UK Moots: Handy FAQ

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UK Moots: Handy FAQ

Postby Hobbituk » Mon Mar 22, 2010 11:35 am

This is a short guide to moots, particularly those taking place in the UK...

What the dickens (or 19th Century British Author of your choice) is a moot?

Quite simply, a moot is a gathering of TORCers in REAL LIFE. Yeah, that’s right, some of us actually exist beyond the confines of your computer monitor and like Macbeth’s coven of witches will occasionally gather ‘upon the heath’. As apt an analogy as this is, please don’t go thinking that we set about planning any sort of ‘hurly burly’ or political upheaval. This very rarely happens. Only twice I can think of. Also, by ‘upon the heath’, I do of course mean, ‘in the pub’.

These events usually take place over the course of a weekend, with the majority of attendees booking into the same hotel and socialising for a very fun couple of days. Others come just for the day, or for a couple of hours. Whichever, it’s all good.

Okay, that makes sense. Thanks for the Shakespeare references, you must be a really intelligent and interesting guy. Would you like to go out sometime?

Sarcasm is the second lowest form of wit you know (the lowest, of course, being weird schizophrenic Q&A sessions).

Sorry. So why are they called ‘moots’ anyway?

Good question! This is a Tolkien fan site and so it is of course a reference to the Ents of Fangorn Forest.who convene an ‘Entmoot’ in order to decide whether to go to war against Saruman. Again, I should stress that our moots are in no way a council of war.

The word itself comes from the Old English for ‘meeting’.

One or two people used the term in the early days of the UK moots and they just sort of stuck. Those of us with a keen interest in a certain Irish stout have an inbuilt predilection for easily-barked words of one syllable.

So these… TORCmoots… is that right? They’ve clearly been going for some time, how did they start?

TORC has been going now for over 10 years and moots now take place all over the world, but as for how they started… that’s a little complicated. As far as we know from fossil records, the earliest gathering of TORCers took place before TORC even existed when the site’s founders came up with the concept of this messageboard whilst in the queue for ‘The Phantom Menace’ (So, as they say, ‘every cloud…’)

Since then there have been meet-ups between hundreds of different people in all corners of the world (and even a few in the middle bits).

There’s no doubt, though, about how the regular UK moots began.

In early 2002 it was suggested that a bunch of TORCers got together and watched ‘The Two Towers’ together when it was released in the following winter. This got a lot of interest from quite a few folks and it was agreed that we ought to first ‘test the water’ with a gathering during the summer.

So on the 6th July 2002, 16 TORCers met up in ‘The Eagle and Child’ pub in Oxford (Tolkien’s favourite watering hole) and despite all being terrified that one of the others might be an axe-murderer had a very pleasant afternoon together.

This led to bigger and better moots. Every summer since then there has been one in Oxford during the summer in addition to at least one other somewhere else (past locations have included Liverpool, Glasgow and Leeds) in the winter or spring. There have also been others held outside of the UK but largely attended by the ‘UK crowd’ in places such as Ireland and Germany.

So, it’s just for people from the UK is it? You crazy xenophobic person!

Not at all! We have regular attendees from all over Europe and have had folks make the trip from as far as the US and even Australia. I myself am from Yorkshire, which is another planet entirely.

So what goes on at these things? You’ve mentioned pubs a few times, is it just a beer session?

Whilst most UK moots do include multiple visits to the pub, there’s a lot more to them than that. The organisers always try to ensure that there are a few activities for during the day. Here’s a few things we’ve done in the past;

- Visiting museums
- Visiting art galleries
- Punting!
- Tours
- Coach trips
- We’ve even visited Tolkien’s graveside!

…and there’s usually more than one opportunity to all sit and eat together in a restaurant. All of these are informal and people can do as many or as few of the group activities as they wish.

We often will spend the evenings in the pub, but these are usually quite a civilised affair. It’s a good mix of people from different ages and backgrounds so whether you like a good few pints and a laugh or just a juice and a quiet chat, then you won’t feel left out. A quiz has often been an element of our evenings at moots and these are usually great fun. It’s also not unheard of for a guitar to make an appearance later on too!

Wow, you don’t half go on a bit do you?

Yeah, it’s been mentioned.

Given you’ve been doing these things for so long, I’d be a bit apprehensive about turning up… after all, you all know each other! I’d be a bit left out.

Don’t worry, I can honestly say I’ve never known a more open and friendly group of people… especially when it comes to meeting new folks! We all remember what it was like for our first moot and we all make an effort to make sure no-one feels left out.

Wow. Now you’ve explained all of that I feel all warm and reassured. Thanks Hobbituk, I’ll definitely come to the next UK moot and I’ll be sure to buy you a pint of Guinness!

That’s awfully generous of you.
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Postby Aravar » Thu Apr 01, 2010 8:14 am

You've missed the most FAQ: "Do you want another?"
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Postby fatcatdave » Tue Jan 11, 2011 12:38 pm

I have been to few of these and have never done the following activities that you mention:

- Visiting museums
- Visiting art galleries
- Punting!
- Tours
- Coach trips

Neither have I ever fallen for your 'Buy me a Pint' Scams
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Postby Hobbituk » Tue Jan 11, 2011 1:09 pm

That's because technology does not yet exist which would prise you from a pub.


(Although I'm pretty sure I saw you in the Royal Armouries Museum in Leeds.)
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Postby fatcatdave » Tue Jan 11, 2011 1:24 pm

You really want to go into what happened in the Royal Armouries?
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Postby Hobbituk » Tue Jan 11, 2011 1:42 pm

I don't think the Terms Of Service would allow that...
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Postby Renowen » Sun Aug 14, 2011 10:21 am

Also what about the Beatles Museum in Liverpool? I'm sure you, if not your wife, was there?

May be completely wrong .... Liverpool is a bit of a hazy drunken fog ...
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