Trekking

Past

I can remember when I first saw Star Trek.

That’s not so unusual, but if my memory is right — and I’ve just more or less confirmed that it is — then when I first saw it was the absolute first time anyone could see it, in this country, at least.

Here’s the memory (and it’s tied up, as many good things are, with Doctor Who).

It’s 1969. It’s the summer holidays, and we’re in a holiday home with a TV. That in itself makes me doubt the memory, because back then holiday houses just didn’t have TVs. A lot of houses in general didn’t. But this memory has always told me that we were on a family holiday. And it’s Saturday, late afternoon. I’m settling down at the TV, and somebody says — I think it’s my sister — ‘Martin, Doctor Who finished, remember?’ Because it was Doctor Who time.

And I said, ‘But this is like Doctor Who!’

And as the new programme started someone else — my Dad, I think — said, with a tone of surprise, ‘He knows all about it!’ And then the Enterprise swooshed towards me out of the screen.

I’ve long wondered how true this memory was. It was 1969; I’d have been five. But I just checked:

Which exactly matches my memory: summer, Saturday, Doctor Who slot. And the calendar confirms that the 12th of July 1969 was a Saturday.

I wouldn’t be five for another month plus. Not a bad bit of early-memory retention. I wouldn’t have remembered it at all, if it wasn’t for one thing: trauma caused by fear that my parents would turn the TV off just as this exciting new programme was starting burned it into my brain.

My Dad always liked Star Trek too, so I guess I was partly responsible for that.

Present

Yesterday I watched the first two episodes of Star Trek: Discovery, which are on Netflix (in the UK and Europe, at least; in the US they’re on CBS’s own new streaming service). And I really enjoyed it. I wouldn’t say it felt like being that nearly-five-year-old again, but it did feel like they’re trying something new and potentially very exciting.

Today I was looking at its entry on IMDB. It turns out there are user-written reviews there, which I don’t think I’d been aware of before.

Sadly they are almost universally negative. ‘It’s not Star Trek,’ is a common theme. But there’s a strong whiff of racism and misogyny coming through. Two non-white women as leads means ‘social justice warriors’ are running the show, it seems. Well from what I’ve read of Gene Roddenbery, I think he’d have been happy to be called a social justice warrior. Star Trek was always about diversity and tolerance.

Future

I don’t know how many episodes of this new series they have lined up, but I know I’m looking forward to watching them. So is my inner five-year-old. So would my Dad have been. And so would Gene.

Pamela Constable on her parents’ WASP values

Great piece in the Washington Post by one of their correspondents whose Republican parents would have hated what the party has become:

it occurred to me that our cerebral and courtly African American president, struggling against the tide of an angry, visceral age, had more in common with this elderly WASP gentleman than did many white Republican leaders of the moment.

Source: I rejected my parents’ WASP values. Now I see we need them more than ever. – The Washington Post

New Year Activities

The day after New Year’s Day we decided to go to the British Museum, to see the mummies. So did half of London, it seemed. I’ve never seen it so crowded. Still, the mummies are always interesting. I must go back another time and see some other sections.

Home was via bookshop, Pizza Express, and Little Fockers at the cinema (ignore the critics: it’s loadsa fun; unless you didn’t like the first two, of course).

Oh, but before all that, we had tried to play basketball in Millfields Park. But there was an annoying dog-owner who couldn’t control her Alsatian. The latter proceeded to bite our basketball till it burst. When we remonstrated with the owner, she ran off.

At least it was only the basketball that got bitten.

The next day brought an early start. Neither London’s young skaters nor anybody else gets up very early on New Year’s Bank Holiday Monday, it seems. I don’t think I’ve ever seen London streets so empty. The drive in to the Aldwych area for the start of skating at [Somerset House](http://www.somersethouse.org.uk/) felt like driving through a [Jerry Cornelius](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jerry_Cornelius) novel: “Martin tooled the big [Duesenberg](http://www.google.co.uk/imgres?imgurl=http://www.rpmgo.com/cars/d/4797-3/1935_duesenberg_sj.JPG&imgrefurl=http://www.rpmgo.com/cars/main.php%3Fg2_view%3Dslideshow.Slideshow%26g2_itemId%3D4766&usg=__M80BWONEN3ESa9u8It7K-8h8xl8=&h=427&w=640&sz=60&hl=en&start=0&sig2=CK79ZntbLssib-suI6Nugw&zoom=1&tbnid=9Ci3FGYeLjQKFM:&tbnh=117&tbnw=166&ei=r7kjTaP4LI-DhQfF74S4Dg&prev=/images%3Fq%3DDuesenberg%26hl%3Den%26client%3Dsafari%26sa%3DX%26rls%3Den%26biw%3D1004%26bih%3D536%26tbs%3Disch:1%26prmd%3Divns&itbs=1&iact=rc&dur=491&oei=r7kjTaP4LI-DhQfF74S4Dg&esq=1&page=1&ndsp=15&ved=1t:429,r:9,s:0&tx=71&ty=62) Skoda down Roseberry Avenue…”

I don’t skate any more. I did it twice when I was a student, and I think once since I had kids. From the student times, I remember enjoying it, but getting very wet and very bruised. With kids I didn’t fall over so much, but only through caution, not because I had magically become able to skate.

Anyway, what with one thing and another, I didn’t do it through all those intervening years, and by the time my kids were old enough to be interested and able, I had [broken my cruciate ligament](http://devilgate.org/blog/2004/06/11/post-election-injury-report/) in a freak gardening accident. I probably could do it now, but I’m too scared of re-injuring my knee.

So I sat in the warmth of “Tom’s Skate Lounge” and had a Cappuccino and a Danish, and took photographs and notes, while our party slowly, but with increasing confidence, circled the ice. I loved the fact that the staff members who were on the ice had hi-viz vests saying “Ice Marshall”. There’s something very pleasing about that term.

After that we drove on out to South Kensington, and the [Natural History Museum](http://www.nhm.ac.uk/). Ostensibly to see the dinosaurs. But of course, the other half of London had decided to do the same. After queueing for maybe twenty minutes to get inside, we found a 45-minute queue for the dinosaurs. So we elected for the blue whale, via the other mammals, instead.

Which was of course, fabulous. Wonderful place, the Natural History Museum. Actually, London’s pretty wonderful.

Ice Marshalls at Somerset House