Sunday, 18 April 2010

Here be Monsters

I've just read an interview with Stephen Moffat, Who exec producer, 'The man with a monster of a job', from about a month ago in The Guardian (here - I've back-posted it as well). It's an interesting read if you hadn't found it before.

One line particularly caught my attention.

"If anyone said to me 'invent a new monster so we can sell more toys', I'd kick them out of my office."

So we can rule out the idea that the new Dalek design, and colours, had anything to do with marketing merchandise and making money! Thank goodness, and I should apologise to you all for having previously suggested it.

I've grown quite cynical of the marketing machine which has grown up around Who. There's just so much of it. It's become the monster that stalks the show. Back in the day (long ago!) when I started collecting Who stuff you didn't have much to fork out on. Just a fairly reasonably priced Target book, once a month, and the good old Who monthly magazine (as it had just become), and you were more or less done. OK, there was more than that, much more in fact, but anyway, I'm trying to make a point!

I've always been a bit of a collector of stuff, so naturally began to collect the books, magazines and occasional bits and bobs which came my way. But the appeal to me was (and still is) hunting out and finding second hand items, things you couldn't get in the high street shops, old things which might one day even become worth something. Although I found myself buying more and more stuff new as it came out. Typically nothing I have is especially rare, as I have never had the cash to invest in any serious collecting, as much as I would have liked.

Even when the videos started coming out I tried to resist, until of course they deleted half the titles and they became 'collectable'... and I suddenly found myself paying twice the original shop price (or more) for some titles. I really should have looked into DVD's... especially as the videos are hardly worth squat anymore.

Nowadays it's almost impossible to keep track of items released, especially stuff relting to new Who, and surely none but the most serious of collectors buys all this stuff new, when it first comes out, when it's top dollar price. Or do they? I guess they (you?) must. I suppose it keeps the wheels of the economy turning! I'm just too much of an anti-captialist anti-consumerist anti-everythingist.

Now I know there are lots of serious collectors out there with huge collections of stuff... have a look at the collector site RichardWho if you doubt me. But how many buy everything religously when released (CDs, DVDs, books, games, toys...). Seriously, that's an obsession! Perhaps even a monstrous obsession. (I'm just jelous, I want to buy it all...!!!)

And hunting down second-hand stuff isn't what it used to be... ebay has reduced the chances of finding Charity Shop bargins to zero, as they nearly all check the stuff they have online. But ebay also opens up a window on whats out there, and gives any collector the opportunity to get the items they want, instantly in many cases.

Luckily for me, or more to the point my wallet, I've not been based in the UK for the last five years, so haven't had that gravitational urge to pull money out of my pocket for all the new series stuff. Thank god. A man my age shouldn't really be buying action figures anyway. I've even weaned myself off my old favourite DW magazine, and given up on filling the gaps in my collection (for now, anyway!). There's just so much information online, that for me the magazine has become a bit defunct. Mind you, I've not looked at a copy for five years, so don't take my word for it!

However there's quite a bit of 'classic' who spin off stuff that I have my eye on (a never ending quest). So how to justify the expense?

And here be the real monster of this tale. I'm a smoker. Have been for most my life, and I hate it. So... time to give up... and just think of all that Who stuff I can buy with the money I save! Truth is it's the cost of the damn things back here in the UK which is forcing the issue, but anyway.

So, inspite of my 'no new who' rule (well, rules are made to be broken, and the sooner the better), my first target will be all the new Radio Times Who covers which I've missed. I'm a 10 a day smoker, so for every two days I can survive without buying a packet of fags I'm hitting ebay to buy one issue!

Now I doubt I will be able to give up flat. In fact, I'm finding it hard to imagine how I can do two days... and this isn't the first time I've tried this! But it's the first time I have confessed here, in public. Sort of. (As if anyone reads this!)

All I have to do now is decide is when. Surely tomorrow is too soon! Perhaps Wednesday and Thursday...

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