BRICKTOBER, BABY!

Not long now: this time next week I’ll be packing the car with over a dozen large carboard boxes containing my display — entitled Alien Archaeological Expedition, for those with a need to know — driving for 16 wincing-at-every-goddamn-bump-in-the-road hours to get my arse to Perth, and carefully piecing over a dozen large cardboard boxes worth of Lego display back together again ready to set up for two days of telling people that no, this doesn’t come from a set, yes, I did make it myself, no, it’s not bloody Star Wars, yes, I really did come up with it myself, and no, your dad didn’t see it on the shelves at Target, go check yourself…. (Believe me, there’s a bingo sheet.)

It’s Bricktober time!

A tiny taste of one corner of my display. Imagine a tonne of in-jokes like this, but 12 baseplates bigger.

Get your tickets, come see the very large display I spent seven months putting together, marvel at the brilliant things people way more brilliant then me did in less time for much greater effect, and say hi to me because gods knows I don’t have any other Lego enthusiasts or, you know, even actual friends up here.

I can’t wait.

ONE LONG WEEKEND, FILTERED THROUGH THE EYES OF AN EXPENSIVE HOBBY AND A BUNCH OF THIRTEEN YEAR OLDS.

So I’m talking about the long weekend with my Year Eight class, and I mention I’m going to spend some time working on my Lego display. Which leads to discussing how yes, I’m a grown-ass man and I’m into Lego.

STUDENTS: What do you build?

I call up Google images and show them some displays from previous years’ exhibitions. Cue discussion of MOCs v sets and how I get to where I do what I do.

STUDENTS: How many sets do you have?

I tell them.

STUDENTS: How many pieces do you have?

I tell them. I also tell them how much my collection is insured for.

There is a *long* pause.

SMALL VOICE FROM BACK OF ROOM: …………… Are you mad?

You’ll learn, my sweet, summer child. You’ll learn 🤣🤣🤣

5 FOR FRIDAY: BRICKING IT

I’m head-down-bum-up over my display for the upcoming Bricktober 2021 exhibition these school holidays. So while I’m spending countless hours away from my loved ones, locked in a neon-lit room with the curtains closed, chipping my nails and growing the callouses on my fingertips as I spend hours debating over exactly which face is the best one to put atop that minifig people will glance at for less than a half-second on the way to fangasming at the bloke who just shoved Star Wars minifigs into a bunch of straight-out-of-the-carton City sets (I’m not bitter), I thought I’d have a look at which five bricks I come back to again and again every time I want to achieve an effect.

Here, then, out of the several hundred different styles of Lego brick, are the five I can currently call my favourites. Until next time I’m asked.

Don’t blink.

5 for Friday: It’s Brickalicken!

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IT’S NOT AN ADDICTION IF YOU KEEP COUNT.

Luscious returned from a weekend trip to Perth yesterday with a surprise Lego set for me. Which takes my collection — not counting Bricklink and other random part orders (which probably actually account for another few thousand, but don’t tell her) — past 100,000 pieces. Obviously, it’s impossible to work out exactly which is the 100,00th part, so let’s saaaaaaaaayyyyyy….. this one.

This is my 100,000th piece.

BRICKHEADS: KAMERON BACK

Time for another in my incredibly irregular series of Lego Fan interviews. This time we check in on Kameron, the son of one of my writing pals, Dia. He’s at the beginning of his lifetime obsession (BWAHAHAAAHAHAHAHAHAAAAHAHAHAHAHAAAAAAA he’ll learn….) but he’s already racked up some impressive set builds and is collecting himself a pretty decent collection.

So in his own words, so that we can all look back when he’s rich, famous, and poverty-stricken because he’s spending all those riches on the sets his parents wouldn’t buy him when he was a kid (I’M NOT BITTER!), here is Kameron himself.

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BRICKHEADS: DANI SMITH

Time for another Lego interview, and this time we’re chatting to a fellow inmate teacher in my very own English Department at school.

Dani Smith is a hard-core Mumhen, the kind of teacher that goes out of her way to make sure every kid has pens, paper, clean underwear, hot food, and a snug-in-the-bug, as well as an obsessive creator of high-quality teaching resources (at least one of which I’ve used as the basis for an entire unit….), water polo nutcase, and Mum of kids that are actually hers for real. She’s also a fan of using Lego to enrich her family life, as our interview shows.

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A PACK OF BRICKHEADS: RUSSELL KIRKPATRICK

There have, in past days, been the occasional interview series’ on this page. We’ve seen Treacherous Carrots, the depths of Room 102, Precious Things, enjoyed Fetish Friday…… but always, the interviewees have been largely drawn from friends and peers from my writing world.

So this time out, I want to introduce you to my other world: the world of my visual arts practice. My Lego world. First out of the blocks (Heh. See what I did there? See it? You see it? Suit yourself) is mapmaker, lecturer in Geography, chronicler of Kiwi waterfalls, and bloody brilliant fantasy novelist (okay, so I’m not exactly tearing myself away from the writing world to begin….) — not to mention hilarious Facebook poster and all-round just lovely fellow, Russell Kirkpatrick. (And a more recent snapshot of what he’s up to can be found here).

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WELCOME TO THE BUNGLE. AGAIN.

So…… lot of weather we’ve been having lately, innit?……

All right, let’s talk serious shit. I’ve lost my way since our son Blake completed suicide back in September 2019. Of course it’s understandable — Luscious and I have been swallowed by grief, and anybody who can’t understand how that level of grief can affect you has my permission to stay quiet — but the ultimate end of that process is that my life has turned in upon itself and started eating its own tail. Everything that was supposed to be good about coming to Karratha — gaining fitness, writing more, lowering my stress levels, finding my post-50-year-old-future, etc etc and so forth — was destroyed, and what’s more, I didn’t care.

This can no longer be supported.

Continue reading “WELCOME TO THE BUNGLE. AGAIN.”

BRICKTOBER 2020 AND THANKS FOR 2000

One of the things I’ve missed most since moving to Karratha is the opportunity to exhibit at my favourite annual arts exhibition, Bricktober. So much so, in fact, that recently I determined that I was going to pack myself into the car and drive down to Perth in 2021 for the sole purpose of doing just that.

Then a double dose of positive karma struck: Firstly, Luscious approved the plan, and second, my good pal (and head honcho of Bricktober) Stephen Kendall gently coughed in my Facebook feed and mentioned that a) due to Covid-19 restrictions, Bricktober was taking place in a fully online environment this year, and b) if I pulled my finger out and built something inside of a week, I could display something this year as well as next.

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LEGO: AN INTERLUDE

It’s the beginning of the term three school holidays. Lego reviews will follow. In the meantime, however, a short interlude:

I’ve been a lover of Bricktober since its inception, and one of the hardest things about moving to Karratha has been my inability to exhibit there.

In the wake of Blake’s one-year anniversary, though, I decided it was time I focused my life forward– no more wallowing on what the past has cost me (well, some wallowing — nobody gets over losing their son that quickly — but targeted wallowing. Specific wallowing.) while my own inaction costs me everything else. It’s time to face forward, and work on what I would achieve if I had thirty years in front of me and the only thing holding me back was me. Which is, kind of, actually the case.

One of those things was Bricktober. If it couldn’t come to me, then I was going to work out how to go back to it. Which meant planning to build something and take it to Perth. October 2021 is a year away. I could do that.

At which point my pal Stephen, who heads the organisation that runs Bricktober, popped up to tell me that, because of Covid, the whole thing was online this year, and if I could get something built in time — even something as small as a 20×20 stud diorama — I could have it included.

Oh, and it would have to be completed in a week.

Turns out, that was just the motivation I needed. So here’s a sneak peek at the first MOC I’ve completed in a ridiculously long time, and the first salvo of regaining my creativity. Bricktober will feature hi-res images, with some video and assorted goodies, but for now, here’s a quick squizz at The Hunting Lodge.

LEGO 250 REVIEW: 6205 V-WING FIGHTER

Gee, it feels like it’s been a while since I’ve posted a Lego review.

(Checks posts).

Shiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiitttttt………

Okay, let’s get back on this damn wagon, especially as the reviewing may have stopped but the purchasing hasn’t, meaning I’ve now bought way more sets than I’ve reviews since I set out to cover the 250 I had (at the point I started. How many do I have now? SHUT UP, YOU’RE NOT MY REAL MUM!)

An easy one to begin: Star Wars, and a little fighter plane from that benighted franchise.

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LEGO 250 REVIEW: 31058 MIGHTY DINOSAURS

There’s something risky about designing a Lego set around a subject in which curves are the predominant architectural feature. For all its adaptability, and the cornucopia of new pieces that have arrived in recent years, Lego is still, essentially, a blocky product. Many pieces might be curved, but even they still give a predominantly rigid effect: sinuousness and curvaceousness are not in the brief.

So what happens when Lego decides to make sets involving animals? And what happens when the company decides to use the same part to make three?

Surely, madness abounds.

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