And so a long weekend of cycling awaits. Wonderful. We're on route once again for another holiday by mistake up in the Lakes. The added value this time is that I'm taking the road bike with me. Chapeau!
But even a keen hill climber would be hard pushed to pedal all the way up to the tearooms of Penrith. That's where shoddy Virgin Trains comes in, with it's rather useless on board WIFI, and only slightly better provision for bicycles.
Leaving my Giant wedged between a shipment of water bottles and a stepladder (every train should have one,) didn't leave me with much confidence for a smooth ride as we pulled out of Euston early Thursday morning.
Never mind - it's all about the bike, and not the train. I knew we would be in for a good few days of rolling out around the Lakes when I had the good fortune to pass a Moulton as I cycled along Waterloo Bridge.
This is only my fourth spotting of one of Dr Alex's dream machines in London. It looked the part within the urban environment of SE1, and made my road bike appear as out of place as a blank column on an MP's expenses form.
I did ponder with the idea of taking the Moulton up to Cumbria. I'm waiting on a few minor frame adjustments (um, the frame split into two!) first. With a backpack stuffed full of lycra and not tweed, I'm sure I've made the right choice with the road bike.
The plan is to have bike, have GPS on the iPhone, will travel. It really is as simple as that. I'm already missing my mornings spent at the lido, but I'm sure a bit of breaststroke in Bassenthwaite at the start of each day will be a fine alternative.
I'm keen for some serious mountain climbing on the bike. But everything that goes up, has to come down, which is where I wimp out and apply the brakes.
The fragrant mrs onionbagblogger is doing a fine service as race back up. Not quite a water carrier, more of a MacBook carrier, as the first stage (Penrith to Cockermouth) kicks off whenever Virgin Trains manages to overcome the engineering works that are making this journey almost as slow as the crappy WIFI.
Bank Holidays were meant for booze. All the better if the beer is flowing in your (semi) local, and the evening's entertainment is a work pal who has crossed over the great divide to become a genuine friend.
Remember rule #1 in the onionbagblog work mantra: make genuine friends who will remain with you outside of the coalface.
And so the fragrant mrs onionbagblooger and I, plus a couple of other colleaguesclose friends from Peckham (blimey) made our way across Sunny Stockwell and the short walk through Albert Square (seriously) to the Cavendish Arms, for a bit of comedy with @comedybeard. Naturally.
I'm ashamed to say that even as SW8 locals, this was our first visit to the Cavendish Arms. I've heard glowing reports about the live entertainment venue for around six months now, but it's always been just a bit too far on the other side of Sunny Stockwell to make it our local.
Not so now - what a bloody brilliant venue! A spacious bar, and then a backroom that looks as though it should be holding court somewhere along Piccadilly, rather than the mean streets of SW8.
Essentially the performance space is a large Punch 'n Judy booth. Not so large that there's no atmosphere, but the red velvet lined stage area certainly gives a very agreeable vaudeville stage presence.
I regret now not coming along to The Cavendish sooner, following the refurbishment of two summers ago. But is your pint glass half empty or half full? We may have missed out on some top nights, but hopefully there's more to come at The Cavendish over the coming months.
Monday night is Comedy Virgin night. I think that's a singular expression, rather than a plural take on the performers. For your FREE entry fee, you got to see just under twenty comedians, each given five minutes on the mic to showcase their talent.
The quality ranged from vaudeville virgins, to a handful of skilled performers, who are clearly taking this comedy lark rather seriously (ha ha) and hopefully might even be able to turn it into some sort of profession.
I wasn't expecting @comedybeard to fall into this latter category, but blimey - Mr Beard has progressed at an alarming rate since we last saw his show. Incredibly confident, commanding the packed audience, and a rousing cheer at the end.
It's not a beauty contest (although Mr Beard would probably fare rather well if it were,) but our man with the mic walked off with the audience led Performer of the Night trophy. Well deserved, and which just happened to be the darts boards from the old boozer - all the old darts trophies had been handed out in previous weeks.
I'm no observational comedian (I think that's a singular description,) but I did notice a lack of female performers, perhaps the only downside to the evening. Only one female with balls, battling it out with around twenty testosterone males. But being an open mic policy, then there's an open invitation to address this gender imbalance.
Despite only two pints downed all evening, every comedian got at least a couple of laughs from me. And here's lies my slight worry with the Cavendish business plan:
I really hope the venue survives - it is a rare treat on an otherwise soulless Stockwell entertainment circuit. But the format of the evening was to buy a pint, take it through to the Ballroom, and then sit down in the bar-less Ballroom for the first hour of the set. A brief bar break, and then repeat again.
The intimacy of the Cavendish Arms would have meant it rude to wander off mid-set for a top up. I'm not sure what the solution is, but I hope that the fine Mr and Mrs Cavendish aren't cutting the profits for the sake of comedic respect. I would happily have doubled my offerings behind the bar, had the moment felt right.
And so we wandered off into the balmy Bank Holiday SW8 evening air, cheered on by much comedic love for @comedybeard, and happy to have found a new home at The Cavendish. Mr Beard and the other non-Stockwell crowd seemed to like both the pub and the area, and so hopefully they'll return.
Cheer up Alan Shearer. The Professional Geordie Whinger may be feeling even more morose than normal come Monday morning, but at least he didn't have to limp around a North London football pitch for six hours on Sunday.
The Guardian's annual 5-a-side competition was competed up at Old Street this year under brilliant Bank Holiday sunshine. And whaddya know - my team was also rather brilliant as well.
Past form has taught me that you turn up for these competitions with a number of late pull outs; your team of vagabonds kick off full of enthusiasm, only to find that your tournament has finished with the Sunday carvery still yet to be served.
But Team Mod (of which I can lay a distant degree of professional association) competed rather well. P3 W3 is a track record that the Professional Geordie Whinger can only dream of. Our team of *shhh* ringers and rough diamonds somehow found ourselves in the quarterfinals after the morning qualification competition was complete.
A horrific injury to a midfield maestro dampened our spirit, but his support for the team in staying up at Old Street for the afternoon, even though an ambulance was called for, certainly helped to carry us forward. Fine work, fella.
Our team tactics seemed to be centred on frustrating the pants off the opposition. Don't be fooled by the Love Me I'm a Liberal agenda - Guardianista work culture is actually rather competitive, and slightly sporty. All except Team Mod, one of whom had arrived in EC1 after an early hours DJ session.
'But you don't look like footballers,' as one (defeated) opponent accused of us after we progressed to the semis at the expense of his team of corporate Sport Billy's. Don't be put off by appearances - power is all contained within the finger pointing.
Ah, yes - a proven team tactic was to eye up the opposition before kick off, and point randomly at various players. It fooled not only us, but also our opponents, all the way through until the semis. A 5-1 defeat at the hands of The Observer Picture Desk was an image just waiting for a witty picture caption.
I officially retired after almost twenty years of park football just over a year ago. My knackered knee could take no more, and swimming and cycling were winning the day. But a rare, one off run out with the Graun folk just about passed my pain threshold. The Professional Geordie Whinger may be hurting inside, but that's nothing compared to the need for a stair lift before I hit the age of forty.
I know it's not rock 'n roll, but I LOVE attending gigs where you know what the next song will be. It's a reassuring presence, and gives a pre-defined start, middle and end to a show.
But blimey - with the Groove Machine clocking in at just over thirty-nine minutes on vinyl, The Wonder Stuff rolling out their debut from start in finish in Shepherd's Bush on Friday night could have been something of a blink and you'll miss it gig.
No worries - that's what the back catalogue and the beauty of all those bonus tracks are for, filling out start to finish album gigs. It had me head scratching though. I had no idea what was up next after the final power chords of Poison.
Back in the day and by my estimation, we wore out three cassette (!) copies of The Eight Legged Groove Machine, with the Groovers on Manoeuvre I use to run around with in the rolling countryside lanes of South Nottinghamshire. It was the soundtrack for our pub crawls, love bites and bruises.
Phew, rock 'n roll.
And so how would the Grove Machine shape up, some twenty years later? For a start, it's actually the Four Legged Groove Machine. The Bass Thing and Martin Gilks have gone to that great mosh pit in the sky. Squabbles and rivalry has resulted in a band that now only contains Miles Hunt and Malcolm Treece from any recognisable line-up during the Stuffies glory years.
The Groove Machine show on Friday was basically in two halves, with a rather pleasing middle segment. First off it was heads down, Groove Machine from start to end - last one to finish has to go for a girly haircut.
The first encore was where it got really interesting - the B-sides that accompanied those glorious rally calling early singles:
Goodbye Fatman Who Wants To Be The Disco King? Ooh She Said Astley In The Noose A Song Without An End
Doubt we're gonna get to hear these live again for some time.
And then we were back in more familiar (and almost mainstream) Stuffies territory:
Mission Drive On The Ropes Here Comes Everyone Circlesquare Golden Green Don't Let Me Down, Gently The Size of a Cow Ten Trenches Deep
There was a sense of pantomime to the occasion; but then that has always been the case with Miles Hunt and his acidic tongue. The music in West London was more about the memories for me, rather than the moment.
The Stuffies at their peak were still a band out of time A final run through of the Groove Machine, twenty years since the release, wasn't going to upset the Midlands Grebo musical timeline.
The fragrant mrs onionbagblogger lapped up the opportunity to be transported back to the early '90's indie girl that she has always been at heart. The girl did well in resisting the urge to buy yet another Stuffies T-shirt; the complete collection from '88 - 98 takes up half the house.
The evening was complete with a totally unexpected reunion with a couple of other Groovers from back in the day. Hugs, memories and middle age regret all round.
'I remember a time when I was feeling down, and I never ever wished you were here.
And now I need a hug and now I need a hug, and I really really wish you were here.'
Mr Hunt threatened us with a twenty-year anniversary waltz around Hup next summer. Country 'n Western meets Grebo I can do without. We didn't wear out a single cassette copy of that difficult second album back in the day.
A thrilling Thursday evening being shown around an East End building site - seriously.
But this wasn't any old East End building site. In three years time, one billion people will be looking at the same building site, as the Games of the XXX Olympiad opens in London. Here's hoping they get to disembark from their bus.
Ah yes, the bus tour. The lovely nu meeja folk at London 2012 invited a number of London based bloggers for a state of the nation tour of the Stratford site. I wasn't alone in expecting hard hats, hi res jackets and a bit of a walk around.
Instead we were stuck in traffic on a Thursday night in some East End hell hole, only to be bussed around the building site with the doors remained firmly locked. A bit of a disappointment, and certainly not photographic friendly (if indeed you ever wanted to take photographs of a rather large building site.)
But we did have a half decent running commentary, as well as a very helpful bus driver who managed to sync the images on his plasma screen with the planned finalised architectural designs of each venue as the wheels on the bus went round and round.
Yes, it's easy to become frustrated at the lack of access that we had; being so close to what will become the epicentre of global sporting and cultural activities for two weeks in 2012, yet still so far away from actually experiencing the feel and ambience of the site.
But given that a building site is a building site is a building site, the early cynicism gradually disappeared as I got to see the scale of the project.
Endless facts and figures are available - we even had an on-board Olympic quiz (sample Q: How many corporate partners has London 2012 signed up with? Its all about the sport...) Instead I'd like to present my online observations from the 2012 Blogger's Tour in a medium in which they deserve.
Limited access meant limited opportunities to get out there and gather information. I was blessed with audioboo and Twitter, even though we were asked to turn off mobile devices as it would 'interfere with the rolling commentary' (yeah, right...)
So rather than bore you with construction stats (just Google 'em,) here is my online timeline from a rather enjoyable Thursday evening spent being bussed around a rather big building site in the East End.
Heading off to Stratford for a blogger's tour of the 2012 site. Who else is in?#
The site itself didn't seem that large. Maybe that's because the majority of it still remains to be built? This is no bad thing, as ease of access should give a genuine village feel during the games. Post 2012 and the expected White Elephant might also become slightly easier to disguise.
The Aquatic Centre is stunning. OK, so describing some pylons of varied heights hammered into the ground as 'stunning' is perhaps stretching it; but this is the one venue where already you get a sense of the occasion, helped along with a genuine eye-turning design.
The tour itself was useful, albeit behind the windows of a bus. My lack of photographic evidence is partly in protest of this, partly because I couldn't be bothered. The bus full of bloggers all had their shutter fingers flicking away all evening. The images will be out there soon, once again I suggest a quick Google.
And so many thanks to the nu meeja folk of London 2012 for the invite. Not quite what I expected, but at least I'll be prepared for hopefully what will become an annual event over the next three summers.
As the embedded boo below states, I don't usually podcast on matters of a personal nature. But blimey - I got wound up over a bike today. Not so much the bicycle per se, but the silly Islington banker boy who thought he could pull a fast one on me.
But he who takes on a contemporary urban South London anarchistcyclist, risks the wrath of lycra.
Never trust a banker, especially if the useless tosser works for RBS.
Before the next Bank Holiday is upon us, I thought it was about time I finally got round to editing and posting up the photo-dialogue pieces from the start of the month.
May Day! May Day! Excessive photographic submissions and audio ramblings ahoy!
Actually there was plenty of rambling at the start of the month. What better way to celebrate Worker's Day than walking around our green and pleasant land?
*shhhhh* I mean South East London of course. Not quite my patch, so I called in the cavalry, in the form of @darryl1974, as Our Man in Greenwich for the day.
We were following in the footsteps of @TimeOutLondon's South East London walk. The walking issue at the start of the year seemed like a task that we needed to tick off. A different route for all four corners of our city.
North and West can wait, probably until Bank Holiday 2059. I felt slightly sea sick travelling out as far as the badlands of South East London.
And so the basic route was starting at leafy Blackheath, cutting through Greenwich Park, a bit of @darry1974 detour around the historic streets of Greenwich, crossing at the foot tunnel, more walking (and booze) at Mudchute, before finishing in the Bank Holiday ghost town of Canary Wharf.
The complete route can be seen HERE (gmap-pedometer: sort out your embedding functionality!)
I became slightly shutter finger snap happy along certain sections of the walk, not so during other locations. The effect is for the second dialogue piece to display a frame roughly once per second, whereas the foot tunnel leg is like watching paint dry.
No worries - you can peruse the complete photographic set on flickr over HERE, totally, raw, straight outta the box and not a Photoshopped image in sight. I really couldn't be bothered, to be honest.
And so a big thank you to @TimeOutLondon for the original inspiration, as well as @darryl1974 for the local knowledge. @Jason_Cobb if anyone fancies a five minute ramble around the Stockwell / Oval / Vauxhall triangle.
'Lambs Conduit Passage is a gorgeous little cut through from Red Lion Street to Red Lion Square. It's narrow passageway is lined with little shops, and the excellent Dolphin Tavern sits on it's corner. Further in is a small patio area with seats and cafe tables.
It can be a busy little street and a great people watching area, yet it comes into it's own at night.
There's not a huge amount to photograph, but what there is, is so pretty, you'll not be short of a shot or two.'
Another charming Saturday evening spent down at Bankside, for what remains officially the Best Priced Ticket in Town. Five of your English pounds gains you admission to Shakespeare's Globe, a price that hasn't changed since the Wooden O by the river re-opened back in 1997.
The beauty of being a budget groundling is that you can happily walk away at the interval, should the production not be to your liking. In twelve seasons spent at The Globe, we've walked out only the once (and that was because of my knackered knee.)
It took a tossing of a coin to make our mind up on Saturday night. The Specials were once again calling from down the road at The Academy. With tickets being touted for around £100, the credit crunching sums of twenty Shakespeare productions equating to one night of moonstomping with The Specials influenced our decision.
A wise call.
The production of Romeo and Juliet was slightly more sombre than what The Specials were getting up to back in SW2, not at all playing upon the potential for comedy (R & J, not The Specials.). We saw a Brazilian production of R & J at The Globe some ten years ago that played out almost as Carry on Verona. Not so on Saturday night, with the complexities of love being at the centre of the narrative.
This was a highly technical production, both in terms of the sword fighting choreography (and masturbation potential - eek,) as well as the action transferring frequently down to the groundling level around us. The fragrant mrs onionbagblogger's bicycle helmet almost saw off our young romantic hero. Romeo must die, etc, but failing that, then tripping over a cycling accessory will have to do. Whoops, but at least mrs obb ventured out with her helmet.
And so three hours later, and a resurrected R & J took three stage bows as Bankside celebrated a fine performance. I was applauding both the performers on stage, as well our own endurance in surviving a chilly evening spent on our feet for three hours.
That's possibly it for our Globe outings for this season. We have been regulars in previous seasons, catching all performances in the schedule.
'Age cannot wither her, nor custom stale.'
That might be the case for mrs obb, but my knackered knee can't take too much of this standing around. Likewise my wallet can't take anything higher than a £5 groundling ticket.
Brixton is best heard, not seennot eulogised in some some contemporary prose, pontificating the cultural coming together of class, ethnicity and bangin' beats. Some people just don't get SW2, making the mistake of confusing social class for race.
In a brief, audioboo attempt to redress this balance, I went for a walk around Atlantic Road on Saturday lunchtime, returning en route from le velo and the lido. This is Brixton Frontline, although thankfully the feel of the area has changed considerably from almost thirty years ago.
If you want to get a feel for how Londoners are feeling, you should head for Brixton; if you want to get a feel of how Brixton is feeling, best find yourself down at the market.
Saturday morning is always heaving around here, with locals buying up both basics and the many food delicacies from around the world. I left the iPhone rolling, recording the audio as I walked from Atlantic Road towards the train station.
Of course I should have actually spoken with my fellow Brixtonins to get a more balanced feel. But Brixton is essentially a place where individual identities are allowed to interact together. There is no one Brixton - it's all about the buzz.
Welcome to Brixton, my spiritual home for the past fifteen years.
As with all matters relating to local government, the answer wasn't quite so simple, and certainly couldn't fit into a Twitter friendly 140-character tweet. Still, it shows that @lambeth_council is embracing Twitter, and not just using the platform for publicity purposes.
For the record, here's the reply:
'The use of the REAL wellness memberships across all the council's leisure centres is part of the contract with GLL to manage the leisure centres. GLL keeps the income from the memberships and other activities and this helps to reduce the subsidy paid by the council to operate the centres.
[um... the REAL card image depicts a swimmer diving into a what appears to be an outdoor pool. Whoops.]
The arrangement for the Brockwell Park Lido is different. In return for a major funding investment to refurbish the Lido, Fusion were granted a 25-year lease to run it. The result of this agreement is that the Lido is run independently of the council by Fusion but under the scrutiny of the Brockwell Lido Steering Group and the council.
The council therefore has no direct control over the Lido and all the income from the Lido goes back to Fusion to help repay the investment. If the REAL Wellness membership was used at the Lido, Fusion would not receive any income from the monthly fee, as this goes to GLL, and would require the council to compensate them for this loss of income.'
So it's a case of you scratch our back, we'll scratch yours. Not quite as dodgy as manure and moats in these days of backhanders for elected representatives. But I can't help thinking that the financial arrangement benefits Fusion, and not the Lambeth electorate. Plus our local authority manages to remove any responsibility in managing another public service.
I would get angry over this, but Fusion is proving to be the perfect pool operators down in SE24. It may be making money on the Brockwell project, but in return, we're getting far better customer service than we'd ever get from Lambeth Council.
Changes have been made following feedback from BLU. The staff are the friendliest I have ever encountered in the public sector and the heritage of the lido is something that Fusion genuinely seems to respect.
So yeah, I'm resigned to be paying twice to swim in Lambeth owned pools. Coming up for air at 7am in the morning in an outdoor pool, and catching a flock of geese fly over your head tends to have this kind of effect upon you.
Some reunions I couldn't stomach. The Jam? Nothing left to prove with a couple of jobbing musicians, geezer; The Smiths? Sorry, Mozza, but your late 80's angst was very much of the time; The Stone Roses? Style over substance, and What the World isn't Waiting For is 22-inch bellbottoms once again.
But The Specials have unfinished business. Bowing out with a No. 1 single on the happy, happy sound of the Big 1FM, all about, um, recession and unemployment, and then just as genuine subversion of the mainstream music industry threatened, the parting of the waves took place. Smiling Terry went all pop, and Jerry Dammers went back in the studio for another three years. The moment was lost, the world moved on and we were left with knobbers like Nik Kershaw.
At their irresistible peak, The Specials meant something. Overlooking the debt that everyone from Rancid to The Streets owes to them (that's quite a cultural leap of faith, by the way,) The Specials had the political edge over the pantomime pop of Madness. The message of the 2Tone man couldn't have been more symbolic - they didn't press up the logo on the labels in black and white to save on colour printing, y'know.
But now the moment is back. Britain is back in recession, unemployment topped the 2m mark today and mainstream media is once again looking at our friends from other lands to lay the blame at for our current woes. Perfect excuse for a five-night bender in Brixton, moonstomping with a revival from the original revivalists.
I've waited thirty years for this gig, never quite believing that Terry Hall would ever return to his 2Tone roots. The official reason is to celebrate thirty years since the release of *that* first album. But with five sold out nights at The Academy, and tickets at £35 a pop, money and merchandising must have been a factor as well.
Money talks, and so does Jerry Dammers:
'I founded The Specials, and now they've excluded me,' said the man who also founded 2Tone records.
Rumour is rife as to the reason for Dammers not being part of the reunion: the classic 'musical differences,' seems plausible, with Dammers wanting to re-interrupt the songs with a contemporary arrangement, whereas the Rude Boys in the band just want a bit of Brixton skanking. Dammers has been seen more behind the DJ decks than his keyboard over the past two decades - can he still cut it?
No worries. The absence of one seventh of The Specials was a minor gripe. Plus I saw Dammers last month on the same Brixton stage as Rico. So that just about Makes It Alright, then.
And so Brixton bound, early evening on Monday, and it really did feel like I was setting off for a Friday night of skinhead moonstomping at the village youth club, thirty years previous.
The Canterbury was buzzing, even before the doors at The Academy opened. A five-night run has been kind to everyone's favourite backstreet Brixton boozer. The enterprising Seamus even booked in a ska DJ for the backroom. I don't think it was local boy Jerry Dammers (although Roddy Radiation was in the building, looking resplendent in his rockabilly meets ska uptown natty dress sense.)
Remember the old joke: 'What's the definition of beans on toast?'
The updated version is 'looking down from the stalls at Brixton Academy'. I've never seen so many old school skins in one place.
But first things first: choose your gig-going immediate radar Rude Boys and Girls wisely. I ended up being sandwiched between an old school skin, sweating away as though he had a power shower installed in his forehead, and a mad hair girl who kept on shaking her mane in my face. Sweaty ska boy kept me moisturised; mad hair girl mopped it all up. Everyone's happy.
The Specials were always a highly charged band, transferring all their onstage energy over to the audience. Come curtain call on Monday night (Monday night FFS!) and the anticipation building up around Brixton Academy became physical. Sweat was flowing before the band came on stage.
And that was just the Rude Girls.
Yet another ska DJ warm up act, and the crowd were heated up nicely. All the old Jamaican classics were given a spin, plus a stray playing of Geno, which just about worked.
And then the band opened with the reprise of Enjoy Yourself, silhouetted behind a curtain. You've waited thirty years, you can wait thirty seconds more.
The curtain then descends, and you're right in there with Do the Dog:
'All you punks and all you teds National Front and natty dreads Mods, rockers, hippies and skinheads Keep on fighting 'til you're dead.'
Welcome back, boys.
Everyone has aged, on and off stage. Smiling Terry still doesn't smile, but then that was always his appeal. You know all the songs - first album start to finish, More Specials minus Dammers (although there was a doppelganger on keyboards) plus a few maverick B-sides thrown in (Friday Night and Saturday Morning - blimey!)
An hour and a half of ska 'n sweat (TooooHOT! in there. Bloody hot) later and that was yer lot. We finished off with the Skinhead Symphony of Longshot / Liquidator / Moonstomp, and then it was back to where we started with Enjoy Yourself closing the set.
And so what next for The Specials? More gigs, but hopefully not an album of 'exciting and new material.' You can re-enact, but you can't re-capture what you once had. Smiling Terry will probably get bored before the summer is out. Expect that Fun Boy Three reunion tour in two years time.
'Enjoy yourself, it's later than you think Enjoy yourself, while you're still in the pink The years go by, as quickly as you wink Enjoy yourself, enjoy yourself It's later than you think.'
So yeah, *shhh* I did the Trekkie thing during the opening weekend - in Surrey Quays as well. Blimey. It was a work related outing, and a convenient excuse not to splash out £15 plus for an Imax Trekkie ticket with non-work related Trekkie types.
But there wasn't much change out of my crisp tenner over in South London. I got my moneys worth by managing to get my ears blown off with the migraine inducing volume level that rocked the screens of Surrey Quays. When did cinemas become so bloody loud?
What of the film? Well... I approach the Star Trek franchise with the same warped (ha!) logic that I approach my music. The Jam? Yeah, so so, but The Style Council always mattered much more to me. The original Enterprise crew didn't quite cut it for me; Mr Worf sitting proudly on the bridge of The Defiant does the business.
Which all meant that a film showing the backtracking of the Trek story wasn't quite the Star Date I was searching for. I almost choked on my overpriced popcorn when a not so young Mr Paris had a walk on / walk off part; the referencing of Admiral Archer was a Trekkie teaser too far.
And that really is my main issue with backtrackers - two hours of your time spent watching a whole franchise plot being shoehorned into place. What made Kirk so stubborn? How did the brains of Spock get to play second fiddle to the brawn of his captain? And why did the Vulcan snog Uhura in the lift? (Never really answered, or even touched upon, in the original series.)
You watch the film knowing the conclusion, and working out how the producer will make it all fall into place. That said, the plot is actually half-decent for the first backtracker. I managed to stick with it all the way through until the end, something I often struggle to do in other Star Trek films.
With Enterprise getting more risible with each week, Star Trek seems to have got the franchise back on course; believable characters are back with us once again.
I suffered the unfeasibly high volume all the way through until the final credits, and was then rewarded with Mr Nimoy reading out the iconic opening speech credits at the end of the film - the journey is just about to start, all over again.
These are the voyages of the Starship Enterprise...