Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Pokémon Versus Banger-Racing

To celebrate the Bank Holiday and reward them for doing their domestic duties, I gave Mila and Frankie a fiver each to spend over the weekend. We headed into town and, after a slap-up lunch at Bodeans in Soho, Emily and Mila headed off to do a girl’s shop and Frankie and I went to the Forbidden Planet for the male equivalent.

For those unfamiliar with the Forbidden Planet, it’s a comic and sci-fi merchandise emporium on Shaftesbury Avenue. The usual clientele look like they haven’t seen sunlight for six years, have the muscular development of Plasticine and smell of stale sweat. You won’t be surprised to discover that they almost all male, apart from the odd (very odd) goth girl (who will also smell of stale sweat).

As I love shopping there, I often worry that I fit the profile of the average Forbidden Planet customer. It’s a scary thought. Despite that insecurity, I’m really glad that Frankie likes the place too (this could add to my insecurity, as it means that a five year old and I are operating at the same entertainment level, but let’s cast that thorny issue aside for the moment). We both delight in checking out the latest action figures and pressing the buttons that make them talk.

On Saturday, however, there was little window shopping. Frankie was on a mission. He was determined to spend his £5 on Pokémon cards. A pack of 6 cards costs £2.49.

Now, I used to collect football cards as a kid, so I understand the collector’s fever gripping my son’s brain. The pleasure of having a Bryan Robson in Manchester United away kit must be akin to finding a ‘legendary’ Pokémon card like Groudon in one of those foil packets. I also think, of all the card collecting phenomenon, Pokémon is the most harmless and has the most charm.

But, fuck me, £2.49 for 6 bits of printed cardboard? Surely someone is taking the piss here?

Maybe you know you’re losing your inner child when you consider these cards to be a complete rip-off. However, I do think this is ruthless exploitation of that autistic bit of all male kids’ brains that addicts them to collecting.

Cousin Ed just passed on his Pokémon collection to Frankie. At nine years old, Ed has now outgrown them. He had collected over 600 cards. That’s £240 worth of bits of cardboard. Christ, he could have bought a used Nissan Bluebird down Hackney with that! And gone banger-racing. Admittedly that’s probably illegal, but you get my point. It’s the futile cry of all parents as they see their kids piss money up the wall. And that, whatever shite is being pushed at kids, will never change.


One of FP's usual clientele said...

I've never been so insulted by your description!

P.S. Who calls it 'the' Forbidden Planet? No-one but you.

Sad Fanboy said...

Thanks for your kind words. Shouldn't you be busy watching 'Buffy' as you play with your remote-controlled K9?

mjh said...

Can't believe you saw thru my cunning disguise :)

mjh said...

P.S. If anyone out there (he says knowing he's addressing about three people) happens to see a remote-controlled K-9 for sale, please let me know.

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