Indie, Marty, Daniel and me….intrigued?

When you get to my age you are in the position that you will be over halfway through your life and you have those moments when you sit and reminisce because, as your memory gets worse and worse, you know that you will soon forget most things from your past. Writing my weird life series of blogs I have started to relive many events and occurrences from when I was younger, especially in my teenage life. Last night on my radio show, I mentioned that the first time I watched the Disney film – Hercules it was stood in a school library watching it from a VHS video tape. I think Hercules, the Disney version, is probably one of my favourite Disney films and it got me thinking about my three favourite films when I was a teenager – from the title of this blog can you guess what they were?


Do you remember VHS tapes? If you are reading this and below the age of twenty then you probably have no idea what I am talking about. One of the great purchases any house could have was a video player/recorder. Although the top loading ones which popped up and then you had to press down were my favourite, they soon evolved into the front feeding ones, which always looked like they were eating the tapes and, if the tape was faulty or the ‘heads’ dirty – they frequently did! One of the most important times of the year for me and my VHS tapes was Christmas. Why? Well this was the time that you sat down with the Christmas Edition of the Radio Times and planned out which films you wanted to ‘record’ and how many tapes you would need in order to achieve this. If the film was on ITV (don’t think there was any other channel with adverts on when I was growing up) you might be completely committed to the recording process, pressing pause when the adverts came on to avoid recording them! There was that moment of fantastic realisation when you knew you could actually watch one channel and record a different one! Now that was technology for you!

Anyway, back to Indie, Marty and Daniel – With my three favourite films recorded it meant that I could watch these as often as I wanted. Some days, I would sit painting warhammer type figures, or typing up my dungeons and dragon fanzine (Animated Dead – typed through several layers of carbon paper in order to provide the copies for my five subscribers) or just thinking about the future while watching these three films. Each of the films had a main character which I aspired to be like for a range of reasons and provided motivation for the future. Who were those characters – well that’s where the title of this blog originates from.

Raiders_of_the_Lost_Ark_DVD_2008

  • Raiders of the Lost Ark – Possibly one of the greatest films of all time, Raiders of the Lost Ark was the first film in the series starring the character Indiana Jones. Indie, as he was known to his friends, was an archaeologist/adventurer who travelled the world seeking out rare and mythical artefacts, going head to head with the opposing forces of humanity who wanted to use the artefacts for pure evil. Now, don’t get confused at this point. I’m not the travelling sort of person at all, and I’m certainly not built for battling evil forces. What I aspired to as a teenager was Indie’s intellect and knowledge. His character appeared to know everything about myths and legends, something which has, since being a teenager, intrigued me. He had the knowledge, he worked in academia and he was….yes….a PROFESSOR! I used to hope that one day I would have his knowledge and understanding of a subject and that I would be recognised as an expert in an area. If you wanted to know something about archaeology you went to Indie… I used to dream of that phrase with my name and subject inserted in to the correct places. I’m not one of those naturally intelligent people of the world. I’m one of those people that Einstein would class, as they journey towards genius, as the 99% perspiration. I have to work hard, very hard and even then the outcome is not guaranteed. As I was studying for A levels and degrees, Indie kept me motivated and working towards a goal which I frequently didn’t think was possible. Even now, I still wish I had Indie’s knowledge, expertise and even professorship, but I guess I am still somewhat a rather inept sidekick that will probably meet an unfortunate end as the film comes to a close.

  • Karate_kid

  • The Karate Kid – As well as having this film on VHS tape, I actually bought the soundtrack on cassette – mainly for the final song – You’re the best around! You have probably seen or heard of these three films – films which, in my opinion gradually go down hill before the remake of the the original with Jackie Chan and Jaden Smith. The first one is the best, with Daniel moving to a new house, struggling finding new friends, falling in love, getting beaten up and taught karate by an old karate master, Mr Miyagi. You are probably wondering which of the previously mentioned aspects of this film I aspired to as a teenager. Well, actually it was probably the determination and perseverance of the main character Daniel San. As you can imagine, growing up with NHS glasses, a geeky personality and often a face of spots, I was a prime target for a range of comments from the more popular people in the school. I never wanted to learn karate and beat everyone up, although I did frequently wonder if it would actually provide me with some sort of respect from the other guys. What I did want to gain from the character was the ability to keep going and never give up. I mentioned at the start of this section the song “You’re the best around” from the soundtrack. Although I accept that I will never be the best at anything, for me it is more about that commitment and motivation to drive towards being the best rather than the actually reaching the pinnacle of achievement. I knew that I will never be lifting the trophy, but I might be the person who works really hard in order to get there and have the accolade of receiving that comment of – “as long as you tried your best then that is all you can do.”

  • Back_to_the_Future

  • Back to the Furture – This film was probably one of the only films which I actually saw ‘live’ at the Odeon Cinema. I remember going to watch it with my sister…not sure if she wanted to see it or me. It might have been that she was going to see it with a boyfriend and mum made her take me along with her…how embarrassing – for her, not me. If that was the case, I probably had to sit somewhere different in the cinema. The main character in these films is, of course, Marty McFly. He is cool, trendy, popular and a bit of a rebel as well as being able to skateboard. I never had a skateboard when I was younger. I remember having a bike which I shared with my younger brother (we didn’t have a lot of money growing up) which was a ‘mini sprint’ bike. Apart from that, skateboards and go carts were non-existent. Even if I was lucky enough to have one, I know it wouldn’t have ended well – I was never good with anything which requires balance and movement – come to thing of it, I’m still not! What did I aspire to in Marty McFly. Well most definitely his coolness. I actually remember starting to use the layered look after watching the film, wearing a Tshirt with a shirt over the stop. He was also responsible for me reducing the amount of sugar I drank in tea etc. There is a line in the movie when he says – ‘Just give me something without sugar’. Maybe in my desperateness to be accepted and trendy, I actually thought this was the answer to my quest! Of course, the film had that perfect ending which I often used to dream of achieving – waking up one morning with a fantastic car, money and the popularity of football. Looking back on the film now, there was something quite ironic about the song – ‘Its hip to be square!’.

  • It’s been really interesting reliving those films and the aspirations the main characters provided me when I was growing up. I remember them fondly, as well as the activities that I was doing while I was watching them. Were they inspirational? Well I’m not super cool, trendy or popular like Marty McFly and I’ve definitely not reached the accolade of being a professor like Indiana Jones. Although I’ve still hopefully got the determination and motivation of Daniel San, I have yet to lift that final trophy and be acknowledged as the best…around. However, I do think that these films and characters have influenced me just like similar characters influence each and everyone of us and, you never know, I might one day end up being a karate chopping, trendy professor who blogs and streams on Twitch…well … maybe.

    So what films/characters inspired you as a teenager or even now? Have you reached your aspirations? If you have the answer to any of these questions or just comment about what I have written today then please let me know by adding them below. You can keep up to date with my content by following me on Twitch, Twitter and Facebook. If you are interested in joining or playing Minecraft, then you can join the server and website here. Of course any subscribers to my YouTube channel are always appreciated.

    Have fun and I’ll catch you all later but until then – consider yourself waffled.

    2 comments for “Let Me In! – Simon’s Cat – YouTube

    1. February 19, 2017 at 2:00 pm

      Would be cool to play an one off, one of the dungeon crawls you made! Maybe the 8 level one!!!

    2. March 21, 2017 at 12:05 am

      I miss those early days so much. The current state of rpg’s , the rpg xubculture if you like, doesn’t feel like it did back then. I can’t quite put my finger on it.

      I was introduced to Advanced D&D 1st Edition, by my sisters boyfriend (the BEST boyfriend of the many she had IMHO..), who showed me S3 Expedition to the Barrier Peaks module after discovering I enjoyed computer based adventure games, I was hooked immediately and it wasn’t too long before I was hanging around the local game shop, Games Gallery, from which I was invited to join in a game run by the assistant manager, who was to become my long and good friend Steve, who was coincidentally, the reason I got to work at the local branch of Games Workshop for a time. Working there, in those days, before it became a Warhammer only shop, was amazing. It was the proverbial kid in the sweet shop!. Staff discount made it even sweeter – 50% off GW’s own products, and 25% off everything else. We also ran a great rpg club, with about 60-80 members at its peak.
      I was always the GM for my main group as no one else had the time it took to prepare a game properly, though after a few changes to the group, and people from the club popping up, I eventually got to play. Games by a company called Fantasy Games Unlimited (FGU) were very popular in all of my groups. FGU sold games such as Bushido, Aftermath,Space Opera, Chivalry & Sorcery, Freedom Fighters, and Bunnies & Burrows, but there were many many more games, by many different companies, covering all sorts of genres – and I still have them all. Many were, as was the style back then, table and chart and rule HEAVY. We loved that. Comparing themto the current crop of “rules lite” systems, I would certainly go back to the old games instead. We played these games sometimes 5 days a week, as for a time we were all unemployed. It was all we did.
      I often spent days creating scenarios, making maps, creating player characters as well as npc’s. I found it quite therapeutic, as is miniature painting – thousands of the little buggers packed away testify to the time I spent doing it. My “toy soldiers” as my brother in law calls them…
      I used to get quite attached to my favourite characters, and whilst one or two died over the decades, most did not.
      For almost all of my characters I would go overboard by most people’s standards. I like to have an image for my characters, whether a photo or artwork. Sometimes I will see an image and that is the base for the whole character, built around the image.
      I always believed as a player, that giving the GM a detailed background, list of goals, motivations, friends, contacts and enemies, will help the GM bring my character into the game more, by using some of what I have given him in the game. As a GM I like to see what players come up with for their characters, and will often use it in the game. It involves the player more, makes the game more personal if part of the game is suddenly about them, and it can help the players become more invested in their characters.
      For myself, I would often map out the characters home, create a family tree, siblings, etc.
      For our Star Trek RPG (by FASA Corp), I created the whole crew of a 500+ personnel star ship… All as detailed player characters. Unnecessary and a bit OTT I know, but it helped bring every department on the ship alive, every member of the landing party was a person not simply a red shirt.

      I am often bemused whilst watching streams when I see the gm of a streamed game pull some “new” idea out of his box of tricks, and the players are like “wow!”, “that’s original”, “I would never have thought of doing it that way!”, knowing we did it 30-40 years ago.

      The games my most recent group and I played/ran, were very detailed games with a lot of depth. Quite dark games too, mature themed, and often very emotional and intense. Having played with the same people for nigh on 20 years, you create a bond, a closeness and familiarity that allows you to communicate in a way you couldn’t, with people you don’t know very well.
      I have been brought to tears several times in recent years during the last (decade long) game we played ,as some scenes were simply too emotional or powerful, overwhelming (GM was a bastard – but an EXCELLENT GM).

      Sadly the group folded, but the GM offered to keep the game going for just me, which he did for a few years, which to be honest I really needed, as it helped me through a bad depression at that time).
      Over the years I have experienced a lot of things because of rpg’s, and made some great friends, too. I have a lot to be grateful for, regarding rpg’s. I was discussing with my brother in law, my collection of rpg’s and miniatures. When he realised how much they are worth, (some regularly sell for £100’s!) he always tells me to sell sell sell. He doesn’t grasp what they mean to me .
      Yet I won’t. Part of me hopes and prays that I will get a local group together (even some of the old group!) and start using them again. But aside from that, as my memory fails, little by little each year, these boxes and books and miniatures on the shelves are my constant reminders of happy and sad and exciting moments, and great fun, and more importantly, great friends.

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