Monday, January 31, 2011

Matchbox Cars

When we were kids Perseus, Fanta (my brother) and I would hold regular Hotwheels/Matchbox Car race meets. Various tournaments would take place on varying tracks with varying importance. Sometimes it would be on orange plastic Hotwheels brand tracks, at other times we would use PVC pipes which we found lying around in the backyard, or planks of wood or even custom built tracks which had built-in (although not entirely deliberate) handicaps. Occasionally we would measure the furthest jumper or the fastest in individual time trials, but usually it was races of between 4 and 6 cars at a time, culminating, after several hours, in a grand final of the 4 fastest.

We had around a hundred cars each, we would relegate and promote them to the various tournaments based on their recent results and long term averages and we would draw up complex fixtures based on rankings. Each car had a name, the top cars were highly prized and stored carefully between races, while slow cars would regularly be thrown in disgust. We would argue over results (we alternated the roles of starter, judge and scorer) and would rotate the venue to eliminate home track advantage.

It was some of the best fun I ever had as a kid and, given that nobody else could be arsed posting anything, I thought I would reminisce in front of you.


Cath said...

Thanks Bob... a little reminiscing is not to be dismissed.

Ramon Insertnamehere said...

So, this would be when you were how old?

squib said...

This is why being a boy is so much better than being a girl. You pick out a boy's lucky dip and it's got a magic trick or fake poo. A girl's lucky dip and it's some sucky fairy and glitter

My friend had a Barbie house and a Barbie palomino and a Barbie everything and when I went there we would fight about who would get to play the voice of the French Barbie. You had to do a French accent and the Barbie had a French maid dress, anyway, it was all a bit weird now I think about it

Anonymous said...

Was there any tension over Hotwheels/Matchbox brand loyalty in your little group, Bob? You do make it sound like a lot of fun. Unfortunately, since I didn't play much with toys or other kids when I was little, I don't think I can really relate. The closest thing I can think of took place when I was about fifteen or sixteen:

I had this mate whose brothers had a racetrack at the bottom of the house paddock and a bunch of old bombs (actually, I knew a few people with a similar setup). Many of these contraptions were shoddily welded together amalgams of unrelated vehicles and random pieces of metal; few of them had all four doors (some had none) and at least one didn't have any seats. But they were all colourful, unique-looking and had imaginative racing names like "White Lightning", "The ALCO" (because the "F" & "N" had broken off), and "Black Car".

Sadly, no one was content with simply racing these monstrosities and there was always this inexplicable drive to do things that were more and more idiotic. For a while, it was a big thing to race in teams of two, with one person driving and the other hanging onto the roof. Amazingly, there were no fatalities. One day I went under a car, but passed between the wheels and walked away with a few cuts and bruises. On another occasion, somebody drove at full speed over a motorbike jump (ala Dukes Of Hazzard). They weren't quite as fortunate.

Needless to say, I'm not that sentimental about these memories. Maybe I should have spent more time playing with models, instead.

Kettle said...

I had a magic hair Barbie, Squib. That was a bit weird.

On the plus side, your Barbies had European accents? Cool.

Did anyone else have a Baby Alive doll? You know, the one with the tube from the mouth to the bottom so whatever you put in the mouth came out the bottom? Come to think of it, that was a bit weird (although, happily bordering on the magic trick/fake dog poo side of things, Squib).

Kettle said...

Alex we must have just commented in quick succession as I didn't see your comment when I wrote mine.

In light of your seriously-cool-but-my-God-terrifying childhood experience with cars I'd like to retract my lame-arse Barbie comment (not to mention the shit about Baby Alive).

And my Barbies didn't even speak French.

Mr E Discharge said...

Thank you, ypu took me back to a happy time.

With my brothers and I it started out with who had the the best Billy Cart. We all competed, argued and more than once came to blows.

Nowadays, when we're all mature adults, and between my brothers, nieces, nephews and I, we have a total of nine race cars, nothing's really changed.

Thanks for the perspective.

patchouligirl said...

You've taken me back with these memories. When I was a kid these dolls were all the rage; I had the blonde version and my next door neighbour had the brunette . . we played with them for hours -

Apart from that though it was all go karts, cubby houses in the bush and sneaking in to the local sandstone quarry when no one was there for tadpoles. At the bottom of our street you could walk down the road to the Oxford Falls horse trails and there were abandoned cars and we used to take picnics for our 'cubby parties'. Sadly the urban sprawl devoured the entire road and surrounds and I was shocked many years later to see the whole area transplanted with McMansions.

Anonymous said...

I'd like to retract my lame-arse Barbie comment

Oh no, Kettle. Your Barbie had magic hair? That sounds pretty cool to me.

Did anyone else have a Baby Alive doll?

I'm a bit embarrassed to admit it, but when I was little, I found "realistic" baby dolls kind of creepy. Especially ones that could blink. I liked plush toys, though.

Melba said...

My friend and I set up an elaborate 'jumps' course in her backyard and using our 'horses' (brooms) would go around the course, losing points for hitting the jumps, trying for a clear round. You'd have to run around (gallop) astride the broom and manage to jump over the jumps and tip the broom up at the back so it didn't hit anything. Harder than it sounds, but exactly as mental as it sounds too. We happily did it for hours.

Spent hours on my cousin's CB radio, skateboard and Scaletrix as well. So a bit of boy stuff in there too.

Childhood was awesome.

RandomGit said...

I have a crate full at home and I am DEFINITELY going to do this with my kids over the weekend. And many more to come.

Puss In Boots said...

I always wanted matchbox cars. We had an awesome sand pit (essentially, it was the sand my stepfather used for mixing concrete, but we were allowed to play in it). I would always build these elaborate racing tracks, with tunnels and overpasses and what not in the sand. But my brother wouldn't let me play with his cars, and my mother wouldn't buy me any :(

Kettle, I had that magic hair barbie! It had this weird thing sticking out of it's head.

Also Alex, we had a similar set up with old bombs in our backyard. I recall the doors on one opened on a corner one day, and my sister nearly flew out of it. I managed to grab her in time.

Another time, during some floods, the dams of everyone's properties were all joining together in a big river. My brother took his surfboard up to our neighbour's top dam, and started riding the current down to our other neighbour's bottom dam. Unfortunately, he forgot about the barbed wire fence in between the properties. I still have no idea how he managed to avoid getting sliced up.

Also, he used to shoot at me with his air rifle, whilst pretending to shoot mickey birds. I still have a pellet in my leg.

Ramon Insertnamehere said...

Also, he used to shoot at me with his air rifle

Suddenly, much makes sense.

How are the preparations for the wedding coming along, BTW.

Puss In Boots said...

Its* head! Argh! I can't believe I used a greengrocer's apostrophe!

Ramon: huh?

They're coming along. I am pretty stressed right now, and am hoping I can relax soon. So much to do! I should have just paid people to do everything, instead of deciding to do it all myself. But I just couldn't believe the price of stuff! $5,000 for invites! $4,000 for flowers! $1,500 for a lolly buffet that you have to do yourself! Madness!

squib said...

I had a magic hair Barbie, Squib.

I didn't actually have a Barbie, Kettle. No, it was this friend

Ramon Insertnamehere said...

I mean if your brother shot at you on a regular basis during your formative years, this may go some way to explaining your long list of personal quirks.

Anonymous said...

My Dad had been an infantryman and was really really strict about gun safety, so none of us would have dared to even point an air rifle at each other. But I knew a few people whose brothers occasionally shot them with air rifles and I don't think it affected them any.

Your sister is older than you, isn't she, Puss? Since my parents lost a couple of bubs, I ended up being sort of "on my own" age-wise. I always fantasised about growing up with a younger sister that I could teach and look out for and generally be all "Wise Yoda" with and shit. Can anyone fill me in on what the experience was actually like and how much I'm romanticising it?


Oh, and Puss, how did those card things work out? Not in need of adjustments? Since I hadn't heard anything, I kind of assumed that they were either spot on or you've been too busy with other stuff to attempt a prototype.

Lewd Bob said...

generally be all "Wise Yoda" with and shit

Not the experience I had with my elder brother. Unless you include teaching me how to develop a thick skin.

Mad Cat Lady said...

I had two older sisters and there was no yoda type stuff. More a desperation to keep me out of their stuff (she once painted my nose with nail polish when I was asleep cause I had used it) and attempts to stop me annoying them when they were reading and telling me horror stories about what pap smears were like.

Pepsi said...

What is a lolly buffet ????

We had a rumpus room that was huge and we had shed loads of Star Wars things including a couple of Death Stars, a Mos Eisley Cantina, a huge Falcon and lots of X-Wings and Tie Fighters,as well as all the figures before they got all muscled up. We'd built the entire universe and played wars for weeks. My older brother was the law as he was the only one who could remember the actual story.

Puss In Boots said...

Yeah, my older sister was a complete bitch to me, and seriously tried to kill me on a few occasions. She used to push me off the top bunk when I was about 3 years old. I remember hitting my head on the dresser quite badly once.

Another time, she almost had me convinced to eat this really poisonous flower in PNG. Mum had told us to stay away from it, but my sister told me it was edible, and the only reason mum said that was because they were pretty and she didn't want them destroyed. I backed out at the last second, because I didn't want to get in trouble.

Another time, she told me the bird's eye chilli bush was a lolly bush, and picked me a handful. I put them all into my mouth at once and ended up in hospital.

Another time, we were at the beach and there was a trench full of water (low tide). She told me I could walk through it, so I tried, but I fell in and then couldn't get out. I ended up cutting my hands and feet open on oyster shells and ended up in hospital (again).

There were other times, too. She was the golden child who could do no wrong, so she'd do stuff and then blame it on me, and I'd get the belting. I remember once I just snapped. I think she pulled the head off a barbie of mine or something. I was about 11 or 12 and I'd had it. I chased after her with a piece of 4x2, and I swear to god I would have killed her if I'd caught her. She was never an athlete, but I think she knew I wasn't joking. I've never seen her run so fast! Luckily, my brother caught up with me and carried me back to the house and dunked my head in dirty washing-up water. I was furious, but suitably distracted.

So yeah, older sisters are not warm and fuzzy things, Alex!

Anonymous said...

Wow, Puss, And yet you stopped her falling out of the car.

Are the two of you able to laugh about all that stuff now? I think between you and Bob and MCL, my fantasy is gutted. I guess I was lucky to have that age gap after all.

Pepsi, did you guys keep the Star Wars junk? It's probably worth something these days.

Puss In Boots said...

Nah, she has selective memory loss. She claims none of that stuff ever happened. We are not really friends. Although I say this having spent about 3 hours on the phone to my travel contacts and $2,000 trying to evacuate her from Cairns. Still, I doubt she will appreciate it overly much. She's a prickly type.

Patch - a lolly buffet is something you do at a wedding in place of wedding favours (or some crazy people do it as well as). Essentially, you get a bunch of jars and fill them with different lollies/chocolates/etc. Everyone gets a small box and then goes and fills it up with their favourites. They can eat them at the wedding or take them home with them. They can look really pretty if they're styled right.

Puss In Boots said...

Bah! Pepsi! I meant Pepsi! My old affliction is back...

patchouligirl said...

It was Pepsi that asked about the lolly buffet but hearing the description, it's not that far removed from the lolly bags at a kids birthday party?

$5000 for invites? Are you serious? How many do you get for that? I have a feeling the 'per invite' price is going to be even more unbelievable. For $5000 you could buy some blank cards (there are nice ones available), a new dual core pc and a laser printer to print them out on.

My 3 yr old has an X wing star fighter . . I found it at the local vinnies and paid $1.50. It's got R2D2 on the roof and when you push him the wings open up. When we replaced the battery we found it still makes a rocket ship noise - a very cool toy indeed.

Puss In Boots said...

Yeah, that's essentially the idea, Patch. Just a little bit more fancy! Wedding favours tend to go for about $3 - $7 each guest, so this is a cheaper (and more novel) thing to do.

This is generally what they look like.

Pepsi said...

So the Lolly Buffet is to Bomboniere, what a collection of Cupcakes is to Wedding Cake. Sweet.

The Star Wars kit is stored in my brothers attic, though its pretty well played with.

eat my shorts said...

Matchbox cars are awesome. We've still got all my brother's stored away somewhere ... waiting for one of us siblings to be arsed to procreate and pass them on.

I always fantasised about growing up with a younger sister that I could teach and look out for and generally be all "Wise Yoda" with and shit. Can anyone fill me in on what the experience was actually like and how much I'm romanticising it?

There's four years between my older sister and I, so I'm not sure if that's close enough in age for what you're talking about, but if it is then ... uh yeah, you're way heaps romanticising it. My sister and I fought like cat and dog. We only began to get along when she moved away to uni. Maybe other sisters who are less than four or five years apart get along better during their childhoods?

Oh, and finally. I want a lolly buffet at work. I wonder if I can convince the principal to get on board with that?