Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Simon Pegg: Speaking to the nerd in all of us

I'm currently reading Simon Pegg's awesome autobiography (awesomography?), Nerd Do Well, and am kicking myself for not reading it sooner. I've been having a bit of a geek-life crisis of late, after being unable to indulge my inner nerd much lately due to free time and money issues (i.e. not much of either), but now the chaos of the Christmas period has been reduced to flickering embers (like those you see in the background of any post-apocalyptic SF film), I can feel the nerd rising once again.

This is nice, as I've been pining for my days working in a comic shop lately. Not the job in itself, but more the people I used to work with and the customers we would enjoy and endure in equal measures. In fact, I'm writing a book about my nine years in a comic shop, which I'll tell you more about soon. What I have been missing the most is that sense of camaraderie, that sense of being comfortable with making jokes about the way Rob Liefeld would draw legs without being stared at as though I'm a lunatic.

Simon's honesty and enthusiasm in Nerd Do Well is a joy to behold, and remarkably life-affirming where many autobiographies seem to depress or frustrate. Mr Pegg comes across genuinely as one of us, and that's one of the many reasons I enjoy his work so much. I mean, as well as putting out some excellent performances, he's clearly having a blast ticking off every boyhood dream possible. I mean, come on, he's been a Starfleet officer, a zombie killer, a badass super cop, a Doctor Who villain and a bunch of other things the big kid in all of us wishes to try out sometime.

During my years behind a comic shop counter, I was frequently compared to his Spaced character, Tim Bisley, thanks to my dress sense, questionable facial hair, love for 2000AD characters and my hatred of Jar-Jar Binks. It was a comparison I had no issues with, as it was all true. Granted, in the comic shop I worked at I didn't get to work with Bill Bailey or fight with a Bat'leth, but I did get to rant about back issues, put rows of graphic novels into chronological order and draw comic characters on signs. I even tried to be a comic artist at one point (which made a resurgence last year when the Galleries of Justice Museum commissioned me to draw the comic images of Robin Hood and the gang for an exhibition which is still running now).

I'm finding this book very reassuring and very inspirational, and after a few months of feeling rather lost and blank, I have reconnected with the things that have given me so much pleasure for the past 21 years since I properly discovered the world of geek at the age of 12. I'm halfway through the book right now, and already am feeling the geek reawaken in me.

With some very geeky projects coming up this year (including the birth of my son in a few months and his subsequent indoctrination into early geekdom via the medium of subconsciously humming the Doctor Who theme to him and suchlike), I am most pleased to be back where I belong- with my head full of spaceships and four-colour heroes. Cheers Simon!

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