One of the things I love most about blogging is the immediacy of it. I’ve just got back from a morning at work, I’ve fired up my computer to start my writing for the afternoon and something catches my eye in the Guardian newspaper. I can toggle over to WordPress, hit ‘new post’ and here we are, in business. A freshly squeezed blog and very much the embodiment of what Tales from Lewis Lodge is all about… What fell out of my head.
So there I was, minding my own business reading the Guardian website, when I came across this piece of news: That all five Star Trek Captains are going to be here in October, attending the Destination Star Trek London event.
Now, this perhaps gives you some indication of the priorities in my life, but it’s instantly a case of Olympics? What Olympics? Kirk, Picard, Sisko, Janeway and Archer are going to be all together, in one place! Bold, italics and underline it. Oh my life!
Whatever else is happening this year: The Jubilee, Olympics and perhaps the end of the world, are minuscule in comparison. This is off the scale of brilliant, this is a supernova of an event! I don’t give a stuff about Mayan prophecy, but can we just check those end of the world things again and see if there’s any mention of five people in Starfleet uniforms saving the world one last time – because hey, you know, they can!
The Guardian article says it’s re-opened the age-old debate about who was the best captain, which is a bit of a rubbish cliche. ‘Age-old’ implies that it’s been around for a long time, when in reality it’s only been around since 1987; since we watched Encounter at Farpoint, sucked air through our teeth at Captain Picard and said ‘well he’s OK, but he’s no Kirk is he…’
No, he’s no Captain Kirk, he’s Captain Picard. But then again, Captain Sisko isn’t Kirk either and neither is he Picard. Captain Janeway is no Sisko and Captain Archer is no Janeway – he lacks the necessary mammary glands for one thing. Each captain has a set of circumstances to work with and through that you get an idea of what that captain is like:
Kirk – Captaincy typified by lots of fighting and sex
Picard – Captaincy typified by lashings of diplomacy
Sisko – Captaincy typified by keeping Quark from selling Deep Space 9 out from under him
Janeway – Captaincy defined by doing it a very long way from home with no back up.
Archer – Captaincy defined by a very long length of duck tape holding the USS Enterprise together.
But Star Trek is Star Trek and I love it to bits. I’m not going to pick a favourite Captain because it’s like picking your favourite children. I naturally gravitate to the Picard / Sisko / Janeway years, but you can’t beat a bit of vintage Kirk and the Archer years are going to be very interesting to watch again, if we ever do get out beyond the moon in something that goes faster than light.
In the week we saw the Space Shuttle Discovery stuck on the back of a 747 making a fly-past over Washington; Star Trek gives us hope, that one day we will leave the orbit of this planet and embark on a mission… to seek out new life forms and new civilizations and boldly go where no one has gone before. You see, that’s what Star Trek is all about: The hope that in the future, things will be better, and that it’s down to each one of us to make that ‘better’ a reality.
As someone one said ‘Make it so.’
And while we’re in reflective mood, Star Trek: The Next Generation is twenty five years old this year. How old does that make me feel…