In the morning I am taking Boy the Elder into Leicester to spend his birthday money. The only thing which was on his list was a Warhammer series 40,000 Assault on Black Reach gaming set. If you understand what that means you are either likely to be a 13-25 year old male or a nauseating parent who is really sucking up to her children. You know who you are, Sister the First.
BTE has been an avid Airfix fan for ages and has got some beautiful models of WW2 planes, tanks and ickle tiny soldiers. He’d started to get really good at the building and painting and I understood it; it was real things painted to look like real things that did stuff that actually happened. The Aged Parent bought him membership of The Airfix Club for his birthday and he gets enamel badges and everything.
Then suddenly Warhammer came on the scene and there are dozens of little grey plastic mutant figures littering the house and desperate, plaintive pleas for Ork Stompas echo around the rooms, and I just don’t ‘get it’. But then I’m not really supposed to, am I?
Thus, tomorrow morning, we are venturing into Leicester to find a shop called ‘Tabletop Tyrants’ where, being a Saturday morning, it will be awash with hundreds of teenage boys, who are strangers to soap and don’t have a girlfriend or a clean pair of underpants between them. BTE will hand over his shining debit card (the glancing light blinding the shuffling youths) in exchange for box loads of plastic mutants with machetes and assorted weaponry plus the associated paints, brushes and glue.
I begged him to shower tonight or wash his hair, as a gesture that he has a shred of individuality, but to no avail. He did paint his nails purple though, which I suppose is a start. I will hide his trainers and leave his Chelsea boots where he will trip over them but I fear that the use of a toothbrush will be a step too far.
Airfix seems wholesome, Wargaming does not. Still, at least he’s balanced – an Ork Stomper on one shelf and a De Havilland Mosquito on the other. Boy the Younger will, of course, insist on combining the two and will strafe and dive bomb the mutants with neatly painted Spitfires and Lancaster Bombers. Boy the Elder will flip his lid and a horrible fight will break out on the dining room table between a lanky evil-smelling geek and a malevolent, grudge-bearing 8-year old.
Now THAT I get.