Thursday, 29 October 2009

Keeping Up With Nostalgia

I was going to post the first part of "How To Paint Toy Soldiers Really Quickly" tonight, but as blogs are supposed to be topical I thought I'd write about one or two things I saw recently.

I'm not sure that nostalgia can be topical, but in many ways it has never been as fashionable as it is right now. The whole series of "how I grew up" type books like Harry Pearson's "Achtung Schweinhund" and Andrew Collins' book about growing up normal in Northampton make it okay to reminice about the trivial parts of our childhood.

Wargamers love this, especially Grown Up ones, as despite being grown up, we've never really left our respective childhoods. There's lots of fun to be had in "I had one of those".

First up this week was James May building a life size Airfix Spitfire. Like most of us Airfix aided my early wargaming, although it wouldn't be true to say it got me started. Like everyone else my armies were skewed by what was actually available. Haven't we all staged the Scotish invasion of Napoleon's France because you could only buy Highlanders?

Anyway, confession time. My first Airfix kit was a P-47 Thunderbolt. I can't remember where it was bought, but I do remember my Dad helping me build it (the canopy didn't fit properly and wouldn't close). My brother got to build his on his model own, - although under supervision.

But the big confession is that I don't think I ever built an Airfix Spitfire. Lancaster bomber, yes, but Spitfire, no. In any event I was more of a tank guy than airplanes. And as May pointed out the Chieftan was a stinker of a kit. My barrel never stayed up (that's not a funny line as I built it when I was in primary school, so put your smutty thoughts away).

But we did blow up a Stuka in mid air with a banger.

Second nostalgia note came from Andrew Marr's "Making of Modern Britain". Well previewed (and subsequently well reviewed) I was looking forward to it.

All I can say is that modern reviewers' standards must be fairly low. Either that or they don't have much of an education. The programme covered the early parts of the 20th century - Boer War onwards- so I wasn't expecting nostalgia, but history. Humph. What I got was the edited highlights from my A Level notes.

Do people know nothing of their past? There were no surprises in this programme. But as Marr sped across the Taff Vale Case and the Joe Chamberlain's Tariff Reform I was transported back to the late 1970s in Room E, with Mr Thatcher ("Fuman" to us) my history teacher and that select band he led through the twists and turns of the period to eventual examination success. I could almost feel the stuffy air and the thickness of my blazer as my arm moved to write.

Nice footage of cavalry in the Boer War, however, so catch it on i-Player and skip the rest of it.

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