For interview number 12, Keith Goldman turns to an Editor-in-Chief of a major LEGO media outlet not named Andrew. Take it away, Keith!
|If there is anyone in this hobby who has been there, done that, got the T-shirt, it is my next guest Joe Meno.
Joe hop-scotches the globe spreading the gospel of LEGO like some itinerate preacher from the American south.
If there was ever an AFOL worthy of the title Ambassador in Perpetuity, it is the mighty Joe Meno.
Photo courtesy of GeekyTom.
I sat down with Joe in his BrickJournal offices above the Second Empire Restaurant and Tavern in beautiful Raleigh North Carolina. We talked about never forgiving Disneyland for removing the Adventure through Inner Space attraction, General Chow’s chicken vs. General Tso’s chicken, and why America is still not out of Iraq. We also talked about LEGO.
Keith Goldman: You are so busy hop-scotching around the globe, living the dream of mannkinder everywhere….do you still have time to build? What percentage of your LEGO life is devoted to actual building? What motivates you to make time to build?
Joe Meno: Do I still have time? Usually, I make time.
I live in a strange world where my job is showing what others build (among other things), which inspires me to explore more, but doesn’t allow me the time to focus on actual building. My building time has declined quite a bit (and because of that, I don’t buy many sets — I need to build them!!) in the past few years, so what I do now is devote time to one big project each year.
Last year was my Just Another Day at the Bay micro layout, and the year before was Wall-E. This year, I had two projects, but one was too small (my iPad) and the other failed miserably (the NXT shark — it sank upon it’s first test swim in the tub.)
I build when I can because it’s a way to keep in touch with my roots in the hobby. And it’s hard to take someone seriously about a subject when they have little or no experience in it…so I build to keep my credibility.
KG: As an international man of LEGO mystery, you are uniquely qualified to comment on building styles from around the world. Is there any difference between building styles here in the States and abroad? Is there any real difference between builders?
JM: Good question — it’s something I have to look at every so often. The building styles of a region are a reflection of their environment, for the most part.
The US style of building is simple with detail, which shows best in space building. The European style in train layouts is much more refined, but that’s because the architecture is much richer there, the train is much more common there, and the AFOL community there is about one generation beyond the US community. The Far East building that I have seen has been a completely different design direction driven by mecha design.
So the best train builders are in Europe, the best mecha is in Japan, and the best space stuff is in the US. Keep in mind this is a general observation — there are outstanding builders everywhere of every type.
And the real difference between builders? Europeans can hold their alcohol MUCH better! :-)
More of Keith’s interview with Joe after the jump: (more…)