their arms – those brave boys have faced a whole army of Silence on their own!

Fezzes are cool

Fezzes are cool

Fighting the Silence

Fighting the Silence

7. The 5th Doctor

Dressing up is not only for the kids. Anybody can look good in Doctor’s clothes, especially if the costume is adorned with a fresh celery stalk from nearby grocery store! The Doctor can regenerate into any age: from incredibly young 11th Doctor, middle to late 30’s (9th Doctor, 10th  Doctor) to an older incarnation (the present 12th Doctor). Age is just a number and the gentleman on our picture had been working on the costume himself and greatly enjoyed the experience.

Peter Davison would be proud

Peter Davison would be proud

8. Lake Silencio Amy Pond

This version of Amy Pond has been a companion to 11th Doctor from picture number 5. She is dressed in a costume from Lake Silencio saga as shown in  two first episodes of the 6th season – “The Impossible Astronaut” and “The Day of the Moon”. Amy’s arms are covered with pen marks (number of Silence she encountered) and she has been frantically looking for her daughter. We wish we could tell you her real name as the lady was very kind and even re-created Karen Gillian’s famous “running” pose for us.

Lake Silencio Amy

Lake Silencio Amy and the Doctor

Amy smiling at the camera

Amy smiling at the camera

9. Anna

Anna came to Cardiff with her mom who was kind to allow us to take a picture of her daughter. Looking like small version of River Song (or rather Melody Pond before she regenerated for the first time), Anna was wearing Doctor Who cardigan, Cyberman t-shirt and held a big TARDIS notebook in her hands.  She also helped us look for interesting costumes by pointing out two Doctors standing at the other side of the street. Thank you Anna!

Anna  and her TARDIS diary

Anna and her TARDIS diary

10. The Two Doctors

Spotted by Anna, The 9th Doctor and 11th Doctor were very happy to pose for a picture. They arrived to the premiere in hopes of seeing Peter Capaldi and wanted to wish him good luck in the role of beloved time traveling Time Lord. Their wish soon became a reality as Peter stopped next to them and even complimented the leather jacket!

Best friends and Two Doctors

Best friends and Two Doctors

11. The New Doctor

After arriving in Cardiff, we quickly noticed that nobody has been dressed as the 12th Doctor! We have seen at least dozen of 11th Doctors, several 10th and 9th Doctors. Many girls were dressed as companions (the beloved ginger Amelia Pond was a fans favorite) or TARDIS in Idris form (from “The Doctor’s Wife” episode). However, nobody seemed to dress as Peter Capaldi! We were really thrilled when this young man passed us by wearing  a 100% Rebel Time Lord T-shirt. We still cannot believe he was the only one! Come on people, we want to see more suits and Dr Marten’s next time!

100% rebel Time Lord

100% rebel Time Lord

12. TARDIS is a lady

The 11th Doctor used to called his precious time machine sexy when they were all alone.  Many female cosplayers chose to dress as the blue box in her female form, but this young lady was very original. Her TARDIS dress was in fact three piece costume that consisted of white undershirt with a collar, blue dress with a belt and Time co-ordinates pattern and matching cardigan. We have met her in a queue for an autograph from Jenna Coleman.

TARDIS Dress

TARDIS Dress

13. The fabulous 10th Doctor

The last but not least! Our lucky number 13  belongs to 10th Doctor. We have met this gentleman inside St David’s Hall right after the premiere. He gladly posed for a picture, regretting that he left his long coat and his sonic screw driver in the cloakroom. Oh well, you cannot have everything, but we have to tell you that he looked really well. And his hairdo was exactly like David Tennant’s. This is  something that cannot be easily copied. Much respect to you Doctor!

Look at the fabulous hair - it's the10th Doctor!

Look at the fabulous hair – it’s the10th Doctor!

All right Whovians, the bed is calling us! It’s been a manic day and we barely can look at the computer screen.
Please be back quickly as we have some fantastic news for you!

Hang in there and have sweet dreams!

XXX
Tired but very happy
Rita and Malicia Dabrowicz

Hay on Wye Literary Festival 2014

Hello bookies!

Time flies quickly when you have a lot to read! And since reading equals fun, it is very safe to say that time flies when you are having a great time.  The summer craze continues and we are using every spare moment to update you on what is happening. Boy, we would need a Time Lord to stop the clock for few days so we can catch up! Well, time waits for no one (even the Time Lords) so we have to start typing faster if we ever want to dig ourselves out of this back log. Or maybe we should attend less events? Nah, that wouldn’t be fun at all!

Few days ago we have printed a photo review of Hay on Wye Literary Festival from 2013. For some strange reason, we never published our photographs last May but as we are reviewing the latest edition now, it seemed like a good idea to share few bits and bobs from our vast achieves. We have to admit that the blog generated a nice buzz online followed by lots of clicks, blog entries and even re-tweets. Thank you kindly people! You are simply the best! Do you still want more? No problem – Mal and Rita are kindly introducing the first official edition of Hay on Wye Alphabet!

If you’d like to read previous entries regarding Hay on Wye festival, please see the links below:

Hay on Wye Winter Festival 2013: http://cocamidemea.wordpress.com/2014/03/30/hay-on-wye-winter-festival/
Hay on Wye 2013 Photo Review:
http://cocamidemea.wordpress.com/2014/07/24/hay-on-wye-2013-photo-review/
Baskerville Hall: http://cocamidemea.wordpress.com/2014/07/10/one-castle-a-day-the-baskerville-hall/

Everything you want to know about Hay on Wye 2014 from A to Z:

A for Arts  – Hay on Wye is not only the town of books but also artists. Many acclaimed crafters are travelling to Hay several times a year to display their artworks. Art exhibitions are not part of the Literary Festival but How the Lights Get In Festival and are located in the high town around the town hall and the ruined castle. This year beautiful ceramic paintings, hand carved figurines and colourful printed posters has caught our eye. We wanted to grab a card or a leaflet from one of the exhibitors to tell you who made the ceramic works but we were told that the artist is not willing to speak to us and we were chased away from the stand. Great skills and no manners. Sad. No free advertising for you, sir!

Hand made posters

Hand made posters

Craft store

Craft store

Porcelain artwork

Porcelain artwork

B for The BBC – Earlier this year, Hay on Wye festival and the British Broadcasting Corporation announced a formation of a global partnership. The partnership is deigned to give the literary festival a grand coverage worldwide using BBC channels: radio channels, TV programs and online streaming.  Many events were broadcasted live on BBC Radio 2,3,4,6, BBC Cymru, BBC Wales and BBC Hereford & Worcester. TATA stage shows could be seen online through BBC Website (Iplayer) and daily reports from the festival grounds were added to World News section on BBC one. BBC partnership has replaced  a three year contract with SKY TV that came to an end in December 2013. BBC also had their own tent (called BBC stage) that was graced by appearances and performances from well known artists such as Cerys Matthews (ex Catatonia).

You can read about the partnership here:
BBC website: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-mid-wales-27244052
Hay website: http://www.hayfestival.com/wales/bbc.aspx?skinid=2

BBC Tent - UP Next!

BBC Tent – UP Next!

BBC logo on a billboard near the BBC stage

BBC logo on a billboard near the BBC stage

BBC at Hay Festival poster

BBC at Hay Festival poster

Quiet please!

Quiet please!

D for Doctor Who – Meeting with Steven Moffat was probably the main reason why we decided to go to Hay Festival. It was our first time seeing him live and we will remember it for a long time. Mr Moffat is an incredibly funny man. He is all smiles, completely relaxed, genuinely open and not afraid to tell various stories from his life. You don’t have to like his writing (in our opinion he is one of the best writers on TV these days) but you have to respect him for his courtesy, sense of humor and dedication.  Mr Moffatt talked to Alan Yentop  and the audience was captivated. He spoke about his beginnings as a writer, his lucky breakthrough when BBC crew came to film a show at his local school where his father happened to be a head teacher, his failed marriage, American TV shows he produced and his long journey to become a successful writer on British TV.

The upcoming season 8 of Doctor Who was of course discussed in details. Mr Moffat was fighting bravely trying not to spoil anything. We have learnt about his desire to hire Peter Capaldi even before Matt Smith decided to leave, looking for the right actress to play Clara, taking over the  position of head writer from Russell T Davies (and their constant email co-operation),  thoughts on turning the Doctor into a woman and panic at the BBC when David Tennant became tired of his role (the producers wanted to cancel the show not believing that the Tenth Doctor could ever be replaced).

Steve Moffat at TATa tent  - Event number 167, starting at 17:45

Steve Moffat at TATa tent – Event number 167, starting at 17:45

Mr Moffat also promised a new darker, more alien Doctor, shorter storylines and described his delight at working with the Doctor Who team again. In the end, he answered nearly 10 question from the audience and thanked all who came to see him. Rita left nearly 20 minutes before the end of the show as it was announced that Mr Moffatt would be signing Sherlock DVD’s and a line has started forming already.

It was a good move as the queue grew to epic proportions in minutes. Armed with a DVD and Hay of Wye programme, Rita was probably the tenth person that came to the signing table. Just few word of advice dear readers from an old and grumpy event organizer. When you are standing in line, please mind the crowd behind you. Do not give the poor man 10 books to sign, one or two autographs are sufficient. Your entire collection doesn’t have to be signed! Do not demand a whole photo-shoot either – some fans were changing clothes and Mr Moffatt had to pose with the same people in different T shirts. Leave the children outside unless you wish to turn them into claustrophobics! Your three year old son is incredibly cute dressed as a Zygon or a Dalek, but he doesn’t know who Steven Moffat is yet and he is hungry, crying and simply wants to go home. Spare your fellow Whovians the headache. Say thank you’s! We were the only one to thank Mr Moffat for his time – he was  truly touched. The man travelled from London and was going back on the same day!! And listen to the organizers, if they ask you to move, just do it. It was sad to hear Mr Moffatt commenting that he will need  mental help after signing so many autographs.

Steven Moffat on the screen inside TATA tent

Steven Moffat on the screen inside TATA tent

On the bright side, we managed to exchange several words with him, our Polish accent was something different and it got Mr Moffat’s attention.  He was kind enough to sign the DVD for us and the program for our dear friend, British writer Helen Stringer (a massive Doctor Who fan!) He even said that he has heard about her book “The last ghost”. Now that what we call a recommendation! We also had a second for a photo. What an exciting adventure!

Couple of links about  Steven Moffat talk at Hay:

http://www.walesonline.co.uk/whats-on/arts-culture-news/hay-festival-time-come-female-7174092
http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p01zvt1g (including a video)
http://www.theguardian.com/tv-and-radio/2014/may/27/steven-moffat-bbc-david-tennant-benedict-cumberbatch-sexy
http://www.radiotimes.com/news/2014-05-27/steven-moffat-reveals-doctor-who-nearly-ended-after-david-tennant-left

Steven Moffat and Rita

Steven Moffat and Rita

An autograph for our friend, successful British author and scriptwriter herself - Helen Stringer

An autograph for our friend, successful British author and scriptwriter herself – Helen Stringer

Sherlock DVD signed by Mr Moffat - kept under lock and key in private collection

Sherlock DVD signed by Mr Moffat – kept under lock and key in private collection

E for Exhibitors – Recruited from members of local commerce guilds in Wales, exhibitors play a very important role at the festival. They can be private businesses, schools, charities, tourist organizations or European Union foundations. All of them have strong ties to Wales and local communities. Exhibitors are not selling anything –  their role is to inform, raise awareness, educate or display. We have spent a long time visiting their stands. At Visit Wales stall, Rita was asked to recite Dylan Thomas poem to celebrate his 100 birthday. Her take on “Do not go gentle into that good night” by Dylan Thomas can be seen on Visit Wales Instagram at: http://instagram.com/p/odifgbnRql/

We have also learnt a lot about the proposed construction of Tidal Lagoon Power in Swansea and we think this is a brilliant idea. The blue dragon you can see on the pictures was actually a  mechanical fountain that explained how the tidal power could be harnessed and turned into electrical energy.

Full list of Exhibitors can be found here: http://www.hayfestival.com/wales/onsite-extras-exhibitors.aspx?skinid=2

Now, please excuse us but a little rant is in order. 2014 was our third time at the festival and so far, we have been really lucky not to encounter any unpleasantries. We have visited Bowie Gallery (one of the exhibitors) twice before and their service and attitude towards visitors have been perfect. We have no idea what happened this year but we will name and shame her. Sara Bowie, the owner of Hay on Wye based art gallery was kicking visitors out if they dared to take out a camera or a phone to take pictures. A German couple in front of us got cursed at. When we stepped in, we got threatened that police will be called. Apparently, Mrs Bowie is afraid that visitors are stealing ideas from the artists she represents. A polite request not to take any pictures or no photography sign would solve the problem straight away. Cursing is beyond anything we have ever see. As an artist, Rita would never wished to be associated with a gallery that treats prospective clients with such contempt. We would also like to point out that the gallery has a website and Facebook page where they display all artworks online! You don’t have to take pictures in the gallery to steal ideas, they are already on the Internet. Nothing, absolutely nothing excuse such behavior, especially Mrs Bowie’s pathetic defense that she “needs to make a living”. We shall not patronize her again. There are other galleries and art dealers in the area. A crying shame as so far we have been great supporters of Bowie Gallery.

Visit Wales exhibitor stand

Visit Wales exhibitor stand

Reciting booth at Visit Wales.

Reciting booth at Visit Wales

Tidal Lagoon Swansea

Tidal Lagoon Swansea

Blue Dragon at Tidal Lagoon stall

Blue Dragon at Tidal Lagoon stall

F for Festival site – Hay on Wye Literary Festival is one of the biggest festivals of this kind in the world. It looks nearly like EXPO or International Fairs, if you ever been to one. If so, you will quickly recognize the layout: press stand on the left (sponsors, media partners), ticket office, white room and green room on the right, main stand in the middle. The main stand is also combined with Information Point so be prepared to stand in line to ask a question or find your way around. A detailed map of the festival ground is located just past the lobby, on the right hand side next to a gift shop. Turning left will allow you to reach play area for kids, turning right will take you to exhibitors area, food hall and the meeting tents.

Festival map

Festival map

Corridors 1

Corridors 1

Corridors 2

Corridors 2

Ticket office

Ticket office

Lounge Area

Lounge Area

G for Gates – Welcome to paradise! The entrance to the festival site is enormous. Before you even see the white tents with their never ending corridors and passages, you have to follow a long dirt road from the temporary bus terminal. The road is decorated with colorful flags, posters and  ribbons. Each year, the festival starts at the end of May and sometimes you can see a 10 foot May pole located in a small ditch to the right.  This year, we arrived with a group of other tourists from Clyro and as soon as our companions saw the flags, they reached for camera phones and started taking pictures. When in Rome, do as the Romans – Rita had a ball clicking away and photographed the entrance from every available angle. At the end of the road, you are welcomed by a huge billboard with HAY FESTIVAL written on it. Now, all you need to do is to walk through automatic doors into the main lobby.

Hay festival poster

Hay festival poster

Entrance and colorful flags

Entrance and colorful flags

Dirt road leading into the lobby

Dirt road leading into the lobby

Welcome to Hay

Welcome to Hay

Main Lobby

Main Lobby

All in! everybody's warmly welcomed!

All in! everybody’s warmly welcomed!

H for How the Lights Get In Festival – Literary Festival is not the only event taking place in Hay on Wye. How the Lights Get in Festival (abbreviated to  HTLGIF or simply known as The Lights) is an accompanying fiesta taking place in the same heart of the village. Street performances, exhibitions, arts and crafts venue, food market, film premieres, drama screenings, academic discussions and other shows are meant to entertain those visitors who are tired of books and reading. The festival offers free tickets and huge discounts for food and drinks. Highly recommended!

Official website: http://howthelightgetsin.iai.tv/
Official Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/HowTheLightGetsIn
Official Twitter: https://twitter.com/htlgifestival

How the lights get in festival logo

How the lights get in festival logo

Arts and Crafts display in the middle of  Hay on Wye City Center for The Lights festival

Arts and Crafts display in the middle of Hay on Wye City Center for The Lights festival

I for Independent Kingdom of Hay – Independent Kingdom of Hay has two meanings:

1. The whole village has been declared as independent kingdom on April the 1st 1977 by Welsh writer, bookseller, scholar and artist, Richard Booth.  In the early 70’s, the economical crisis has been very harsh for Wales, especially affecting small communities as Hay. Businesses were closing, young people were leaving – Hay needed a radical change and some fresh ideas. Booth’s vision for a financial success were old books.  He used his savings to purchase and renovate an old fire station where he opened the first second hand bookstore filling the shelves with books imported from libraries closed in America. He convinced his friends to open few additional stores and Hay started advertising itself as  “the town of books”. Richard crowded himself as King of Hay in front of journalists, naming his own horse as Prime Minister and issuing passports to Hay inhabitants. This comedy act was a big worldwide hit – some media were truly convinced that a town in the middle of Wales decided to separate itself from the Crown! Tourists and book lovers fell in love with Hay on Wye. Nearly ten years later, the popular literary festival has been born and today Hay on Wye is an established brand in the literary world. Richard Booth still lives in the city and has been awarded MBE for his contribution to economy, readership and  local promotion. Since 2000, Hay also has its own House of Lords and is visited by  500.000 people a year. Oh we nearly forgot. By royal decree, Kindles and other ebook readers, are banned in Hay On Wye. Electronic book readers – you have been warned!,

2. Independent Kingdom of Hay is also a book store run by the King of Hay and the royal Booths family.

Official website:
http://www.richardkingofhay.com/
Richard Booth’s Bookshop and Cafe on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/richardboothsbookshop
King of Hay on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-King-of-Hay/683799078353942

Independent Kingdom of Hay

Independent Kingdom of Hay

Kindles are banned

Kindles are banned

K for Kids – Visiting the festival with kids is kind of a tradition at Hay. This is a family orientated event and you can find various attraction for your children. A mini festival called Hay Fever has been created especially for them. Parents can choose between book readings, workshops (like making a wooden stool), interactive games, meetings with writers, historians and scientists and many other. Kids can play in special designated areas, lounge in front of the bookstore or roll in hay if they please. This year they could also roll in mud. You may not believe us, but kids were actually queuing to do it at Mess tent (what an appropriate name). Parents were not impressed, we have to add.

Hay Fever official website: https://www.hayfestival.com/wales/hayfever/homepage.aspx?skinid=2&currencysetting=GBP&localesetting=en-GB&resetfilters=true

Mess Tent

Mess Tent

Book sculpture

Book sculpture

A child is leaning against Hay Fever tent waiting for his turn to roll in real hay

A child is leaning against Hay Fever tent waiting for his turn to roll in real hay

Group of kids playing in the mud

Group of kids playing in the mud

L for Little Rumba  – Little Rumba is a well known Welsh band that has been performing and recording for quite some time now. They gave a fantastic street show in a performance tent called The Square, located right in the front of the castle and next to the entrance to food market. We were just passing by but when we heard the music, we had to stop and listen! The band is a true rock and roll act – they have skills, passion and a lot of stage charisma. The band consists of Pete Mustill (vocalist and guitarist), Hugh Colvin (saxophonist), John Hymas (violin, viola and accordion) and a female bassist Jacqui Savage

Little Rumba has been joined on scene by a singer extraordinaire – Lori Campbell. This girl has a powerful voice and she can use it very well. If you are looking for a local rock/ fold/blue grass band with Latin influences, look no further. Little Rumba could easily win the next edition of Britain’s Got Talent.

Lori Campbell on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/loricampbellsings
Little Rumba on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/LittleRumba
Little Rumba official website: http://littlerumba.com/

Little rumba o stage

Little Rumba on stage

CD's on display

CD’s on display

Little Rumba business card

Little Rumba business card

M for Market  – There would be riots in the streets if the ever popular Castle Street food market has been cancelled. Located in its traditional place (Hay castle walled garden), it served hot food from 10:00 am until 18:00 o’clock each day from Friday, May 23th till Sunday, June the 1st. Home made burgers, vegetarian chilli con carne with Italian herbs, whole baked tomatoes with mozzarella and red onions, cupcakes, soups, wraps, tortillas, cheeses from all over the world (we bought Argentinian goat milk cheese!), English favorite fish and chips (with a twist), ice-creams with kiwi and lychee bites, sweet bread, vegan ratatouille, local ales and drinks – we could go on forever.  We are getting hungry just thinking about the market. The prices are wonderful – you can buy full healthy dinner for two under 10 pounds. Brilliant!

Castle Street Food Market

Castle Street Food Market

N for Napier, James – James Napier is a successful sculptor and author of The Abandoned Soldier sculpture. The resin figure has been modelled after Lance Corporal Daniel Twiddy and has been unveiled in 2007 during the BBC documentary “Power to the People”. The sculpture doesn’t have a permanent display location and has been housed in many different places including Cardiff and Exeter castles. The soldier’s head has been touring Wales since March 2014 and was displayed at Hay Festival under the title ”The Abandoned Soldier – Do you see what I see?”

Wikipedia entry: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Abandoned_Soldier
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Abandoned-Soldier-Statue/243347702432383
Website: http://www.theabandonedsoldier.com/support.php
James Napier: http://drawpaintsculpt.com/tutors/james-napier-3/

Abandoned Soldier

Abandoned Soldier

Abandoned Soldier 2

Abandoned Soldier 2

P for Poet for Hire (Tim Siddall)  – We have to admit, this is something we haven’t seen so far. Young lad sitting on a folding chair in front of an old typing machine, wearing sunglasses and a tie in world’s ugliest shade of neon pink. Poet for hire will write anything you ask him to, for a fair price of course. He encouraged us to commission him to write a poem about the town, but we declined. He was quite popular with tourists and he seemed to genuinely entertain them with his writing, but we cannot tell you if it was good of bad. A novelty none the less, maybe worth checking him out if he’s in Hay next year.

Official website: http://poetforhire.net/
Flameproof Moth (Tim is also a musician) on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/flameproofmoth
Flameproof Moth official website: http://flameproofmoth.com

Poet for Hire

Poet for Hire

Q for Queues – Patience my young padawan! You have to have patience at Hay. You will be queuing everywhere:  waiting for your food, trying to use a loo, buying books, having your book signed, entering the stages etc. Queues are a normal state of things at the festival and there is even an official guide to queuing! Enjoy your time and bring comfortable shoes.

Signing queue

Signing queue

Queue to TATA tent before meeting with Steven Moffat

Queue to TATA tent before meeting with Steven Moffat

A short guide to queuing

A short guide to queuing

R for Rain – You don’t need a map to know that Hay on Wye lies on the banks of River Wye. Usually, the river is not causing a lot of troubles, but this year, it decided to seriously misbehave. Heavy rainfalls seven days before the festival started on May 26th, turned the entire village into large bog. The river flooded camping sites and fields that are normally used for visitor car parks. This forced the organizers to look for parking spaces outside of the village. The main car park has been moved to Clyro (about 2 miles away from Hay on Wye) near the Baskerville Hall hotel. Coach buses were also hired to transport tourists from Clyro into town or straight to the festival sites. Whole day parking ticket was priced at 5 pounds and the bus fares were one pound per person. We were not complaining – the buses were running according to schedule, drivers knew their way around  (even shortcuts in cases when the main road has been blocked by wrongly parked car) and we had a chance to see the beautiful and word renowned hotel that once belonged to The Baskerville Family. Unfortunately the rain would not go away and the foul weather continued during our visit as well. The festival ground was soggy and dirty despite every effort from the maintenance team.  Wellingtons were in high demand and we have seen people paying nearly 40 quid for a single pair!

River Wye after rain

River Wye after rain

S for Superstore – the main festival bookshop is located between Telegraph Stage (main media partner of the festival) and Llwyfan Cymru (Wales Stage). It is the only place where visitors can purchase books, maps, DVD’s and official merchandise. The bookstore is commonly known as “Superstore” . It is used for book signings as well and detailed author schedules are displayed among the shelves. If you want to be on featured on the TV, it is a place to go. BBC cameras are constantly present!

signed books available for purchase at the  festival book superstore

signed books available for purchase at the festival book superstore

Children section

Children section

Adults section

Adults section

Queue to the check out

Queue to the check out

BBC filming

BBC filming

T for TATA tent  – Tata tent is the biggest meeting tent/stage at the festival and the most prestigious one. It is reserved for the most prominent guests: best selling authors, world famous comedians (Stephen Fry), Oscar of BAFTA awarded actors/actresses (Dame Julie Dench), the most popular TV presenters – you get the picture. It has capacity of over 1600 visitors and it usually sells out quite quickly. This year, we had a pleasure to see an award winning script writer, “Doctor Who” head wr
iter/producer and the creator of “Sherlock” – Steven Moffat. Tata tent is named after Tata Corporation, one of the corporate sponsors of Hay on Wye festival.

TATA on Hay: http://www.tata.com/hayfestival/tata_involvement.html
TATA official website: http://www.tata.com/default

TATA tent poster

TATA tent poster

Public waiting for Steven Moffat inside the TATA tent

Public waiting for Steven Moffat

Stage inside the TATA tent

Stage inside the TATA tent

W for Writing on the wall – this original art project has been created by artist Candy Chang in New Orleans. She has used an abandoned house in French Quarter, turned its walls into huge blackboards and wrote chalk epitaphs celebrating the lives of people who passed away. The project was entitled  “Before I die” and Chang encouraged others to add their own memories to her own.  Today, it is a global public art movement inviting people to reflect  on their lives and goals. Hay on Wye black board has been made by St. Richard’s Hospice.

Candy Chang official website: candychang.com
Official Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/candychangcandychang
Before I Die Official page: http://beforeidie.cc/
Before I Die on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BeforeIDieWall

Before I die art project

Before I die art project – front

And the view from the back

And the view from the back

We hope you have enjoyed this alphabetic review of Hay Festival Anno Domini 2014. We would like to thank several people who proved to be a real source of information and made our visit a true success. First of all, a big thank you to Peter Florence, the founder and director of Hay Literary Festival – thank you for your time and reading our letter. We still hope for a response!

Rita would like to especially thank Mat Roberts for his kindness and assistance. she hopes to return the favor. Greetings to Mat’s lovely daughter and his team – you are a real stars.

We would like to pass our sincere greetings to Lyndy Cooke and the Telegraph Crew. Thank you for everything!

Have a lovely day,
XXX
Rita and Malicia Dabrowicz

Hay on Wye 2013 Photo Review

Dear Readers!

 Everybody knows this feeling. This burning desire to go out and do something significant. It’s an urging thought in your head that says you should be somewhere else, maybe attending an event or a celebration, protesting an injustice or even meeting with your friends to discuss something important.  Our personal compasses are never wrong. A Jedi would say this is the Force calling us towards our destiny. Others would recognize it as our intuition and  advise we should never ignore it. Sometimes it’s very hard to follow the call. How would you explain the calling to your employer or family members? Would they understand?  Perhaps they would call us crazy or laugh. Maybe it would be impossible for us to drop everything and go – there are family obligations, bills to pay, money difficulties and hundreds of other arrangements that keep us rooted in one place. Many times we desperately wanted to escape but we had no money, no spare time or means to get to that special spot.  In those moments, we feel disappointed and depressed. Out there, a history is in the making but we cannot witness it. If we cannot contribute, we feel useless and powerless. We regard ourselves worse than others who managed to get there or follow their own calling.

Rita at Hay on Wye Festival in 2013

Rita at Hay on Wye Festival in 2013

 Not being able to go, doesn’t mean that we should shut ourselves in a shell and ignore the world. There are many opportunities around us that we tend to overlook. We will give you an example of our calling. Every year, we have this huge urge to travel to Roskilde Festival in Denmark. This is not about a summer festival, drinking or partying until you drop. This is not about music, holidays or sightseeing. Roskilde is our place, this is our sacred ground, our home – we feel really strong about it. It’s been nearly a decade since we were there last time and we miss it. We miss building the stages, climbing walls, working long hours and sleeping in a tent. Our mission is to organize a big event, bring joy to thousand of participants and make sure everything will run smoothly.

Living in two different countries (Malta and UK), working full time and paying off mortgages, it is hard for us to go to the festival these days. When we were still  in Poland, travelling to Denmark by bus was a real possibility – it was cheap and the trip would last about 15 hours. Right now, the only way to get there is by plane, you need to arrange holidays, somebody needs to take care of our cats etc. It’s a lot of trouble and in the end, we are staying home every year. For a long time we would feel bad about it, the calling yet again has been ignored. But then we started thinking. Is the calling truly about a certain place or maybe about doing something specific. We love organizing events, so instead of regretting not being able to go to Roskilde, maybe we should be working locally? After much brainstorming, we realized that each one of us has a special place close to us: Mal is attracted to Saint James Cavalier in Valetta and Rita loves spending her time in Wales. Eureka! Why not try to attend some local events and see if they need help? Malicia has successfully brought World Press Photo to Malta all by herself (with huge help from The Embassy of Netherlands and other sponsors) and Rita is making her name attending local events in West Midlands. Her favorite event is the Hay on Wye Literally festival that nearly feels like Roskilde, with books instead of rock music!

For the majority of the year, Hay on Wye has population of just 2000 people. When the festival starts at the end of May/beginning of June, the number of inhabitants jumps to 100.000!  This tiny medieval village with narrow streets looks like New York City on 4th of July or Tokyo before the Obon festivities! Tourists are everywhere: hotels and hostels are full,  private accommodations are reserved, camping spaces are taken and tents cover every inch of grass in 5 miles radius. People flock to attend workshops, meetings with internationally acclaimed authors and book signings. Big areas are filled to the last spot and tickets are sold out months in advance. Here, nobody is worrying about low literacy skills or statistics that nearly 15% of British teens are reading less than 1 book per year. The Kingdom of Hay is filled with books, second hand book stores, magazines, newspapers, leaflets and with every other written word format known to the mankind. Concerts, movie premieres, restaurants, street performances and arts and crafts displays offer additional attractions.

Last year, we have written a review of the Winter Festival and for some strange reason, we never published our review from the summer celebration. Now, it’s a good time to fix that mistake – dear readers, please take a look at nearly 40 excellent pictures taken by Mal and Rita.

1.

Main entrance

Main entrance

2.

Flags

Flags

3.

Welcome to Hay

Welcome to Hay

4.

Main corridor

Main corridor

5.

Main corridor 2 and the lobby

Main corridor 2 and the lobby

6.

Hay fever tent - do you wanna roll in hay?

Hay fever tent – do you wanna roll in hay?

7.

Restaurants quarter also known as the food hall

Restaurants quarter also known as the food hall

8.

Game of chess

Game of chess

9.

Official sponsor of the festival and the media partner had their own tent  called The Telegraph Tent

Official sponsor of the festival and the media partner had their own tent called The Telegraph Tent

10.

Google and its big tent, sadly it was the last year Google was present at Hay

Google and its big tent, sadly it was the last year Google was present at Hay

11.

Some of the events happening in Google tent

Some of the events happening in Google tent

12.

Public is sunbathing  in the lounge area in front of  the festival's bookstore

Public is sunbathing in the lounge area in front of the festival’s bookstore

 13.

Festival bookshop

Festival bookshop

14.

Bookshop signing list and authors meet and greet  schedules

Bookshop signing list and authors meet and greet schedules

15.

Visitors are lining up to have their books signed

Visitors are lining up to have their books signed

16.

Shopping for books is always fun

Shopping for books is always fun

17.

Our treasures wrapped in official festival bag

Our treasures wrapped in official festival bag

18.

Look what we have!

Look what we have!

19.

Mukesh Kapila is a humanitarian, adviser to United Nations, World Health Organization and NATO. He is also one of the kindest and  respectable people we have ever met. If you don’t know him, please read on. Mr Kapila was the first to discover about the genocide in Darfur and worked tirelessly to protect the victims and notify the world. It was his actions that made us aware of the unspeakable crimes committed in Sudan. His life has been endangered many times but  threats  didn’t stop him. Mr Kapila had to be taken out of Sudan as attempts on his life were made but he still works to make our world a better place.  “Against a tide of evil” is a mix between a document and a memoir about his time in Sudan and his fight to uncover one of the worst genocides in human history.

Mukesh Kapila on Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mukesh_Kapila
Official website: http://www.mukeshkapila.org/
Mukesh Kapila on Twitter: https://twitter.com/mukeshkapila

Mukesh Kapila signing our book

Mukesh Kapila signing our book

Mukesh Kapila again - sometimes one picture is not enough!

Mukesh Kapila again – sometimes one picture is not enough!

20.

Mr Kapila's words of encouragement for Malicia

Mr Kapila’s words of encouragement for Malicia

Hay on Wye Literary Festival is usually accompanied by additional events like How the Lights get in Festival. The other festival simply known as The lights  festival is a philosophy/arts and crafts extravaganza that brings a lot of interesting  people to Hay. We have met some of the most unique tradesman and artisans and it would be a great shame if we didn’t include them here as well!

Hay Street Festival:

We have mentioned how beautiful the village  is, but now you can now see for yourself!

21.

Clock Tower  - meeting place for all lost tourists

Clock Tower – meeting place for all lost tourists

22.

Hay on Wye is known for its picturesque narrow streets

Hay on Wye is known for its picturesque narrow streets

23.

Castle street market

Castle street market

24.

Hay Castle

Hay Castle

25.

Castle Street performances schedule

Castle Street performances schedule

26.

Street vendor selling his crafts

Street vendor selling his crafts

27.

Interesting bridge at the entrance to the village - it was a lovely summer day!

Interesting bridge at the entrance to the village – it was a lovely summer day!

Francesca’ s Restaurant

Based in the hear of the village, Francesca’s restaurant served one of the best meals we have had last year. Home made bread and meat balls with bolognese sauce was an instant hit.

28.

Francesca's restaurant in the heart of Hay on Wye city center

Francesca’s restaurant in the heart of Hay on Wye city center

29.

The service was swift and excellent. 5 star review from us!

The service was swift and excellent. 5 star review from us!

30.

Bread and meatballs served on ecological plate

Bread and meatballs served on ecological plate

Window Gallery

Opened in 2013, Window Gallery is owned by two artists and residents of Hay, sculptor Jemm Stiff and his partner, painter Menna Angharad. Both Jem and Menna are graduate of University of Wales Institute Cardiff  and hold MA degrees in fine art. They have been exhibiting their work to  much acclaim in Wales, London, France and several other European cities.  The couple are happy parents to daughter Lilli who soon might be an artist herself as she is already showing interest in drawing and sculpting.

Jemm Stiff website: http://www.jemstiff.co.uk
Menna Angharad website: http://www.mennaangharad.co.uk

31.

Elsie by Jem Stiff , sycamore, life size, 2002

Elsie by Jem Stiff , sycamore, life size, 2002

32.

Mother and child by Jem Stiff

Mother and child by Jem Stiff

33.

Window Gallery and  Menna's  still life  works

Window Gallery and Menna’s still life works

PRESENCE Artisanias

Member of Fair Trade Movement, Presence Artisanias is a Polish-British company (run by Spencer Watkins and his partner Aneta) that imports hand made jewellery from Africa, Timbuktu, Asia and other exotic places. They are visiting Hay every year and you will have no problem locating their stand as they are always located on Castle Street, near the entrance to Food Market. We wish that the company had a proper website as the owners are incredibly nice and helpful but at least you can add them on Facebook. Their items are of highest quality and buying from them helps artists to earn money from their crafts. Fashion can be charitable as well!

Official Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/timbuktubazaar
You can also contact them at spenwat@yahoo.co.uk or by calling Spencer’s mobile at 07835 410981

34.

Proud owners and Polish British co-operation at its best!

Proud owners and Polish British co-operation at its best!

35.

Presence Artisanias street stand

Presence Artisanias street stand

36.

Another look at their  brilliant collection of hand made jewellery

Another look at their brilliant collection of hand made jewellery

Eighteen Rabbit

If you believe the legends, Eighteen Rabbit was a fabled King of  Mayan City of Copan and patron of  artists and craft guilds. The name has been taken on by a group of British tourists who traveled to Honduras for holidays. Tempted by clear blue skies, beautiful beaches and luxurious  hotels, they quickly discovered another face of paradise. Local people lived in poverty without schools, public transport and any hope for a better tomorrow. The only jobs available was banana plantation or clothing industry  making cheap outfits for Western clothing magnates. This is where the 18th Rabbit was born. A fair trade company and independent retailer, the Rabbit  specializes now in gifts, jewellery, home ware and apparel made by excellent Honduras artisans. As they say, they cannot change the world overnight, but at least they help people of Honduras (and many others as well) to find their way to vast European markets without the middle men. Believe us, they have some sensationally unique items!

18Rabbit store: http://eighteenrabbit.co.uk
Official Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/18RabbitShop
Official Twitter: https://twitter.com/18RabbitShop

37.

18Rabbit store is located at Hay Castle

18Rabbit store is located at Hay Castle

38.

You can find everything you need!

You can find everything you need!

39.

This cat nearly became a part of  our KAt-a-Log but unfortunately we were not  able to afford it.

This cat nearly became a part of our Kat-a-Log but unfortunately we were not able to afford it

40.

Vintage looking cat medallions? Yes please!

Vintage looking cat medallions? Yes please!

1066 Creations

1066 creations owner, Simon Jameson is a Renaissance man: he sings, paints, sculpts, makes murals and prints. His stand  behind Hay Castle looked like a medieval sculpting guild drawing huge crowds. Simon makes stone sculptures for house and garden specializing in gargoyles, green men, trolls, serpents and dragon sculptures. You can purchase hand made tiles from him as well. Simon travels far and wide and you can meet him at summer fair shows all over the UK.

Official website: http://www.1066creations.co.uk

41.

Owner of 1066 Creations, Simon proudly pose for a picture

Simon proudly pose for a picture next to his artworks

42.

1066 Creations store

1066 Creations store

43.

Don't just stand there, help me to get out!

Don’t just stand there, help me to get out!

Roo The Leather Carver

If anybody would tell Roo, that his small leather making business will gain him national recognition and pictures in popular tabloid press (with the Queen Elizabeth herself!), he would have laughed.  Taken as a simple hobby, Roo’s leather making passion soon involved his entire family, including his nephew Martyn Walkden, a master carver in his own right! We have met the entire family and  those people have fantastic skills! Their belts, bags, pouches and archery accessories should be introduced in Hollywood – at least some blockbusters would be historically correct!

Official website: http://www.leathercarver.co.uk
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Roo-the-Leathercarver/129417857068325

44.

Roo! The Leather Carver

Roo! The Leather Carver

45.

Books and diaries bound in leather

Books and diaries bound in leather

46.

Closer look at the leather masterpieces

Closer look at the leather masterpieces

Bounty of Midgard

John Game  is  a specialist in fossils, gemstones and minerals. He is the owner of a small business called Bounty of Midgard and visits many local fairs and  arts festivals around the country. Rita hell in love with his selection of gemstones and bought several agates for her own abstract artworks.  If you’d like to contact him (and maybe book him for your event), please contact him at 07445 282899.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BountyofMidgard
Twitter: https://twitter.com/johngame812

47.

Bounty of Midgard

Bounty of Midgard – selection of semi precious stones

48.

John posing at his stand

John posing at his stand

49.

Gem lovers paradise!

Gem lovers paradise!

House of de Lytton

Suzie Litton-Wood is a mistress of needlework. An accomplished tailor, bridal dressmaker and costume designer, she can easily re-create any garment from any historical period. She makes her costumes with traditional methods, entirely by hand and using authentic fabrics as far as it is possible of course.  House of de Lytton’s creations were used in numerous theatrical and film productions, historical events and festivals.

Official website: http://www.thehouseofdelytton.co.uk
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/thehouseofdelytton

50.

Suzie Litton Wood and her historical costumes

Suzie Litton Wood and her historical costumes

51.

House of de Lytton stand at Hay Festival

House of de Lytton stand at Hay Festival

52.

Collection of dresses - a wardrobe for Sansa Stark maybe?

Collection of dresses – a wardrobe for Sansa Stark maybe?

53.

And now collection of jackets to go with the dresses  above

And now collection of cloaks to go with the dresses above

54.

Suzie's large stand - you could spend hours just looking at the costumes!

Suzie’s large stand – you could spend hours just looking at the costumes!

Hudnalls Apiaries

The Hudnalls Apiaries are located in the Forest of Wye and Wye Valley – a designated areas of outstanding natural beauty. This is a small family business  that collects pure natural honey along the Welsh Marches – from Chepstow to Brecon.  We had a longer talk with Doug Isles, the owner of the business about  safe ways of collecting the honey and reasons why the bees keep dying.  You can contact the owners through their Facebook profile, as their website  www. hudnallaspiaries.co.uk seems to be down at this moment. Doug and his crew are visiting farmers markets all over the UK and will take part in BBC Good Food show in NEC Area in Birmingham in 2015.

55.

Hudnalls Apiaries and their honey based products

Hudnalls Apiaries and their honey based products

56.

Bee-wax candles and  creams

Bee-wax candles and creams

Official Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/hudnalls.apiaries
Twitter: https://twitter.com/Hudnallshoney

Tinto House and Bella’s Cafe

Located just two minutes away from the Hay Castle, the 18th century guest house named Tinto House is a hidden gem. If you don’t know its exact location, you can miss is easily just walking down the main street!  We have discovered  it by an accident and we fell in love with this stylish building and large, beautiful gardens. Each year, Tinto House opens up Bella’s Cafe especially for the festivals guests. The cafe serves delicious cakes and drinks made by local chefs. You have to try their cheesecake with fresh cherries and  elderflower drink – it is a masterpiece! And if you want to rest from big crowds and  noise, the gardens will be the best place to do so.
Tinto House receives rave reviews from tourists and it  gets fully booked months before the festival. Be quick!

Official website: http://www.tinto-house.co.uk
Trip Advisor website: http://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/Hotel_Review-g190755-d196417-Reviews-or20-Tinto_House_B_B-Hay_on_Wye_Powys_Wales.html

57.

Tinto house Gardens and Bella's cafe

Tinto Gouse Gardens sculpture display

58.

Tiny pond, you can see green frogs swimming it it

Tiny pond, you can see green frogs swimming in it

59.

Flower patches

Flower patches

60.

Big picnic lawn serves as an outdoor art gallery

Big picnic lawn serves as an outdoor art gallery

We thought it will be a short review! Nearly 3.000 words and 60 pictures! Hay on Wye is an interesting place and there is always something here left to discover.

Will we see you in Hay AD 2015? We surely hope so!
Take care and come back soon. Doctor Who fans will not be disappointed!

Best wishes,
Rita and Malicia Dabrowicz

The cat collector or kat a log part 24

Ahoy kittens!

Meow to the lovely weather outside! What a joy is to finally have full fledged summer! Long days, warm nights, fighting for the territory at 3 am, singing at the top of your loungs – a true cat’s dream!

Kat-a-log team had a little break (we need holidays as well!) but we are coming back with an excellent summer collections of kittens, cats, strange felines, old companions and newcomers – everything in one splendid edition of your favorite cat-friendly collection!

A big thank you to all readers and visitors! Some friends of ours claim that Olympia and her cats will one day end up being featured on BBC’s show called “Collectaholics” but that would be too good to be true! If you know anyone working for British Broadcasting Corporation, please send them a link to our blog. We will buy you a beer! In the meantime, you can use the links below to read previous editions of  Kat-a-log:

Kat-a-log Part 1: https://cocamidemea.wordpress.com/2012/08/27/the-cat-collector-or-kat-a-log-part-1/
Kat-a-log Part 2: https://cocamidemea.wordpress.com/2012/09/07/the-cat-collector-or-kat-a-log-part-2/
Kat-a-log Part 3: http://cocamidemea.wordpress.com/2012/09/10/the-cat-collector-or-kat-a-log-part-3/
Kat-a-log Part 4: http://cocamidemea.wordpress.com/2012/11/14/the-cat-collector-or-kat-a-log-part-4/
Kat-a-log Part 5: http://cocamidemea.wordpress.com/2012/11/16/the-cat-collector-or-kat-a-log-part-5/
Kat-a-log Part 6: http://cocamidemea.wordpress.com/2012/12/03/the-cat-collector-or-kat-a-log-part-6/
Kat-a-log Part 7: http://cocamidemea.wordpress.com/2012/12/19/the-cat-collector-or-kat-a-log-part-7/
Kat-a-log Part 8: http://cocamidemea.wordpress.com/2013/01/02/the-cat-collector-or-kat-a-log-part-8/
Kat-a-log Part 9: http://cocamidemea.wordpress.com/2013/01/06/the-cat-collector-or-kat-a-log-part-9/
Kat-a-log Part 10: http://cocamidemea.wordpress.com/2013/02/14/the-cat-collector-or-kat-a-log-part-10/
Kat-a-log Part 11: http://cocamidemea.wordpress.com/2013/02/28/the-cat-collector-or-kat-a-log-part-11/
Kat-a-log Part 12: http://cocamidemea.wordpress.com/2013/03/19/the-cat-collector-or-kat-a-log-part-12/
Kat-a-log Part 13: http://cocamidemea.wordpress.com/2013/04/08/the-cat-collector-or-kat-a-log-part-13/
Kat-a-log Part 14: http://cocamidemea.wordpress.com/2013/05/03/the-cat-collector-or-kat-a-log-part-14/
Kat-a-log Part 15: http://cocamidemea.wordpress.com/2013/06/23/the-cat-collector-or-kat-a-log-part-15/
Kat-a-log Part 16: http://cocamidemea.wordpress.com/2013/06/29/the-cat-collector-or-kat-a-log-part-16/
Kat-a-log Part 17: http://cocamidemea.wordpress.com/2013/07/29/the-cat-collector-or-kat-a-log-part-17/
Kat-a-log Part 18: http://cocamidemea.wordpress.com/2013/08/22/the-cat-collector-or-kat-a-log-part-18/
Kat-a-log Part 19: http://cocamidemea.wordpress.com/2013/12/14/the-cat-collector-or-kat-a-log-part-19/
Kat-a-log Part 20: http://cocamidemea.wordpress.com/2013/12/24/the-cat-collector-or-kat-a-log-part-20/
Kat-a-log Part 21: http://cocamidemea.wordpress.com/2014/02/28/the-cat-collector-or-kat-a-log-part-21/
Kat-a-log Part 22: http://cocamidemea.wordpress.com/2014/04/07/the-cat-collector-or-kat-a-log-part-22/
Kat-a-log Part 23: http://cocamidemea.wordpress.com/2014/04/25/the-cat-collector-or-kat-a-log-part-23/

If you have anything to add, don’t forget to contact us at rdabrowicz@yahoo.com. We will be forever grateful for any information about makers, models or links. You get a full credit and Kat-a-log can be as precise as possible.

Now ladies and gents, please welcome today’s guests!

Kat-a-log Feline no.106
Three sides of a cat: How high, Fade to grey and My own reflection
Country of origin: UK, bought as a gift from Download Festival in June 2014

Hey kids rock and roll! The first cat in this edition of Kat-a-log, has been bought at Download festival in June 2014, just before the Linking Park concert and it is literally made of metal!  If you look closely, you will notice that this is not a figurine but kitten shaped picture frame! And the kitten is wearing a bow tie.  Bow ties are cool!

This beautiful and very cute frame is only 10 cm tall but weights quite a bit. A small, passport size photograph can be displayed inside, but caution is advised when the thin glass cover is removed. Rita nearly cut herself while trying to take it out! The frame was mass produced in Hong Kong and is distributed in the UK by Flame Homeware.

Official site: http://www.flamehomeware.com/rsm/5/about-flame-homeware
Flame of Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/flamehomeware

How high

How high

Fade to grey

Fade to grey

My own reflection

My own reflection

Kat-a-log Feline no.107
Three sides of a cat: Tree Trunk Hotel, This way, I know the short cut and There you are!
Country of origin: Ibiza, brought as a gift in July 2014

Kat-a-log kittens  no.107 and 108  can be purchased as a set or separately, that’s why we decided to give each cat its own number.
Let us introduce you to the gentleman first – this absolutely adorable Siamese cat is not a figurine but a pepper pot!  Designed by Sass and Belle of London (gift ware company), the pot can be refilled by removing a small plastic seal placed on the underside. The male cat is slightly bigger that the female and his measurements are 11 cm x 12cm x 8cm.

Tree trunk hotel

Tree trunk hotel

This way, I know the short cut

This way, I know the short cut

There you are!

There you are!

Kat-a-log Feline no.108
Three sides of a cat:Reaching up, Now you see me and now you don’t and Weekend out of town
Country of origin: Ibiza, brought as a gift in July 2014

The lady is a salt pot and just like her partner, it can be filled by removing the seal at the bottom of the figurine. Both kitten are made of  good quality ceramics and have a high gloss finish. Placed next to each other, the kittens are embracing in a very cute fashion that will melt your hearth. Placing them at your dinner table is highly recommended unless you have a real cat that likes to jump at the table. Both cats are very delicate and should be handled with care.

Reaching up

Reaching up

Weekend out of town

Weekend out of town

Now you see me and now you don't

Now you see me and now you don’t

And now both cats photographed together sitting at hand carved bench in Symonds Yat Park:

Three sides of a cat: Selfie!, Let’s dance and It’s better to be together

Despite being designed and made in the UK, both felines traveled a long way. They have been bought on the island of Ibiza by Rita’s friend who spent her holidays there in June 2014.  They were spotted in a gift shop at the hotel and acquired straight away. Now they are awaiting their ticket to Poland where they will be employed  in Olympia’s kitchen.

You don’t have to fly to Ibiza to purchase them. The set is available online at Sass and Belle official site:
http://www.sassandbelle.co.uk/product.php/4189/siamese-cat-salt—pepper-set
Sass and Belle on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sassandbelle

Selfie!

Selfie!

Let's dance

Let’s dance

It's better to be together

It’s better to be together

Kat-a-log Feline no.109
Three sides of a cat: Can I have a hug?, Pinball wizard and Rock and Roll kitten
Country of origin: Hereford, UK, bought in April 2013

Say hello to Buttons Kitten! One of the biggest plush mascots in Olympia’s collection. Buttons has been bought in April 2013 by Rita and currently resides in the UK. He is spending his days sitting on Rita’s bed and keeping Smudge company (described below). As you probably know, Rita had some problems with her thyroid and underwent an operation in October 2013. Buttons kitten was purchased in Hereford  Hospital after biopsy results proved to be quite bad. Luckily everything ended well and Rita is now fully cured and back in action. If you don’t feel well, a big black and white cat will keep your spirits up!

Buttons Kitten is still in production and can be purchased from the official website of Humatt Ltd and Perkins Group Services Ltd at:  http://www.buttonsbearandfriends.co.uk/products.php?id=16
Buttons on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Buttons-Bear/145488225471785

He comes in two colors (grey and black/white) and in four different sizes (small, medium, large and x-large). Rita is a proud owner of  extra large kitten, that measures 32 cm in length and weights 340 grams. His pictures have been taken during May Day 2013 celebration in Hereford.

Buttons Cat

Official picture of Buttons Kitten

Can i have a hug?

Can I have a hug?

Pinball wizard

Pinball wizard

Rock and Roll kitten

Rock and Roll kitten

Kat-a-log Feline no.110
Three sides of a cat: Garden Adventure, Stuck on Magnolia tree and Befriending a Bluebell
Official name: Smudge
Country of origin: Indonesia, bought as a gift on 14th of February 2012 in Hereford, UK

This beautiful fluffy kitten is an extremely important part of Kat-a-log.  He is one of the cats kept by Rita in the UK, but is still counted among Olympia’ menagerie. Rita remembers the day she was given the cat very well – it was 14th of February 2012 and the mascot had something wonderful attached to his left paw. A small blue box contained her engagement ring!!! Rita fell in love with Smudge straight away and he is sitting on her bed every single day. This is how you make a crazy cat lady happy: give her a ring and a cat :)

Smudge has been made in Indonesia for Keel Toys. He measures 30 cm in length (12″), weights 8 ounces, is made from super soft quality plush (as described by maker) and comes with European safety certificate and a name tag. Sadly, his line (Keel Toys Cats) is not longer continued but you can purchase Smudge on Ebay and Amazon without any difficulties. Smudge’s photo session was taken in Queenswood Country Park and Arboretum in Hereford and the magnolia tree he has climbed is Magnolia Atlas native to New Zealand.

Keel Toys website: http://www.keeltoys.com
Keel Toys on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Keel.Toys.Ltd

Official picture of Smudge by Keel Toys

Official picture of Smudge by Keel Toys

Garden adventure

Garden adventure

Stuck on Magnolia tree

Stuck on Magnolia tree

Befriending a Bluebell

Befriending a Bluebell

We hope you have enjoyed the 24th issue of Kat-a-log as much as we did writing it for you. It is always so much fun trying to remember where did we get the cats from and then investigating different leads online. We love collecting cat figurines and we dedicate a lot of our time and energy to make our hobby look professional and interesting for virtual passer by’s.

Please do us a favor guys and put out some water and food for stray cats (and any other animals too), especially in this hot weather.
This doesn’t cost anything but can save many lives! A big THANK YOU in advance!

x0x0x’s
Olympia and her faithful sidekicks: Rita+Mal

The Reading Hour – 12 (un)easy questions for Primadonna Angela

Selamat datang!

Welcome back to The Reading Hour! Sorry guys for not posting anything new in this column for so long, but we were quite busy with other stuff, mostly traveling to fascinating places and attending various events. Today, we have  something truly sensational for you, and we really mean it.  As far as we are concerned, nobody has ever done this thing before us and we are absolutely proud of ourselves!

Firstly, if you have missed previous editions of The Reading Hour, please use the links below to read interviews with superb authors like Nathan P Butler – Star Wars Community guru, and Jana Oliver – one of the most successful authors of YA fiction out there!

Interview with Nathan P Butler:
http://cocamidemea.wordpress.com/2014/03/18/the-reading-hour-15-uneasy-questions-for-nathan-p-butler/

Interview with Jana Oliver:
http://cocamidemea.wordpress.com/2014/03/24/the-reading-hour-15-uneasy-questions-for-jana-oliver/

Today’s issue of The Reading Hour is a very special one. By the popular demand, we have decided to report on Helen Stringer again. Helen has been featured on our blog twice already and it seems our readers just cannot get enough! Lots of things have changed since we last spoken to the lovely British author –  Helen’s independently published book “Paradigm” has been given a Silver Benjamin Franklin Independent Book Award in Teen: Fiction (13–18 Years) category (http://www.digitalbookworld.com/2014/ibpa-announces-benjamin-franklin-independent-book-awards/), she is working on several new projects including an online series named The Gloaming and third book in the beloved Spellbinder series.

Talking about Belladonna Johnson, she is now a global citizen! She has left her native England and went on to become a true sensation in France, Germany, Italy and now in Indonesia! Yes, you have heard it correctly – “The Last Ghost” is now known as “Sang Pengikat Mantra (Spellbinder)”.  How fantastic is that!

Please read the previous articles about Helen:

Interview with Helen Stringer:
http://cocamidemea.wordpress.com/2014/03/12/the-reading-hour-helen-stringer/

A Day with Helen Stringer:
http://cocamidemea.wordpress.com/2012/04/27/a-day-with-helen-stringer/

Thanks to the kindness of  Indonesian publisher of the book, Gramedia Pustaka Utama, we have sat down with the esteemed translator, editor and popular writer in her own right, Primadonna Angela to have a little chat. It was an absolute pleasure to talk to her – she is witty, funny and fascinating, all at once. Talking to Donna (as she prefers to be called) opened our eyes to the thriving Indonesian book market. Millions of books sold, thousands of dedicated fans, countless online book clubs and  social media groups dedicated to the newly punished titles. Indonesia has many talented writers, yet only handful of books are being released in the western world. Let’s hope that Helen will lead the revolution! And we cannot wait for Primadonna’s books being translated into English. Common British publishers, that’s the perfect opportunity for you. Remember, the bloggers are always right – we can find true gems long before you can :)

Primadonna Angela  - official portrait

Primadonna Angela – official portrait

Official bio:

Call her Donna or Angela, she might respond with a smile. This Indonesian writer divides her time juggling to make ends meet, writing, balancing her attention between her partner (Isman H. Suryaman) and children, managing the household, and of course, occasionally sipping earl grey tea to keep her sane. She has written twenty books so far, popular fiction, in Gramedia Pustaka Utama (GPU). Her newest book, How to be a Writer, was published in March 2012. Her passion for new experiences propels her to seek new chances to meet more people. Enthused for fresh inspirations, she longs to join multicultural events, collecting data and broadening her horizon.  She claims to be unique, independent and strong. She dreams and imagines a lot. “But what is love, and what is life, if you do not let yourself live?”

Please enjoy the first ever English language interview conducted with this immensely talented writer! Primadonna is not only an author of excellent books for young adults and female readers, she has also translated numerous foreign books into Indonesian including Laini Taylor’s best selling series “Dari Asap dan Tulang” (“Daughter of Smoke & Bone” #1), “Series of Unfortunate Events” by Lemony Snicket, “Pesta Prom dari Neraka” (“Prom Nights from Hell”) by Stephanie Meyer and many many others.

————————————————————

The Reading Hour – 12 (un)easy questions for Primadonna Angela 

Primadonna Angela

Primadonna Angela

Vanadian Avenue: Who is Primadonna Angela? Please introduce yourself to Vanadian Avenue readers.

Primadonna Angela: Hello. I am a full time mom and freelance writer/translator/editor from Indonesia. In my spare time (when I have any!) I like cooking, doing crafts, and traveling.

Vanadian Avenue: Tell us how did you become involved in translating Helen Stringer’s popular young adult novel?

Primadonna Angela: An editor in Gramedia Pustaka Utama (GPU) asked me whether I was interested in editing (the first four-five chapters) and translating the rest of this book. She was teasing me, I think. She knew I’d be interested. I love the cover and the premise. I agreed right away.

Vanadian Avenue: “Sang Pengikat Mantra (Spellbinder)” has been released by Gramedia Pustaka Utama and we need to admit that it looks simply beautiful. How long have you been working with them?

 

Helen Stringer's book was released in April 2014 in Indonesia! The full title is "Spellbinder Sang Pengikat Mantra"                                                                    You can purchase Indonesian version here: http://www.gramediaonline.com/moreinfo.cfm?Product_ID=876554 English version is available here: http://www.amazon.com/Spellbinder-Helen-Stringer/dp/B008D6Y450/

Helen Stringer’s book was released in April 2014 in Indonesia! The full title is “Spellbinder Sang Pengikat Mantra”
You can purchase Indonesian version here:
http://www.gramediaonline.com/moreinfo.cfm?Product_ID=876554
English version is available here:
http://www.amazon.com/Spellbinder-Helen-Stringer/dp/B008D6Y450/

Primadonna Angela: I’ve been working with GPU since 2005, when I published my first book. In 2007, I began translating and editing for them.

Vanadian Avenue: You have not only translated “Spellbinder” from English into Indonesian but also served as the book’s editor. Was it hard to translate a British book so it could be understood by Indonesian readers? Was there any particular part of the book that gave you a lot of trouble?

Primadonna Angela: I think the book was easy and fun enough to translate. I had some difficulties in translating Sibyl’s prophecy, because it should be poetic and yet include clues for Belladonna’s quest.

Vanadian Avenue:  Translators sometimes take liberty when approaching a book. This happens often to fantasy literature. French version of Harry Potter moved entire action to France. Some international translations of The Hobbit implied that Middle-earth was located in Ireland. Spellbinder takes place in the United Kingdom. Did you keep the original location or names? Wasn’t it tempting to give Belladonna an Indonesian passport and spice the story a bit with some local flavour?

Primadonna Angela: Definitely not. Indonesia and UK are very different. The location is still in UK, with original names. If Belladonna was Indonesian, the storyline would be changed dramatically. An Indonesian girl would behave and think differently.

Vanadian Avenue: The world of Bella is full of mystical creatures, magic spells and artifacts with strange names (like a sword called Rod of Gram). Some things will be lost in translation, especially when the public may not be familiar with British culture or folk tales. How did you solve this ultimate dilemma?

"Kotak Mimpi" released on 29th July 2013.  Meet Larissa Isabella, a singer/song writer extraordinaire.  Left at the altar years ago by her former fiance, Patrick, Larissa concentrated on her career with music producer Arya. But when Patrick  asks Larissa to write him a song for his new love, Noreen,  Larissa is dragged into the past she thought she left behind. And who is responsible for publishing online compromising pictures of her? Pictures she  doesn't recognize and  with a man she doesn't remember!  You can buy your copy here: http://www.amazon.com/Kotak-Indonesian-Edition-Primadonna-Angela/dp/9792297774

“Kotak Mimpi” released on 29th July 2013. Meet Larissa Isabella, a singer/song writer extraordinaire. Left at the altar years ago by her former fiance Patrick, Larissa concentrated on her career with music producer Arya. But when Patrick asks Larissa to write him a song for his new love Noreen, Larissa is dragged into the past she thought she left behind. And who is responsible for publishing online compromising pictures of her? Pictures she doesn’t recognize and with a man she doesn’t even remember! You can buy your copy here: http://www.amazon.com/Kotak-Indonesian-Edition-Primadonna-Angela/dp/9792297774

Primadonna Angela: I just translated it as is. I hope Indonesian readers, upon reading about Rod of Gram and other things, would be intrigued enough to at least Google some information about British culture and folk tales.

Vanadian Avenue:  Every reader (and every translator!) has a favourite character. Whose team are you on: Belladonna’s, Steve’s or maybe Doctor Ashe’s?

Primadonna Angela: Actually, I am Team Elsie. She might seem annoying and too perky, but I find her refreshing. You can say that perhaps I see a part of myself in her.

Vanadian Avenue: “Spellbinder” is the first book in Belladonna Johnson Adventure series. The second book is entitled “Midnight Gate” and Helen Stringer just recently started writing a third one. If the Indonesian edition proves to be successful, are you willing to translate others installments as well?

Primadonna Angela: Yes, of course. It would be fun to immerse myself in Belladonna’s universe again and again.

Vanadian Avenue: You are a popular writer yourself! Your official Good Reads profile mentions that you have published many young adult and girls novels to critical acclaim. Are your books available in English?

Primadonna Angela: Unfortunately, no. All of my stories are in Indonesian. However, I did put two or three English short stories in one of my short story collection.

"Pojok Lavender", published on April 22nd 2013.  Welcome to the Lavender Cafe! The best place in town for a hot chocolate, a slice of cake, new friendships, quarrels, heartbreak and romance.  Rosemary, Lavender, Cinnamon and Cherry - four young women, four stories, four lives entwined and one place, the Lavender Cafe.  Order your copy here: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17623169-pojok-lavender

“Pojok Lavender”, published on April 22nd 2013. Welcome to the Lavender Cafe! The best place in town for a hot chocolate, a slice of cake, new friendships, quarrels, heartbreak and romance. Rosemary, Lavender, Cinnamon and Cherry – four young women, four stories, four lives entwined in a single place, the Lavender Cafe. Order your copy here: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17623169-pojok-lavender

Vanadian Avenue: First love, compassion, fighting against the odds and finding one’s way in the world are recurring themes in your books. Where do you find inspiration for your novels?

Primadonna Angela: This might sound cliché, but it’s true. Inspirations might come from anything. And also from my own (and my friends’) personal struggles. Sometimes I had this dream and I wrote it down. Then once or twice I overheard a conversation that piqued my interest. Maybe I read a book or some news, and I thought, hey, what if… supposing this happened like that, what would happen? See, when you’re a writer, you develop this habit of filtering whatever you hear/taste/feel/see/smell into into ideas for your stories. I am lucky because I have a very trustworthy idea/writing buddy. His name is isman h. suryaman (he prefers his name to be written this way, like e.e. cummings) and he is my partner in life. He is also a writer and whenever we banter and exchange words, I am bound to get an inspiration or two. A bit about my reason to write. I was not a popular teenager. I considered myself a bit reclusive and melancholic. I had a difficult time growing up. I was different. When you are a teen, I guess you have this need to conform and be a part of the group. I never felt that I belonged anywhere. Books became my consolation. I read to escape, and to heal myself. I became a better person, more relaxed and fun, because of books. I believe in the cycle of life. I took, now is my turn to give. By writing for teenagers and young adults, I hope to humor and instill hope to them. This is just a phase, reach your dreams when you can, and believe me, things will be better if you strive for better future.

"Dunia Aradia", second edition. First Published in 2009 and published again on  May 26th 2014 by Grasindo. You can order copy here: http://www.amazon.com/Aradia-Indonesian-Edition-Primadonna-Angela/dp/602251519X

“Dunia Aradia”, second edition. First Published in 2009 and re-published again on May 26th 2014 by Grasindo. You can order copy here: http://www.amazon.com/Aradia-Indonesian-Edition-Primadonna-Angela/dp/602251519X

"Dunia Aradia" back cover. The title can be translated as  "Aradia's World".  This is a tale of a modern day witch who tries to maintain two separate lives: the one among humans where she works as a translator and the supernatural one as the Queen of the Witches. Soon she will have to make an ultimate sacrifice, but is she ready to do it?

“Dunia Aradia” back cover. The title can be translated as “Aradia’s World”. This is a tale of a modern day witch who tries to maintain two separate lives: the one among humans where she works as a translator and the supernatural one as the Queen of the Witches. Soon she will have to make an ultimate sacrifice, but is she ready to do it?

Vanadian Avenue: Indonesian book market seems to be huge. Internet groups dedicated to new releases have thousands of members yet only few Indonesian novels are available to Europeans readers. Can you name any authors that we should be on the look out for? What books in your opinions should be translated into English?

Primadonna Angela: I recommend reading books written by Ahmad Tohari. He writes about regular Indonesians and their dilemmas. His works are rich in local flavor. I believe Agustinus Wibowo’s books should be translated into English. He writes about his experiences abroad, in remote and difficult places like Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan. His books are about journey and self-discovery.

Vanadian Avenue: Any plans for the future? What are you working on now? Is there anything you’d like to tell your new European fans?

Primadonna Angela: My plan is to write more manuscripts! I have been planning to write books for children and perhaps a recipe book or two, but they are long-term projects. Right now, I am revising my newest manuscript (a fiction about friendship between an Indonesian and a Japanese), writing another book (marketed for adults), translating a book, editing a YA fantasy book, and reading proof for a YA fantasy book. I hope one day I’ll be able to write a book that European readers will enjoy!

Vanadian Avenue: Thank you very, very much for answering all those questions!

Primadonna Angela: Thank you as well :)

"QuertyPita" published in 2007, 2012 and recently on 15th of May 2014.  Two worlds collide: Querty is a world famous musician who wishes he was poor. Pita is a struggling young artist and she wishes to be rich. One fateful day to fall in love and a whole world of music and problems! Based on a real story (Donna's parents!)   Order your copy here: http://www.amazon.com/Query-Pita-Indonesian-Primadonna-Angela/dp/979223392X

“QuertyPita” first published in 2007, 2012 and recently re-published on 15th of May 2014. Two worlds collide: Querty is a world famous musician who wishes he was poor. Pita is a struggling young artist and she wishes to be rich. One fateful day to fall in love and a whole world of music and problems! Based on a true story (Donna’s parents!) Order your copy here: http://www.amazon.com/Query-Pita-Indonesian-Primadonna-Angela/dp/979223392X

 

Useful links:

Helen:

Official site: http://helenstringer.net/site.html
Facebook:https://www.facebook.com/hcstringer
Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCoQSE7pU1jrLmn93L1L8Smg
Twitter: https://twitter.com/hcstringer
Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Helen-Stringer/e/B001JSFBY2
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1463193.Helen_Stringer

Primadonna:

Official Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/primadonnaangela
Official Twitter: https://twitter.com/cinnamoncherry
Official Twitter fan-club (aka “Angeliers”): https://twitter.com/angeliers_id 
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/621891.Primadonna_Angela
Wikipedia entry (in Indonesian): http://id.wikipedia.org/wiki/Primadonna_Angela
Donna’s official blog (in English): http://vervain.blogspot.co.uk/
Primadonna on Amazon! http://www.amazon.co.uk/Primadonna-Angela/e/B00J7TEK92

Writing is a family affair! Please also check out Donna’s partner, Isman H. Suryaman:

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/600538.Isman_H__Suryaman
Official blog: http://the-fool-found-a.blogspot.co.uk/
Official Twitter: https://twitter.com/ismanhs

Gramedia Pustaka Utama (Publisher):

Official website: http://www.gramediapustakautama.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/Gramedia
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/GramediaPublisher
Spellbinder on Twitter: https://twitter.com/Gramedia/status/454177723577942016

Rita and Mal would like to thank to Gramedia Pustaka Utama for their support and assistance.
We would also like to thank Helen Stringer for her continuous hard work, and of course the lovely Primadonna Angela, the main heroine of this article – without you nothing of this would be possible.

If you’d like to contact Helen of Primadonna, please send us an email  to rdabrowicz@yahoo.com and we will pass all questions, inquiries, fan-mail and everything else to both wonderful ladies.

Have a good weekend folks,

Selamat tinggal!
xxx
Rita and Malicia Dabrowicz