Last night our young neighbour visited and spent the evening drawing a series of muscle-bound heroes imbued with 'powers' on a scale of 1 -10. He, aged 8, and a number of young friends have a 'club' with codes for names and a gamut of imagined characters for comrades. He has invisible ink too - that childhood stalwart of secrecy. I quite fancy a pot of that even now.
Here we have 'My body guard'. He's definitely someone to have on one's side.It took me back. Light years ago now - or so it seems - in another place, there used to be a small mountain of shoes and trainers at the foot of our stairs. 3 sons plus friends equals a lot of footwear and all these boys - because almost without exception the visitors were male - were good enough to take off their shoes before thundering up two flights of stairs. Peace would reign downstairs; husband, dog and myself could enjoy supper largely untroubled by looming, lumbering, whiffy adolescent visitors. This would be a nightly occurrence - by morning the 'boot mountain' would be gone only to form again the following evening.
What did they get up to, sons 1, 2 and 3, in their attic rooms? Remember that Nirvana album, 'Smells Like Teen Spirit'? Well that was 40 Heaton Moor Road c. 1994. It's perhaps best not to delve too deeply amongst the unsavoury detritus of their rooms. The usual 'lad' stuff I suppose: noise, beer, mags and illicit fags. No football talk as far as I recall - the atheletic gene is a stranger to us - so no other sports either.
Last night young F's drawings did remind me of one game though - which A and I called 'gnome wrangling'. Unkindly? No, I don't think so - we called it that largely out of ignorance and because to our untutored eyes it did, well, seem to involve gnomes. Sons 2 and 3 were maybe as bemused by it as we were and gave it a wide berth, preferring more tangible and earthly pleasures than the cerebral and fantastical ramblings of he-who-was-to-become-theeyechild and his friends. It was a role playing game - or games even and I don't think I will ever be lucky enough to understand its complexity and scope.
Recently the eyechild has been illustrating a series 'Every roleplaying rharacter I've ever played' and no 4 in his series gives a reasonable explanation of the imagined world. It's been very helpful and at long last I'm getting to grips with what enthralled these young men some 15 years ago. If you're curious go and take a look - it was a whole other world out there.
......Still don't think I understand it though.