A lesser-known Bionicle anniversary

As has been said many times elsewhere, and by me here, September this year marks 20 years since Bob Thompson and I started developing my reworking of Lego’s original three and a half pages of Boneheads of Voodoo Island into what would soon become Bionicle. But it was also 1999, and the Millennium Eve was rapidly approaching. In August ’99 we had moved into the ramshackle farmhouse that would be our home for the next ten years. It looked impressive from all angles, but it was cheap rent for a reason – it was very cold, and furiously expensive to heat in the winter, the windows and sometimes the ceilings leaked with only mildly heavy rain, and the electrics were a law unto themselves – it once took us half an hour to get the combination of two way light switches to turn on the first floor landing light. This is the place…

Nonetheless, as I knew when I first walked through the front door, it was a party house, and soon after we moved in we had decided to throw a Millennium Eve dinner party. We had enough accommodation, and an entrance hall big enough to seat everyone, once I’d made a large 14-seater MDF circular add-on for our little pine dining table.

What we didn’t have was a fridge big enough to keep all the food and booze. But then Bionicle started, and come early December, I’d been given my first development cheque. It wasn’t as large as some might imagine, not large at all even in script terms in fact, but it was enough to pay for Christmas, and New Year, and the new addition to the kitchen that would always be known as the Bionicle Fridge.

Twenty years later, it’s still going, just, and I really must replace it one day, but somehow I just keep repairing it, maybe reluctant to let go of something that, for me at least, marked the beginning of such an amazing project, and such an exciting time in our lives.


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