What Is A Geek? A Little Word For Lauren Laverne


The Guardian, Thursday 13th August. An interview with Lauren Laverne, presenter of ‘The Culture Show’, the BBC’s front-line magazine programme, focussing on the latest developments in the worlds of film, music, fashion and the performing arts. And a class comment that’s had me rolling in the proverbials all though my holiday weekend.

Lauren, it seems, has missed a significant social and cultural revelation.

Her quote runs thus: ‘Radio’s… for geeks and I’m a geek so it completely resonates with me and I’ve loved it from day one. But it’s run by people who haven’t left a studio in decades. Those kinds of boys just don’t know what to do with girls; it’s just a bit like [comic shop] Forbidden Planet. Would you want to go in there? It smells weird and sells funny stuff. That’s what radio studios are like. Ladies just walk past.’

Oh Lauren, Lauren. In 2003, Peter Jackson (you have heard of him?) directed ‘The Fellowship of the Ring’. In case you missed it, this was the first part of a fantasy trilogy written by one J R R Tolkien – and the films were really quite important. They consolidated the movement that began with Joss Whedon’s ‘Buffy’ on the Small Screen and the explosion of comic-book (yes, you’ve never read one but bear with me) superheroes across the Big One… and The New Age of Geek began.

I’m curious to know how the presenter of The Culture Show has missed this – and how Forbidden Planet has been a part of that movement.

In fairness, it must be said you’ve not lost out completely – you’re socially aware enough to know the word ‘Geek’ is cool. But ‘those kinds of boys’ to which you refer know exactly what to do with girls – they’re having a laugh with the large numbers of smart and streetwise ladies that hang out in (yes, in) FP. Perhaps if you took a look at that ‘weird stuff’, you might be able to talk to them? About – y’know – films and stuff? The very Culture you’re presenting a show about? If you’re ‘a girl in a man’s world’, then relating shouldn’t be that hard for you.

Just an idea.

Of course, if best-selling books and movie merchandise are just too freaky, then you’re absolutely welcome to loiter outside FP London and see who really does walk past…

But you’ll miss: –

Amanda Palmer
Mike Carey
Kim Stanley Robinson
Pat Mills
David Lloyd
Iain Banks
Howard Chaykin
Kevin Smith
and
Cory Doctorow

And that’s just the beginning.

I know you don’t know all these names, but you know enough. These are the people that have helped redefine the word ‘Geek’ to mean what it does today – that have stood on the crest of the wave of social evolution that you’ve apparently missed.

Forbidden Planet is at the top of Shaftesbury Avenue.

You won’t be needing the peg.

(Just for the record, this is my personal blog. What’s written here has not been endorsed by Forbidden Planet or the Titan Entertainment Group in any way. But on behalf of hot, smart, savvy and streetwise Geeks (of both genders) everywhere I kinda had to say something. Y’know?)

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7 thoughts on “What Is A Geek? A Little Word For Lauren Laverne

  1. Applauds wildly and with all her heart. You said it, Danie, you said it with gusto. When people talk about nerds and geeks, I'm starting to feel more and more proud because you know, what would popculture be without us? Who would write the plays, the movies and who would create the gadgets we use these days?If one thing is clear: geeks are not narrowminded – how can we be if we've brought you so much?

  2. 'Geek' has become such a modern buzz-word, synonymous with everything from fantasy fiction to film and gaming culture to technological advancement, that it bemuses me how someone that far in the public eye can misunderstand its usage so badly.The fusing of geek- and street-culture is happening all around us – and right now. Time to smell the coffee…

  3. Oh, Danie… Rock on with your awesome geeky self! ;)I hate it when someone like that sort of makes a halfway positive comment about geekdom, and then spoils it all in the next sentence. I mean really, geeks like Neil Gaiman, Joss Whedon and Kevin Smith are my idols. I am proud to be a geek.And FP is a wonderful place. Light and bright and filled with stacks of wonderful goodies. Grrr… Dodgy smells went out a long time ago (way back in its earlier incarnations when I remember rifling through comic boxes in the gloom *g*).Kaz

  4. I think you missed the point somewhat. She wasn't slagging off comics, just FP. And as a FP customer since it was those cool dingy shops in Denmark street I think she is right on the button. The Shaftsbury avenue shop is like a trip backwards in time/culture/content, and not in a good way. All she said is that the shop is unwelcoming and that cliche is true. You cannot get the cool stuff from FP it used to be famous for, unless that cool stuff is part of the very small geek mainstream. All the edgy stuff or better written content has been replaced by futurama toys or Simpsons books. Its badly laid out and it DOES smell odd.

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