Friday 6 March 2015

Get your geek on and goodbye Spock

The death of Leonard Nimoy has had me remembering all kinds of stuff - mostly good. I'm not the geek I used to be - I fall asleep during Star Wars, I hate J J Abrams with a passion, blockbusters bore me and I can't be arsed to watch TV. Even Game of Thrones with its appeal to my Sword and Sorcery roots is irritatingly facile. Our school however is full of geeks - the love for Doctor Who, Merlin, Manga, Iron Man, Supernatural and ALL KINDS of stuff is omnipresent and it's always lovely to get caught up in their enthusiasm. I'm fully aware too, that my love for geeky stuff is a huge part of who I am, still. So in our next Bookworm the girls will be choosing their Geek Top 5. I've separated it out into 5 categories (see below) but you can mess around with that (if you must!). This is my 'old man' version:

Leonard Nimoy

 Over the years it becomes harder to separate out nostalgia, and the comfort it can bring, from things that have continuing relevance, meaning and quality. A bit of nostalgia is fine but too much is just another prolonged and very dull, escape from reality. I’ve tried to choose things that retain their bite. What’s that you’re saying?  Yes, yes, of course I know I’m pompous! Lol!

Favourite TV Series - The first episode of Blakes 7 was on BBC 1 on Monday 2nd January, 1978 at 6:00pm. I was 7. I was still very cute at 7 it has to be said. I’d go as far as to say I was adorable. Blakes 7 however was neither cute or adorable - it was dark and scary, seductive and serious. It is undoubtedly a central factor in making me the person I am - FAR more important than my parents, school or my friends. [I’m just gonna throw this kind of stuff in for a reaction—but sometimes I kinda believe my own nonsense too].  In the first episode a man called Blake is invited to a meeting for those discontented with the government. All the people at the meeting are massacred and Blake is set up, accused of molesting children, convicted, and sent to a penal colony. Bleak, huh? Yes, but it also has a dry, laconic humour and great, razor-sharp dialogue. And obviously it gets (a bit) cheerier. Blake escapes, along with a handful of other prisoners and they take the fight to the nefarious Federation. It also has the best baddie in ALL TV - Servalan.

Favourite Episode or scene - The Buffy musical episode? Any number of episodes from Northern Exposure, Farscape, Angel or Star Trek: Deep Space Nine? A scene from one of the Star Trek films or any scene from The Princess Bride. I could but I'm not gonna. Instead let’s return to 1977 and my joint-favourite Doctor, Tom Baker (along with David Tennant). It is an episode called The Sun Makers. The Doctor and Leela land on a planet where THE company exploits all the workforce, paying them little and taxing them a lot. There’s the usual toing and froing and running around but eventually the doctor helps the people to rise up and overthrow their corrupt leaders. Marvellous - but it gets better. The final scenes show the workers throwing the boss off the roof to his death. Not that I’m suggesting violent revolutionary insurrection is a good thing of course! Oh no! I will say, however, that you just don’t get that kind of thing on Doctor Who nowadays. Hmmmmm!

Favourite film - hard this. If I were in a serious frame of mind I’d go with Blade Runner, but this is about being a GEEK. So I’m gonna cheat and have two fun films instead. This time I shall return to the summer of 1983. I was staying at my aunt’s for the summer and watched Flash Gordon (1980) almost every day. It’s camp, silly and utterly glorious. I can watch it any day and still get the same pleasure levels as my 12 year old self. If I need cheering up these days I watch Serenity, the film of the TV show Firefly, creation of Joss Wheedon. It’s full of brilliant characters and dialogue; bursting with action and romance; funny and serious. It is, I would suggest, virtually perfect.

Favourite character - people shouldn’t really get me started when it comes to strong female characters. It’s a weird concept. Strong for me means rounded and believable; without being a cliché or a stereotype - it shouldn’t necessarily mean someone who just kicks the proverbial butt. Luckily there are a few characters who are brilliantly realised AND can dish out the violence too! Best of all is Aeryn Sun in Farscape. To watch her character arc play out over four glorious seasons is to glimpse the sublime. Hyperbole? Maybe a little. Also I was quite a bit in love with Claudia Black. Still am. This is normal for geeks. I’m not going to apologise! Oh, so I’M the cliché, huh? Maybe.


Favourite thingI’m leaving this category a bit vague. I could choose my sonic screwdriver, my life-size cut-out of Amy Pond, my copy of Baldur’s Gate or my first edition Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy that I got for my 11th birthday. All beautiful things. However, I will choose my 2000AD graphic novel collection. If I had lots of money and lots of time I would buy more comics these days, but I haven’t.  In truth this is my most nostalgic choice. It reminds of me waking up excitedly on a Saturday morning waiting for my copy of 2000AD to be delivered by the papergirl. That said, large sections of it - Nemesis, Judge Dredd, Slaine and The Ballad of Halo Jones - are still brilliant. If you want to get into graphic novels try the work of Chris Ware.

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