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Bedford the Builder

If you only buy one LEGO guide this year, ignore the following 900 words of pseudo-intellectual snarkiness and let it be The Unofficial LEGO® Builder's Guide by Allan Bedford (No Starch Press)

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by LamontPaul, for outsideleft.com
originally published: October, 2005
It could be argued that in some cultures, these are amongst the earliest building materials, offering the first true stirrings of independence
by LamontPaul, for outsideleft.com
originally published: October, 2005
It could be argued that in some cultures, these are amongst the earliest building materials, offering the first true stirrings of independence

I love this book and merely flicking through the pages instantly made me wonder if indeed, I had finally found a source for an answer to the question that has been plaguing my life coach for sometime now - not where did it all go wrong, but where did it begin to all go wrong. With this book in my hands, I felt a strong sense of guilt and revelatory awareness that I have often paid scant attention to fundamentals, the resulting chaos, predictable.

It's probably fair to say that not everyone who plays with LEGO® as a child grows up to be a Zbigniew Libera, the noted builder of LEGO® concentration camps (Outsideleft ID: 189). Most of us, oh we just give up and move sideways. Like Piano, Irish Dancing, Boy Scouts, Soccer, Singing, Work and everything else that's fallen by the wayside, LEGO® can be hard.

Just like though, as a boy, I was buoyed by the interest of my neighborhood priest who introduced the concept, if not the mastery of melody somewhere in my guitar struggles, had I had a mentor like author and LEGO® afficiando, Allan Bedford, then perhaps I too could have grown to be the courted and controversial and occasionally censored LEGO® Concentration Camp guy.

Look, I can tell you, I was no slouch at throwing together your basic flat - roofed, leaky LEGO® Rudolf Schindler House, I explored the relationship between space, light, and form, but beyond that things got tricky pretty quickly for me. My spaceships - more Flintstones than Jetstones, my Bismarck's, scuttled themselves sooner than you could sing a Johnny Horton song and my cars of the day, evidently they went on to become the inspiration behind Chrysler's vaunted k-Car platform. Ahh the peddlers of retrofuturism before their was a futuristic suffix.

I will say, despite all of this, or maybe because of LEGO® Frustrations and a little hapless tinkering with what is now known as Metal Meccano Construction systems (Don't get me started on systems...) - oh I eventually went on to help develop the European airbus - okay - I got to draw the fuel pipe elbows which may not be quite the same thing as 'designing' or 'building' but essential in flight nonetheless.

Anyway. Jacob McKee, LEGO® Community development manager for North America and the Author of Getting Started with LEGO® Trains says "This is the book I wished I had as a kid." And while I can't think of a single book I wished to read as a kid - This one may have been useful. LEGO® instilled in me the desire to build chaotically and boldy, narrow bases and wide top heavy rooflines. And of course that no matter what effort poured into construction - the ephemerality of anything built was established early on as I broke down hours of work to return the bricks to the biscuit tin, to the cupboard. Only then was everything in its right place.

The Unofficial LEGO® Builder's Guide is modestly audacious in its scope - from specific tips, instructions and building plans to an exhaustive Brickopedia . All written and presented in a tone genuine in its generosity and warmth for plastic components and the varying degrees of creativity gifted to us all through them.

Fun things to try on the web! Google any famous structure on the planet and put the word LEGO® in front of it try this link, this, or this. I wonder if the LEGO® Willow Tea Room system is still available? Or something like it.

Meanwhile, The Unofficial LEGO® Builder's Guide's publisher, No Starch has offered us the opportunity to put our readers questions to the author and we think that is a great idea, we'll even send a copy of the book to the sender of our favorite question so we encourage you to add yours. We can't ask them all, but the ones we like... so please add a question on our contact page, also if you wish, tell us your favorite LEGO® and when you first started playing... We're interested.

Watch this space and in a few weeks we'll get Mr Bedford's replies.

Here are some of our favorites questions so far: How many LEGO®'s does the author own? I want to see if I am normal or abnormal in the quantity I own. (we say - how many do you own?)
Are you able to make money with your passions for LEGO®'s? How?
Do you think your LEGO® habit is healthy or an expensive drain on your time and wallet (they are expensive!)?
How much time would you say you spend building? Do you see that as a creative outlet? Do you think it's a waste of time?
Why do you think you enjoy LEGO®'s?
What would have LEGO® make that hasn't already been made? What kind of piece? What theme would you like to see?
Do you like that LEGO® has broken form with the original color set (primaries) to include more unique colors?
Have you been to LEGOLand or a LEGO® store (downtown Disney)? What did you think?
My Favorite Items: If you mean my favorite KIT/theme, I'd say the Samurai series. My favorite piece: the glow in the dark ghost.

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