If you’re interested in participating in the Geek Out Challenge, read this post here! Each day I will be posting a question for that day for the next 30 days. Follow along each day with your own post or feel free to wait until the entire challenge has been released and take it on when you like! Be sure to link back to the master post at the end or link back to each post for each day.
Day One: What was your first fandom?
As time passes and you grow holder, memories of the last week, the last month or year fade away unless they hold some form of relevance or had some form of emotional impact upon you. I couldn’t tell you in any great detail what I accomplished at work before my annual leave begun however I can tell you in detail the moment I was engrossed by my first fandom almost 28 years ago. I was standing in my parents loft conversion, banished as the youngest by my older siblings to watch the upstairs black and white television. Flicking idly through the limited range of challenges available to watch I came upon the most mind blowing scene a young impressionable boy could see, a ship in space panning in to reveal an English speaking uniformed individual undertaking his tour of his ship. My love for Star Trek was born on that day and has grown and matured ever since over the last 28 years. In the absence of internet streaming services and antiquated box sets, living in the UK we were largely reliant on these series being picked up by the state broadcasters from the American networks abroad. I was engrossed with this series but unable to indulge my new fandom, I was raised in the period of weekly syndicated broadcasting, if you were lucky perhaps a two parter, being able to binge watch a show was a distant fantasy about two decades later.
I wanted more, as an impressionable youth with this new series of interesting characters and fantastic ships I did what any respecting child of my age would do, in the absence of action figures or toys to bring my adventures to life I built my own bridge sets using lego pieces with toy models supplied by Micro Machines to recreate the epic battles in space. As I grew older into my teenage years and we brought our first computer I remember experiencing an unofficial Star Trek game on an old Performa Mac computer and being blown away at being able to actually fly a digital version of the Enterprise between planets.
“Being a resourceful child I repurposed these soldiers using the rank insignia of Starfleet and they became my loyal crew of officers and men aboard my Lego Bridge sets, just as the franchise and series drew inspiration from the bold military colours of the Imperial army in its development, so unintentionally did I as the clean uniforms of the French troops seemed a natural fit.” Charlesfwh, Around The Bonfire
In today’s modern world you can satiate your fan desires with few restrictions, the invention of streaming services has allowed us to binge watch whatever show we desire within reason and removed that sense of discovery, that social aspect of series where we can talk to our friends about the latest escapades and guess what’s going to happen next. I would say, its cheapened the product overall, I’ll readily concede I’ve brought into a new series and watched it excessively and in doing so lost whatever interest I initially had. Shows in turn now produced and made with hooks to ensure you continue to push through to the next episode. I enjoy the convenience but do recognise its had an impact on consumption.
Most fans of a generation tend to have the series they grew up with, similar perhaps to Doctor Who fandom who have their own particular Doctor or peoples favourite Bond. I don’t recall having that issue pertaining to Star Trek, perhaps due to the restrictions of watching it in a pre-digital era society with limited means to enjoy the series. I watched the earliest episodes of The Next Generation on a small black and white television set, I recall the luxury of being able to watch The Wrath of Khan on our bigger rented colour television set downstairs. Recordable cassette tapes were becoming more readily available, I had my cassette to record my films, this Star Trek film was one I chose to record and watch again and again as a young child. This isn’t a nostalgic story about poverty and restriction, we lived a comfortable life and these were the circumstances of media in the early 1990s. There was something endearing and positively empowering about the cast and crew of the Enterprise whatever the generation in showing the human race could rise above the issues around us and be prosperous into the future.
Throughout my teenage years, Star Trek was a constant presence and fandom, something I may touch on later in the month with another question. Certainly it was there during my formative years and served to act as a positive inspiration to take after and shape and grow my principles upon. Watching these leaders in authority resolve the moral quandary of the week through diplomacy where possible, through a determined spirit if necessary. That it continues to permeate and resonate with a new audience today speaks wonders of the vision of Gene when he first launched Star Trek in the 1960’s. But for me, it’s a clear memory of standing in my parents loft as the Starship Enterprise came into view, unlike anything on British TV I had witnessed and realised I was seeing something special, something that would change my life going forward and something I continue to enjoy, to learn from and to appreciate to this day.
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