Last month I, and several friends and acquaintances from various sci-fi social groups were invited to a little shindig in Birmingham. Since I joined the SFX forum back in 2006 there has always been a social aspect to the community I found there. From arranging to see people at conventions, organising our own weekends away or even just meeting five people going to the pub, there have been real life interactions and socialising. The little party I went to in June was to draw attention to something which aimed to give people of a geeky nature something new to try. This was an introduction to a new venture called “Rule32Cafe”.
What is Rule32 you might ask? I sat down with Su Haddrell, one of the brains behind the venture, to find out more.
Hello, Su, thanks for taking the time to chat. So, first why don’t you tell the readers a little bit about yourself and what Rule32 is all about.
“My name’s Su, I like movies, board games and pictures of tanks. Simon Pegg said that, ‘Being a geek is all about being honest about what you enjoy and not being afraid to demonstrate that affection.’ Rule32 is the concept of bringing all geeks and their interests under one roof. The idea of a "Hard Rock Cafe for geeks" where we can show a movie on a big screen for a reasonable price or you can sit and play a board game and drink tea with your friends all afternoon. We're also going to put on events. We've previously organised successful Tabletop Games Days and Geek Meets, and now we're going to take it to the next level with Lord Of The Rings -themed weekenders, writers signings, steampunk gatherings, conventions and Doctor Who days. You name it, if there’s an audience then we'll give it a shot!”
What gave you the initial idea for the venture?
“One day we had the, ‘What would you do if money was no object’ conversation and, ‘Opening an epic geek cafe/bar/events venue’ was top of the list. And it was just one of those things that got more serious the more we discussed it. We spent a long time researching our audience and its potential. The increase in board game sales, comic book movies, cult TV shows and the popularity of events like the Sci Fi/ SFX Weekenders and the UK Games Expo meant that there was definitely a market out there for a permanent themed venue offering a variety of activities to geeks across the UK. A year later and we're in opening negotiations for a gorgeous property in Worcester and we're about to launch our Indiegogo campaign to raise our capitol.”
And where are you with the plans? When, where and how can people support you?
“It quickly became apparent that we were going to need a lot of cash to get this project off the ground. The property we're looking at needs some serious love and we want to be able to furnish and decorate it with some high quality props and backdrops. There are also costs associated with licensing and legalities that come with opening the Ultimate Geek Events Venue. In this day and age, we're all in the same boat – working hard to pay the bills and get by – we don't have rich benefactors to pass us wads of cash. As a group of friends, we always pool our funds together for awesome birthday presents or days out. We're upping the ante on this theory and using it to raise the funds we need to get Rule32 off the ground. So we're aiming on pulling together the geeks of the UK to help us out! By crowd-funding half the funds we'll need for this project, everyone can put in what they can afford. We can then use that to go to the bank for further finance.
“So come and support Rule32Cafe at Indiegogo.com . We're offering some great rewards for your donations, including exclusively-designed Rule32 Genki Gear T shirts, and entry into a prize draw to win either an SFX Subscription, original art by Robert Rankin, or a signed copy of Neil Gaiman’s new novel The Ocean At The End Of The Lane . You can also support us by Liking/Sharing and getting the word out – UK Geeks Unite!”
Thanks for the chat Su, good luck with everything.
If you’re interested in helping to fund Rule32’s venture you can donate here . The organisation also has a Facebook page and are on Twitter where you can keep up to date on the venture and the people behind it.