Sidey’s Weekend Theme is “the illusion of reality”….
He had many names.
Most knew him as Batman. Others referred to him as The Dark Knight. He was sometimes known as Bruce Wayne. Villains sometimes called him “that idiot in the tights.”
His mum knew him as Danny. He was eight years old. But he was Batman, and with his four-year-old brother Jason as Robin he fought the villains of Gotham City from his HQ in the Batcave, with its Spongebob Squarepants wallpaper and its poster of the Irish Euro 2012 Soccer Squad.
He fought the Joker, a giant teddy-bear of Jason’s.
He fought the Penguin, who was a toy penguin, bought for him after Happy Feet came out.
He fought Catwoman, a Barbie taken from their sister’s room. (He had once asked in a toy shop for Catwoman Barbie and the man had told him politely that there was no such thing, though just for a second you could tell that he was thinking that it wasn’t a bad idea). He used Skiing Barbie instead, at least she wore a one piece outfit.
He had the Batsuit, a gift from Santa. He had the Batmobile, a real sit-in car bought for his birthday by his parents. He had to pedal it to get it to go, but his Dad had told him that in the films Batman was also pedalling furiously as the Batmobile tore along, and certainly there is no evidence to the contrary. He had the Bat Utility-Belt, in which he usually kept a toy ray-gun, a toy Sonic Screwdriver (yes, that’s from Doctor Who, so what, crime-fighters regularly lend each other stuff) and a small carton of Sunny Delight, complete with straw.
Jason was an obedient if useless sidekick, much like the real Robin. As his older brother was his hero he would follow him pretty well everywhere, but occasionally he would explore other distractions. On one occasion, while they were in the Batgarden and Batman was thumping the Joker (shouting “Biff!” and “Kapow!” as he did so) he looked to see if Robin was dealing with the henchmen (a collection of now unused Cabbage Patch Dolls) and found instead that Robin was playing with dog-poo.
“Holy dog-poo, Batman!” he’d shouted, holding it up.
“Holy Jesus!” Batman’s mother had cried, racing out of the front door.
Danny’s dad had painted the Batlogo onto the bulb of his night-light, and as he snuggled down in bed each night, after a hard day’s crime-fighting, he would stare happily up at the Batsignal on the ceiling.
You could argue that all of this was the illusion of reality, that he wasn’t really Batman at all. But it was real to him, and that’s what matters.
It was the reality of illusion. It’s what keeps childhood so special.