Friday 11 February 2011

Nostalgia and Stormtroopers

I’m a nostalgic person and although I do live very much in the present - it’s difficult not to, with an active and imaginative five-year-old in your life - the past does call to me strongly. This covers a lot of different aspects - family relationships, memories, photographs, films and books and TV - but one that’s easiest to re-capture is with toys. No, hear me out, this isn’t a freshly minted 42 year-old having a breakdown, there is reasoning behind this. If you go back and watch old TV shows that you loved when you were a kid or a teen (or, sometimes, later), whilst the initial buzz is good, once you get down to watching several episodes, you realise that age has worn away the innocence you had on your first viewing. Case in point - I loved “The A Team”, which would have started when I was about fourteen and when I saw the first series boxset for £5, I bought it. The pilot was good (wrong Faceman though) but the episode quality declined to the extent that Alison & I debated not watching the last couple on the DVD. Same with “The Fall Guy”, which Fiver repeated a year or so back - I loved that series, back in the day, but could barely last an episode now.

Toys, on the other hand, hand you back that innocence and glow, with very little of downside. I have loved “Star Wars” since I first saw it (which, scarily enough, is 33 years ago) and it’s pretty much been my favourite film ever since. Back in the late 70s, I had a few of the action figures and a couple of the bigger toys (never did get that Palitoy Millennium Falcon though and I was always envious of Geoff Burbidge, who did), but like most kids, I gave them away to younger cousins as the years went by. I kept hold of (small head) Han Solo and the Deathwatch Commander though, putting them in a cupboard and effectively forgetting about them. When the films were re-released in the late 90s, I embraced the fresh onslaught of toys and bought micro-machines but very few figures (Luke had gone from a scawny farmboy with his lightsaber embedded in his arm to a cast-off from He-Man’s world) and I’ve now passed these on to Matthew, who loves them. Han and the Commander are still upstairs in the study though, too precious to play with and I decided that I’d like to set up a little Stormtrooper army to go with them.Yesterday, I bought my first one, from the Leicester Vintage & Old Toy Shop and to say I’m thrilled with it is an understatement. Nobody else really gets it - Dad commented that it looked good for its age (the toy is 33 years old) and Alison said “More toys?” - apart from Dude - “Cool, Stormtrooper, can he go in my box?” - but it means something to me.

Does that Stormtrooper give me a sense of nostalgia, untinged by disappointment? Yes, it does. It’s standing on the memorial model Dad made for “Conjure” now, glowering at me with his gun at his side and I think it’s brilliant, I really do.

I should probably point out that it was my birthday yesterday, hence these faintly maudlin thoughts. But the Stormtrooper is still cool and the
Leicester Vintage & Old Toy Shop is a great little treasure trove.

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