Interviews, Press Events

Interview: Ash, James and Phil of Bad Wolf Gaming

The Guys from Bad Wolf Talk Community, Taxes and Their Favourite Dog Breeds

In recent months, Hull’s crumbling Whitefriargate got a new lease of life with upstart geek shop Bad Wolf Gaming. Ran by Ash Tyson and James Wilson, the shop aims to revitalise the high street and bring a new sense of belonging to those who so dearly need it.

With the assistance of Nathan, Phil, Roxy, Terry, Jen and Scott, Bad Wolf Gaming hope to bring customers a geek experience like no other.

After a slightly altered interview with local newspaper Hull Live, Bad Wolf were keen to share their story and who they are, and I was more than happy help.

Right off the bat, what’s it been like these last few months as Hull’s hottest new geek attraction?

Phil: It’s going pretty well. We had friends coming in to start with, word of mouth spreading quite quickly through that. Then we started getting strangers coming in and you know it’s genuine purchases then, because no one knows who they are. Then you’d see the same faces coming back again to replenish their incense or buy the food and drink that only we provide. They also come in buying incense burners, some of the books, hats, all sorts of what we’re selling.

James: They also come in to see the staff.

Phil: Yeah, then they start coming in just as friends to hang out. They come in for about half an hour, but 3 hours later we’re all sat on the sofas having a laugh.

Have you had much support from the community?

Phil: Yeah absolutely.

James: We get a lot of support.

Now that the games room is accessible to the public, what’s the reception been like?

James: Yeah everyone is loving it, everyone’s loving coming to do D&D. With it being a big room that people can come in, we’re going to be doing a steampunk tuck shop slash bar later on. People are liking what plans we’ve got for in the future, with a Victorian themed library room and a Dungeons and Dragons themed room. Everybody’s up for this, so it’s bringing people back over time to see the progress of the room. So everyone’s just enjoying the atmosphere in the room.

Phil: I think the main attraction is that you’re not forced to play one game, like other places where you can only play the one thing they’ve got set out. Whereas here you can play anything you want. Anything that you can put on a table, go for it. We’ve even got some things on shelves that they can just go for.

James: Yeah and you meet new people as well. Because it’s like the Dungeons and Dragons one stop, everybody meets new people.

Phil: Everybody’s making new friends.

You recently hosted a fun geek night. What was the turn out like and will you be doing more in the future?

Phil: Hopefully yeah. The turnout was a lot better than expected to be honest. I’d only heard of about a handful of people coming and the total was what Ash, about 20 or so?

Ash: Yeah, something like that.

Phil: Genuinely surprised me how many people turned out. It seemed to be enjoyed by the majority of them and I’d love it to happen again. That’s up to the big boss man.

Ash: We’ll probably look at doing it again, maybe once a month.

James: Eventually we’ll look at doing cosplay events, steampunk events, things like that as well. Eventually we want to do more events. So like next year, a Horror Con.

Phil: That’s something that I’m working on at the moment. A Comic Con for all things horror related. Films, comic books… Yeah that’s something to look out for.

I know you’re also working on a small cinema for people. With Früit no longer open, there seems to be a gap in the market for cult movie showings. Could you maybe talk a little bit about this, what you might show and when we can expect things to be ready?

Phil: I’m mainly looking forward to independent or budding film makers in Hull coming out for it. Those who are doing cinematography or studying films at [Hull] Uni or anywhere around us. So instead of having to go pay Odeon or Reel or whatever, some obscene amount, play it here, speak to the bosses, although I don’t know what they’re charging for it. It’ll be nowhere near what the big boy corporations are asking for.

Ash: Well I mean we were initially thinking like £5 per person, but that would include for the day, pizzas getting thrown in, rather than for just one film then paying extra for special food and drink on top. If anyone wants to enquire about this, get in touch via Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, it’s the easiest way; or just pop in if you’re around.

Phil: Yeah we may not have the cinema set up on the top floor yet, but that’s looking like it’ll be the end of next year. We do have a decent sized screen in the gaming room already.

Ash: We can easily set it up. Set up some chairs in aisles, just watch it there.

I know you’ve been developing relationships with nearby businesses. What sort of advice have they given you?

Ash: Liquid Jade just down Whitefriargate, they helped us out with choosing a bank. That basically helped us out with starting up and stuff.  Bean and Nothingness have been really helpful with us. Our neighbours next door, Electric Vintage have been really helpful as well.

Phil: We’ve all been keeping up the friendly atmosphere down the street as well. So like opposite we have Deichmann. When we first started up, we got some remote control tanks, got a drone and some Bluetooth speakers. We started playing Flight of The Valkyries and we drove the tanks, flew the drone into Deichmann to claim it for Bad Wolf Gaming. Then I think I went on an independent mission to take over Electric Vintage as well.

Ash: Next time we’ll have flags.

Phil: So it’s not that it’s just pure business all the time as well. We’re starting to get other shops to enjoy coming out. I’ve spoken to a few of the people from Pandora as well, they came over when we were starting up as well to greet us.

As a member of Whitefriargate, what are your thoughts of the decline in the high street? How is it affecting you all?

Ash: Well I mean obviously with M&S and Boots going, it’s a lot of footfall missing from Whitefriargate, but maybe they’re not specific to our clientele. So yeah it does have a bit of an impact.

Phil: There’s less people in town in general. Less eyes on us.

James: It’s not just the shops closing, it’s everything else with it all. So people say like the internet…

Phil: I like to shop on the toilet, sue me.

James: People with less money in their pocket, there’s the tax as well, that’s hit everybody. So there’s less money about, that’s why we’ve gone for offering more of an experience in the shop, instead of ‘just a shop’. Then hopefully that’ll keep people around and they might buy something or just have a good time, maybe buy a couple of drinks. It’s just a community feel, because nowadays most people want an experience. That’s why there’s less and less people now on the streets, less shops, because it’s costing the shops too much. You’ve got your rent, rates, but to me there should be more to help the smaller businesses with the type of climate there is. It’s not going to get any better until they sort something out. Independents can’t do everything themselves.

Ash: To round it up with the rates, is for a new business that’s starting, they want it up front. If you don’t have the capital, you’re kind of fucked really. They want too much without understanding that not everyone has that much money straight away.

Is there anything you can do to combat the system?

Ash: I mean you can appeal things, try get loans and grants where you can. If you’re trying to make your shop stand out and boost your sales, it’s about making it an experience. Offer more than just stuff on a shelf.

If I were a member of the council and you had the opportunity to present your plee, what would you say?

Phil: Say this is Bad Wolf and then kick you out the door.

Laughter

Ash: Nah like I said before, it’s a case of you’re expecting too much of new businesses. Sure, we’ll pay rates, but not right at the beginning of setting up. We had to take out a fecking 25 grand loan to get this place and start up. We don’t have the capital to then fork out another 20 odd grand straight away.

James: Then they expect you not to use any of that business loan to pay for your rent or rates, and I’ve noticed they add extra to your business rates. They do not tell you that anywhere.

Switching to a lighter side of things, you have a fair amount of independent traders coming in on a regular basis. How does it feel supporting those smaller businesses that maybe haven’t been given the support they needed?

Ash: Yeah, it feels good. We set it up because we know what it’s like. It’s like offering for them, where going somewhere else you’d have to pay for rent and you’d have to pay it regardless of what you sold, we can offer a bit of a space, a bit of exposure. For what, 20% commission? So if they don’t make a sale, we don’t take anything. It’s less stress for them as well.

If someone who is reading this has their own fledgling company and would like to set up a stall, how would they go about doing so?

Ash: Just get in touch with us online, or just pop in the shop.

A final serious one for you before we go onto some fun questions; Obviously as a new business your primary goal is to get through year one without any problems. To ask you where you’d like to be in 5 years time would also be a bit much I think. So with that in mind, where do you see yourself by years 2 to 3? What would you like to have achieved by then?

Phil: Cinema.

Ash: Yeah I’d say a fully kitted out shop as to what we’d want by the end of the 3rd year. Mostly because that is our break clause in the lease, it’s up by the 3rd year. If we’re where we want to be by then, we know we’re going to stick around.

James: We’re taking over the globe…

Phil: The future is nerd!

Ash: The future is Bad Wolf.

Onto some fun ones now…

Phil: Punching James is fun…

Inaudible yelling from D&D room

Phil: SHUT UP.

Favourite colour?

Phil: Ooh… Teal.

Hysterical laughter

Phil: I like Teal!

James: What colour?

You’re wearing it…

James: No I’m not, it’s blue.

Ash: Teal is a shade of blue…

Phil: Ash?

Ash: Black.

Phil: I knew that was coming.

Ash and Phil briefly discuss whether or not they prefer black or white

That’s not really a colour it’s a shade?

Ash: Actually it’s the absence of all colour, so suck on that, Michael.

Okay, Ashley

Phil: Those are the most formal insults I’ve ever heard…

James what’s your favourite colour?

James: Blue.

Phil: Just blue?

James: Yes.

Phil: All blue? All the shades of blue?

James: Yes.

Who’s idea was the “doggo wetting station”?

Ash: Uh, you’re welcome.

What is your favourite dog breed?

Ash: Shiba Inu. I am all about the doge.

Phil: Oh fuck, I’ve got like eight! Ah fuck, uh one, German Shepherd!

James?

James: Dog.

Inaudible hysterical laughter, followed by impressions and mocking by Mikey, Ash and Phil

James: Westie.

Ash: Western DOG.

More laughing

James: I can’t believe I said that…

Star Wars or Star Trek?

James: Only one, Star Trek.

Phil: Pass, neither.

Ash: Both.

Phil: We got all three!

Which season of Power Rangers is the best?

Ash: I mean, Mighty Morphin’, fucking original!

Phil: Mighty Morphin’!

James shrugs

Ash: Oh shut up James.

James: Never used to watch it.

Ash and Phil tease James

Nintendo, Sony or Microsoft?

Ash: All of them. I’m not a fanboy, I’m a gamer. They all have exclusives, I’ll play them all, I’ve got them all, so fuck it.

Phil: I do like them all, but if I had to pick… Microsoft.

Everyone turns to James

James: PlayStation?

Laughter, again

Phil: So that’s Sony then.

Ash: The Japanese one!

Mario or Luigi?

Phil: Luigi.

Ash: Sonic.

Laughter

Ash: Ugandan Knuckles.

Phil: Fucking douche.

Ash: Nah Luigi, Mario is a prick.

James: Luigi.

Phil: Mario is up himself.

Peach, Daisy or Rosalina?

Ash: Oh Rosalina, I’d tap that…

Phil: Peach.

James: Peach.

Favourite song?

Phil: Friggin in The Riggin by The Sex Pistols

Phil proceeds to sing the song whilst we all sit and watch

James: Paint It Black (The Rolling Stones)

Ash: I dunno…

Phil: Out comes the emo… Asking Alexandria?

Ash: Never listened to them.

Phil: My Chemical Romance? Black Veil Brides? Nine Inch Nails?

Oh I do love a bit of Trent Reznor, said nobody ever…

Phil laughs whilst Ash still thinks

Phil: He’s gonna fucking say Coldplay isn’t he?

Ash: Nah I’m actually really into Amalee’s covers of anime openings.

Phil: Oh of course he’s…

Ash: They’re real good.

Favourite movie?

Ash: Sucker Punch.

Phil: DICKHEAD. Come back to me…

Ash: Never heard of it. Title of your sex tape!

Laughter

Phil: For humourous reasons I’m going to say Rubber. For a serious film I’d say Lost Boys probably.

James: For a funny one I’d say Space Balls.

And finally, who’s worse on a night out?

Phil: James. He gets so fucking political…

James: No I don’t, not on a night out!

Ash: It depends on how drunk I am…

So are we all in agreement it’s mostly James?

Phil: Yeah mostly James.

Ash: Yeah, James.

James: What?

Phil: You get too political.

James: No I don’t!

Thanks for your time today. What are your opening times and where can everyone find you on social media?

Ash: 10am – 6pm Monday to Saturday for the shop, 10am – 10pm for the games room. Social media it’s badwolfgaminguk across Instagram, Twitter, Facebook.

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