Sunday, 9 November 2014


In 1979, British TV reran the original Star Trek. I don't know how many I watched but the ones I saw burned themselves into my mind. They're still there now. That's indicative of how good they were as I only saw each episode once. There were no videos at the time, at least not in our house, to record it with. 

Each weeks episode was re-enacted in the playground at school. I was always Kirk. My friend Phillip Sherlock was always Spock as he had jet black hair and Nimoyesque features. (Yes, Sherlock and Watson, there were a lot of 'elementary' jokes).

In the evenings I'd use my space lego figures as the crew of the Enterprise and make the interior of the ship as best I could using the lego bricks. 

Kirk was my favourite. I really wanted a starfleet uniform too. The local Post Office had a Star Trek phaser and communicator for sale (they also used to sell BMX accessories too, hand grips, brakes, helmets, gloves, it was like a day out for a kid). I never got the set. There was a near disaster on the Isle of Man thay year too. I went there on a day trip with my family and my grandparents. I remember absolutely nothing about the ferry or the Isle of Man itself except that there was a Spock uniform in one of the shops. I stood there entranced whilst the rest of my traveling companions headed back to the ferry. A blind panic ensued, I was really bricking it, before I spotted my Grandad in the far distance, he was tall and always wore a trilby. They hadn't noticed I was missing. No-one ever mentioned it. I never got the Spock uniform.

The point of the last paragraph is that I really loved the uniforms. And it was the green of Kirk's that was my favourite...Yes, it's called command gold, I know, it looked kind of yellowy on the tv screen...until the remastered box sets came out restoring everything to it's intended hue (including Spock's skin colour in the first two seasons, until the budget was cut in season 3). But it's green, despite being called gold. Avocado green... Anyway, Kirk was the classic boys' hero, every word uttered with gravitas and import, all action, impetuous, intelligent, heroic.

The TV series finished. I saw the first few movies, the Wrath of Khan was pretty neat. But I couldn't relate to the movies. I was a kid, the crew were older, too old after having been introduced to them only recently in their prime...and, this may sound really shallow, the uniforms weren't very good. I just didn't like them. 

I'd also discovered Star Wars. Back in 1977 when my dad asked if I wanted to see the original movie I perpetrated an epic fail when I declined and asked to see a Herbie movie instead. What an idiot. I can't imagine how my dad felt. He should have lied and said there were no more tickets left for Herbie...but in 1980 I saw Empire Strikes Back and it was Star Wars all the way. The day after I saw the movie I went to Argos and got some Star Wars figures. Still have those figures, except Luke's headscarf (it's the Hoth version) has been partially eaten by a rabbit.

So Trek was put aside, a fond memory. I never read the comics. I never got into Next Gen (I've watched it over the past few years and I enjoyed it) or the other series of Trek...

It was the 2009 movie that rekindled my interest in Star Trek. I didn't see it at the cinema, that's how bothered I was about it. But one night whilst sat up with my sick daughter I put on the DVD.

I'm not going to get into it here about which incarnation is best, whether the Abrams movies are just mindless spectacle etc. There's so much Trek out there for everyone to enjoy. It all has it's place. But the Abrams movie renewed my interest in Star Trek. The casting was great, the time travel plot was plausible, the opening scenes with Kirk's dad were fantastic...Karl Urban as Bones, Simon Pegg as Scotty...and the uniforms were back, if updated!

The next day I got the season one box set of the original series, remastered, on DVD. It's great. Spock's face, as I've already spoken about, has a green tint, the planets look real, the strings are gone...but the original phaser blasts are left in. It's crisp, it improves on the original series, but doesn't detract from it like Lucas' fannying about with the original Star Wars did. It's not overdone. It's basically how it should have looked 40+ years ago.

Less than a week after I'd watched season one I'd ordered the other 2 box sets. It shows how good they were that after 40 odd years, they're still good to watch now. (There are some very good episodes in season 3 when the budget had been cut to about $5 an episode. It succeeds despite the limitations, except Spock's Brain. Obviously).The plots are intelligent, the stories are viable, not dated at all. It shows what a visionary Roddenberry really was. And what a great group of writers he had at his disposal. 

Around that time I started doing cursory searches for Star Trek shirts, authentic ones. I quickly realised I couldn't afford a screen used one (a Tribble is a lot more than I could afford), but I wanted an authentic shirt. It had to look like the one's from the series. My 7 year old self demanded it.

I've always demanded authenticity. I had the same problems with NFL jerseys in the 1990's, replica football shirts more recently. I detest fake goods and also things that don't look exactly like they appear in the movies...

Anyhow, I stumbled across the Anovos site. Yes, they may seem a little pricey, but you get what you pay for. The premier line of tunics is as close as most people are going to get to the real thing. I got the  Kirk season 3 shirt. It's great. The sleeves are a little short, just like Shatner's tunic. But he was right when he said that the season 3 shirt clings to all the wrong places...

Season 3 Captain Kirk Tunic

I eventually caved and bought an Into Darkness shirt's not as good quality as the original series one, but that was a lot more money. And, being pedantic, it doesn't have the seam that runs all the way down the outside of the arm like the Into Darkness shirts. It's like the 2009 movie shirt. I'd say it was basically what the extras would wear from the Abrams movies. And I'm happy with that.

Into Darkness Kirk Tunic

An aside, if you want to wear a Star Trek shirt at a restaurant I recommend the Khan or the Kirk undershirt from the Abrams movies, it's affordable (from Anovos) and is a lot more acceptable to wives and civilians. Order a size or two up, they're very snug.

Into Darkness Khan undershirt

Another very cool thing are the Juan Ortiz Star Trek posters (collected in a hardback book). He's created a poster for each episode of the original TV series. Here are some of my favourites. Check out his website at

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