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15th November 2014
Location: Brighton Toy and Model Museum
Interviewer/Videographer: Marc Sinclair

0.03 – Gabriel: I did play with a fair few of construction toys, I remember there were Lego, which I had a mass amount of because of my brother which allowed me to not have to buy them and ask for them for Christmas which was always a pleasure. I had Brio which were sort of the bigger blocks, I didn’t really find them as enjoyable, and I also had the thing called Tonka. But yeah I did.

Marc: Yeah, and eh out of all those that you had which was your favourite?

Gabriel: Lego by far I think, you had all these sort of themed Lego sets which allowed you to create what you wanted but also kind of tie in with the theme of your choice, which I always found enjoyable!

Marc: And what was the theme of your choice mostly I wonder?

Gabriel: I, basically my brother was a Star Wars fan and he always built these extensive spaceships etc which I didn’t actually build myself I just had the fun of playing with. But other than that, mainly just Star Wars.

Gabriel: as I said my brother was always a big part of my life, and he, it was always easy the fact that if he liked something, I would like it as well. He passed it down to me; basically him having it means therefore I like it. So him handing down all his toys to me I was very happy because it felt like finally I’m kind of growing up possibly to be like you whatever, that sort of thing.

Marc: Did he play with you and the toys, like you know your Lego and all that or he’d sort of grown out of it by then?

Gabriel: Yeah, he’d sort of grown out of it by then so it was kind of like just here you go I’m done with it, you have your fun with it.

Gabriel: Yeah, this was rather than like fighting etc, I kind of made up plotlines and kind of did like stories with the characters and used the planes as props to make it all more realistic, kind of a made a little film for myself using my imagination which, I can’t really imagine doing now but…

Gabriel: Strangely enough that was a bit earlier than playing with my Action Men and stuff like that, I remember playing with that probably about Year 4 when I would have been about 7 or 8, so quite young.

Gabriel: Well with Lego and stuff, I did actually come to finding it quite boring, there wasn’t the same sort of sentimental kind of bond with it at all. It was simply if you’ve built it then you feel, feel good about building it because you done it yourself, it’s kind of like you’re satisfied with what you’ve created but when they’re just blocks themselves they mean nothing really and you can easily pick up these blocks from anywhere, they lack personality really.

Marc: Do you still have them?

Gabriel: I do still have them, in a big big box all jumbled together with no sort of unique feature about them, all in small parts so…

Marc: I wonder, if they’re in the attic with the teddies?

Gabriel: Altogether? They’ll be playing without me maybe yeah?

Marc: What’s your best memory of playing with your Lego?

Gabriel: Playing my Lego, basically I liked creating the tallest towers I possibly could and kind of try to make a realistic sort of community and like with people inhabiting the tower and like vehicles etc etc but yeah.

Gabriel: There were actually quite a lot of Lego sets strangely enough even though I didn’t really have the same kind of sort of bond with them. They’re where quite a few Lego sets that were advertised really well and they were very, very expensive which I always asked for but kind of knowing that I’d never get them but yeah I mean I, I don’t really regret not having them now I mean but yeah I always did want them.

ENDS 4.09

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15th November 2014
Location: Brighton Toy and Model Museum
Interviewer/Videographer: Marc Sinclair

0.07 – Hello my name’s Marc and may we know your name?

Gabriel: My name is Gabriel Easterby.

Marc: Hello Gabriel, and where were you born?

Gabriel: I was born in Brighton and I have lived here my whole life.

Marc: So you were a true Brightonian? Born and bred, which is very rare

Gabriel: Indeed I found out that was rare because I was speaking to a couple of people and telling them, they were quite surprised which I found surprising myself.

Marc: Because the whole of Brighton is full of refugees that were never born or bred here. Can I ask you what year you where born? Or how old you are, but what year you where born and how old you are?

Gabriel: I am 19 years old, I was born in 1995.

Marc: Right, so just at the end of the last century. Well welcome. So you spent your childhood where?

Gabriel: I’ve lived my whole life in, in a house called 12 Trinity Street and I’ve lived in Brighton my whole life as I’ve said. Other than that, living in Brighton.

1.13 – Marc: Right, now here comes the crunch, the toys. Did you have a teddy bear or teddy bears?

Gabriel: I had a fair few teddy bears to be honest I, I remember I had a, one that my mum gave to me that she’d had for a number of years so it was passed down from her Dad I think and I’ve inherited that and I think I know where that is in my house. I had a couple of other ones that didn’t really have any sort of sentimental value but yeah, I had a few teddy bears.

Marc: So the one that was passed down from your Grandfather to your Mum and then onto you must’ve been quite an old bear?

Gabriel: Yes.

Marc: Can you remember how old the bear was?

Gabriel: Coming up to 80 to possibly 90 years. Very tattered I mean you can see that it’s been through the wars.

Marc: Literally.

Gabriel: Literally!

Marc: What colour is he?

Gabriel: He is, it’s hard to really say now, he’s a, you could tell he was a kind of light brown but most of his fur is worn off so he’s a kind of tattered sort of dirty material colour with a red cardigan.

Marc: Has he got any holes in him?

Gabriel: He has a few holes in him yes, one of his eyes is hanging out so.

Marc: Do you have a name for him?

Gabriel: He’s called, oh what is he called? Bertie.

Marc: Bertie?

Gabriel: Bertie.

Marc: So far that 80 year old bear called Bertie, who’s got holes, an eye falling out and is a bit tatty, you still got him?

Gabriel: I have still got him, to this day yeah

Marc: And are you, when you have your own children to pass him on if he is stll there?

Gabriel: I hadn’t thought about it, but I think it’s the only thing to do really isn’t it? Yeah.

Marc: I’m sure he’ll live to 100.

Gabriel: Exactly, exactly.

Marc: So Bertie, you know how you came to own it, how did you play with it?

Gabriel: With this toy, different to other toys I didn’t actually play with it that much because I was so aware of its meaning and I kind of kept it on show, as decoration rather than actually playing with it as such but yeah, if I did my Mum used to get angry with me. She, obviously it was her toy, and she kind of still had some sort of bond with it. So yeah.

Marc: You mentioned one or two other toys that were teddies can you tell me about those?

Gabriel: Yes, these are my, probably my most fond toys from my childhood, two similar looking bears that were made for me from a friend from my nursery, which I decided to call Sausage and Bacon and playing with them I was very aggressive and made them fight almost every day and was showing my mum these sort of wrestling moves and asking her which one would hurt the most and that pretty much kind of writes how I played with my toys as a kid…kind of miss those days.

Marc: What do you mean, it was liked Teddy wars rather than Star Wars?

Gabriel: Yes, indeed, indeed I mean it’s kind of strange to think of it now how much fun I found that when now I can’t really imagine doing that.

Marc: Would you just play with those two toys yourself or have other children involved.

Gabriel: Oh no it would be me on my own, me on my own. Yeah it was kind of strange because the idea now I can’t actually keep myself occupied on my own I kind of like…no yeah I much prefer being social nowadays but back then I could happily live and play on my own which is strange.

Marc: I don’t think that’s strange at all. Right you’ve got three teddies you’re talking about out of how, well how do you feel about these teddies now? Have you still got Sausage and Bacon?

Gabriel: I do yes, basically I remember I was quite old when I actually started to kind of lose love for them. I was about quite late, it was about 9 or 10 that I actually stopped actually playing with them and I remember that day when I cleared them all out of my room and put them all in my box and my mum was actually quite sad at the fact that I was maybe passing away my childhood and basically they’re all up in my attic all stuffed, suffocating in a box so it’s probably not the best place for them. I still have them.

Marc: But that’s the point, you still got them, you didn’t throw them away so you do consider them as something in your life, would you agree?

Gabriel: Definite, definite.

Marc: So with any luck, your children will have Bertie the tatty, tatty teddy bear of 80 odd years and Bacon and Sausage to go with it. No eggs or fried potatoes by the sound of it.

Gabriel: No. Unfortunately not.

Marc: Yeah, good to think that these are important to you still although they’re in an attic box. Can you explain why they’re still important to you?

Gabriel: Perhaps because they were such a big part of my life in that time and it’s kind of sort of nostalgic, they hold nostalgic value really, I mean I remember I can imagine one of my older looking back at them being able to feel the same sort of experiences that I had when I was young.

Marc: Have you got a favourite memory of either the two having your teddy fights or your tatty Bertie that comes to mind now?

Gabriel: Well, favourite maybe the most err, impacting was when I thought had I lost one of them in Drusilla’s park and I was looking round for hours and hours crying with my Mum and in the end I found it sitting up upright on the side next to the monkeys.. And, yeah, I was a very happy boy.

Marc: So what was a very sad moment for you become a happy memory and you got to learn I bet you never lost him again?

Gabriel: No no. no

Marc: No, because he was in the attic upstairs. We’re going to hold it there then we can have a little stop until we go on to the next bit. That’s part 1. I’ll stop you there. Very good.

08.32 – Marc:Moving on now, this is going to sound daft saying to a young man of 19, if I said to you did you play with any dolls? By dolls I mean a broader aspect because I’m certain or I may be wrong that you may have had a Barbie doll in your collectables? But when I say dolls I think you understand the broad sense of the term. Did you have any dolls?

Gabriel: I did have dolls, I had a fair few, I had . . . Well its quite cliché stereotypical Action Man, multiple of them which I kind of used as they are supposed to be used-fighting, blah blah blah James Bond-esque. I had what can I remember? I had these wrestling figures which kind of formed the same sort of function which would be fighting each other constantly. Any other dolls I had? I can’t really remember any other than that?

Marc: You know these wrestling do-obviously what I’m thinking now is that the age of 10 when you gave up your battling teddy bears you moved onto the higher echelon of Action Man to continue the war would you agree with that?

Gabriel: Well, actually I think I kind of gave it all a rest by 10 because I, I was kind of playing with all of them then at the same sort of period. And, and then by that time I kind of sort of video games kind of over took that and I started playing on Gameboys and stuff like that.

Marc: Now, what was your favourite out of all these dolls and when I mean that, in the broader sense?

Gabriel: There was this Action Man, who my brother gave to me and basically my brother was always my role model as when I was a child and basically he gave me that and I was always very protective over it. And he was always the one that won the fights.

Marc: How old was, how much older is your brother?

Gabriel: My brother is 4 years older than me.

Marc: So you had second hand Action Men after your brother? Can you remember what sorts of uniforms or combat gear they wore?

Gabriel: Yes he was wearing some car, camouflage slacks topless with a red, no orange headband. And other than that very little.

Marc: Sounds a little bit to me like Rambo?

Gabriel: Indeed,

Marc: So we know how you came to own it because it was a thrown down from your, well hand me down I should say, from your, your big brother.

Gabriel: Uhum,

Marc: And you played with it and of course he always won, did you play with other children rather than your brother when you had these? Came round and had these, these fights and battles and wars?

Gabriel: More so, more so yeah but I mean during Primary School we had days, toy days that they called it when you could bring in your toys and you had designated time for you to play with them and in that time you usually compare them, played with them not, can’t quite remember how but it was probably fighting of some sort.

Marc: Were you able to swap the toys as long as you got your own back?

Gabriel: Yeah, yeah I was quite protective of mine to be honest but yeah I know I did, I did sometimes yeah

Marc: How did you feel about this Action Man, or the Rambo man, shall we call him?

Gabriel: How do I feel about him? He I don’t know err I just, I just. I don’t really know how to answer that. I mean,

Marc: Was he there? He was obviously there for a purpose that in your pre- conditioning of your teddy bears to continue this sort of as you say you, you moved on although you played with that to something else which just goes to show, my point is, that the dollies and the or the Action Man, the teddies became redundant for what reason? You did mention it earlier, but could you just reiterate?

Gabriel: Okay, well um well it in a way, because it was more human looking it kind of it was more realistic and I could more relate it to myself and, I don’t know it just seemed a bit more mature at the time. And then . . .

Marc: Right, [shows Gabriel questions]. So obviously the importance of it waned off.

Gabriel: Yep,

Marc: And, what replaced it?

13.33 – Gabriel: Oh I started playing with video games, which was the replacement from things like my action man, my teddies because it was kind of the new thing at the time and I just started to find it more enjoyable to be honest, and everyone had it and everyone, everyone could bring in the new consoles into school and everyone was just so amazed by what everyone else had and yeah, it was really enjoyable, exciting because it was new!

Marc: I’m just going to ask. I wonder where Rambo is now?

Gabriel: I wouldn’t actually be able to tell you unfortunately he wasn’t one that I held as close to my heart.

Marc: Do the best memory of playing with Rambo?

Gabriel: I don’t actually know.

Marc: Easily replaced by the future electronic age.

Gabriel: Unfortunately, yes yeah.

Marc: I must ask you, but did you have any female styled dolls.

14.39 – Gabriel: Basically my Mum, like me has kept all of her dolls and toys and she passed all of them onto me and some of them where, but most of them I didn’t take as much of a liking to, I don’t know whether that was actually due to me not liking them myself or whether stereotypes kind of took hold of me and I swayed more towards the more masculine toys.

Marc: Nicely put.

15.08 – Marc: Did you play with any construction toys?

Gabriel: I did play with a fair few of construction toys, I remember there were Lego, which I had a mass amount of because of my brother which allowed me to not have to buy them and ask for them for Christmas which was always a pleasure. I had Brio which were sort of the bigger blocks, I didn’t really find them as enjoyable, and I also had the thing called Tonka. But yeah I did.

Marc: Yeah, and out of all those that you had which was your favourite?

Gabriel: Lego by far I think, you had all these sort of themed Lego sets which allowed you to create what you wanted but also kind of tie in with the theme of your choice, which I always found enjoyable!

Marc: And what was the theme of your choice mostly I wonder?

Gabriel: I, basically my brother was a Star Wars fan and he always built these extensive spaceships etc which I didn’t actually build myself I just had the fun playing with. But other than that, mainly just Star Wars.

Marc: And you don’t seem to be at all perturbed by the fact that the majority of toys that you got seem to be hand me downs from your 4 year those 4 years older than you, your Brother, you seem to be quite realistic about that and can you explain why that in, for a young man like you felt that way? Or still feel that way, if I may say so?

Gabriel: Yeah, I’m not really sure to be honest kind of, as I said my brother was always a big part of my life, and he, it was always easy the fact that if he liked something, I would like it as well. He passed it down to me; basically him having it means therefore I like it. So him handing down all his toys to me I was very happy because it felt like finally I’m kind of growing up possibly to be like you whatever, that sort of thing.

Marc: Did he play with you and the toys, like you know your Lego and all that or he’d sort of grown out of it by then?

Gabriel: Yeah, he’d sort of grown out of it by then so it was kind of like just here you go I’m done with it, you have your fun with it.

Marc: How did you know? He played with you, mostly the stuff had been made by your brother, which obviously was still together…so you were playing Star Wars and all sorts of things with it. Can you tell us how you played with it in that respect? What do you know from the normal fact you having a Rambo and all that business and your teddies, what were you doing with these Lego sets that were created into Star Wars figurines etc and spaceships?

Gabriel: Yeah, this was rather than like fighting etc, I kind of made up plotlines and kind of did like stories with the characters and used the spaceships as props to make it all more realistic, kind of a made a little film for myself using my imagination which, I can’t really imagine doing now but…

Marc: It would be interesting to think that these days, with that sort of in mind playing Star Wars which is obviously still around after all these many years that you see making films, I wonder if at your age now with your own mobile phone which has a camera on it, that you’d be using that? Would you consider that if you’d had that technology at that time?

Gabriel: Well that was what I was thinking of getting on to, because now all these kids are having smart phones which you’re immediately allowed to play whatever game you want that you can download, so it’s not that same sort of need to buy these toys that are actually physical toys because everyone’s playing video games because you can and everyone, everyone does because you’re able to!

Marc: Did you ever grow out (well put it this way) obviously you did, but put it this way what point in time did you grow out of playing Star Wars and Lego and all that?

Gabriel: Strangely enough that was a bit earlier than playing with my Action Men and stuff like that, I remember playing with that probably about Year 4 when I would have been about 7 or 8, so quite young.

Marc: You mention another one, which is often forgotten- Tonka; tell us about your Tonka toys?

Gabriel: Tonka Toys it was I think it was a lot less put on actually building it yourself. I think, I remember having this Tonka truck which was battery powered you could use it to emulate a crane and pick things up and put things down. It wasn’t the same sort of build it yourself and have what you want, it was kind of more like the real thing but less imagination really, I didn’t really enjoy it as much.

Marc: I wondered if you had like a truck in your construction thing, Tonka toys and all. Did you use your Tonka toy with your Lego bricks to actually construct things as a builder would?

Gabriel: Indeed I mean I did tend to just kind of mix everything together and just have the fun as I would, I mean I don’t think I actually used the Tonka toys to build the Lego and that sort of thing but no I definitely used them altogether I wasn’t stuck to an isolated one. Kind of threw it altogether!

Marc: Construct and constructing and buildings and all that weren’t it? It was more, I wonder if Granddad was helping out at the time! Were these important to you because you say that you actually came away from playing such things earlier than with your Action Man and other action figures, so did it just fall out of love with it, did it get boring? Tell me?

Gabriel: Well with Lego and stuff, I did actually come to finding it quite boring, there wasn’t the same sort of sentimental kind of bond with it at all. It was simply if you’ve built it then you feel, feel good about building it because you done it yourself, it’s kind of like you’re satisfied with what you’ve created but when they’re just blocks themselves they mean nothing really and you can easily pick up these blocks from anywhere, they lack personality really.

Marc: Do you still have them?

Gabriel: I do still have them, in a big big box all jumbled together with no sort of unique feature about them, all in small parts so…

Marc: I wonder, if they’re in the attic with the teddies?

Gabriel: Altogether? They’ll be playing without me maybe yeah?

Marc: What’s your best memory of playing with your Lego?

Gabriel: Playing my Lego, basically I liked creating the tallest towers I possibly could and kind of try to make a realistic sort of community and like with people inhabiting the tower and like vehicles etc etc but yeah.

Marc: Now, here comes a crunch question, although your brother was very generous, although he’d outgrown his toys passing them down to you, was there any point in your young although you’re a young man now when you were a kid did you ever want a teddy bear, a doll and action figure or construction toy that you just weren’t allowed to have or couldn’t get?

Gabriel: There were actually quite a lot of Lego sets strangely enough even though I didn’t really have the same kind of sort of bond with them. They’re where quite a few Lego sets that were advertised really well and they were very, very expensive which I always asked for but kind of knowing that I’d never get them but yeah I mean I, I don’t really regret not having them now I mean but yeah I always did want them.

Marc: Just to round this off then, you know you’ve been very forthright, I wonder if there are any other memories of your childhood which all of these toys comes immediately to mind just to round off your interview.

Gabriel: Basically thinking back to what I just said there about the Lego and a toy that I wanted and knew I wasn’t going to get this was basically in the time just when I was just like coming off playing with toys when this robot came out called the Robosapian which was advertised for doing all these crazy things like being able to talk to you, dance like all controlled with a remote control and it had some price tag that was well out of my reach and I always wanted to play with one, I remember one time going round to my friend’s house and he had one, and played with it and it was quite fascinating really to be honest but then I realised that I kind of was never going to get it but I yeah, it just the way that things were advertised, it was different because it was when this modern era started kind of over taking the sort of kind of physical, well things that lacked technology really.

Marc: Well Gabriel, it’s been a pleasure, I hope you’ve enjoyed it!

Gabriel: I have really enjoyed myself yeah

Marc: Any quick final thoughts?

Gabriel: Not really no.

Marc: Thank you for participating in ‘Toys in the Community’; you’ve been a delight to interview. Thank you Gabriel.

Gabriel: Thank you very much!

ENDS 24.56

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15th November 2014
Location: Brighton Toy and Model Museum
Interviewer/Videographer: Marc Sinclair

Hello my name’s Marc and may we know your name?

Gabriel: My name is Gabriel Easterby.

Marc: Hello Gabriel, and where were you born?

Gabriel: I was born in Brighton and I have lived here my whole life.

Marc: So you were a true Brightonian? Born and bred, which is very rare

Gabriel: Indeed I found out that was rare because I was speaking to a couple of people and telling them, they were quite surprised which I found surprising myself.

Marc: Because the whole of Brighton is full of refugees that were never born or bred here. Can I ask you what year you where born? Or how old you are, but what year you where born and how old you are?

Gabriel: I am 19 years old, I was born in 1995.

Marc: Right, so just at the end of the last century. Well welcome. So you spent your childhood where?

Gabriel: I’ve lived my whole life in, in a house called 12 Trinity Street and I’ve lived in Brighton my whole life as I’ve said. Other than that, living in Brighton.

01.13 – Marc: Right, now here comes the crunch, the toys. Did you have a teddy bear or teddy bears?

Gabriel: I had a fair few teddy bears to be honest I, I remember I had a, one that my mum gave to me that she’d had for a number of years so it was passed down from her Dad I think and I’ve inherited that and I think I know where that is in my house. I had a couple of other ones that didn’t really have any sort of sentimental value but yeah, I had a few teddy bears.

Marc: So the one that was passed down from your Grandfather to your Mum and then onto you must’ve been quite an old bear?

Gabriel: Yes.

Marc: Can you remember how old the bear was?

Gabriel: Coming up to 80 to possibly 90 years. Very tattered I mean you can see that it’s been through the wars.

Marc: Literally.

Gabriel: Literally!

Marc: What colour is he?

Gabriel: He is, it’s hard to really say now, he’s a, you could tell he was a kind of light brown but most of his fur is worn off so he’s a kind of tattered sort of dirty material colour with a red cardigan.

Marc: Has he got any holes in him?

Gabriel: He has a few holes in him yes, one of his eyes is hanging out so.

Marc: Do you have a name for him?

Gabriel: He’s called, oh what is he called? Bertie.

Marc: Bertie?

Gabriel: Bertie.

Marc: So far that 80 year old bear called Bertie, who’s got holes, an eye falling out and is a bit tatty, you still got him?

Gabriel: I have still got him, to this day yeah

Marc: And are you, when you have your own children to pass him on if he is stll there?

Gabriel: I hadn’t thought about it, but I think it’s the only thing to do really isn’t it? Yeah.

Marc: I’m sure he’ll live to 100.

Gabriel: Exactly, exactly.

Marc: So Bertie, you know how you came to own it, how did you play with it?

Gabriel: With this toy, different to other toys I didn’t actually play with it that much because I was so aware of its meaning and I kind of kept it on show, as decoration rather than actually playing with it as such but yeah, if I did my Mum used to get angry with me. She, obviously it was her toy, and she kind of still had some sort of bond with it. So yeah.

Marc: You mentioned one or two other toys that were teddies can you tell me about those?

Gabriel: Yes, these are my, probably my most fond toys from my childhood, two similar looking bears that were made for me from a friend from my nursery, which I decided to call Sausage and Bacon and playing with them I was very aggressive and made them fight almost every day and was showing my mum these sort of wrestling moves and asking her which one would hurt the most and that pretty much kind of writes how I played with my toys as a kid…kind of miss those days.

Marc: What do you mean, it was liked Teddy wars rather than Star Wars?

Gabriel: Yes, indeed, indeed I mean it’s kind of strange to think of it now how much fun I found that when now I can’t really imagine doing that.

Marc: Would you just play with those two toys yourself or have other children involved.

Gabriel: Oh no it would be me on my own, me on my own. Yeah it was kind of strange because the idea now I can’t actually keep myself occupied on my own I kind of like…no yeah I much prefer being social nowadays but back then I could happily live and play on my own which is strange.

Marc: I don’t think that’s strange at all. Right you’ve got three teddies you’re talking about out of how, well how do you feel about these teddies now? Have you still got Sausage and Bacon?

Gabriel: I do yes, basically I remember I was quite old when I actually started to kind of lose love for them. I was about quite late, it was about 9 or 10 that I actually stopped actually playing with them and I remember that day when I cleared them all out of my room and put them all in my box and my mum was actually quite sad at the fact that I was maybe passing away my childhood and basically they’re all up in my attic all stuffed, suffocating in a box so it’s probably not the best place for them. I still have them.

Marc: But that’s the point, you still got them, you didn’t throw them away so you do consider them as something in your life, would you agree?

Gabriel: Definite, definite.

Marc: So with any luck, your children will have Bertie the tatty, tatty teddy bear of 80 odd years and Bacon and Sausage to go with it. No eggs or fried potatoes by the sound of it.

Gabriel: No. Unfortunately not.

Marc: Yeah, good to think that these are important to you still although they’re in an attic box. Can you explain why they’re still important to you?

Gabriel: Perhaps because they were such a big part of my life in that time and it’s kind of sort of nostalgic, they hold nostalgic value really, I mean I remember I can imagine one of my older looking back at them being able to feel the same sort of experiences that I had when I was young.

Marc: Have you got a favourite memory of either the two having your teddy fights or your tatty Bertie that comes to mind now?

Gabriel: Well, favourite maybe the most err, impacting was when I thought had I lost one of them in Drusilla’s park and I was looking round for hours and hours crying with my Mum and in the end I found it sitting up upright on the side next to the monkeys.. And, yeah, I was a very happy boy.

Marc: So what was a very sad moment for you become a happy memory and you got to learn. I bet you never lost him again?

Gabriel: No no. no

Marc: No, because he was in the attic upstairs. We’re going to hold it there then we can have a little stop

08.28 – Marc: Moving on now, this is going to sound daft saying to a young man of 19, if I said to you did you play with any dolls? I mean a broader aspect because I’m certain or I may be wrong that you may have had a Barbie doll in your collectables? But when I say dolls I think you understand the broad sense of the term. Did you have any dolls?

Gabriel: I did have dolls, I had a fair few, I had . . . Well its quite cliché stereotypical Action Man, multiple of them which I kind of used as they are supposed to be used-fighting, blah blah blah James Bond-esque. I had what can I remember? I had these wrestling figures which kind of formed the same sort of function which would be fighting each other constantly. Any other dolls I had? I can’t really remember any other than that?

Marc: You know these wrestling do-obviously what I’m thinking now is that the age of 10 when you gave up your battling teddy bears you moved onto the higher echelon of Action Man to continue the war would you agree with that?

Gabriel: Well, actually I think I kind of gave it all a rest by 10 because I, I was kind of playing with all of them then at the same sort of period. And, and then by that time I kind of sort of video games kind of over took that and I started playing on Gameboys and stuff like that.

Marc: Now, what was your favourite out of all these dolls and when I mean that, in the broader sense?

Gabriel: There was this Action Man, who my brother gave to me and basically my brother was always my role model as when I was a child and basically he gave me that and I was always very protective over it. And he was always the one that won the fights.

Marc: How old was, how much older is your brother?

Gabriel: My brother is 4 years older than me,

Marc: So you had second hand Action Men after your brother? Can you remember what sorts of uniforms or combat gear they wore?

Gabriel: Yes he was wearing some car, camouflage slacks topless with a red, no orange headband. And other than that very little.

Marc: Sounds a little bit to me like Rambo?

Gabriel: Indeed,

Marc: So we know how you came to own it because it was a thrown down from your, well hand me down I should say, from your, your big brother.

Gabriel: Uhum,

Marc: And you played with it and of course he always won, did you play with other children rather than your brother when you had these? Came round and had these, these fights and battles and wars?

Gabriel: More so, more so yeah but I mean during Primary School we had days, toy days that they called it when you could bring in your toys and you had designated time for you to play with them and in that time you usually compare them, played with them not, can’t quite remember how but it was probably fighting of some sort.

Marc: Were you able to swap the toys as long as you got your own back?

Gabriel: Yeah, yeah I was quite protective of mine to be honest but yeah I know I did, I did sometimes yeah

Marc: How did you feel about this Action Man, or the Rambo man, shall we call him?

Gabriel: How do I feel about him? He I don’t know err I just, I just. I don’t really know how to answer that. I mean,

Marc: Was he there? He was obviously there for a purpose that in your pre- conditioning of your teddy bears to continue this sort of as you say you, you moved on although you played with that to something else which just goes to show, my point is, that the dollies and the or the Action Man, the teddies became redundant for what reason? You did mention it earlier, but could you just reiterate?

Gabriel: Okay, well um well it in a way, because it was more human looking it kind of it was more realistic and I could more relate it to myself and, I don’t know it just seemed a bit more mature at the time. And then . . .

Marc: Right, [shows Gabriel questions]. So obviously the importance of it waned off.

Gabriel: Yep,

Marc: And, what replaced it?

Gabriel: Oh I started playing with video games, which was the replacement from things like my action man, my teddies because it was kind of the new thing at the time and I just started to find it more enjoyable to be honest, and everyone had it and everyone, everyone could bring in the new consoles into school and everyone was just so amazed by what everyone else had and yeah, it was really enjoyable, exciting because it was new!

Marc: I’m just going to ask. I wonder where Rambo is now?

Gabriel: I wouldn’t actually be able to tell you unfortunately he wasn’t one that I held as close to my heart.

Marc: Do the best memory of playing with Rambo?

Gabriel: I don’t actually know.

Marc: Easily replaced by the future electronic age.

Gabriel: Unfortunately, yes yeah.

Marc: I must ask you, but did you have any female styled dolls.

Gabriel: Basically my Mum, like me has kept all of her dolls and toys and she passed all of them onto me and some of them where, but most of them I didn’t take as much of a liking to, I don’t know whether that was actually due to me not liking them myself or whether stereotypes kind of took hold of me and I swayed more towards the more masculine toys.

Marc: Nicely put.

14.01 – Marc: Did you play with any construction toys?

Gabriel: I did play with a fair few of construction toys, I remember there were Lego, which I had a mass amount of because of my brother which allowed me to not have to buy them and ask for them for Christmas which was always a pleasure. I had Brio which were sort of the bigger blocks, I didn’t really find them as enjoyable, and I also had the thing called Tonka. But yeah I did.

Marc: Yeah, and eh out of all those that you had which was your favourite?

Gabriel: Lego by far I think, you had all these sort of themed Lego sets which allowed you to create what you wanted but also kind of tie in with the theme of your choice, which I always found enjoyable!

Marc: And what was the theme of your choice mostly I wonder?

Gabriel: I, basically my brother was a Star Wars fan and he always built these extensive spaceships etc which I didn’t actually build myself I just had the fun playing with. But other than that, mainly just Star Wars.

Marc: And you don’t seem to be at all perturbed by the fact that the majority of toys that you got seem to be hand me downs from your 4 year those 4 years older than you, your Brother, you seem to be quite realistic about that and can you explain why that in, for a young man like you felt that way? Or still feel that way, if I may say so?

Gabriel: Yeah, I’m not really sure to be honest kind of, as I said my brother was always a big part of my life, and he, it was always easy the fact that if he liked something, I would like it as well. He passed it down to me; basically him having it means therefore I like it. So him handing down all his toys to me I was very happy because it felt like finally I’m kind of growing up possibly to be like you whatever, that sort of thing.

Marc: Did he play with you and the toys, like you know your Lego and all that or he’d sort of grown out of it by then?

Gabriel: Yeah, he’d sort of grown out of it by then so it was kind of like just here you go I’m done with it, you have your fun with it.

Marc: How did you know? He played with you, mostly the stuff had been made by your brother, which obviously was still together…so you were playing Star Wars and all sorts of things with it. Can you tell us how you played with it in that respect? What do you know from the normal fact you having a Rambo and all that business and your teddies, what were you doing with these Lego sets that were created into Star Wars figurines etc and spaceships?

Gabriel: Yeah, this was rather than like fighting etc, I kind of made up plotlines and kind of did like stories with the characters and used the spaceships as props to make it all more realistic, kind of a made a little film for myself using my imagination which, I can’t really imagine doing now but…

Marc: It would be interesting to think that these days, with that sort of in mind playing Star Wars which is obviously still around after all these many years that you see making films, I wonder if at your age now with your own mobile phone which has a camera on it, that you’d be using that? Would you consider that if you’d had that technology at that time?

Gabriel: Well that was what I was thinking of getting on to, because now all these kids are having smart phones which you’re immediately allowed to play whatever game you want that you can download, so it’s not that same sort of need to buy these toys that are actually physical toys because everyone’s playing video games because you can and everyone, everyone does because you’re able to!

Marc: Did you ever grow out (well put it this way) obviously you did, but put it this way what point in time did you grow out of playing Star Wars and Lego and all that?

Gabriel: Strangely enough that was a bit earlier than playing with my Action Men and stuff like that, I remember playing with that probably about Year 4 when I would have been about 7 or 8, so quite young.

Marc: You mention another one, which is often forgotten- Tonka; tell us about your Tonka toys?

Gabriel: Tonka Toys it was I think it was a lot less put on actually building it yourself. I think, I remember having this Tonka truck which was battery powered you could use it to emulate a crane and pick things up and put things down. It wasn’t the same sort of build it yourself and have what you want, it was kind of more like the real thing but less imagination really, I didn’t really enjoy it as much.

Marc: I wondered if you had like a truck in your construction thing, Tonka toys and all. Did you use your Tonka toy with your Lego bricks to actually construct things as a builder would?

Gabriel: Indeed I mean I did tend to just kind of mix everything together and just have the fun as I would, I mean I don’t think I actually used the Tonka toys to build the Lego and that sort of thing but no I definitely used them altogether I wasn’t stuck to an isolated one. Kind of threw it altogether!

Marc: Construct and constructing and buildings and all that weren’t it? It was more, I wonder if Granddad was helping out at the time! Were these important to you because you say that you actually came away from playing such things earlier than with your Action Man and other action figures, so did it just fall out of love with it, did it get boring? Tell me?

Gabriel: Well with Lego and stuff, I did actually come to finding it quite boring, there wasn’t the same sort of sentimental kind of bond with it at all. It was simply if you’ve built it then you feel, feel good about building it because you done it yourself, it’s kind of like you’re satisfied with what you’ve created but when they’re just blocks themselves they mean nothing really and you can easily pick up these blocks from anywhere, they lack personality really.

Marc: Do you still have them?

Gabriel: I do still have them, in a big big box all jumbled together with no sort of unique feature about them, all in small parts so…

Marc: I wonder, if they’re in the attic with the teddies?

Gabriel: Altogether? They’ll be playing without me maybe yeah?

Marc: What’s your best memory of playing with your Lego?

Gabriel: Playing my Lego, basically I liked creating the tallest towers I possibly could and kind of try to make a realistic sort of community and like with people inhabiting the tower and like vehicles etc etc but yeah.

Marc: Now, here comes a crunch question, although your brother was very generous, although he’d outgrown his toys passing them down to you, was there any point in your young although you’re a young man now when you were a kid did you ever want a teddy bear, a doll and action figure or construction toy that you just weren’t allowed to have or couldn’t get?

Gabriel: There were actually quite a lot of Lego sets strangely enough even though I didn’t really have the same kind of sort of bond with them. They’re where quite a few Lego sets that where advertised really well and they were very, very expensive which I always asked for but kind of knowing that I’d never get them but yeah I mean I, I don’t really regret not having them now I mean but yeah I always did want them.

Marc: Just to round this off then, you know you’ve been very forthright, I wonder if there are any other memories of your childhood which all of these toys comes immediately to mind just to round off your interview.

Gabriel: Basically thinking back to what I just said there about the Lego and a toy that I wanted and knew I wasn’t going to get this was basically in the time just when I was just like coming off playing with toys when this robot came out called the Robosapian which was advertised for doing all these crazy things like being able to talk to you, dance like all controlled with a remote control and it had some price tag that was well out of my reach and I always wanted to play with one, I remember one time going round to my friend’s house and he had one, and played with it and it was quite fascinating really to be honest but then I realised that I kind of was never going to get it but I yeah, it just the way that things were advertised, it was different because it was when this modern era started kind of over taking the sort of kind of physical, well things that lacked technology really.

Marc: Well Gabriel, it’s been a pleasure, I hope you’ve enjoyed it!

Gabriel: I have really enjoyed myself yeah

RECORDING ENDS 24m 37s

Gabriel

Gabriel was born in Brighton in 1995 and has lived there all his life. In the short version (4m 9s) of his interview he talks about his Lego. In the full version (24m 56s) he also discusses his teddy bears, Action Men, Lego, Tonka Toys and video games. He also reflects on his feelings about his toys and the effect of gender on his toy choice.