Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Welly-moot 0.7 (Jan 25, 2012)

I'd been trying unsuccessfully to meet up with a few people over the past few weeks, and had thought of a better way - I set up an impromptu Welly-moot meeting instead. It was supposed to be three or four people, it ended up being eleven!

The meeting format was the same as the moots before - turn up, greet, get acquainted, buy coffee and cake, and catch up on Tolkienish things.

As you can see, we achieved the goals with ease!

From left - Kumi, Alex (for once not taking the photo!) & me, Martyn, Rachel, Kris, and Judy. Missing are Shu (taking the photo), Rebecca & Peter, and Honey

Rachel and Judy had been travelling through the country, and Honey is temporarily a Wellington citizen. Kumi has been to a few of the meetings already. Martyn had been in touch with me via email to discuss Tolkien stuff in the past, and Kris and I needed to get together again to discuss the running of the Moots.

Was a fun afternoon, and more successful than my two-day planning would suggest!

  - Jack

Monday, January 16, 2012

The Middle-earth Song (by Fortinbras Proudfoot)

After the Dec 22 (2012) Welly-moot, Peter Kenny from the Fortinbras Proudfoot Esq. Foundation sent me another song to use on this website. Peter (aka Fortinbras Proudfoot) had earlier recited one of his poems for our group - here is another one (reprinted here with his permission):

The Middle-earth Song:
By Fortinbras Proudfoot
Tune: "I'm a Believer".

I thought Middle-earth was only in my dreams,
A land found in books and movies;
That has now all changed,
I've travelled to a land;
Imagination's now reality.

I travelled that land;
There's no more dreaming.
Through Middle-earth;
And places so real.
I'm amazed....Yeh!
No more dreaming,
There's no dreaming anymore.

First we toured down to Bibo's Hobbiton.

Then off to Mount Doom and Mordor.
Walked Emyn Muil ;
Sat by Gollum's Stream.
Saw the mighty River Anduin;

We entered Rivendell the Elven realm;
And magical Lothlorien.
Wore the Elven Cloak;
We "Got off the Road";
And strolled through Gardens of Isengard.

In the South we climbed up to Edoras;

Travelled across the Rohan plains.
On the Pelennor,
Charged across the fields,
Like the bravest horsemen from Rohan.

Our road led to Fangorn and Amon Hen,

And even to the Wizard's Vale;
The Ford of Bruinen,
Mighty Argonath,
With the Misty Mountains all around.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Wellington's own Tolkien group - finally!

Welcome to the official blog of Wellington's very own Tolkien group, Welly-moot. It's been years in coming, but here it finally is. We're now officially affiliated to the UK's Tolkien Society, making us a real "Smial".

Tolkien's works have inspired many people around the world into creativity. Of course, Wellington has a few people who have taken that to extremes, so it seemed an unnatural situation to me that we did not yet have a Tolkien Society or Smial here in town. With this group, we hope to correct that!

The purpose of this group is to bring together people in Wellington who are interested in discussing the works of Tolkien in an informal setting. There's no tests, no grades, no "inner circles of wizardry", and no necessity to memorise parts of the Silmarillion. If your only interest lies in gazing deep into the eyes of Orlando Bloom's version of Legolas then I'm sure we can accommodate that - however if you know the answer to whether Balrogs have wings or not, then we're the group to come to also. Really, Tolkien is the red thread between us all, and we're keen to come together and celebrate his life's works.

We propose to meet every two months, on approximately the last Sunday of the even numbered months. So, this year's schedule is as follows:
  • February 26th, 2:00pm at the Embassy Cinema
  • April 29th, 2:00pm at the Embassy Cinema
  • July 1st, 2:00pm at the Embassy Cinema (*Note the new date!)
  • August 26th, 2:00pm at the Embassy Cinema
  • October 28th, 2:00pm at the Embassy Cinema
  • December 30th, 2:00pm at the Embassy Cinema
Watch this space though - there may be changes to this later as everything is in flux currently.

I'm currently setting up a Welly-moot presence on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ as well, and in he next few weeks I'll be linking them to this blog. Generally, this blog will be the main page for news, although Facebook tends to carry a lot of our online discussions. Join them all, they're all free!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Mushrooms (by Fortinbras Proudfoot)

At the December 22 (2011) Welly-moot, we were visited by Peter Kenny from the Fortinbras Proudfoot Esq. Foundation. Peter (aka Fortinbras Proudfoot) recited one of his poems for our group (reprinted here with his permission):

By Fortinbras Proudfoot
Four hobbit lads set out.
The air it made them shiver,
The moon was just a sliver.

There was no one about.
They crept along the hedgerow,
Staying quiet and keeping low.

A strange noise in the night.
An old owl in a tree top,
Had startled them to a stop.

Lights shining through the trees.
The farmer's house was alight,
But their goal was now in sight.

So little time to pick.
There were mushrooms all around.
The youngsters grabbed all they found.

Bark!... Bark!
The farm dogs were awake.
Four Hobbit lads took to flight,
Running quickly through the night.

Run!... Run!
This wasn't so much fun.
Racing frightened down the lane,
Safely home they hoped to gain.

Hip!... Hooray!
"We whistled all the way.
Found the mushrooms in the park,
And bravely walked in the dark.
Nothing frightened us at all!"
Well, that's the story they told to all.

Welly-moot 0.6 (Dec 22, 2011)

(originally published on the NZ Noldor Blog)

It's almost 11:00pm, and I just got back from the Embassy Cinema in Wellington, where the 6th Welly-moot just took place. It was the second meeting in the last month - the previous meeting wasn't quite as well attended as I'd hoped, but this one made up for it. All in all I think there were 14 people there, and a lot of business was discussed.

Clockwise from me in the green shirt - Peter Kenny, Todd Rippon, Astrid, Erica, Kris, Viviane, Sven, Kim, Mervi, and Paul. The others joined later.

Apart from myself and my beautiful wife, we met up with Mervi from Finland, and Kris who is living here in the Wellington region. Mervi represented the two Finnish Tolkien Societies, while Kris and I are halfway through setting up the Wellington one (but more on that later). New Zealander Erica from joined soon afterwards, and then Peter Kenny (Australian's Brisbane Tolkien Appreciate Society) and Astrid (Austria's Tyrol Tolkien Smial) came in as well. Peter and Astrid joined me on a LOTR tour yesterday, in fact they are both interviewed on the TVNZ News segment about our reaction to the new Hobbit Trailer. Peter has also written about our meeting on his own blog.

Also in attendance were Paul from the UK, Brendon and his partner from Australia, and three lost backpackers I found on the side of the hill during yesterday's tour, Viviane, Sven and Kim.

If that lineup wasn't special enough yet, we had a ANOTHER special guest for the evening - Todd Rippon also joined us, and he spoke about his time as an Oliphaunt rider, and his ultimate demise at the hands of that cruel elf, Legolas (but "that still only counts as one!").

Todd had some exclusive photos from his time on the set, which unfortunately I can't reproduce here but were enjoyed by all present (so attend next time!).

During the evening, Peter Kenny also recited some of his Hobbit poetry, which went down a treat, as did the cake and the ice coffees.

Other business of course included a discussion about the new Hobbit Trailer released yesterday. I "happened" to have it with me - it's downloadable from after all, and my iPad 2 does the job very nicely, thank you! In fact I think we played the trailer 3 or 4 times, in all. Also on hand was our newsclip from yesterday, of course (that's definitely bragging rights), and a small clip from The Hunt For Gollum as well, once the discussion mentioned it. It's a solid piece of Middle-earth film, and if you haven't seen it yet you definitely should!

One final point that was discussed was that Kris and I are definitely setting up the official Tolkien Sciety in some form here in Wellington, and that will be announced properly as things happen in the near future. I'm hoping that by the next meeting we will have the official approval from the UK as well. Exciting times!

  - Jack

Friday, December 9, 2011

Welly-moot 0.5 (Dec 09, 2011)

The smallest meeting - but very significant. Originally, tonight was supposed to be a meeting with two representatives from but it ended up not eventuating.

Instead, I met up with Kris, who has attended earlier Welly-moots, and we discussed setting up as an official Tolkien Society spinoff - a "Smial". The official plans are now underway, so watch this space!

  - Jack

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Welly-moot 0.4 (Sep 04, 2011)

(originally published on the NZ Noldor Blog)

No excuses - I'm late with my report! It's already been five days since the fourth Welly-moot took place at Wellington's Embassy Theatre, and it was a great success!

The only bit of confusion happened at the start of the meeting - our meeting's start time coincided with the Embassy's start time of the Grease movie nostalgia session, and they'd arranged for a live Rock'n'Roll band to be entertaining that audience before their movie began. Unfortunately they were still playing in "our" spot when we got to the cafe.

Luckily though, they were fun to watch, and the singing (and dancing!) stopped just as I started getting worried, so that all worked ok.

All in all, the Welly-moot attracted a good size "crowd" of hobbit lovers, including some familiar faces, as well as some new ones.

Welly-moot #4 - the biggest one yet!

It was really nice to catch up with Emily again (second from the left in the photo), she attended the first Welly-moot as well. Rachel (far left) was here at the Embassy for the previous meeting, while Ryan, Jenifer and little Hawk (front and centre) have been to all four Welly-moots so far - well done and well met!

A few days before the meeting, I got an email from Ayako, a lovely Japanese woman from Palmerston North, and she came to the meeting with her husband Randall and daughter Rio, as well as a friend Maki with her daughter. The day before the meeting I had Kumiko on my tour - another Japanese woman currently living in Wellington with and her son, and they also both came today. Add to that my wife Aiko, and it quickly became the Japanese contingent of the Welly-moot. (Aiko managed to avoid the camera's eye by volunteering to take the photo - everyone else is at the back on the right). Tolkien is still very popular in Japan as well, it seems!

Some very special guests also joined us - two of Weta Workshop's best designers/inventors/wizards, Warren and Kim Beaton. I met Kim a few years ago, and have had the pleasure of taking them both on a tour around the Wellington region last year. Since then, they've (a) invented some animal-leg stilts, (b) designed a complete cinema for Peter Jackson, (c) are working on a certain Middle-earth movie that starts with "H", and (d) got married, so you could so their year has been reasonably active.

All in all, a rowdy and fun afternoon. The discussions I was part of included the inevitable Rugby World Cup, and the recent snowfalls in Wellington. Also, for some reason, Legolas's presence in Wellington seemed to be a hot topic. Everybody seemed to want to know where to find him (don't worry, Orlando and Miranda, your secret is safe - I certainly don't know it)!

The other rumours currently floating about are the sheer number of "absolutely confirmed" (read: totally not confirmed) filming locations for The Hobbit around the end of the year. Queenstown, Dunedin, Nelson, Te Anau, and Wellington are all contenders, apparently. The studio isn't giving out actual confirmations, so we'll just have to wait and see. Personally, I'm obviously waiting for Wellington locations to add to our tours in the future.

In order for me to entice Ayako to drive all the way from Palmerston North with her family for our meeting, I had promised to take them to the Mount Victoria LOTR location, which we did at the end of the day. The Embassy Theatre is actually on Mt Vic anyway, so that wasn't far to drive. Ryan and Jenifer joined us as well, and we ended up re-enacting the hobbits' famous "Get Off The Road" scene, before parting ways until the next meeting.

I hope everyone enjoyed it as much as we did - and if you didn't/couldn't come this time, we'd love to see you next time!

  - Jack M.