Over the course of this blog I have mentioned many heroes that I have admired over the years. Heroes that I would like to aspire to due to the qualities they possess. Spider-man would be the most obvious superhero I’ve talked about. I loved the character as a kid. I read the comics, I watched the cartoon Spider-man and his amazing friends and the later 90’s cartoon. Along with the X-Men, they were the heroes for my young self and for a while I was more Marvel then DC.
In all honesty I’ve never really considered myself a Batman fan. I can’t recall reading any of the comics or watching the cartoons although I did use to watch repeats of the old 60’s series. I also remember going to watch Batman at the local cinema in 1989 and although I watched the four prequels I didn’t think they were that good. A couple of years ago I decided on a re watch of the films as I had them on DVD. I watched the first, fell asleep half way through the second and never went back. When the reboot came out I wasn’t that enthralled and it was a while before I watched both Batman Begins and The Dark Knight. I have never watched the third movie. Likewise although I thought Ben Affleck did a good enough job in Batman vs Superman I wasn’t a fan and still haven’t watched Justice League. I got through two series of Gotham before, due to Channel Five dropping it from their schedules, giving up and although I may go back to it sometime in the future I found it very dark and also long winded. Likewise apart from the more common elements associated with the character I know very little of the long history of the hero.
And yet thinking about it tonight I find Batman merchandise is the second most numerous items I own. (Of course number one is Doctor Who merchandise, if there was any doubt).
I have an action figure, a number of t-shirts which I wear more often than other items of clothing. A Batman floor mat and a large picture of the various Bat symbols over the years (presents from my Brother and family) and the Arkham series of games for the PlayStation. Recently I’ve just brought a pair of Batman earrings which I’m actually wearing right now along with a Bat symbol t-shirt. As such I’ve started to take more of an interest in the character recently watching the Killing Joke and Gotham by Moonlight.
So what is it about this character that has such a hold on me despite my lack of interest in his films or comics? Well there is the bat symbol. Like Doctor Who’s Tardis it is instantly recognisable and in fact the symbol is even used to call Batman to action lighting up the skies of Gotham. True much of what I own is dominated by that symbol but not everything and the image of Batman himself looks cool. I would rally love a change to wear a Batman costume to a costume party or something because it looks so good.
What we have with Batman, and I’ve mentioned this before (see Secret Identities – Not just for superheroes), is a hero who hasn’t got superpowers. He is a hero who has worked to become a hero through learning martial arts and science and of course developing great detecting skills being dubbed the world’s greatest detective. There is something appealing about a vigilante who takes on criminals just using the skills he’s learnt and not some power he has endowed with.
This is in some way the reason I like Arrow apart from his skill with a bow. I came to Arrow through watching the Flash and I think that season one is one of the best. It has Oliver Queen just going up against criminals’ way before Meta humans, magicians, aliens or alternate Earth Nazi’s. There was a sense of realism to this first series. Rather like Hawkeye in the Avengers when we see Green Arrow up against a super villain their skills seems rather lightweight compared to speedsters, ancient Gods and magic users.
Batman as well I think works better when against ordinary villains such as the Joker, Riddler and Ra Al Ghul. Put him with super beings too often and he can seem the weakest link although there are some interesting stories that explores those themes.
I also love looking at the philosophy and psychology behind the character himself. We all know the tragedy that led him to take up the mantle of crime fighter but there is also how that affects him until it is unclear whether he is truly Bruce Wayne or Batman. It reminds me of a quote I used for my own novel. Perhaps it’s impossible to wear an identity without becoming what you pretend to be. While I was writing my novel and working on the themes of identity it was the complexity of Batman that was in the back of my mind.
So what we get is a very dark complex character (well if you ignore the 60’s series that is) who still doesn’t cross that line where he would intentionally kill a villain. Whether he is seen as a vigilante hiding from the police or on call whenever they need him, he has one mission and that is to help save his city. Despite any psychological issues that he has, despite any limitations he is a person who is ready to step up to the fight when needed. He may not be a role model to me but it seems there are still some things that I can take from the character.
It’s quarter past twelve on Saturday night. 03/06/18 to be precise and I’ve just got in. All in all in’s been a hell of a night. It’s not a post I was planning to blog and it’s thrown my schedule out a little. It should have been a Batman themed one with a blog on how I’ve joined a new mediumship circle to be the next one I wrote. But this night has prompted an unscheduled piece. One which I think needs to be posted sooner more than later but also ties in with my previous post on Ace Rimmer.
I’ve been out on the town. It’s my friends eighteenth and she’s invited me out. It’s a night I’ve been looking forward to although she and her boyfriend are the only ones I will know. Flashback to earlier in the evening when I’m getting ready to go out. Baring this month pride month. I’ve already ordered some rainbow laces. Yet I hesitate on getting ready. Do I wear earrings? Do I dress on the more slightly feminine side or more manly? In the back of my head is the question will I get the chance to pull? It’s not a question of worrying what people will think of me but more an issue of if it will effect any chances tonight.
I’ve had a quick tidy up around the flat today and hidden the more questionable items of my personality away. You never know.
The night goes well. A couple of pints followed by many cocktails. I feel relaxed around the people I don’t know, my friend’s family and friends. Her mum even offers me a drink, a thanks for looking out for her daughter. I guess I’ve been mentioned before.
But something happens towards the middle of the night. It’s about ten and we’ve been out a few hours. There are some attractive women out tonight, one of the group is lined up nicely with another. I’m slightly jealous, yeah I want them to get together but I feel left out. My friend is constantly kissing her boyfriend. And the girl serving behind the bar I find attractive but she is too young.
But in my slightly intoxicated state I realise something. A fact. I’m going home alone tonight. It’s likely I’m going wake up in the morning alone and feel depressed about it. The girls around me are too young for me and I know my time out on a scene like this has come to an end. Tonight is almost like a flashback, a reunion. It’s like when Doctor Who has an anniversary special and old Doctors come back. They’re older, their time has come and gone and although it’s a nice nostalgic trip it’s a one off remembrance of the old days. I remember past days of glory when I’d be out on a Friday and Saturday night until the early hours of the morning nightclubbing it away.
Ok I feel slightly depressed about this. For a moment I want to go home and call it a night. But on the other hand there is something liberating about it. I know I’m going to be going home alone. Although I’ve seen girls that have peeked my interest I know any chance with them are non-existent. There’s no expectation for me tonight. I can go with the flow and not worry about what I say or do. It’s not a totally great feeling. I would still love to hold someone close to me, to have someone kiss me, those strings of passion whether or not they actually leads somewhere. Even the scary possibility that I’d wake up next to someone I hardly know in the morning but knowing it had followed a night of sex. It’s not so much I’m passed it but the fact that for me this isn’t a scene where someone like me is going to connect with someone else any more.
Luckily I stick around. Maybe it was just the drink effecting me, maybe I just decide to go with the flow but more than anything it’s because this is my friends night and she wants me there and by the state of her she needs me there. She’s reached that state!! You know the one where the drink is making her tearful and regretful. Where she thinks she is a bad person and people hate her. I remind her that she is great and I remind her how she has been a great friends that has always stood by me, supported me. She wants to read my novel as soon as I can print it off. She is the one that encouraged me to get my hair dyed red. Have I mentioned I’ve had my hair dyed red? Most people despite a bit of banter have been ok with it, only Friday night did a couple of people go over the top with taking the piss about it. But my friend she has been there for me and as I quietly tell her all this she hugs me and rather more loudly then I would like mentions how great my hair is and how if I want to paint my nails and wear makeup then fuck what anyone else says. Yeah thanks M***. But in all seriousness it makes me feel better for who I am.
It’s gone eleven and the group is now leaving. Her friends and family have lifts home. Her boyfriend and I grab food from the kabab shop and between us we manage to walk her home. Leaving them I walk back home eating my burger. I live in town. I could have got my food and been home within two minutes but I get my friends safely home. It’s something I have always done. Another flashback to fifteen years ago when I’d be out with my female friends, (I also used to be with female friends more than male ones. Maybe that was a sign) making sure they got home safe before I headed back, usually alone to my own flat. I guess somethings don’t chance, just people. I feel better about myself because A. I’ve only had a simple burger without chips and not a large pizza or something as I’m on a diet and B. I’ve celebrated my friends eighteenth and I’ve got her home safe. I’m thought of by people as someone who looks out for people. Maybe someone went home tonight thinking ‘what a guy ‘about me. Although given some of the comments I got tonight they might also have thought ‘what a girl’. It doesn’t matter. The depression I’m starting to feel now and will hit me forcefully in the morning will also pass and I hope that I’ll remind myself that despite my problems I’m a good friend and that I have good friends out there that also look out for me. And hopefully I’ll also forget that I resolved that this was my last swan song out drinking around town next time the opportunity comes up to go out.
Oh god. It’s five thirty in the morning. I’m wide awake with a cup of tea and no hangover. No surprise there, I never get them and for some reason I always wake up early although this is sooner than even I expected. But there is something different. I’m not here cringing at anything I said or did last night, which given that my anxiety usually makes me question any social interaction is rather nice. There’s no bitter disappointment that I came home alone. Sure it would have been nice after a year and a half but never mind. I already have enough on my plate. No all I have is memories of a great night out and the knowledge that I’ll have the opportunity to take the piss out of my friend sometime in the near future.
For those who don’t know Arnold Judas Rimmer is a character from the show Red Dwarf. In the first episode he is killed in the same explosion that kills all the rest of the crew, bar one, but is brought back as a hologram.
The character of Rimmer, played by Chris Barrie, is as fellow crew member Dave Lister puts it a “you’re a gutless, spineless, gormless, direction-less, neurotic, underachieving, sniveling, cowardly pile of smeg. No offence, but get real, man; most eunuchs have got more balls than you.” A physical coward blaming his upbringing for the way he is.
But sometimes little things will break though that show he does have the potential to be a better person. He comes up with a plan that saves the crew at the end of series ten and he sacrifices his chance at a new life in order to save a woman he has just met even if he can’t believe it himself.
But never is it clearer what his potential could have been then with the appearance of Ace Rimmer, an Arnold Rimmer from another dimension. Brave, charismatic, smart and all round magnificent guy. And this Rimmer is so different due to one decision made in the past. Ace due to the embarrassment of being kept back a year ends up buckling down and fighting back to become the guy he is. This ties into my blog on being me about how different I myself may have been if something in my past changed and how it is our past that makes us who we are.
When Ace Rimmer first appeared on our screen I loved the character. After all who wouldn’t want to be like this guy? It’s not until a recent re-watch of Dimension Jump that brought back to my mind how I would have liked to have been like him and slight feelings of regret that I hadn’t. But like I’ve done with the heroes I’ve mentioned so far I looked deeper into the character. He’s smart but that’s because he’s studied. He’s brave because he’ll do what’s needed without thought for himself, putting others first. And he’s modest with his achievements bestowing praise on the people around him while playing down any credit to himself.
Well I can say that over my life I’ve studied. I’ve gone to college and university. And even away from them I’ve looked into things that interest me. My job at the moment isn’t exactly the ideal job but I spend my time learning everything I can about it. Five years ago I couldn’t imagine being the kind of person stuck inside a generator trying to work out how to fix it but that’s what I do. I may not be saving universes but I’m doing my best to get units ready to go out on hire. Ok I may be replaceable but I am still a valued member of the team.
And I’m one of those who also put others first no matter if it’s an inconvenience to me. Late night pickups, dropping everything at the drop of a hat to go out and help someone out. As for the modest bit, well that might be something I do have to work on.
So maybe I’m not so far removed from Ace Rimmer as I first thought. Ok I might not have the handsome dashing looks and sex appeal unfortunately but the basic character traits are there in some form. To look at the difference between the two Rimmers we can see what happens when one spends time simply blaming people and circumstances for the way they are but failing to do anything about it and when one sets out to be the best they can be. And the potential is always there.
Ace returns in to later episodes. Briefly when Arnold Rimmer gets all his bitterness and resentment sucked from him he ends up as Ace showing that it really is a case of overcoming the bad habits of a lifetime to achieve your potential.
In his final appearance Ace returns wounded. Not the original Ace but another one who has took on the mantle after the original Ace had been killed. He wants Arnold Rimmer to take over, to become the new Ace. Something which Rimmer believes himself to be incapable of but in the end, after some false starts he goes out into the universe to try his best.
It’s never too late to try and be the best person you can. To learn what is holding you back and overcoming it. Standing up when needed instead of running for the nearest escape pod. To be there for people when needed. To unleash the wild power that lurks inside you. To be the cougar running free and unfettered through the mountains.