Preparing The Last Airship For Flight!

It’s announcement time on the blog – and this announcement is for fans of The Last Airship! I know many of you have been wondering what is going on with the series for the last year or so since the release of series one – well guess what, the answer is here!

First of all, I have the scripts almost complete for series 2 (as a rule I never consider a script complete until after we finish filming – we like to adapt and modify as we go along!), and it was originally my intention to film and release series 2 this year.

There has, however, been a slight snag in this, in that I have been very ambitious in my plans for series 2! The second series, subtitled ‘Hunt For The Nautilus’, is not a small cast series set mainly on the Skyvern with computer generated sets. The script for series 2 calls for big locations and a large cast, and I have already decided that we want the vast majority of sets to be built in the real world, and to use miniatures over CG, and to have a lot bigger cast of both characters and background performers to really show the world of The Last Airship.

This plan is too ambitious for this year, and I want series two to live up to the image of it which I have in my mind, which means that the filming of series 2 must be delayed until 2020.

Don’t despair though – you will not have to wait a full year to see the crew of the Skyvern take to the skies again in a new adventure! I have spoken with Patch (Captain Morstan) and Lady Felicity (Volpe) and we have decided to film a ‘The Last Airship’ short film this autumn to be released this year.

Although this will be on a smaller scale than the full second series, expect a huge leap forward from series one. Some of you may have seen that Lady Felicity and I filmed our first travel documentary, ‘Mexico: Mayan Mystery and Marine Majesty’ earlier this year – and for those of you who havent, you can watch it below.

In filming this video we learned a lot about both the filming and the edit. In particular, I spend a long time learning more about sound editing and recording to correct one of my personal bugbears from series one of the airship, and Lady Felicity has learned about colour grading as we aim to get both the short film and series 2 in full colour.

I have also been working away behind the scenes on the miniature of the Skyvern which will be used to film all the shots of The Last Airship itself – and there are a lot more miniatures and set pieces in the works.

There will be more details about the short film as we move into the autumn – I am finalising the plot details at the moment, and very excited to share it with you all!

In the meantime, in early October, Lady Felicity and I will be filming our next travel documentary, and this one will be set on the Isle of Man. We are currently running a crowdfunder for this, and part of what we are fundraising for is a new sound recording system and a new editing computer. Obviously these are intended for use not just in that travel documentary, but also in The Last Airship projects as we move forwards!

I would really appreciate it if you could have a look at our crowd funder – get yourself a perk if you want one, and share the link around if you can!

https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/the-isle-of-man-adventure-travel-documentary/x/10904341#/

Thank you all for your continued interest in all we do!

Goodbye, and take care!

Greg

A Word On Heroes – Penn and Teller

Somebody asked me today who my magic heroes are. It is a fairly common question, and while other names may come into the mix – Derren Brown, Paul Daniels and Houdini always loom large – the first two names to come out of my mouth are always the same – and by tradition they are always in the same order. Penn and Teller.

If, by some leap of imagination, you haven’t heard of Penn and Teller, I strongly suggest you head over to YouTube and fall down the rabbit hole of watching some of their tricks on there. One of my personal favourites, performed in this clip on the Tonight Show, involves a magic trick from a children’s magic set performed with incredible skill and personality.

I first saw this trick performed on the one occasion I have seen Penn and Teller live. This, for me, was the stand out moment of the show!

They say you should never meet your heroes – well I did a couple of years ago, only briefly, outside one of their shows in London. At the end of the show the two went and stood outside the theatre and greeted anyone who wanted to meet them. They talked, signed autographs, and were generally pleasant to hundreds if not thousands of people who queued up to meet them.

I have always been a firm believer in talking to an audience after a show. I’ve never been one for putting up barriers, and as most of you who have come to one of my evening shows know, as quick as I can I get down into the audience to speak to people as they leave. To do that on the scale that Penn and Teller did that night – and do every night – shows a level of love and respect for their fans which is truly heartwarming!

A slight size discrepancy between Penn and Greg!

The reason that this is fresh in my mind is that I have just started watching a series of videos made by Penn and Teller for ‘Masterclass’. These videos feature the pair talking about magic, teaching, and giving away some of their secrets.

For anyone who has only seen the pair performing, you will have seen a lot of Penn talking, but Teller, famously, performs silent. When Teller talks, however, it is because he has something to say. I have heard several interviews with him on podcasts, seen video of at least one lecture he gave, and now these lessons as well.

I feel I know more about Penn. For more than half a decade I have listened to his podcast, ‘Penn’s Sunday School’ every week. I remember listening to the first episode when it was released, and I think that it is fair to say that as well as being a hero in magic and juggling, Penn is probably the main reason I have the Tales From The Road and Condensed History Gems podcasts today – he was my stepping stone into the podcasting world.

Commercial Break!!

Just a quick commercial break to remind everyone reading this that Lady Felicity and I recently released our first travel documentary. We travelled from Mayan ruins to Magdalena Bay Whale Camp in Mexico in a month long adventure. If you enjoy my blog, or anything else I do, head over to YouTube and have a watch – and be sure to Subscribe, Comment and Like the video!

Back to Penn and Teller

While I feel I know Penn better….

I was going to move on and talk about Teller there, but I want to take a moment to address that point. Podcasting is a strange thing. For more than half a decade I have heard Penn sit and talk with various people for at least an hour and a half each week. He has talked about his past, but also honestly about problems he is facing today. He talks about his family, ambitions, and thoughts. He has put out episodes when he was dealing with the loss of some of his closest friends, and has been choked up on many occasions when recalling family members he has lost. It is a strangely modern relationship, only since the beginning of radio at the very earliest, that I can feel that I know somebody so well who is unlikely to ever know who I am.

I digress though! While I feel I know Penn better, and perhaps because of that, Teller holds an almost mythical place in my mind. I personally believe that since the passing of their friend and mentor Johnny Thompson, Teller is the greatest magical thinker alive today. I have never hear anyone speak as deeply about magic as he does.

I have a genuine love of magic – not a word I use sparingly. One part of it I really enjoy, beyond performing, of course, is thinking about magic, pondering the ideas behind it, the psychology that makes a simple ‘sleight of hand’ a genuine miracle.

What I am enjoying most about watching these videos is that even in the simplest of tricks that are discussed and taught, tricks or sleights which I already know well, with every other sentence Teller manages to send me down an avenue of thought I had never considered, in an art and profession I have been a member of for over a decade.

Whether it is Teller’s thoughts on magic, or seeing the pair perform their ‘Dracula’ routine on-stage for the first time, the true magic that grips me with Penn and Teller has nothing to do with sleight of hand, or the Three of Clubs, or invisible thread. The magic for me is the way that they can constantly make me look at magic as though I were discovering it fresh once again, and for that I will always be truly grateful to them both!

Final Word

Thank you for reading this slightly different style of blog – let me know if you enjoy it and I’ll bring up a few more of my performing heroes!

In the meantime, just to say that Lady Felicity and I are currently crowd-funding for our second travel adventure documentary – please have a look at the link below to find our more.

For now, thank you all for reading.

Goodbye… and take care!

https://igg.me/at/IsleOfMan/x/10904341#/

Mexico: Mayan Mystery and Marine Majesty

When Lady Felicity and I set out for Mexico, we had two main goals. One was to explore the Mayan ruins across the country, and the second was to discover some of the country’s incredible marine life – with our main goal being to see the grey whales of Magdalena Bay.

We found both, and so much more. Our adventure started in the pre-Mayan city of Teotihuacan. The experience of driving from our hotel that first morning in Mexico and rounding the corner to see the Pyramid of the Sun appearing near the road is one which will stay with me all of my life.

While we travelled, as always, I had video cameras with me. Over the last few months we have been busy editing the video into our first travel documentary – a 58 minute adventure travel video featuring Lady Felicity and myself, alongside a cast which includes grey whales, whale sharks, howler monkeys, sea lions and crocodiles!

Have a watch on YouTube now – and if you enjoy the video then please subscribe on YouTube, and be sure to leave a comment to let us know which bits of the video you particularly enjoyed!

The Seaside Steampunk Spectacular!

How do I even begin to talk about my weekend at the Seaside Steampunk Spectacular in Minehead? The first word I would use would be emotional – to the extent that this blog has been delayed in writing as I decided the best way to talk about one aspect of the weekend… but more on that in a few paragraphs!

I’ll begin with a summary of the weekend!

The Incredible Stage-Trike all set to go in Minehead!

Minehead is a wonderful little seaside town, with a lot of cute independent shops and a steam railway station (always a bonus to me!).

The weather was glorious, and with the talents of Ichabod Steam, Kiss Like Ether and Dr Grey and his Orchestra of One our on the streets entertaining, it was a wonderful set up to the event.

I found myself performing in various locations along the high street, from crowd shows in the square and in front of Ichabod’s Submarine, to close up by the station and outside a wonderful shop called Wombledon.

This is a vintage shop, a sort of Aladdin’s Cave of bits and pieces. The owner, Alison, had dressed the window mannequins in Steampunk attire for the weekend, and I couldn’t resist popping in for a look around.

On one of the shelves near the back I found a children’s magic set – but not like most I see around. Most are modern plastic arrangements, with the same half dozen tricks. This one was a wooden set, and the tricks so beautifully made that I couldn’t resist it – I even ended up using one of the tricks in the Sunday night variety show!

I got chatting to Alison, and found out that her father had been a magician, performing as ’Mr Fez’, and I even got a chance to see one of his business cards (perhaps if anyone remembers working with him or seeing him perform, you could leave a comment below!).

My relationship with this magician of the past was to deepen the next day, however…

We performed evening shows at The Regal Theatre on Saturday and Sunday nights – and I have to say it was a wonderful theatre with a crew who were just amazing. Even when one band had a particularly long and complex sound check (followed my traditional sound check of saying one sentence into a microphone), the sound crew remained calm and relaxed about the whole evening. So good was the venue and crew that I couldn’t resist chatting to them about taking ‘Very Christmas Story’ to the theatre (watch this space, we’re talking about it).

Then the evening show (and I know this is a performer’s cliche, but see the below quote from the Captain), had one of the best audiences I have ever had the pleasure to perform for (and I do have some that stand out in my memory). They were so buzzing with excitement, so ready to be entertained, that it made the evening a special one for all involved.

This cliche’s only cliche, ’cause it’s true. – Captain of the Lost Waves

Every moment, every aside, every ‘just for me’ comment that I slipped into the show that night hit a home run. Was I on form? Yes. Was I a better performer than usual? I don’t think so. I just think that some nights shine – as performers some nights our performances soar to new heights, and other nights it is the audience that pushes a show to greatness. I will take all the credit in the world for a good performance that night – the audience can have the credit for making the whole evening one of the special ones!

Then, after the evening show on the Saturday night, Alison from Wombledon came over to tell me that she still had some of her father’s old magic kit, and would I like to have a look at it the next day? (Of course I would!).

The next day, while performing throughout the town I stopped in at Wombledon, and spoke with Alison, who brought out a briefcase containing Mr Fez’s magic act. I pored through it, and I was close to tears as I went through it. It was overwhelmingly emotional to go through someone else’s kit. To know the bits I knew and to imagine them used, and to puzzle over and eventually figure out other pieces (and some are yet to be figured out!).

If you want to hear all about this fully, then have a listen to the episode of my Tales From The Road podcast, where I talk a lot about how this felt:

https://talesfromtheroad.podbean.com/e/a-torch-is-passed/

Overall, the Seaside Steampunk Spectacular was an incredible experience on all levels!

Hereford Steampunk Weekend 2019!

Greetings one and all to this week’s blog!

It was a long weekend, and I am now somewhat tired, but it was totally worth it to kick my Steampunk festival season off at the Hereford Steampunk Weekend!

Now in its third year (you can find out about last year’s event on an older Tales From The Road podcast episode), the event takes place at the Waterworks Museum in Hereford – and what a venue it is! The working steam engines throughout the site are a wonder to behold, and the staff and volunteers are all so welcoming that they make the entire event a treat.

Going into the weekend, I had made a couple of new additions to the Stage-Trike – minor ones ahead of some bigger additions I’m hoping to arrange as the season progresses.

The first addition for this weekend was a new poster advertising the audiobook (https://thelastairship.bandcamp.com/releases for anyone wanting the digital version), which also really smartens up the front of the trike as the old one was starting to look a little tatty!

The second new addition was in the Museum of Curios on the right-hand side of the trike – a 20 million-year-old fossilised whale ear bone! A fascinating find from Island Gems Fossil Shop on the Isle of Wight, and an interesting addition for you to come over to see when you see the time at events. Remember if you see me at an event, you can always ask for a ’tour’ of the museum, and I’ll show you the objects inside a little closer. If you have any ideas of other objects that should be in there, please leave a comment below to let me know!

The event itself was fabulous fun. As we had the fabulous Ichabod Steam and his Steampunk Submarine, Mr Alexander’s Travelling Show and Kiss Like Ether performing during the day, I just did a couple of juggling ’crowd’ shows and focused on doing more close up with the stage-trike which was a great little change of pace. Plus, my good friend Paul bought me a beautiful deck of golden playing cards which he gave me on the Saturday morning and which I wanted to use over the weekend!

I was also handing out the first of my free Spring/Summer 2019 souvenir booklets, and am working on a nice little routine involving that. They seem to have been really well received – and one trader even came up to me and said they would like to advertise in the next one, which is a good sign – and a great opportunity for me to thank all of those who advertised in this one and made it possible. It was lovely to see SteampunkdotGlobal, Lurcher Gallery and Amy’s Steampunk Emporium over the weekend, all of whom contributed adverts to help get the programmes printed.

The evening show on Saturday night was the highlight of the weekend for me. To start with I got to host the evening with Mr Alexander. I always enjoy crossing over with Mr Alexander on the circuit, his performance style contrasts wonderfully with mine, but our performing philosophies I think I can safely say cross over nicely, and he is the perfect example of a good old fashioned family entertainer. A joy for me to both work with, and personally just to see over the weekend and have a chance to talk about touring, magic, and life in general.

Me, watching my favourite of Mr Alexander’s routines. Thanks to Richard for the photograph.

The first act we introduced was Kiss Like Ether. Kris and Adrian are both fabulous supporters of all I do – they provide the music for series one of The Last Airship, the Tales From The Road podcast, and my audiobook.

Performing some magic for Kiss Like Ether and assorted traders and public.

I am currently editing two music videos for them, so I have seen them both in January, but after an enforced absence from the stage due to injury, it was a genuine pleasure to see them both back where they belong – and, as consummate professionals, they carried on despite the fuses going halfway through the set!

Next up was Ichabod Steam and Debbie with their new show, Ichabod Steam’s Dark Side. I want to say a lot about this show, but I also want to leave it for you all to enjoy yourselves! What I can say without fear of spoilers is that the music was every bit as good as you would expect from such a skilled musician, and the show is great fun.

The headline act was the Captain of the Lost Waves – in my opinion a performer beyond compare, whose musical skill, stage presence and all over performance is incredible – I highly recommend looking him up on YouTube, or getting a copy of his albums.

Overall it was a wonderful event, and thanks and congratulations on a successful event are due to all at the museum, all the volunteers, staff, traders and acts – but especially to David Smith who organised the entire event. He has his next event coming up next week -the Seaside Steampunk Spectacular in Minehead – I’ll be there, and I’ll be hosting the cabaret evenings on Saturday and Sunday night – so don’t miss out on those – remember www.gregchapman.net will get you all the information you need on this and all.of my shows this year.

Please remember you can support the second series of ’The Last Airship’, and all I do, at www.patreon.com/gregchapman.

Thank you all for reading!

Greg

Steam Trains, Stage-Trike, and Shortbread!

This Easter long weekend I dusted off the Incredible Stage-Trike and set off to the Isle of Wight Steam Railway at Havenstreet for five days of fun and games at the station. The Railway is always a special place for me to perform – it is one of my most regular venues throughout the year, and so I know the people there well – and they know me!

The event went really well, and was fun as always. If you want to listen to me get over excited about a truly magical moment performing the ‘Chop Cup’ routine, then head over and listen to my podcast, Greg Chapman’s Tales From The Road, on your favourite podcast app, or right here:

A large part of the weekend was spend discussing the upcoming Isle of Wight Steampunk Festival to be held at the station in June – which acts will be there (myself, the wonderful Mr Alexander and Ichabod Steam and his Steampunk Submarine are confirmed, other acts to be confirmed over the coming months) and what exactly Steampunk is for those who didn’t know. Of course, there is always the struggle to define the Steampunk genre while allowing complete freedom within the genre, which is an interesting challenge.

Speaking of which, my other big task this week has been writing my souvenir booklets for Spring/Summer 2019. This is idea that started with my Christmas show tour in December. That being an evening show, I created a programme, and actually really enjoyed the process, but wanted it to be seen by more people.

At the same time I should have been preparing some new leaflets for this season – but I am very bad with leaflets. Either I end up with a whole pile of leaflets for different projects, or a flyer trying to cover everything I do in a couple of lines each, which I’m sure very few people ever look through, and which I always forget to hand out unless I’m asked directly.

The result of this was that I have put together the first Greg Chapman Souvenir Booklet, which I will be handing out free to all and sundry over the next few months until the end of September. A collection of wonderful businesses have booked advertising space in the programme to cover the cost of printing the 12 page booklets (initial print run of 1000 copies, but a reserve of funds to buy more as the season progresses depending on their popularity).

I have written a new story, I have a fantastic introduction explaining Steampunk – courtesy of The Captain of the Lost Waves no less – a new short story from the Ever So Slightly Exaggerated Tales of Mr Greg Chapman, and all sorts of other bits and pieces including details of various projects like the podcast and The Last Airship. Hopefully this will be a much better way to spread the word about all of the various projects – and will allow everything to reach a much wider audience as anticipation (hopefully) builds for the second series of The Last Airship!

More updates on everything soon, but for now, Goodbye, and take care!

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Funding Update For Series Two!

Current Funds Raised:

Basic Target: £0 of £2600

All-Out Target: £0 of £5500

So we’re gearing up for The Last Airship Series 2: Hunt For The Nautilus! We have big plans for series 2 – and we are filming as much as possible with real-world sets and miniatures to replace the reliance on CGI of series one!

This costs money though – to do most of what we want to do, would cost us at least £2600 from where we are now – and a lot more to do everything we hope to do in the series (about £5500!).

This series we are not currently planning a big crowdfunder, but are hoping to raise all the funds through three channels:

The Patreon page: http://www.patreon.com/gregchapman – the easiest way to directly donate, and to get advanced notice on some news, and additional behind the scenes information from as little as $1 per month!

The Last Airship Shop: The profit from every item bought from the supplies section of http://www.thelastairship.com will go towards the series! T-shirts, mugs, and more besidea can be found there!

Greg’s Audiobook: All proceeds from the sale of my audiobook, ‘The Ever So Slightly Exaggerated Tales of Mr Greg Chapman’, either at shows or as a download version at thelastairship.bandcamp.com, will go towards the series!

As of Friday 19th April I’ll be updating The Last Airship blog, and the pinned post on the Facebook page, to let you know how we are proceeding towards our goal!

My aim is to have the basic funding goal reached by 29th June – the day before my 34th birthday, and the day of the inaugural Bristol Steampunk Saturday!