As I write, the end of our ten day break is around 11 hours and 24 minutes away - Not that I am counting, you understand?
It's been a good break too. We began with Chillcon and then spent two days just hanging around the house, during which time I got two thirds of the flags on my 28m Renaissance collection, which was really boring but also oddly satisfying work.
On Tuesday, we popped up to the Royal Armouries to take a refresher course in 16th century armour and arms, with the memsahib developing a rather unnatural taste for the armies of Henry VIII, buying some rather nice reading material, before we popped across the dock to Pizza Express for a cheeky bit of lunch and then a steady pootle back down the M1, my desire to buy a burgonet and bevor kept tightly in check - but it was a close run thing, I can tell you!
Wednesday saw the delivery of the remainder of the flags I needed to complete my Landsknechts, but we were set on going to see an exhibition of political protest artworks which I have had a rather peculiar taste for since I was about 12 years old along with radical and political music of a left wing bent, which is odd because I don't really support any political view. I think that it's the statement and passion rather than the actual politics, and of course Sheffield was rather militant in the 70s and 80s, so, as I found my feet in the world, this kind of cultural expression went into my head along with my gaming.
Often, I can be found singing Billy Bragg's 'Help Save The Youth Of America' or Ian Dury's 'Spasticus Autisticus' as I indulge in some gaming related activities, or listening to some artsy little ditty by Haysi Fantayzee or Mobiles although I draw the line very firmly when it gets to 'Iko Iko' by Natasha - even I have my limits.
I recently realised that despite my humble roots, I had a really sharp sense of the aesthetic which bloomed in a big way from about the age of 10 when I attended Limpsfield school, where we got a what I would later see referred to as a liberal arts education. Four years later, at comprehensive, the Stasi who posed as teachers at that facility attempted to comprehensively strip those of us who had attended Limpsfield of any sense of the artistic or radical, but some of us could not be broken and we embraced anything which made us different to the brainwashed should obsessed with football and 2-Tone music.
I developed a love of walking through doorways which seemed to offer adventure or enlightenment. I found counter-culture bookshops, left over from the early 70s, which opened me to R Crumb, politics and numerous was that art and literature could be used to protest at this, that or the other. It also connected me to vegetarian food as some of these places had cafes in them, and, as is the way with this kind of thing, the herbivores ruled the land.
I am not a vegetarian, nor have I actually done much in the way of acts of protest - unless you count the 2 weeks of solid, cold silence I treated my parents to when they grounded me for a month for finishing with a girlfriend in favour of Runequest in 1982. They broke before I did...
But, the point was, I was experiencing things which impacted upon me aesthetically and still do until the present day.
I remember that I was obsessed with a store in the very early 1980s which was a franchise within House Of Fraser, by the name of 'Knobs & Knockers', which sold a wild assortment of door handles and door knockers - as you'd expect. The colours, shapes and textures were what I was interested in as well as the shop fittings which were minimalist futurist, that style which was all the rage early in that decade. Again, these things embedded in my young mind, so that I have a very distinct mix of things which continue to this day to thrill me when I see them 'given the nod' by contemporary artwork, media or gaming product.
It also means that my wife will have to curtail my enthusiasm if we are in John Lewis, and I see some retro style soft furnishings or bedding, lest I go into some kind of aesthetic feeding frenzy.
If I see an old Athena poster made up of grids and flashes of bold graphic colour, I will have to go home and listen to some Toyah, XTC or very early Adam & The Ants. From there I may have to go and buy some old starship models and re-watch Blake's 7. Then I find myself reading a book on 80s history, which makes me... You get the idea of how terminal it could be, if I was not kept in check.
Anyway, the exhibition was good and we also had a trip around the Ruskin Gallery. I am a little hot and cold with the whole Arts & Crafts movement, but say what you like, Ruskin had an eye for colours and textures, so the experience was an enjoyable one.
I went home, and started to fix some of the flags for a few hours before going to the cinema for the first time since Lord Of The Rings was released. I was a little nervous because I was so bored and underwhelmed with that offering, that I fell asleep.
We went to see 'Ready Player One' which is classic Spielberg but quite different to the book by Ernest Cline. That said, it was a rollicking romp, and in a reclining seat, a cup of coffee in my hand, I was transported to a world of yes, more 80s pop culture (it's not going to go well I fear) and so, I was as happy as the proverbial pig in a wallow.
By the time we got home and to bed, it was 1:45 AM so we were very tired on Thursday, but, as the 4 hounds who reside here with the memsahib and I were in for the monthly haircut, we had to stay at home and could rest and recuperate, whilst also fitting the remaining banners to the 28mm renaissance collection without a sense of guilt.
And so to Saturday which saw us taking in an exhibition at the Trafalgar Warehouse in Sheffield titled 'Power' which we'd seen advertised in the Yorkshire Post last weekend, which was a collaboration between artists Sarah Hopkins and Tracey Moberly and Human League co-founder Martin Ware, inspired by the steel industries of the north of England. It was small but oh so perfectly redolent. I witnessed the last days of the Steel City proper and so it was very interesting for me, to see imagery coupled with the abstract electronic soundscapes created by Mr Ware.
And so, to today where I am relaxing and catching up with my blogging before settling down this evening to watch Buckaroo Banzai, a charming little 80s escapist flick in the 'weird science' genre, which was a result of seeing the references to BB in Ready Player One and thinking 'hey, we've not watched that for a while'.
And so dear readers, I will leave you to ponder how you yourselves have been affected by a combination of popular culture, music and gaming.. Or am I the only one for whom there were these tangental connections?