Intelligent Discussion

An intelligent discussion about toys

Children are seldom foolish about toys, but adults frequently are. The press and media like to talk about toys only when something unusual is involved – some form of excess in scale or symbolism. The recent TV series of James May’s Toy Stories is a perfect example of making toys sensational by using them in the wrong way to do something that is, of itself, rather unimaginative and alien to the way that children use toys. When he makes a garden out ofPlasticine, or an adult-supporting bridge out ofMeccano, the only interesting thing is that materials are being used on a scale for which they were never intended. How much more fun can be had with a small quantity of these things down on the floor with some imagination to provide the scale.

Old toys are popular collectors’ items and some of them fetch large sums of money. This was the background theme to the Toy Story 2 film, where the plot is driven by the desire of a Japanese collector to have a complete set of 1950s cowboy figures, including Stinky Pete, the Prospector, who is proud of being ‘mint in box.’ The storyline made it clear that toys matter more than this and that there is something sad about obsessive collection of serial numbers and complete sets, as if it were a way back to childhood.

We think there are more enjoyable and interesting things to think about toys, including precious and rare ones from the past, and things that were made to sell cheaply but which touched the imagination and stay in the memory.

This website will collect images, ideas and stories about toys instead of actual objects. See our ‘donate toys and stories’ section.

We will also review books on toys and invite contributions from people with something interesting to say.