Geek Culture

Geek Culture
How To Bite The Head Off a Chicken

Colin Rowsell | 27 May 2008 08:05
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I have no idea about "geek culture," unless it's something to do with decapitating poultry. In old-time traveling carnivals, the geek would chase live chickens around a patch of dirt, bite them off at the neck and swallow, leaving a bloody grin full of feathers and bird guts streaming down his chin.

Think about that for a second. Some tall, half-feral weirdo standing there with a gleam in his eye and proudly waving an esophagus. He's mad, but he's happy. It's some trick doing that. Sometimes your obsessions can seem like the end of the world.

My Favorite Things
I was a pain in the ass as a kid: I'd fidget on the carpet, leap up at odd times, get "leave the room/take pants off/use the toilet" in the wrong order. The teachers decided I was trouble; my mother, God bless her, demanded some proof.

"He's either smart or deficient," the Testing Man said. "Either way, I've got no idea what you should do, except keep him away from sugar. Seems happy enough, though."

I was happy that day because I'd had my Batman figurine roped to my left leg for 72 straight hours. Even at the age of 5 I wouldn't, just wouldn't, let go of things.


I remember Asterix and the Normans. Then Mighty Mouse. Then Jabba the Hutt, though I hadn't actually seen Return of the Jedi, only the posters. From the ages of 4 through 10 I went through obsessions like a chainsaw, including Stegosauruses (of course), The Warlock of Firetop Mountain, Return of the Jedi again (after I'd actually seen it), Kevin Bales' PC Castle Adventure, carrier battles of World War Two and the Moon. Each new phase would last between a week and three months, and they were all-consuming. Here, every time, was the Most Fascinating Thing in the World.

I'd been wondering recently where that feeling went.

And then I saw the little boy in the Princess Leia outfit. He was smiling a tooth-fairy grin. He was looking at a $1,000 handmade raygun. The crowd of 5,000 people was nothing but background because here, right here, he'd found nirvana.

Wellington's a town of weird obsessions; this is the place, after all, that brought you Richard Taylor and Peter Jackson. Also the politics, which suits some people just fine. Once a year, in a huge shed down by the docks, the Armageddon Pop Culture Expo rips the face off it all.

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