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Star Trek: Frank loves to make Klingon kit

"I like Klingons because they're everything I'm not," said Frank Rockley. "They are aggressive, they do what they want - they're quite fun."

"I like Klingons because they're everything I'm not," said Frank Rockley. "They are aggressive, they do what they want - they're quite fun."Frank, who is now 59, fell for Star Trek when he saw the first film aged 24. "I was hooked," he said.

"This was around the time of the Cold War, and there was always the feeling that we could get blown to bits at any time. And then there was Star Trek, which showed a vision of the future which could possibly happen, a future where everyone on earth was happy."

Back in the day Star Trek fans couldn't just watch a video or DVD of their favourite show, and had to wait for it to be on telly, but that only fed fans' enthusiasm.

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And it is an enthusiasm which sees thousands of fans from across the world make Star Trek-themed costumes and meet at international conventions year after year after year. And Frank loves nothing more than handcrafting a Trekkie costume in his spare time.

"I got to 44 and saw a Klingon headpiece in a shop in Peterborough and thought 'I'll have a go at that," he said. And he has - and how.

Frank, who is New Priestgate House's building manager, spends countless hours making costumes – the one pictured cost him about 55 to make, but would raise around 800 if he sold it on the net.

"I make them for other people as well," he said. "People will come to me and ask for a Klingon cloak or whatever, and I don't mind making it for them.

"In a lot of ways I prefer making them to wearing them. When you're making them it's such a creative thing, you have to be thinking and using your imagination all the time. But it's not a full-time job, I couldn't do it all the time.

"Some people might think what we do is eccentric, but it's not really. If I was a Posh fan I would buy the shirt and wear the colours to watch every match, but I don't, I like Star Trek, and so I dress to fit in with that."

Frank only wears his outfits when he goes to conventions, which is once a year. His make-up alone takes him 40 minutes to put on, but on Saturday at Milton Keynes he will be helped by Stewart Lucas, an actor who runs Klingons R Us with fellow actor Keith Batt.

"Klingons R Us is Paramount-approved, and hires out Klingons to functions," said Frank. "I'm friends with Stewart and Keith, and make stuff for them."

Frank makes his costumes in his kitchen and his garage, but never wears them around the house as they scare his nine-year-old grandson Callum, who lives with him.

Callum is autistic, and although he is a Dr Who fan, he gets scared is he sees his grandad in costume.

"My wife can't stand Star Trek," said Frank. "But she has her own interests – she is retired, but is studying for a City and Guilds qualification in maths.

"I just like creating something different, something unusual. There are a lot of Star Trek things that you can't buy in the shops or online.There is only one place in the world which makes Klingon boots with a split toe, for 200.

"They are the only thing I can't make myself and I've treated myself to a pair."

Fan as he might be, Frank can't yet speak fluent Klingon, unlike some of his friends. But can he say hello?

"Klingons don't say hello," he said. "It's not in their language. They say 'nuqneh', which means 'What do you want?' They're not the politest types, Klingons."

 

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