After a minor joke around my birthday time I am currently revisiting a childhood obsession with Lego. I’ll be the first to admit that I never stopped being interested in the wee plastic blocks (as the presence of a couple of newspaper freebies and numerous individual minifigs around the house will prove) but not to the extent that it has been filling my spare time of late. I can’t recall a first set, it was just something that was always there when I was growing up – the toy of choice in most circumstances. Having Danish ancestry must have been a plus point in the accumulation of the stuff, and I do recall that some of our sets were inherited from cousins (and the uncle in that case worked for Shell which must explain why we have so many petrol station pieces!) but for many years it was top of the Christmas and Birthday lists. Being the older of two brothers meant I must have had a bit longer on the pure play level than might be normal but I can’t be sure on when either of us bought our last childhood kit either (although there are some great web sites out there giving dates sets were released where I could work it out if I could be bothered). We definitely visited Legoland on Danish holidays in 1980 and 1984 and I know I bought some on that second trip, but after that things get a bit hazy. The last I recall is sorting it all out into categories in separate ice cream tubs for storage in the loft sometime before we moved to Felixstowe in 1989.
Although not building anything in the years following that, I kept pace with what was available through the simple expedient of working for Argos. All those deliveries and sales passing through my hands meant I was up to date with everything new until I finally escaped from retail in 1998, and even then stayed in touch through the catalogue as Joan didn’t leave there until 2006 and we still picked one up every six months after that. When the bagged single minifigures started appearing in the shops I resisted but finally succumbed around series 3, and there I was back in the collecting game again. OK, only the people and the freebies mentioned above but still it began to nag at me. And as it was the 21st century starting looking at the odd fan site on the web and sought out photos on flickr (and started taking some pics myself). Then last year while we were in America I gave in to temptation in a larger way in the Lego store at Disneyland with the purchase of the Back To The Future set. Which was great fun to build, and introduced me to a whole load of techniques not officially employed back in the good old days. I blame watching the Lego movie on the flight over!
So, when I couldn’t think of anything I fancied for my birthday (see depression post below) I suggested my brother should go up in the Parent’s loft and find me a technic set to build. He ended up getting the whole lot down and all the tubs are now sat in my study, calling out to me every time I pass the door. When I brought them home there was some discussion about passing them on to the offspring of a cousin (said cousin having split from his wife and now needing a set of toys at each home) but I’m not sure I’m ready to give it away just yet. If nothing else I wanted to know exactly what was in those tubs and reminisce unashamedly for a while. Which has nicely coincided with a couple of tv shows about Lego and adult fans and the launch of a magazine or two. Not that I have bought any of those, but they are interesting to flick through.
Up to now I have built a couple of ancient (and presumably inherited) sets from the days before the minifig was invented (a bus, naturally, and a Shell station) all the space sets I can find pieces for and tonight will see me finish off the technical stuff. I suspect I will then work my way through the classic town sets and all the older bits I can work out from the bricks that remain. 30 years on from my last recalled construction binge I am having the time of my life and it seems to be providing me with the therapy others are getting from all the adult colouring books flooding the shops. Disappointed that we have managed to lose a few bits along the way but there you go. Nothing I can’t improvise around.
And we are having a day trip to Legoland Windsor next week as well. Must not let it take over my life, but it will keep me amused for a few more months yet.