Tuesday, 6 November 2012

*SPOILER ALERT* 2.8 Hours Later in full

Before I even begin this post, I have detailed exactly what happened to us when we played 2.8 Hours Later, from start to finish and everything in between.  If you are yet to play in London and don't want the surprise to be ruined for yourself, then DO NOT READ THIS POST.  I am not responsible for ruining it for you if you haven't taken my advice!

I am sure if you follow me on Twitter you will know that lately I have gone a bit mental over the whole Halloween/scary stuff/zombie apocalypse thing, what with Derren Brown getting his mind fuck on and the fact I did 2.8 HOURS LATER AT THE WEEKENDMonday morning was slightly more intolerabe than usual, for the sheer fact that after running from zombies for 2 hours on Saturday night I now need to be carried up stairs and cannot cross my legs without yelping in pain and going a bit light headed.  Perhaps I should head to the gym more.

Anyway, if you DON’T know what 2.8 Hours Later is then crawl out from underneath your tiny wet rock and sit down here – i’m about to tell you a story.

2.8 Hours Later is the brain child of a company called Slingshot, who have obviously been so inspired by the brilliant zombie films 28 Days Later and 28 Weeks Later that they decided to create their own zombie apocalypse re-enactment.  It’s basically a big zombie chase game beginning at a random start location where you are handed a map and a grid reference.  You then have to get from checkpoint to checkpoint picking up grid references at each one to get you to the next zone.  Trying to read a map while outwitting zombies that are trying to ‘infect’ you along the way  is HARD – if you make it, you wind up at the zombie disco where you either celebrate as a survivor having not been ‘bitten’ by a zombie, or covered in fake blood and transformed into one of the brain dead flesh eaters themselves.  All sounds ace doesn’t it?  Here’s a rundown of the night... 

All smiles before we set off....
Our start location was a car park next to Blackwall station.  We signed disclaimers, were briefed on what to do, reminded of the health and safety issues and handed our maps.  Amidst lots of nervous giggling we were sent on our way and ran straight into a woman who gave us the first grid location for the next checkpoint and pointed us down to a subway...  Once inside we were confronted with 3 zombies and instantly the adrenaline kicked in - we all legged it through and luckily enough made it out alive...

Next up we went to one of the scariest locations throughout the entire game, an empty shipping yard with the big shipping containers piled up roughly 3 / 4 stories high.  We had to walk through the yard to a container at the end and it was SO DARK.  Inside there was an actor who scared us by acting mental and generally just being badass and I personally was terrified that zombies were going to run into this tiny container and EAT US ALIVE.  Luckily for us he just gave us the reference, sniffed my friends hair and told us to leave - we all ran out screaming like massive girls, but he didn't set any zombies on us and we were SAFE.

We walked for about 5 mins before we came across the next location, which was a multi storey car park.  A group had gone in just before us so we had to wait for a few minutes which totally didn’t help my nerves as we could hear the zombie moans and screams from the players while we were waitingsqueaky bum time.  We then walked up the stairs to level 9 (knackered) where we met a man who told us we had to go down to level 7 to get him some sweets as his blood sugar level was low.  I tried the whole “ok let’s take the stairs” trick but was DENIED.  The zombies were on the level below and were eyeing us up as we were talking, so we knew this was going to be carnage There were 4 zombies in green scrubs (normal) and then 1 special super zombie in purple scrubs who was literally the FASTEST ZOMBIE ON THE PLANET.    We took a deep breath, crossed our fingers and all ploughed down the ramp and for a second I thought I might actually be quite good at this.  I was ducking and diving and outwitting the walking dead I was practically Jill from Resident Evil.  This was short-lived though, because literally 3 seconds later I followed Rik down what we thought was a ramp, only for it to be a dead end.  I turned around and a zombie grabbed me and dargged me into the corner, marking my hand and getting zombie blood all over my nice Primark t shirt.  I managed to get away and sprinted faster than Usain Bolt up the ramp to safetyI totally forgot about the sweets but luckily another member of my team managed to grab them, so we handed them to the bloke and made a swift exit out the opposite set of stairs, flying down them 5 at a time in case the zombies burst through the door and chased us down the stairwell.  We made it out onto the street intact, but this set me up on a massive freak out session that this was going to be the scariest thing I had ever done and I would actually have a heart attack before the night was through...

Car Park zombies - eeek!

The zombie that caught me!
We continued walking and came across a short flight of stairs down into a subway, which housed a woman tramp (dressed like one, not just my opinion) who told us that we had to climb the stairs at the other end and find her a ‘glowing leaf’.  We were all a bit apprehensive so sent Jamie, the only member of our team who hadn’t been bitten in the car park up first (logic?).  We found the leaf and were clear of any zombies, so proceeded back to the woman to give it to her.  She then gave us our next grid reference and we were on our way.

Cue the scariest point of the night, the most shit-inducing checkpoint of them all... We saw the warden, noticed the park behind him and we were all instantly on edge.  I noticed there was a concrete path running around the park and my heart rate increased by about 10,000 beats per second when I looked onto the (pitch black) grass and could make out the silhouettes of zombies waiting to eat our brains.  As we edged reluctantly away from the marshall, a girl and a boy near us asked if they could join our group as their group had just run and left them and they didn’t fancy tackling the entire park on their own.  We agreed and as we huddled together to discuss tactics, the boy suddenly lifted his sleeve up revealing a big zombie bit mark and started twitching, groaning and changing into a zombieI honestly came close to having a prolapse.  I ran full pelt like a headless chicken in the wrong direction, straight into a marshall who was manically shouting at me to run INTO THE PITCH BLACK DARK PARKI edged my way around the grass sticking to the path (where I seemed to be safe), half jogging half crying until I caught up with the others who were standing around a woman behind a gate who would give us our next grid referenceWe all stopped for a second to take a breather, before she started screaming that we in fact WEREN’T safe on the path and we had to head for a white tent in the middle of the grass which the zombies couldn’t enter.  I turned, in slow motion (unintentionally) just in time to see 3 zombies hurtling towards us faster than Felix Baumgartner on a skydiveWe ran for the white tent and once inside I am not ashamed to say that I actually started full on freaking out, wondering if i’d be able to let off a flare and charter a helicopter to swoop in and save me from the walking dead.  NO such luck.  In the end we all ran and I (somehow) managed to get out of the park without being caught, but definitely taking at least 2 months off my life in the process...

Next we recovered slightly and ran headlong into a guy who was distraught that he’d spilt his tic tacs all over the floor.  Apparently his friend up ahead was convinced the answer to infection lied in tic tac form, so we had to collect these and take them to him.  The tics tacs were scattered over the road, and as we made our way we encountered zombies jumping out of bushes and hiding behind bus stops (but we weren’t chased, thank the LORD – I would have run head first into a bus for sure).    Finally, the end was in sight.  Just 1 more checkpoint and then we were free.  The last one consisted of a game of zombie bulldog, running to retrieve ‘the cure’ through a hoard of zombies and bringing it back safe and sound.  The guy who wanted the tic tacs rewarded us with playing the harmonica while we ran through the zombies – once the harmonica stopped playing, the zombies came to life, trying to stop us from getting the cure back Everyone that ran got the cure (I sat this one out as I didn’t want the cure, I wanted the zombie make up – not because I was scared or anything). 

Please excuse the poor picture, this was zombie bulldog!
We then made our way into the safe zone where we were scanned for infection and dealt with accordingly.  One of our team, Jamie, managed to get through the entire thing without being caught.  Andrea was also clear of infection thanks to using the cure.  The rest of us were infected and had our zombie make up done, before heading towards the bar for a much needed cigarette and cider.  The zombie disco ensued, they had a Wii set up where you could play House of the Dead, an eclectic playlist comprising of the best scary songs (think the Psycho theme tune, ghostbusters theme tune, thriller etc) and lots of alcohol on tap.  My sister and I also participated in a “Best Zombie Competition” which involved screaming the words “brains” like a zombie, and being paired up with a survivor and trying to bite them.  I was the only zombie to successfully bite my survivor, but I didn’t hear the instruction for the screaming part, so just shouted down the microphone instead of screaming “brains”.  Oops.

Post infection

Zombie DJ!

All in all it was a brilliant night.  I have a fear of people chasing me anyway, even people I know so it was always going to be terrifying for me.  The rest of my team are slightly braver so didn’t find it as distressing but agreed it was well put together and they had a great time doing it.  It was a shame that in between zones there were no zombies jumping out or chasing you down the street etc, but we understood that the Isle of Dogs is a busy place and this would have been an epic breech of healthy and safety.  The best part was the park because it was bloody dark and utterly terrifyingso dark that you couldn’t make out who was zombie and who was survivor, who was your team and who wasn’t - I came close to a mental breakdown in the tentI wanted to film some of it but every time I pulled my iPhone out of my pocket I shit myself too much to actually stand still long enough to take a picture, so ended up just spazzing around the checkpoints half sobbing and clutching my phone for dear life.

All in all a brilliant night and next year we want to come back and actually be the zombies – it looked like brilliant fun and is perfect for me as there will be nothing for me to poo my pants over! 

Big thanks to Slingshot, all the volunteers, zombies, health and safety wardens and actors on the night – you were all brilliant!

Survivors vs Zombies

Friday, 2 November 2012

Movember: Anything other than bad

Today marks the start of Movember, and those of you that know me will know how pleased I am about this.

I have had a moustache obsession for quite some time.  I have moustaches hats, rings, necklaces, a clock, a jumper, a t shirt – my friends sometimes even label it a Morshtache, because I love them so.  I love them on ANYTHING, but especially men.  Men with moustaches and beards, yes please.  You can imagine my delight when Movember then came along and suddenly the world became a brighter place.  Men were actively trying to grow moustaches, and not just for fun – for a worthy cause.  Fair enough by the end of the month the office looked like a criminal’s version of Guess Who, but people got sponsored and raised money for charity.  It doesn’t harm anyone, quite the opposite.

So you can imagine my surprise when I came across THIS douche worthy article from the Happiest Person in the World, Brendan O’Neill (who writes for the Telegraph).  After I had got over the initial shock of realising this controversial piece of drivel wasn’t taking pride of place on the Daily Mail homepage, I just tried to work out what Brendan’s aim was with this article.  I still haven’t worked it out 2 hours later.

There are a few lines Brendan has written that have just confused the actual fuck out of me.  Here are some of my favourites:

“God I hate Movember.  Not only because growing a ‘tache for cancer encourages men to make a big, hairy, public display of their caring, charitable side”

OH GOD FORBID BRENDAN, GOD FORBID MEN SHOULD PUT DOWN THEIR CLUBS AND STOP BEATING THEIR CHESTS LONG ENOUGH TO DO SOMETHING WORTH WHILE.  I have never heard of a men’s charitable, caring side being used as something negative.  How is it in any way shape or form negative?

“Movember has ruined the moustache.  In the past, men grew moustaches to demonstrate their masculinity, but now we are growing them to show we are “in touch” with our bodies and feelings and that we are “health aware”

I don’t get this at all.  First things first, last time I checked woman didn’t grow full on handlebar moustaches.  It’s not possible.  SO, growing a moustache is still showing your masculinity, as it’s something a male can do and a woman, physically and socially, cannot.  Next, I can’t see why it’s a problem to show that men are in touch with their bodies, feelings and being health aware.  Movember isn’t asking you to cellotape your nuts to your gooch and wear a pink tutu whilst crying over the Strictly Come Dancing eviction show.  It’s just trying to create awareness for men’s cancers, and hopefully raise a bit of cash towards it.  IT’S NOT A BIG DEAL.

“apparently blokes have a problematic “it’ll be alright” attitude which leads to a “reluctance” to openly discuss “health issues”

It’s not really what Brendan said at this point, it’s the way he said it.  All the quotation marks show that he is saying this in a sarcastic way, like he doesn’t believe this is the case at all, like it’s just something some vegetarian tree hugging woman came up with as a way to discredit men.  I would say 90% of males I have come across definitely have this attitude towards health problems, and do think things will be ok and just go away on their own.  Most men I know refuse to even take a bloody paracetamol when they have a headache, as it’s not manly to require assistance from medicines or doctors when feeling unwell.  So now, you are saying that Movember is taking away men’s masculinity, but also saying it’s a stereotype that men are too masculine to ask for help when ill.  Make your mind up please.

I am going to stop with the list here as I have just come across probably the most damaging sentence of the entire article, and one that I can’t believe he put in after everything he had written above it.  He actually wrote...

“What this uber-patronising campaign overlooks is that if young men really do have an “it’ll be alright” attitude, that’s because it probably will be alright”.

Wow.  Let’s hope Brendan never comes across anyone with any symptoms of anything more deadly than a cold, because his “it’ll be alright” attitude might just enable them to meet their end a lot quicker than nature intended.  You can’t go through life thinking “oh I have a massive lump in my balls, but you know what, it’ll be alright” or “oh this feels weird and I don’t know what it is, but I think it’ll be alright”.  Sorry, Movember isn’t patronising, it isn’t saying “OH HI LOOK AT YOU, YOU ARE SO CUTE COME AND GROW A LITTLE FURRY MOUSTACHE AND LET’S ALL TALK ABOUT IT AND THEN CARESS EACH OTHER’S NUT SACKS BECAUSE WE ARE ALL HAPPY WITH BEING FEMININE”.  Movember is saying let’s all have fun, let’s all do something easy and let’s all be more aware about men’s health.   There are women specific charities and fundraisers (the entire breast cancer awareness campaign is mostly aimed at women, even though this is something men can suffer from), but this is the only men centred charity.  I cannot fathom how this is a bad thing.

My final parting advice is to ignore Brendan.  If you want to participate in Movember, then do it.  If you don’t want to participate, then don’t.  It’s not the crime of the century if you aren’t interested, but don’t belittle other people that are actively raising money and awareness about men’s health.  I’d be interested to know if Brendan ever found himself in the midst of a situation where he does find a weird lump, or feel a bit like something’s not right, if he’ll just ignore it to save his masculinity. 

Remember Brendan, you might think this is all a load of stupid rubbish, but there’s no masculinity in death.

To learn more about Movember, check out their website here:  http://uk.movember.com/about/

If you are actively supporting Movember and would like to donate some money, a few of my lovely Twitter followers are participating.  Sponsor them here: http://uk.movember.com/team/556349