The Nerdy Girlie has come up with a great idea which I stumbled into via Twitter this week so I thought I’d join in and maybe meet some new friends at the same time. Each Friday, they have suggested a geeky topic and a whole bunch of blogs will be joining in – rather like a blogging carnival. This weeks’ topic is ‘5 gateway fandoms that made me who I am today’ which had me scratching my head – I had to look up what a fandom was but then it all made sense! So, here is my list of 5 things that I consider made me a bit of a geek today!
1) The Public Library, Science Fiction section
My Aunt was a librarian with an office next to the children’s section so during many of my earliest summer holidays, I spent days curled up on a beanbag in the corner. It was my idea of heaven, even at 4 or 5 years old and my Gran used my love of books against me when it came to punishment. I was never sent to my room because all my books were there! She used to ban me from visiting the library for a day or two and that was usually enough to make me apologise profusely and mend my ways!
By the time I was 9 or 10 years old, I had graduated to the young teens section but there wasn’t much choice so my Aunt suggested the sci-fi section. I had to choose my books then she would approve which ones I could take home. Soon I was immersed in heroic tales of space adventures or science crazy future worlds. I also discovered fiction fantasy and so my life long love of dragons was born, all thanks to the wonderful Dragonriders of Pern series by Anne McCaffrey.
2) Dr Who
Being a Brit of a certain age means I grew up with some of the earlier Doctor Who series – Jon Pertwee and Tom Baker were the Doctors of my childhood and when the tv series was resurrected in more recent years, it quickly became a must-watch programme again. I adored David Tennant’s Doctor and it took me quite a while to forgive Matt Smith but I thoroughly enjoyed his time as Doctor in the end. I’m currently in USA so I haven’t seen any of the new series with Peter Capaldi yet. I’ve managed to avoid spoilers so far but I am seeing some feedback on my Twitter feed that maybe this new Doctor is going to take a whole lot of getting used to!
I’m not sure I’d describe myself as a Whovian though – I’ve never been one for collecting stuff so I don’t have a single Tardis Mug or Doctor Who tee shirt. That’s not to say I haven’t been tempted though – I usually only look at these things when I’m broke so I can’t buy them. I’m afraid that once I start, my little one bedroom apartment will fill up very quickly!
3) Space Invaders & Arcade Gaming
Another fond memory of my summers with my Grandmother is the arrival of one of the very earliest arcade game machines. There was a cafe where we used to hang out drinking coke from glass bottles with a Fish & Chip shop next door. They were joined by a door between the counter areas so the staff knew us from both sides and as long as we were behaving reasonably well, we were allowed to hang around for hours. My little band of misfits spent all our pocket money in one of those 2 places so when they installed the Space Invaders arcade machine, you can imagine how excited we all were. I think we ranged in age from about 8 – 12 years old so our pocket money wasn’t that great!
Over the years though, I found great enjoyment spending hours in a darkened arcade – Galaxians, Mr Do, Pacman, Asteroids & Missile Command were some of my favorites. This was an early start in gaming for me – coming as it did during the Golden Age of video arcade games. The graphics were simple but their popularity hastened the development of the early console systems which led us to todays huge gaming market. I still struggle to identify myself as a gamer but I guess when you spend 20+ hours a week playing computer games outside of work hours, that’s probably enough to qualify!
4) Blue Peter
Hands up if you remember Blue Peter? It was a general childrens programme which covered news and events that might affect children as well as minor celebrities of the day, children and groups that gained some achievement and of course, my favorite were the craft sections and the summer travelogues.
I remember collecting plastic bottles, cardboard toilet roll tubes and tin foil so that I would have supplies to try to follow along with some of the projects. I also used to save used postage stamps, collected old coins and other scrap stuff to send in for recycling. The money raised from these annual Appeals is estimated at over $150 million and has gone to charities all over the world as well as around the UK.
I credit Blue Peter for introducing me to arts & crafts and to travel. I love to travel and their summer expedition reports used to keep me fixed to the screen and listing all the wonderful places I would go to as an adult. I’ve been lucky enough to manage a fair bit of travelling so far & I don’t plan on stopping any time soon!
5) Last but not least – Star Trek
Yes, the original Star Trek was yet another TV programme of my childhood but I continued to watch every episode of all the later series too. The original series is extremely dated now of course – modern society has changed so much that some of Captain Kirk’s comments would be terribly incorrect these days.
Having said that, The Next Generation and Deep Space Nine came a long way forward, with more women in stronger roles but it wasn’t until Captain Janeway took the lead in Voyager that we really saw a female in charge of the whole thing. I haven’t watched any of them lately – sitting here writing this, I’m thinking I should go watch some of them again to see how much further along we are now.
My Dad used to watch with us and would use examples from the early shows to explain things to us sometimes. Fair play, equality for all regardless of colour, race or even species came in there too as well as a sense of adventure & mystery lurking beyond scanner range. I think that’s why I usually identify with the good guys in most games and almost without conscious decision too! The whole Star Trek genre is memorable and still as popular today as it was back then. You only have to look for Star Trek memorabilia to see 1000’s of items that are not only available but still being produced!
So there we are – my 5 most memorable geeky things that I think helped make me the person I am now. I guess alongside my sci-fi books, Star Trek and Doctor Who both added aliens, mystical creatures, adventure, and travel to my outlook. Blue Peter gave me arty crafty stuff as well as the impetus to give and work for charity and Space Invaders gave me my love of all types of games. There have undoubtedly been loads of other influences in my life but these are the earliest ones I can think of for now.