>One of the advantages of being a Dad is being able to play with toys for longer than you can otherwise get away with.
Every male like to play with toys, but as they get older the terminology changes and “toys” become “gadgets”. When a male is 12 they want the latest computer or console. Add another 10-15 years to that and they want the latest smartphone, which with the first look they try to find a simulator for the computer they wanted when they were 12. So these days it’s not uncommon to see someone hunched over an iPhone trying to get a world record time on act two of the Green hill level on Sonic the Hedgehog, only to curse the name of the person who’s just interrupted their attempt by calling their phone asking why their 2 hours late for work. Of course if their playing angry birds that’s a different matter.
There’ll be a bank holiday for that game one day, mark my words.
But sometimes when your older you can get away with being bought toys with the “irony clause” (i.e. being bought as a supposed joke). This is generally for a) geeks and b) fans of programmes that handily have fantastic merchandise. Which funnily enough is normally sci-fi programmes, which lands you back in the a) geeks category. The thing is that the irony clause is, like a government general election pledge, a thinly veiled lie that you go along with in the slim chance it might actually turn out to be true. The male just wants the toy. Subconsciously everyone knows this.
I tend to opt out of the irony clause, mainly because I have a very understanding wife who knows my geek nature (she refers to me as ‘her geek’ which is something that makes me fall in love with her all over again) this is why I have an unashamed love for Doctor Who, and as a result I own two sonic screwdrivers.
Yes, I know that a 29-year-old owning a toy generally aimed at the younger fans of Dr Who can be seem as, well weird. But it’s not like I put a huge scarf or bow tie on and prance around pretending to be a 900 year old alien who has a fucked up time machine. Sometimes you’ve just got to make concessions for the child in you because otherwise you’ll become another person who wears beige and drives a Vauxhall Astra, and everytime you buy a coffee on the way to work wearing a shirt and tie you die a little inside. And probably burn your tongue.
Also having said toy is a reason why I’m looking forward to when the boy gets older and starts watching Dr Who for himself. If he’s ever scared I can use the screwdriver to check under his bed for monsters and assure him that I can get in touch with the Doctor if the need ever arises. When your that age your Dad (or Mam) needs to be your hero, and if a part of getting there means using a plastic toy for kids I’m not going to argue.
So yeah, I’m looking forward to the new series. When it finished the first time around (I believe in 1989) I was seven. So since it kicked off again in 2005 I’m making that concession for my inner child and geeking out with the Doctor. And why not? It’s a well written sometimes thought provoking, fantastic piece of family entertainment. Go seek out the episode “Blink” and “The Family of Blood” two-parter from David Tennant’s second series and tell me the’re not brilliantly constructed stories. They also contain great performances including one from an oscar-nominated actress.
So come the Easter weekend, I’ll be there watching. But I’ll be longing for the day we can sit with our kids, each of us with our own sonic screwdriver and we can watch it as a family, as it was always meant to be.
(The new version of the theme music is a bit rubbish though…)