Saturday, 15 June 2019

Grail Quest or Fools Errand ?

Indiana Jones Grail Last Crusade

What is a 'Grail' item ?

Up until recently it's a term I had not used or even considered using but one that I'd heard often bandied around within the collecting community. Its use is intended to communicate to us that the person exclaiming it has found that one elusive item that they have longed or searched for.

I attribute two categories to this; firstly it's usually both a rare and expensive piece and seldom is it something ordinary. Although secondly, that is ultimately subjective as sometimes a grail item could be a piece owned as a child (or did not for that matter), something that signifies a point in time or emotion that is personal to them.

So as you can see there is quite a broad scope for what fits this particular definition, but is it a definition worthy of use or application? 
I can only come at this from my own point of view and experience, which has prompted me to rethink the importance we place upon such trivialities.

Transformers Bumblejumper Action Force Escape Armour Red Yellow Brick Background

Over the past 18 months I have come into possession of what could be described as my 'grail' items. They are Bumblejumper and the Action Force Escape Armour. Bumblejumper has been on my 'to do' list since I got back into collecting some 20 or so years ago. I recall seeing it on a shelf attached to a Cliffjumper card in my local ASDA store back in the 80's. The Escape Armour has always been there, buried under the rubble and mess that is the back of my mind since 1983. The image of it sat on the shelf in a Tesco store in Truro, Cornwall is burned into my soul as much as the fond memories of summer holidays there as a child. So as you see, two items I never had as a child but both with quite vivid memories attached to them firmly places them in the latter of my scenarios. This was the basis of my desire to one day own them both.

I picked Bumblejumper up first, from a fellow collector that had 'won' it as a prize for a competition (I apologies but struggle to recall what or who, if you're reading then I apologise). A sense of satisfaction radiated within, knowing that soon he'll be in my hands and on my shelf, stood alongside his mis-coloured brethren red Bumblebee and yellow Cliffjumper.

The Escape Armour I dropped upon by pure accident. I was neither actively looking for or immediately intending to obtain, mainly down to the immense prices that were being commanded for the thing. But then a good friend sent me a message with a link to a group that had just seen one of its members post one for sale. I was not a member of the group so a request was submitted. Long story short, within the space of around 20 minutes I'd joined, messaged, purchased and sat with the same warm glow I'd experienced previously with Bumblejumper.

All is good, both achievements unlocked..... but then I remembered Spock.

So what went wrong?

I've thought on this and have come to a harsh conclusion; my desire to own these is based upon a desire I had to want these, a desire locked in childhood needs (that seem ever so important at the time) that were never met. As I stated previously, I never had these as a child so I never got to experience them for what they were. The reality of them was met with adult eyes that could not reconcile the 30 odd years of disconnect. In short, I was very much under whelmed. In those moments I had reaffirmed to myself the very reasons why I have never subscribed to the 'grail' mentality, even though I had in a way succumbed to them in no uncertain terms. 

Writing this blog has provided a catharsis on the matter, it's allowed me to appreciate them in a way that I don't believe I could've had it been any other way. The fools errand of an adult chasing things has led the child in me to realise that the true grail is in the memories.