40 years in the Making

Sometimes in life you can pinpoint the moment that a life-long interest and love started. This is mine ………

Set the way-back machine to 1978 and Picture a glorious sunny day on the south coast of England. My Dad at the time was in the Army (Shropshire light Infantry for those interested), on this lovely Sunny day whilst on leave he wanted to spend some time with his youngest son in the sunshine.

My Childhood Cinema

The 9-year-old me had other ideas though, I wanted to go to the Pictures I wanted to sit in a darkened Cinema and watch the blockbuster that had broken all records (not that I knew that). I hassled my Dad that day and eventually he gave in. The film was Star Wars’ That one visit to set up an interest that has followed me over the years. I saw Star Wars numerous times over the coming months multiple visits to Southampton and Winchester Odeon Cinemas. In a time before DVD and VHS the only way to see a film multiple times was at the Cinema, unless of course you were wealthy enough to have a home projector, but they were unheard of by me and the friends I had.

I was lucky enough to be at the ideal age when Star Wars was released (It didn’t become ‘A New Hope’ until 1981). As many people my age can say that film had a profound effect on me. I had had an interest in Science Fiction and Fantasy before then as I think most children do, however I seemed to search these stories and images out. One of my earliest reading experiences was Brian Earnshaw’s Dragonfall 5 books, which told the story of a space going family who were so behind the times as they used a Spaceship not Teleport. In a stroke of luck for a young me these books were in my primary school library so I could just absorb them and their ideas.

Post Star Wars it was like a Tap had been opened and my imagination triggered and I absorbed everything Science Fiction. Luckily the Success of Star Wars triggered a flood of new material, along with the republishing and re-showing of older material. It was the perfect storm for me, and I couldn’t get enough of it.

I’m not sure what year it was but along with my Best friend we started what we called a Magazine (that definition may have been pushing it though!). It was designed by us typed on a mechanical typewriter and then used in a page layout with suitable pictures. We then photocopied the pages and stapled them into what was known as ‘STAR NEWS’. We then sold them to our friends I think it cost either 5 or 10 pence either way it was to cover costs. We were quite popular we managed around 10 issues.

I have always loved Science Fiction no matter what’s being going on in my life that has always been a constant. I’ve consumed books, comics, television programs, Art and much more I was still a big fan of Star Wars during the Dark years post Return of the Jedi.

My other blog is about my adventures in Running so if that interests you please pop across, but even in my Running Science Fiction makes an appearance, in the music, podcasts or audiobooks I listen to. Over the past few years I have returned to Art. I’ve started Drawing and painting again. (I think I still have a way to go to be as good as I used to be). The main subject of my art is unsurprisingly Science Fiction imagery. Over the past year or so I have been thinking about StarNews. I wondered if I could do a more modern version of it with a slightly expanded remit

My wonderful wife came up with the idea of an online magazine that I could put things together on. So along with her online design skills that brings us here. This in it’s way is a tribute to the original StarNews I did want to call this blog that but there are literally 100’s of organisations with that name. The Name we settled on was ‘Back Away from the Donkey’ a strange little phrase that has great meaning to us that I will one day explain.

So what’s this Blog about I hear you all shout ………….. Its about the Universe and Beyond.

O.K. that’s a rather large remit and doesn’t in fact tell you much. So let me expand on that statement. BAFTD (as no one is calling it yet) is about things I love from Films, Science Fiction, retro gaming, music, books, comics, Fantasy Art, my dogs and much much more. I am hoping as it develops it will seem coherent in style and content. Overall I want this to be positive place, there are too many places that as soon as some film or another is mentioned that post is leapt upon by people who just want to hate it. I personally haven’t the time or inclination to be that negative. If I don’t like something I’ll just walk away. That however doesn’t mean I can’t be critical of films or media it’s more in the way you approach criticism.

There may be a concentration on slightly older and sometimes more obscure or underrated things. This does not mean there will be no mention of the latest MCU film, its just that it wont be the thrust of the material. There are many places over analysing every Marvel film offering so I don’t want to go down that rabbit hole and do the same as everyone else.

I want it to be a place of fun where I can share my loves from the latest piece of Art I am drawing/painting to an obscure film I have just discovered or even what happened on a dog walk. I hope eventually people will interact with me and maybe even want to submit and article for me to post. In reality anything can happen here and I hope any visitors might discover something new and exciting that will spark their interest.

Thankyou for visiting and have fun exploring.

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