i remember the day i was told star trek was make believe
annemarie was off doing her night college, we were not yet an item, i was, however, on babysitting duties.
sitting in a toy strewn front room i was help the kid build something with lego. i say something because i had no idea what he was making. it might have been something to do with transformers, it might have been a sleek aeroplane, it might have been a gun, it may have been some futuristic bridge, it could have been an entry into the turner prize.
whatever it was he was happy.
if he was happy i was happy.
if he was happy annemarie would be happy and well who knows how that might go. (nowhere for months if you must know).
as we were playing i noticed that star trek was on bbc2.
real proper classic star trek. kirk, spock, mccoy and scottie
william shatner star trek. william fucking shatner – an actor who could touch the outer reaches of ham and make it look like he was still grounded in the worlds of shakespeare. his scene chewing made star trek more than just a science fiction show, it made it more than just a mirror of contemporary society – it made star trek magic.
(if you want to know the real problem spin off series such as next generation, voyager and enterprise? they acted, maybe not well but they acted. whereas deep space 9 – well that had avery brooks a man, a legend an actor who took the shatner playbook ran with it and added to it. star trek is supposed to be bigger than life and it needs bigger than life actors leading the way.)
so i ask the kid have you ever watched star trek?
no he says.
do you want to i ask,
ok he says. (nothing like enthusiasm to make a day).
i turn it on and i am thrown back to the days of wonder when i first started watching trek. hand on heart i was a fan, but never a dedicated one. a frother but not a fanatic.
of course i sort of expect that sort of wonder to wash over the kid. i expect him to look at and escape into the excitement and thrills of the show. in truth i wanted him to like it.
we watch a few minutes – it might have been the tholian web episode, or that one where shatner fights the lizard beast, or mccoy saves that alien creature with a bit of polyfiller, or the one with joan collins. it doesn't matter which one it was – it had william fucking shatner in it and therefore wonderful.
or not as the case may be.
the kid looked at me and said – it's not real it is all made in a studio.
what? what? what? i give the kid tv gold and he throws it back in my face with a it is all made up, what kind of shit is this. i mean, no, really what kind of shit is this.
i descend into a bit of a blue fugue.
talk about pissing on your parade!
just around the time i make him some tea (then i did have to cook – not well just enough to get by), we are watching street hawk on tv (it is some dreary programme about a bloke dashing around the place on a sleek bike solving crimes), and blow me down but the kid is well into it. he turns to me and then starts explaining how street hawk is related to knight rider who is a cousin of blue thunder and they are all pals with the bloke who drives the big truck everywhere. no doubt they all go for tea around at manimal's house.
what the fuck.
so you are happy to tell me that star trek is made up and not real, but you want to fill my head with nonsense about shitty programmes involving talking cars?
no. no. no. and no again.
but i am a grown up and i act like one. (all the swearing was silent and just internal dialogue.)
i just nod my head and agree. i let him witter on telling me and more about their adventures. my eyes don't glaze over but i am thinking of other things: klingons, romulans and uhura.
several years later i see that my work with the kid did pay off.
i'd been separated from his mum for a few years and i get a call out of the blue – can you get the kid tickets to see the star trek next generation movie? oh hi how are you? can you? (obviously we were picking up from where she kicked my heart apart). i'll try i say.
i get him tickets.
him and his mate go see the movie.
he had become a trekker. parenting job done.
stick that in your airwolf and smoke it.