Behind The Website

Taffeta? What's a Taffeta? Who is she, anyway? (:D)
Princess Taffeta, the face behind the name :D Taffeta is me :) It isn't my real name, but it's the name I've used online since 1998. Taffeta (apart from being a type of fabric, no smart alec comments please hehe) is actually the name of a My Little Pony from 1988. My little pony has been my principle collection since 1984 and until the onset of the Jem craze, no other collection has come close to matching it in my mind. Yes, that's her, to the left of the screen :) That's the *real* Taffie, or to give her her proper name "Princess Taffeta". I've always just used Taffeta though....{Princess is a bit too upper class for me ;))
As for the girl behind the name, I'm English (hence Britrock), I'm twenty one years old and about as much a Misfit as you'd care to find ;) I'm currently studying History at University (mediaeval history, in particular) but my finals are this summer (June 2003) and what the future holds from here I don't yet know! My Jem collection, from it's humble and ignominious beginnings has now grown to approximately ninety loose dolls and ten or eleven mint in box, plus most of the fashions (I'm missing some 2nd year flips and I don't collect Rio's stuff). It's by no means the best collection out there, but on a student budget I'm proud of them and I love my dolls dearly :)

How Did You Get Into Jem, then?

I began collecting Jem properly in the summer of 2001, although I had a Kimber doll from before this who had initially been picked up at a toy fair with the intention of trading her, along with a Truly Outrageous video. My only experience of Jem as a child was through a small snippet on an English MLP video advertising the show, with animation from the Abracadabra video. Consequently I dismissed the show as something weird to do with witches and magic and nothing worth paying attention to. As a child I never even saw a Jem doll, and I was never really a doll girl.
Kimber, aka "Kimmie" in festive garb. This is the very doll - my first ever Jem doll :) Then everything changed.
By chance, I proof-watched the copy of Truly Outrageous, and for the first time I got into the idea of what Jem was all about. Not witches or magic, but rock and roll. It was entirely due to this that I kept Kimber, and didn't trade her on, because upon my very first viewing of Jem, Kimber and Stormer were my favourite characters. Also, whilst some Kimber dolls from this country are rather demonic looking, my Kimber was a beautiful beautiful doll, with a cheeky face and vibrant red hair.
Later I would learn from those more informed than myself that my Kimber was special, because she was a second edition doll without the light pink streaks. In my mind she is TRUE kimber, and no other Kimber doll comes close to being as pretty.
But that does not tell the full story. Just because I decided I could not part with Kimber did not make me a Jem collector, and for two or three years poor Kimber spent most of her time in an ungainly barbie dress pushed away into the drawer of my cabinet. She's never really forgiven me for that, I don't think...

The thing that made the difference was my sister, Elena, who had collected jem dolls idly for a year or two and who had accumulated Danse, Jem, Video and GG My Synergy - the catalyst into the slippery slope towards Jem collecting Jem from toy fairs and car boot sales persuading me to help her look on Ebay for Jem items. After she had bid on a (rather scary looking) Pizzazz and won her, we were looking at other dolls, and she, by dint of her very competent persuasion gene, enticed me to place a bid on a Synergy doll for $5, with her original leotard. Synergy as a doll rather fascinated me by her purpleness, so I gave in, and the auction finished at $5. Synergy was mine.
From the moment that doll arrived in my house, things changed dramatically. I had never been a doll person, but there was something very special about Synergy, and the more I looked at her, the more I decided it was time to find Kimber and make reparation for the years stuck at the back of the drawer in Barbie garb - I bought her Permanent Wave. Because, of course, my Synergy did not have anything bar her leotard, she rather adopted the "boa" (see the picture) that I had made intending to use it in some doll outfit or other, probably for Kimber. However, Synergy had other ideas - she still has the boa, to this day :) And she and Kimber sit together on the Jem shelf, presumably plotting about what to get me buying next ;)

And the collection?
Of course it didn't stop there, for, in buying Shana, Aja and various other dolls for my sister, I found myself becoming drawn all the more to the Jem line myself. Stormer: My very first Misfit!! Synergy and Kimber had cast something of a spell on me, it seemed, and one afternoon, when I happened to be browsing ebay items I stumbled across two Ebay lots from one seller (sadly I forget his name, because he was the sweetest seller and sent me Winnin' Is Everything complete as a freebie). One was Stormer (my other favourite at that time!) in all of her garb, and a lot of Jem fashions. As I recall, the seller had several lots up on auction, and there were two lots which each contained a doll and some fashions. After having BIN'ed Stormer in a heartbeat, I looked at his other auctions and I found that one of the lots he had contained the fashion Music Is Magic which had appealed to me when I'd been outfit shopping for Permanent Wave for Kimber. The lot cost $35 BIN and I took the gamble, inwardly feeling funny at spending so much on a Jem lot. I remember vividly - the doll was first Jem, and the other fashions were Jerrica's outfit, Sophisticated Lady (Which I gave to Elena to clothe her then nude Stormer doll), Command Performance and There's A Melody Playin'. It wasn't until I had made my friend Krista almost catatonic with shock that I realised that There's A Melody Playin' was a sought after outfit, and that I'd just bought it complete for the effective price of $7! Ironically I did not even have an Aja at that point, but I soon put that to rights, for I got a Second Edition Aja with her earrings for $5 and rescued a Second Edition Shana for $7. She had tangled, messed up hair and noone had wanted her, but I painstakingly recurled her into ringlets and she's one of the most gorgeous Shana dolls I've seen.

Roxy with her hair up looking chic in an outfit she stole from Pizzazz. She's good at wardrobe theft, my Roxy...:) At this point, of course, I had no idea that my loyalties were going to take a step or two towards the bad girls of Rock. I disliked Jem (I kept the doll who had come in my lot, but she was relegated to the shelf in much the same way as she still is, I let her keep her stand and her clothes but that's about it) but I had no favourite between the Misfits and the Holograms. I didn't even like Roxy at this time - in Truly Outrageous she's not a well developed character, and at that time I considered the doll to be ugly. Ooh, but then things changed. After acquiring Clash off an Ebay auction, I found the first Roxy doll that I knew I just had to have. She was cheeky and impish and nothing she was wearing was her own, inspiring the wondering that she'd possibly raided aMy first Pizzazz...cheeky as heck :) few wardrobes before appearing on Ebay. Once I'd won her, of course, Roxy grew on me more and more and with the acquisition for the first time of the Jem series, I began to see her in a new, favourable light. Roxy had none of her original wear, but I did not have Pizzazz at this time, though she did follow before August was out, so she slipped quite happily into Winnin' Is Everything, and made good use of Pizzazz's stray guitar, something she apparently felt the need to pinch from her previous home before flying the nest :)

So, why take the Misfits' side??
Well. Then, of course, came the turning point.
From the moment Talent Search began, I was a little unsure as to what I should expect. People had told me so many things about this fourth misfit - she was evil, a compulsive liar, a lesbian, a goth. But Jetta was none of these. She was pure pure genius. She made me laugh from the first moment she appeared waving her saxophone at the crowd and her lack of intimidation was priceless. She was a British cartoon character in an American show which I could identify a little bit with, because her accent was at least 80% real (if slightly emphasised) and she wasn't a stereotype. From then, I decided that Jetta online had to be rehabilitated....and so Britrock, in essence, if not in form, began to take shape. One of the first things that Britrock possessed, alongside the collection pages, were character biographies for the Misfits, because some serious rehabilitation needed to be done. With the appearance of Jetta, the Misfits as a whole became more and more the focus of my interest, since they were just so funny, sometimes silly, sometimes reckless, and altogether real. They had a depth that other characters did not necessarily possess, and I have always rather been drawn to the underdog. In honesty, too, I could recognise more of myself in them than I could in the Holograms, for whom everything always seemed to end up hunkydory and happy. Jem's hypocrisies and banal relationship with Rio made it too much for me to be equally fond of both Holograms and Misfits and so, in the end, I chose which side I was on. Britrock was born. :)

This is she - the infamous JETTA, in one of the first pictures I ever took of her. She has since discarded the BARCODE disaster outfit to another inferior JETTA in favour of better threads ;) Getting hold of Jetta herself, however, proved to be a nightmare in itself. As Britrock's figurehead, she was a vital acquisition, but a variety of factors seemed to contrive to keep her away from me. Firstly, my Jetta came complete with everything, even her box, but had been displayed, and it was this that I wanted, for I wanted her saxophone, her shoes and everything she came with in one fell swoop. I won an auction held by a "US ONLY" seller, thinking with all innocence that, even if he was inflexible about shipping to the UK, he would happily, as many have done before, ship to my dear friend in VA.
Apparently it wasn't so simple. The transaction was difficult from start to finish, for he would not sell to me until I pointed out to him that I had a US address to ship to and he had no choice. Then, once I thought that had been resolved, and after I had sent him payment (in US cash, but I kept the receipt from the Bureau De Change so I knew what I'd send) he told me I owed him $20 more. At that point I was stuck - pay $20 more which I did not owe or say forget it and lose the money I had already paid and my precious doll. I was resolved by that point that Jetta needed to come to England, where she belonged, and I handed the seller over to my friend in VA. I don't know what she said to him to this day, but within a week of handing the matter to her came a glowing ebay positive from the seller on my ebay account, the promise of three free Jem tapes (Raya, Synergy and Rio, I think) and no further trouble. Jetta moved on to VA, where I knew she would be safe and sound.
The tragedy of September 11th meant that of course shipping out of the VA area was likely to meet with delay for some time, but I knew this and I knew Jetta was safe in my friend's hands, along with a bunch of other stuff she had acquired on my behalf. Come October, and the box was sent.
Mail from VA takes on average five days, but twelve days later Parcel Force told me that the box had not yet left the US. I was afraid by this time that Jetta was never going to make it "home". However, Parcel Force were proven wrong that very afternoon when the box turned up and Jetta, after a long and arduous journey, finally took up residence in her new home. Suffice it to say that, in light of all this, Jetta is perhaps my most precious Jem doll, alongside my beautiful Kimber :)

So, who exactly is your favourite character? Is it Jetta?
Actually, a lot of people assume that, because my site is Britrock and because I often fly to her defence, Jetta is my favourite character. It's true that she's one of them, but I am equally loyal to my first Misfit favourite, Stormer, who generally needs a lot less defending, but is just as dear to me :) Roxy and Pizzazz do not come far behind, and Clash, Eric, Synergy, Shana, Aja and Kimber follow :) But Jetta and Stormer are my darlings :)

And Since?
Since I began collecting Jem, I've learnt a lot about Jem items and collectibles, developed my collection and got thoroughly immersed in more than one character debate when the subject of the Misfits happens to come up. However, in my time in the Jem community -  and I still consider myself a relative newbie here - I have also met some very special people indeed, who deserve a mention here. Firstly there are people who have helped out with website and information needs - Laura Dunlop was the first person to loan me Screen Captures in bulk and of course, Krista Gowenlock of Jem vs Pranceatron has always been an angel in terms of Jem information. I consider her website the best there is for Jem id, and often refer back there, even now. Alongside them, however, there are other people. On the Truly Outrageous Jem Mailing list, Peter, Cade, Maria and I had some fun and good debates over all kinds of topics and though now Maria has sadly left us (and is much missed by all), I still think fondly of the "pseudo Misfit" days. Next I must mention my Roxy-mad friend Sally Wright, who's one of the most talented artists I know, and who has donated pictures for Jewel's World, as well as playing proof reader for my Misfit fiction with a critical and honest eye. She was one of the first Jem people I encountered online, and she's still one of the best I know :) Of course, a mention must be made here to the many Ebay sellers who have contributed to my collecting, particularly Tom Bahr, and Floortje Smits :) There have also been those who have helped me with Jem music, particularly Steve Nunez (And Rama!) and Kai Ebbin :)
And of course, last but definitely not least, my rather insane Aja obsessed friends, Krista Shepley and Gemma Dawn. Krista and I have known each other for years through My Little Pony :) We chat and trade regularly,.I drive her mad and she kindly made my Roxy a special fashion all of her own, which you can see on the Custom Fashion page. Gemma and I, on the other hand, met through Jem sales initially, but our proximity in terms of location has led to many meetings and of course collaboration between Jewel's World and the Teenangel Outsiders fictions :) Although they might have rather off-base preferences in terms of favourite character, they're both sweethearts and I love them both to bits :)