Showing posts with label Commentary. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Commentary. Show all posts

11 November 2017

Book review: LEGO® and Philosophy

And now for something completely different. We were sent a review copy of an unusual book about LEGO® which piqued my interest. Who better to examine it than our occasional contributor David Alexander Smith, who runs the mind-stimulating blog Building Debates which "takes a look at the LEGO community and the theoretical and aesthetic discussions it raises". But if deep thought about our favourite kids' toy is not your thing, you may instead prefer to revisit the Classic Space Tortoise David made for us!

Neal Stephenson in Seveneves, his 2015 epic speculative novel of human survival following a catastrophic cosmic event – the destruction of the moon – describes the technology that allows the quick assembly of the space craft in terms of an element based kit language reminiscent of LEGO building. In fact he explicitly uses the phrasing ‘LEGO-like’. On this hinges the premise that humanity will endure the worst of times through ingenuity and creative thinking, mediated through the limited resources and components of this restricted technological system. It is an unusually positive assessment as to what our combined intellectual endeavours might achieve in an era often obsessed with the critical appraisal of our species’ actions and the gloomy prognoses that follow.

13 August 2014

When LEGO was never just bricks


I had a mild argument with a (non-AFOL) friend earlier this year. He swore blind that when he was a kid in the '70s, he only had about seven different types of LEGO® parts; all basic rectilinear bricks. He liked to build windmills. "How did the windmill turn?" I asked. He conceded that he must have also owned wheel parts.



The release of 21050 Architecture Studio in the UK this month seems to have sparked another glut of ill-researched articles spouting the same old lines that bore every AFOL that reads them to tears... or rather, to online ranting. My turn today!

20 March 2014

Super Surma Bros.

I've mentioned in the past; one thing which really interests me is when fans push their love of LEGO® into original, unusual territory. I was simply going to post a link to these guys from New Elementary's Facebook and Twitter accounts, but I couldn't really compress my love for them into 140 characters so here's a proper post instead.

The Surma Bros. are Marcin and Przemek; two Polish comic illustrators who, as the name suggests, are brothers. For two years they've been posting an illustration of an old LEGO set every Sunday on their blog, Sur m'ale Gobros. I only found them after they posted on Eurobricks recently, although I see they got some love from The Brothers Brick back in 2012. Whilst disappointed I'm so late to the party, it does mean I've been gorging myself for hours on dozens of beautiful images.


19 January 2014

The sum of its parts


I'm ending my series of posts about the Architecture theme today with a rather different post, littered with data tables rather than pretty pictures. See, I like numbers too. I thought I'd try to examine the question of how 'valuable' Architecture sets are, because I often get my knickers in a knot when other AFOLs moan about the cost. I shouldn't, because they're usually right, but I'm just overly defensive of this range that I enjoy so much.


27 September 2013

Bricks, Inc.

"The Naming of Cats is a difficult matter,
It isn't just one of your holiday games;
You may think at first I'm as mad as a hatter
When I tell you, a cat must have THREE DIFFERENT NAMES."

Extract from T. S. Eliot's Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats.

When we were kids and played with LEGO® alone, naming an element was no issue; we had a mental image of what we wanted and we located it. But many of us also liked to build with our siblings and friends and this is where our naming issues began. I might have asked my sister for "a red two-er" but this did not guarantee I would be passed the red 2X2 brick I had in my mind - she may have given me a red 1X2 plate instead. More successful were our nicknames; if I asked for a "milk bottle" I would confidently get a white 1X1 round brick and an "empty milk bottle" would gain me one in Trans-Clear [BL] / Transparent [TLG]. Those were simpler times. Now milk is sold in all kinds of packaging by many different companies.


20 July 2013

Like a virgin

The mysterious 21050 Architecture Studio has just surfaced. There has been little info about this set but the general assumption online was that it would be exclusive, at least initially, to US Barnes & Noble stores who are running special LEGO® Architecture Studio store events from 25-28 July 2013. But no; a single copy was spotted and bought by 'Miro78' at Legoland California today.

It doesn't build anything in particular, there are no instructions. In fact there's an amusing and crazed disclaimer on the box stating, "Picture for inspiration only. Model cannot be built from the pieces in this box. Model shows pieces not included in this set. See side panel for full parts listing." Even more amusing if you read that out loud in the voice of a Dalek.

Miro78 has posted this helpful picture of said side panel on his Flickr, so look at the pic here and ask yourself - would I pay $US149.99 for these parts? There are 76 different elements, none are new or rare, and the total count is 1,210 pieces.


10 June 2013

Things that make you go ooooooh.

Post #1... another LEGO® blog, I hear you cry? Well, yup. I decided to put my 'money' where my mouth is recently, after complaining for years that it's not easy finding out about the new elements LEGO release or what sets I'll find them in. I use Bricklink and more recently Brickset's interesting parts database to find out about them, but it involves wading through lists and various cross-referencing to find out all I want to know.
Baby + umbrella + dog = vet bills. 3121 Summer Day Out
Things like; is this the first set to contain that element or have I just not been paying attention? Is that a new colour or a resurrection from a long-forgotten and slightly spooky girls' theme... and if it is the latter, what other pieces might I find to build with? Does it come in bley yet?

So I'll still be wading and cross-referencing as always - but hey, let me do it for you! I'll be showing you elements that you can expect to be getting your hands on soon, and when I get my pet and smoke-free hands on them I'll be showing you what I come up with. I'll also take the occasional diversion and maybe talk about things like long-forgotten parts or interesting facts about element production.