Today is the first anniversary of my Dad dying. I can’t believe it’s been a year.
I haven’t slept properly the past few days. I keep waking up every hour or so, like I’m anxious about missing a train or flight or something.
I’ve had such a lonely year without him. I miss arguing about politics with him (he was very left of Labour but not as much as me), I miss geeking out with him, showing him new gadgets I’ve bought. I mean, I’ve always loved my Dad but I didn’t know I’d miss him like this, every day in so many ways. I keep thinking, ‘Oh wait till I send this article to…. “ or “He’s gonna love this new lens…” and then realising I’m forgetting he’s gone.
I have so many happy memories of him carrying me when I was little, of him explaining things to me so, so patiently. He bought me my first book, Asimov’s Mysteries, when I was seven or so. He’s why I’m an SF geek. I had a wonderful father.
I wish I was as good a person as he was. I wish I was as strong and handsome, as fearless and resourceful.
If, like me, you’re lucky enough to have a great Dad, please go and give them a hug or ring them and tell them you love them. Because, one day, like me, you’ll wish you’d done that so much more when you had the chance.
Galaxies colliding. As ours will with Andromeda in around five thousand million years. Think of that, actual fucking galaxies colliding. (Pic is of the Antennae galaxies, a pair of interacting galaxies located 45 – 65 million light years from Earth. Credit: Hubble / ESA)
There are pulsars, as discovered by Jocelyn Bell. Stars that are basically cosmic lighthouses, sweeping huge bursts of energy out into the universe through their magnetic fields. Some of them are as accurate as atomic clocks.
There are beautiful nebulae, some of them millions of light years across. Some, like the Crab Nebula, are formed by the exploding guts of a supernova. Anything more complex than hydrogen, helium and lithium is made inside starswhen they bash atoms together and only released when they explode. Think of the journey those elements in your body have made…
MEANWHILE, BACK HERE ON EARTH…
I have to deal with the racism of white people who dislike me because I have genetic sunblock that makes my skin a different colour to theirs. Really.
I pity these people. I am sorry for them in that their perspectives are so tiny, so utterly local and banal and ephemeral. I am sad they will never see the beauty I see in every other human being and in the huge universe out there.
If they did see that beauty, if they did realise how unlikely and fleeting and miraculous all life on Earth is, they could not hold on to their ridiculous hate.
I just fell asleep, old man style, and had this crazy 30-second dream.
I was laying next to this beautiful naked woman (well, naked except for a garter on her right thigh) and we were edging towards the beast with two backs when she suddenly looked up and through the window of the cottage we were in.
“Oh my god! Manet is here!” she wailed.
“Monet?” I said.
“No, fucking Manet! Look! He always travels in those carriages with the slidey doors,” she replied.
Sure enough, I looked through the small window and, yes, there was a train outside and a carriage painted a bright, lush green whose door was sliding open.
“Fuck!” she said as she slid off the bed hurriedly and threw on a silk dressing gown.
And the moral of the story: even in my DREAMS my brain hates me and won’t let me have sex.
If you fall into either of those camps, you’ll doubtless have strong opinions. If you don’t, then come and join me on the sidelines as the two sides limber up for the mother of all battles. I’ve got popcorn, it’ll be fun. And who are we, if we’re not boomers or millennials? Why, we’re Generation X of course. And when the slapping and fighting is all done and dusted, we’re going to save the world.
Okay, so it’s a silly article and as a Gen Xer I think loads of it is wrong. For example, Xers were the first slacker generation. A lot of us fucked off our 20s in a way that Millennials just can’t now. So much for industrious.
What I would agree on is the music stuff: punk, reggae, goth, hip hop, indie, rave, house, jungle, metal and all the various sub-genres, that was us. I’m waiting for a new genre, for a 21st century genre powered by Millennials. Played on knitting needles or something.
I wonder how we’ll do when we’re finally in charge and the Boomers are all dead?
I just watched the long doc on the Eagles which was fascinating, in the way that all rock docs are.
You have the origin story, some kids sparking off each other, loving the music. Then they get success and become addled by the drugs and the sex and then, inevitably, along comes Mr. Creative Differences. Which, in the Eagles’ case includes hilarious recordings of them about to have a punch up on stage, in the middle of a bloody gig!
I’m glad they had Linda Ronstadt in there and gave her due credit. Too often, female artists get whitewashed out of rock history or relegated to the role of muse. I wonder if the Eagles would even had formed if Frey and Henley hadn’t toured in her band?
What made me a little sad is zero mention of Michael Nesmith. I hate the way that no-one talks about Nez as one of the originators of country rock. Ronstadt covered Nez’ ‘Different Drum’ way back in ‘67, with the Stone Poneys. If the doc could mention Gram Parsons, it really should have mentioned how important Nesmith was on that early scene. ‘Sweetheart Of The Rodeo’ was released in 1968, Nesmith wrote ‘Different Drum’ in 1965! There’s no way Henley and Frey were unaware of Nez’ post-Monkee solo country albums.
Otherwsie, how could you have ‘Midnight Flyer’ which is basically the Eagles ripping-off Nez’ ‘Nevada Fighter’ three years after it was released?
Reminds me of ‘Moi Lolita’ by Alizee and a certain ‘90s one-hit wonder…
I keep having the most vivid dreams that I’m with my ex and I’m begging her not to leave, like I did in real life when she said she wanted a divorce.
I know that person doesn’t exist any more but when I see her in my dreams, it’s so disturbing. Her skin feels as soft, her smile is as every bit as cute and I remember the last time someone loved me, the last time someone kissed me.
When she wrote to me after my Dad died last year, I was so happy. Not because I had any ideas of getting back together, I gave up on those years ago. But because I thought, maybe, we could have at least some kind of friendship. Also, I knew my Mum wanted to see her, to hear her memories of my father. She gave me an email address in the letter so I emailed her about my Dad, his death, my Mum’s health and… she didn’t reply. That was the cruellest thing anyone has ever done to me.
I never thought I’d still be dreaming about her, so many years later.
Love is horrible. I wish my subconscious didn’t keep reminding me how empty my life is now.
After the original series was cancelled, there was no Star Trek on television until the animated series in 1973. When the producers were casting the cartoon, they initially decided not to use George Takei and Nichelle Nichols. It would save money to get their roles played by other actors.
But Leonard Nimoy refused to work on the series unless the entire original cast was brought back. He believed that the message of Trek was one of diversity and no two actors better represented that ideal than Takei and Nichols. He stood up for his fellow actors in a way that is very rare in TV and film.
This is what Star Trek is all about. This is what Star Trek means to me.
My feet hurt. I have Euclideanly flat feet so walking any distance is always a painful chore. My feet are red and will take a couple of days to recover from the weekend. They’re in that state because I spent the last three days walking round the NEC, the venue for Destination Star Trek 50. (The 50 stands for the fifty years since the original series’ first episode was first broadcast, way back in 1966.) My Trek buddy Nat and I joined thousands of others who all flocked to Hall 4 to see our idols in person and perhaps get their autograph or even a photo with them.
The event was chocker with Trek actors; Marina Sirtis, Alice Krige, Garrett Wang, Armin Shimmerman, WILLIAM FUCKING SHATNER…. Well, you get the idea. It was wall-to-wall famous faces. I heard Marina, Alice and Christoper Lloyd take part in a great talk about the differences between TV and cinema (well, it was meant to be, it covered a much wilder gamut, thanks to the always fabulous Ms. Sirtis).
I also heard Adam Nimoy talk about his beautiful documentary, For The Love Of Spock and I have to confess that I was crying through a lot of that event. For me, Trek and Spock and my Dad are all interconnected. I miss my Dad so much and he loved Spock / Nimoy as much as I did. It was my Dad who introduced me to SF and Star Trek, we used to love watching it together, right up to the reboot films. When Nimoy died, my Dad was truly saddened by his passing. He would have loved Adam’s documentary had he lived long enough to see it.
Nat and I dropped in on other talks and competitions too. But we both agreed that the best part of the whole event was, as Adam Nimoy and Marina Sirtis both stated separately, the fans.
If you want a feeling of inclusion, if you want a feeling of being an un-judged member of a family, go to a Star Trek con. I talked here about the utopian and profoundly progressive DNA of Trek and the proof of that is in the fandom. In no other place will you find such open minds and open hearts. We don’t care about race or gender or sexuality or religion or physical shape. Hell, we don’t even care if you only know one show or only like one character. The MRA-fuelled bile of the gaming scene, the gatekeeping, bullying and sexist vitriol has no place in Trek fandom. Any Trek convention you go to will be the anti-matter version of a Trump rally. Take all that right-wing paranoia and hatred and fear and pessimism about the future and replace it with throngs of people who accept the beauty of infinite diversity in infinite combination.
I wandered about all weekend, getting pics of fellow Trekkies and you can see for yourself the diversity of our cadre. Some of us are blind, some of us can see, some of us are bipedal, some of us are tripedal or roll on four wheels. Some of us are old and wrinkly, some are tiny, enthusiastic children, leaping about with glee. Me, I’m hugely fat and look uncannily like a perplexed walrus. None of that matters because we are the best people.
Why? Because we dream of a future that is the opposite of Theresa May’s desperate Norsefire manifesto. We dream of a future where Earth is at peace and education, healthcare and food is universally available and accessible. The people I met at DST50 are the best people. Overwhelmingly friendly, charming and geekily garrulous, I had a fucking blast this weekend.
If you get the chance to go to a Trek con, pick out a costume (or don’t, if you’re shy, doesn’t matter!) and then GO. You won’t regret it. Promise.