by Crikey intern Tom Cowie
For this week’s Crikey question, the team have donned the glasses, put the retainer back in and fired up the Commodore 64. It’s time for some glaven-induced goodness.
Geek chic? Geek schmeek. We’re bringing nerdy back. You ain’t heard nothing till you hear the horrifyingly nerdy hobbies our Crikey team obsessed over as kids.
And the envelope please.
‘What was your nerdy hobby as a child?’
It’s time to get your nerd on people.
Sophie Black, editor.
Collecting book marks and used fireworks cartridges. Don’t judge me.
Amber Jamieson, journalist.
My nerdy hobby was mainly due to my parents being nerds and therefore not allowing my sister and I to play any cool video games or anything involving guns or violence.
Instead, we were only allowed computer games from The Learning Company, an educational software brand where all the games involved some type of character on an adventure who had to solve lots of education problems.
My favourites included Operation Neptune (an underwater maths game), Maths Blaster (an outer space maths game), Gizmos and Gadgets (a science/mechanic game with weird robots) and Ancient Empires (history and problem solving in ancient lands). We were allowed to pick a new one every year. It was always really hard to beat the sharks in Operation Neptune.
Andrew Crook, senior journalist.
Philatelic pursuits, featuring official Australia Post Stamp Packs, and membership of Trust Kids, the National Trust’s horribly nerdy “kids program” which involved trips to daggy but informative places like Gulf Station in Yarra Glen.
Jason Whittaker, deputy editor.
Oh boy, where do we start. It’s a laundry list of nerdy childhood pursuits that would have guaranteed I was stuffed into a locker, if I ever went to a school that had lockers.
It started innocently enough as a philatelist — not that I could ever say the name — painstakingly soaking letters in soapy water to retrieve the array of Australia Post’s finest for mounting in my special album. There was my brief obsession with collecting the cricket cards which came free with a loaf of bread.
A more dedicated hobby of collating free posters from V8 motor racing events to tile over my bedroom wall. My foray into gig promoting (generally a one-man variety show in the backyard). And, most creatively, most spectacularly, an obsession with Lego — giant metropolises, with their little Lego people and their little Lego trees, sprawled across the lounge room until an age well beyond healthy.
But by far the most prophetic of childhood hobbies was my family newspaper — The Whittaker Post. This rather scandalous red-top contained all the gossip from the dinner table and beyond, painstakingly written on a typewriter (the family was sans-computer in these days), with graphics rather messily illustrated by my sister. Each edition sold for 50 cents. In hindsight, having to ask for the paper back to on-sell to others — such was the effort to produce one let alone multiple copies – was a slightly flawed business model.
Leigh Josey, production editor.
Collecting Star Wars figurines (if you call that nerdy!). I was particularly proud of my Ewok collection. There’s something about the humble Ewok that is so noble. Importantly, when I once badly misbehaved, my wonderful mother wouldn’t let me have my latest (and perhaps most prized above all) addition, which was the bounty hunter Boba Fett. However, I was quickly reunited with my latest treasure as I had been taught a valuable lesson. Always find out where your parents stash shit.
Ruth Brown, website editor.
“Hobby”? Singular? My entire childhood was one big nerdy hobby. Here is just a taste of some of my geeky childhood pursuits:
- Collecting circuit boards
- Endless, endless hours spent building things out of Lego
- Playing Alex Kidd in Miracle World on the Sega Master System II
- The violin
And that was BEFORE the internet came along…
Richard Farmer, political snippets.
Raising tadpoles until they turned into frogs.
First Dog on the Moon.
As a lad I had a marvellous time playing Dungeons and Dragons.
Tom Cowie, Crikey intern.
I had the crazed hobby of collecting AFL sticker books. My sole objective as an 8 year-old boy was to collect every sticker of every player for every book. I would save up all my pocket money, head to the newsagent and then go berserk when I didn’t get the stickers of crappy players like Simon Minton-Connell, Alan Ezard and Matthew Robran.
Unfortunately, despite six years of trying to fill each annual edition, I was never successful in getting all of stickers to complete the books. They even had a place that you could send a letter and they would send all the stickers back that you were missing. However, I proudly refused to engage with this high-end football sticker dealer as I considered it a form of cheating that made a mockery of the sticker collecting community.
Unsurprisingly, football sticker collecting turned out to be a gateway drug for collecting basketball cards, that mega-popular mid-90s trend that burned oh-so brightly before disappearing in a cloud of Tamagotchis, Pokemon and mediocre NBL teams.