Sunday, February 08, 2009

Gnome wrangling. A sort-of apology

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.

7 comments:

Pondside said...

I don't think I'll ever understand it either. We also had a period of years in which the pile of enormous sneakers at the front door was enough to warrant a call to the fire marshall - we'd never have got out in a hurry.
The role play games have disappeared, and have been replaced by board games - hours of Risk and Settlers at the dining room table - fathers, sons, uncles and one determined Lillypad who would never accept the 'guys only' edict.

Rachel said...

That made me laugh - I too can remember heaps of enormous (and odorous) trainers in the hall, and music played so loudly that the Lovely Son and his friends had to shout over it, only to be astonished later that I seemed to know more of what they were up to than could be accounted for!

And then, one day, they morph into sensible adults...sigh.....

elizabethm said...

Oh yes, remember the huge trainer pile but have looked at eyechild's blogspot and am still totally none the wiser. Our boys were very much possessed of the sporting gene so were likely to be watching or playing some type of sport (even if only heading scrunched up paper into waste baskets). As a lover of The Lord of the Rings and Alan Garner I ws bemused. "Mum, do you know how sad that is?" Each has moved closer to the other.

LittleBrownDog said...

Boys - I think they're a different breed. At least yours took their shoes off, though. Our dog lies iin wait for shoes to be taken off, then he spirits them away and buries them in the garden. Like the idea of gnome-wrangling, though!

Off now to look at they eyechild's pages...

The Eyechild said...

That little dude's my dude.

Basically it was kind of a mix of a acting and a game of let's pretend – but with lots more detail.

I suspect it's one of those things you either get or you don't, but I like to think we were ahead of the curve, given that the internet practically encourages people to become someone else eg 'Eyechild'.

GeraniumCat said...

Oh, that took me back - I remember long conversations over the washing up about how you could ride a horse if you'd lost a leg, or battle techniques and weaponry. Since I spent much of my own time making historically authentic underwear, I could hardly mock, and I still fall asleep regularly to the sound of my grown-up sons shooting aliens. Love "gnome-wrangling", that's how I shall think of it in future.

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