Saturday 7 July 2012

"I ain’t afraid of no ghost"

 After discussing my blog with Mrs M a few nights back she came up with a great idea, i have a few friends that are into comics, super heroes and toys and Mrs M thought it would be interesting to have guest post's written by them,. I'm always interested to hear how other people felt about their toys growing up as mine had such a huge impact on my life. The first person to be asked was Mrs M's cousin Russell, now Ive only met Russell once at a family wedding but we talk most days online, usually about spider-man, films or just general geekery. Russell is a poet and certainly has a way with words, He attatched his blog address to this piece which i didnt know he had so that will make for some interesting reading this evening. Any way i will leave you with this very well written and nostalgic piece, enjoy. . .

Cut the chocolate! Cut it!

It is the midst of Christmas 1992. The log fire is blazing, the adults are chatting lazily over glasses of cheap red wine and we – the child folk – are trying to saw cubes of chocolate from a thick slab of Cadbury’s with a butter-knife and fork whilst wearing oven mitts.  It is a difficult task and one I don’t relish, but it’s part of the festive games which, through peer pressure, is compulsory. Compulsory fun. The worst kind of fun. I drop out early, my eight year old hands are too weak to compete with the brute chocolate-breaking strength of the older kids, so I head to the toy cupboard.

Back in the 1990s The Ghostbusters were big. Despite the fact that we were all terrified of real ghosts every kid my age wanted to don the off-white jumpsuit and strap on a proton pack. My toy cupboard held the precious contraption: light years ahead of conventional science, a portable device able to emit charged beams through accelerating particles to such an extent that they created a collision which was able to hold and control negatively charged ectoplasmic entities. The Ghostbusters’ version was an expensive piece of getup designed by Dr Egon Spengler, mine had the appearance of a piece of oversized Tupperware with a plastic vacuum cleaner hose attached, and it made a pathetic whirr when you pulled the trigger. What a thing the child’s mind is, though, able to transform those cheap pieces of plastic into a machine of magnitude. I became bolder, revitalised, scouting out the house for potential poltergeists, checking dark corners for demons. I was a protector, a visionary, a hero. While the adults bored on about washing machines and overtime at work I was out hunting the damned, inventing the world as I wanted it. This is the power of toys.

Well I’m one of those adults now. I drink too much, I smoke, I moan continuously about the news, the weather, I berate inaccuracy, debate ferociously about things that probably don’t really matter. Adults aren’t meant to play with toys, they have to go to work, buy the shopping and clean the house and die. And that’s a problem.

Imagine a world where grownups played more, where businessmen didn’t go for a read of the papers over a mug of murky coffee but put on masks and capes, and pretended to be heroes in their own little pockets of fantasy; where nurses and teachers didn’t spend their morning  break rifling through papers, they thought up adventures for their super hero  dolls. Allowing the mind to imagine is one of the most vital things humans have evolved to do, it’s what has allowed great works of art, innovations in science and business. Playing with toys can relax you, it makes you a better thinker, a happier, smarter human being. I didn’t see a cheap plastic box and a vacuum cleaner hose when I was eight, I saw a new world. Without the ability to look outside of what already exists, without an imagination, we become stagnant, stuck sitting at parties talking lazily over cheap glasses of red wine, preoccupied by the dreary things in life. Toys help us to break loose, to throw out the shackles of ‘normality’, not just to think outside the box but to reinvent it. And so I implore us all to play more, to revel in the magnificence that is the human imagination. Go now! Grab some Tupperware, a vacuum cleaner hose and some duct tape! Get out into the streets and play! Join me brothers, sisters and reverberate our new mantra through the grey streets: “I ain’t afraid of no ghost!”

The piece pretty much backed up why i am the way that i am. I don't watch the news and i don't read the paper because honestly i would rather live in my own little fantasy world where me and the boys dress up like super heroes and spend days on end building Lego creations. There's far to much misery in the world and i will do my best to avoid as much of that as i can.

If you liked the piece (which I'm sure you did) and you want to read more of Russell's work you can find him here I'm not going to pretend that i know anything about poetry but i know when i like something and i would recommend How to kill a Blackbird. A beautifully written piece. 

Thanks Russell

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