September turned to October and it looks like autumn has arrived with a vengeance.
I don’t know what the weather was like where you are yesterday but for us the heavens opened and the rain was nigh on biblical. (I could have sworn I saw a large wooden ark containing pairs of animals in the inside lane of the M4.)
I took Isaac and Toby to the STEAM Museum of the Great Western Railway in Swindon, which this weekend has been playing host to the Great Western Brick Show, a showcase for some amazing Lego models and displays. From a metre square Lego picture of Star Wars‘ Princess Leia to a lovingly recreated replica of everyone’s favourite Jupiter Mining Corporation vessel Red Dwarf, from a working rollercoaster to a Lego competition version of Robot Wars, there was something for plastic injection-moulded brick fans of all ages, whether they were six (Toby) or 46 (er, you know who).
But one small exhibit raised a slightly bigger smile than any other. 22 years ago last week a sitcom featuring a six-strong ensemble made its TV debut. The cast were largely all unknown – one had featured in Bruce Springsteen’s video for Dancing in the Dark, while another had starred in a number of TV adverts. However, Courteney Cox and Matt LeBlanc – and their pals Jennifer Aniston, Lisa Kudrow, Matthew Perry and David Schwimmer – rapidly became household names all over the world.
Even now, I’m willing to bet that every hour of the day there is an episode of Friends being played somewhere in the world.
For ten seasons, Central Perk – and how brilliant a name was that, by the way? – was the most famous coffee shop anywhere on the planet, the place where six people gathered to share their loves and losses and their triumphs and disasters with the world. This exhibit captured it perfectly – note Phoebe is in the front corner with her guitar, presumably performing Smelly Cat.
Seeing this particular model meant nothing to the boys, of course. But Friends was a show firmly about six characters of my age – Rachel, Monica, Phoebe, Joey, Chandler and Ross were all in their mid-twenties in the first season of the show, just as I was – that spoke to the issues and challenges faced by my generation.
The line from the theme song (I’ll Be There For You by The Rembrandts) that provides the title of this post seemed particularly apposite yesterday as the boys and I tramped through the pouring rain to spend a day happily wandering among Lego exhibits and steam trains. I hope to be there for them and Kara for many years still to come.
Now, how can I buy this set?