Sunday, March 28, 2010

Of Childhood Dreams And Rocketmen

Christmas was a nice quiet time for me. Food, family and no internet all combined for a most excellent time. Christmas day was especially memorable as well lost electricity for a few hours, thankfully just as dinner was all cooked. So turkey and ham was enjoyed in candlelight, and the following few hours were spend chatting, relaxing, napping and generally having a lovely day, uninterrupted by TV or computer games.

Best yet, Christmas kinda lasted several weeks for me. Claire had informed me that my present wouldn't arrive until some time in January. But when it did... Oh boy!

This story all starts when I was 11 years old and Disney released a movie that would go on to influence much of who I am today. While not making me into a hero, daring adventurer or hood ornament, it did start my love of all things pulp and 1920's. The style, clothing and retro technology sung to my core, and it quickly became my favourite movie of my childhood. But as time passed, I discovered that it remained a favourite, and when I managed to get my hands on a copy of the DVD, I was delighted to find that the movie held up under repeated viewings.

The Rocketeer, based on a comic by the late, great Dave Stevens, is easily my favourite movie of all time. I can watch and rewatch it, and have. I happily watched it twice over two consecutive days on two separate occasions. I love all that action, adventure, heroism, effects and, of course, that costume. The helmet and rocket pack are iconic, stylish, clean and simple. But it's the jacket I love the most.

Ever since I was eleven years old, I have wanted that jacket. Ever since I was 27 years old, I've stared longingly at the UK website that makes a beautiful, high quality leather replica of the jacket. Stared. Dreamed. Wished. But ultimately, I never could really afford it. There was always something more important to spent my money on. Like food. And rent. And Claire.

But in early January, my wife arrived home from work and for the third time that week, the 17th time that month, the millionth time in a year, she proved yet again that she was the best, most beautiful, most amazing wife in the world. She handed me a big package and I opened it to find this:

I now have the coolest leather jacket in all of Cork city, possibly Ireland. Based on the fact that, as previously mentioned, Wested Leather is a UK based company, I don't think I can honestly claim "Coolest Jacket Owner in Ireland, the UK and Europe". Someone in the UK must also own this too. I'm not the only Rocketeer fan.

The first time I got to really show the jacket off to a lot of people was at WarpCon at the end of January. The response was phenomenal. I've never had so many people stop me and compliment me on what I was wearing. Everyone wanted to know where I had gotten it from, and I was only too happy to point them to the website. I even got to wear it to a steampunk LARP! I played the character of the captain of the city guard, and although it wasn't mentioned on my character sheet, I managed to get a Rocketeer Squadron added to my forces! Sweet. I 'd have to say that the jacket really helped me play the role, and went some way to getting me awarded the prize for that LARP! According to the people at the awards ceremony, when they announced I had won that, it got one of the biggest cheers of the evening. Unfortunately, I was getting food with friends, as I hadn't played to win anything, just to have fun and make sure others enjoyed the game as well. I must have done something right.

Since then, I've been wearing this jacket a lot around Cork. Any opportunity I can get, really. It's super comfy, warm, stylish, and gets a lot of approving looks. Any time anyone asks me were I got it, I tell them I have a very special, and understanding wife, and then point them to

Next I need the helmet to complete the hood ornament look! The jet pack will come some time later.

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