Geekery in London

by Kelly Dillon

And the Creator looked down upon the world and saw that it was good, and he said, 'Let the geeks flourish upon the earth and let them gather in a place called London, for there shall be made all things good and holy for them to partake. And it was so.'

I have it on the best authority that the above was pretty much how it happened. Don't believe me? Come along to London and find out. If you're a bored geek in London then it's time you moved out of your parent's basement, stopped looking at the world through a computer screen, and took a great big dive into society. It's not as scary as you think, not when there are so many others with similar interests and hobbies.

I used to live in Brisbane, Australia - a tiny city by pretty much anyone's standards. Back then my idea of a big weekend was to have my neighbour over for a movie, maybe order a pizza. If we were really feeling in the mood to party there might be popcorn involved, but let's not get too crazy now. Then I moved to England and a few days later found myself wandering lost and over-awed amid thousands of other geeks in Earl's Court, the annual London Film and Comic Con. While there I met Claudia Black, saw Patrick Stewart (wasn't game to meet him - now a lot more confident and kicking myself), several from 'Aliens', 'Indiana Jones', and too many more to name. I wasn't completely ignorant of the existence of these things called conventions, it's just that back in Australia our big names were "The guy who played the father of the main guy in that show that isn't very good." Oh, and the car from 'Dukes of Hazard' - the crappy new version, not the potentially less crappy old series. Sci-fi, I've often said, is treated with nothing close to due deference in Australia, with most shows playing around midnight, if at all. Despite being filmed in Australia, the 4th season of 'Farscape' has apparently never aired.

So I really didn't know what I had coming for me when I moved to London.

At the aforementioned Film and Comic Con I was pounced upon by someone advertising a local sci-fi group. I was initially a little wary 'cause I'd attempted assimilating into a fan group back in Brisbane and the few get togethers ever held bore a such stunning resemblance to the real life geek meeting shown in 'The Guild' that it made the idea of socialising with other geeks a bit of a scary one. (And for anyone who doesn't get the Felicia Day reference, shame on you, go and complete your geek education by watching 'The Guild' ). But I gave it a go and have never looked back, the League of the Non Aligned (LOTNA) taking me under their wing and essentially becoming an instant group of friends.

I want to encourage others out there to embrace their inner geek and indulge in all manner of geekery (yes, it's a word, I declare it to be so…). While the internet has its place, so much of life is missed out on if we spend our time in forums or podcasts. My social life now includes regular pub meets, live action role play, sci-fi themed stand up comedy, costumed 'Away Teams', fan-run conventions, sci-fi theatre (yes, it exists, I was surprised too), just to name a few. If there's something sci-fi on in the city we're usually all over it, and if there's nothing on, we'll make something. 99% of my greatest experiences since moving here come from being with LOTNA, and the group's been going strong since 1998 so they must be doing something right.

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