I really like Lego*. What I don't understand though, is adults who buy Lego for themselves or each other. It just seems rather odd.
As a child I adored Lego and played with it constantly, as far as my memory can be relied on. Back then - I mean the early-mid '80s - Lego firmly had a place in the child's play space. Toys were toys. Today Lego has a strange cultural position. Consider the Lego store. Here we can find toys apparently designed and marketed at all ages. It must be 'all' ages because there are simple blocks for the under 5s across the aisle from massively complicated huge kits that are surely aimed at adults. And these kits can be priced well over £100.
But what is the adult desire that leads to buying Lego, I wonder? Do adults buy it for themselves or is it a gift-giving economy where people mutually feed the play-desires of their friends? I honestly cannot work out what is going on here. An anecdote: a high-level academic where I'm studying recently had her 40th birthday and was bought a Lego R2D2 by colleagues - a kit that retails for something like £150.
What will she do with this? Build it, I suppose. I can kind of see the attraction myself, yet, I can't get away from the nagging feeling that about 30 minutes in I would feel a deep-seated, cold shock that I was doing something utterly silly. I mean, it's just Lego! More than this, my cherished Lego memories are not of building the kit and simply leaving it at that. The true joy of Lego is surely building - crafting - your own creations. Monsters, spacecraft, buildings, anything, springs forth from the creative maelstrom of the child's mind and feeds their play, either alone or with siblings or friends.
I cannot imagine someone giving an adult a jumbled bag of random Lego pieces. The adult Lego is all about building the kit 'properly', so presenting someone with what would amount to a child's Lego collection - all pieces heaped in an inviting, tempting pile - would be out of place. It's this disconnection that makes adult Lego such a hollow prospect for me: it is Lego as nostalgia, as a 3D jigsaw puzzle, with the real joy of Lego miserably absent.
Or perhaps I've got it all wrong and all adult Legoists are sweating over amazing creations, such as this Lego version of Rivendell. But I doubt it.