Sunday, 18 November 2012

Filling the void

I've reached that point in my life when I need a hobby. There - I've admitted it.
I've gone through life so far with a number of things that I've spent vast amounts of time on including video games, reading, motorcycles, photography, drinking beer, and fantasies of long-haired brunettes with big brown eyes and an insatiable sexual appetite. Not all of these could really be called a hobby, just things I can do for a while before moving on to something else, then coming back a few weeks later to do a bit more. I have this idea that a true hobby is something that becomes all-consuming. Something that dominates your entire life - or at least the bits not spent sleeping or being abusive to telesales people.
A dedicated hobbyist is often incredibly obsessive and it appears to be more noticeable with certain hobbies.
Take fishing for example. Guys who are prepared to sit for hours on end staring at a day-glo fishing float in the hope that they catch the legendary carp that everyone in the club insists exists in the lake.
Not for me. If I were to catch a decent size fish I'd cook it and eat it, which seems to be an unpopular approach to the average fishist who'd rather keep catching fish and throwing them back until the poor buggers are swimming around with a mouth like a well-used teabag.
The obvious hobby for blokes would appear to be football, which when combined with large quantities of lager gives loud overweight f***wits the legendary talent to do a better job than the superfit overpaid hair product adverts slugging it out in the cup final. Well I'm sorry, but I've seen what football does to blokes as a hobby and it always involves pissing your wages up the wall in the pub every night, driving a Seat Ibiza with your team's name plastered on the back window, and being unable to hold a conversation without the words "that ref is a wanker" making an entrance. Besides, the idea of watching 22 men kicking a bag of air around for 90 minutes while two teams of professional hecklers shout at each other doesn't do a thing for me.
So what about golf then? Winston Churchill famously said that golf was the best way to spoil a good walk. Personally, I love a good walk and I don't like it spoiled by dog logs, let alone anything that involves wearing Rupert Bear trousers and chunky knitwear.
I've thought about building a model railway like I had when I was a kid, only far more detailed like the ones you can see at exhibitions. The trouble is, I can't shake the feeling that I would end up being that bloke who sidles up to you at the bar looking like Wallace out of 'Wallace & Gromit' and tries to start a conversation with the dreaded "Did you know....". Whilst middle age is upon me and I've ordered my pipe and slippers off Amazon, I'm still not sure if I'm quite ready to be that man.
I love photography and chasing after that perfect shot is a never-ending quest. But joining a club would be a bad move for me, because since the 'digital revolution' they're filled with people who don't think it counts as photography unless you've spent a fortnight Photoshopping your image so that it looks nothing like the thing you took the picture of in the first place.
Beer making is a traditional bloke hobby and I'm sure I'd enjoy it. Unfortunately if there's alcohol in the house I feel obliged to drink it, and if it was available on demand in barrel-sized quantities it wouldn't be long before terminal liver failure set in.
No. As someone who's been taking things apart and putting them back together again (in working order) since I was old enough to know one end of a screwdriver from the other it has to be a hobby involving playing with mechanical stuff.
I recently bought a new shed, which is an essential item for any bloke. It was rather expensive and large enough for me to get a motorcycle in and have plenty of room to work around it plus space for a workbench and all my tools. Electrics all hooked up, lighting and radio installed, but six months down the line no project bike has appeared yet. Ideally I want to get hold of a 50cc bike to do up for my son who'll be 16 in less than eighteen months and is desperate for a motorbike. This would be a terrific hobby for me, and when it's finished I could do up a 125cc bike for him for when he turns 17. By the time I've done that I can move on to a classic british bike and finally I will actually be Mr Did-you-know, complete with a model railway hobby, twigs in my beard, and everyone avoiding me at the bar.