Tuesday, 1 May 2012


It's funny the things we take our inspiration from. Some people seem to have this boundless energy and this limitless supply of creative passion that fuels them towards their goals, other people sit back on their laurels and watch the world go by. Today I was definitely the latter of the two...

...then tonight, BAM! This sudden urge to write, to draw, to play music. Having enough experience to know that rushes of enthusiasm like this are not to be knocked I grabbed a pen and started drafting storyline and sub plots for Empire book 3 (Yes I know ive only just sent books 1 and 2 away but like I said, dont knock the rush!)

It was only after I had spent a very productive two hours that I began to wonder where it had came from, this sudden desire to do something other than nothing. That strange impulse when I know im going to be in the zone, when the writing and the music has me Spellbound - then it hit me. Spellbound.

For those who don't know, I am hands down, the biggest fantasy geek I know (quite possibly the biggest one you know too!). From LOTR to FF7, D&D to WoW, Feist to Pratchett I love it ALL. Anything where someone can let their minds run riot, where impossibility is just impossible, where reality and dreams merge and swell encouraging people to think outside the box and challenge the conventional way of thinking that is 'The Norm' is 'A' ok in my book. And fantasy allows for just that, a release from reality and escape into a world of possibility.

A long time ago, in a shop far far away (well...it was actually in Anniesland, and I think its still there...but it does sun tans now. Well I use the words 'sun tan' very loosely because I think people tend to look more like Oompah Lumpah's but that is going off on a tangent...) Now where was I? Oh yeah, Arena Games.

My uncle was, and I would imagine still is a fan of lord of the rings, and when the movies came out so did a card game which I was instantly hooked on (though not very good at.) It involved compiling resources, casting spells, killing Balrog's etc etc. And eventually the card game led me to Arena Games where I discovererd several things:

1) I am not the only fantasy geek I know (there are actually lots of us, so be warned...we're coming up!)
2) There were adults with imaginations too (I was young at the time and TBH, thought grown ups were boring old farts, in some cases I wasnt wrong :P)
3) Most importantly, or rather, most enjoyably I discovered MTG. Or Magic The Gathering for those not cool enough to know the TCG lingo.

For years I played this game, up and down the country we travelled. Team Poch'l FTW. It was similar to Lord of the Rings but it took fantasy to a whole new level. I genuinely believe that MTG has influenced me in alot of ways with regards to my fantasy writing, and that Arena games played a role in me meeting other people interested in the genre. And then the shop shut, and I stopped playing.

A little over a fortnight ago I was on one of my many YouTube binges and was in the process of hitting the 'Skip this ad now' button when I noticed it was for MTG Online. Given that I was off, and bored and i had already watched the video where the dog attacks the printer I decided to download the online version and see how it went.

To cut a long story short, I pretty much lost a week of my life between catching up with all the new rules and MENTAL combinations that people are running. It did however spark my desire to play again and I ran a search and found a pre-release in Pollokshields East. Loaded the FB page to find it was run by Joao Madeira, a former Team Poch'l Deck Tech legend and regular at Arena games, and I pre-registered.

I had a great weekend. It turns out that Joao has been running this for almost a decade, catering to all sorts of niches within the fantasy market. More than just the fact that the tournament was well run, there was a genuine sense of 'belonging' within the building. Joao knew everyone by name and laughed and joked with them constantly. I later discovered that after almost ten years of running this facility that Joao is opening up a shop. Hes taking a risk, following a dream...grabbing life (pardon my french) by the balls! And so Spellbound Games is born.

So after all my pondering about what sparked my own enthusiasm, it came down to this. Seeing someone take a shot at one of their dreams, encouraged me to keep at one of mine.

It goes to show that sometimes the best thing for our own ambitions, is to see someone else achieving theirs.

All the best to Joao and his new business venture. I for one will be at the store drafting MTG as often as I can.

If you want to visit the man (minus the dreadlocks) the new shop is at:

82 Bowman Street, Glasgow, G42 8LF (2 mins away from Queens Park Station)

Ill definitely be hitting the shop on the 20th (after my *cough* boob job *cough* which there will be another update about at the weekend)

But for now,
Peace out,

Keep on dreaming folks!


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