Wednesday, 13 December 2017
WHERE WERE YOU IN 1982? DID YOU TAKE A NOTE?
Long ago and far away, in another age to the one in which we all now live, I was a different kind of chappie. Happy, content, optimistic, and with a feeling of eternity in my grasp. I knew one day I would die (or so I'd been told, though I was looking for a clause in the contract), but that day was so far off as to appear unimaginable. Now, of course, with less time in front of me than I have behind me, it's a different story (though I'm still searching for that clause), and I often find myself looking back on earlier years to when I was young, and fit, and handsome(ish), and master of all I surveyed. (In my imagination anyway.)
So for today's exercise in nostalgia, we're returning to 1982 (though we'll bob around a bit). If you're around my age, that date will trip off the tongue as if it were only a fairly recent period (isn't it?) - but no, it's an astonishing 35 years ago and counting. Wow, 35 years. I have friends who died long before they ever reached that age, yet it only feels like a few short years - months even - since I last saw and spoke with them. But I digress. The book at the top of this post was given to me by a friend in December of 1980, when he was back in our home town on a brief visit up from Portsmouth, where he then lived as he was in the Navy.
In the interests of full disclosure, he's no longer my friend and hasn't been since April of 1981, but that's another story. The Reader's Digest account is that he was a compulsive liar and inveterate fantasist, and when I went down to Portsmouth to visit him (at his invitation) in '81, he studiously avoided me - and the only time he came to visit was when I was out and to question my landlady as to whether I'd returned to Scotland yet. You see, so worried was he that I'd meet his new band of acquaintances and perhaps inadvertently expose some of the ludicrous fantasies he'd regaled them with, he gave me a wide body-swerve for the entire time (three or four months) I was there. It was then that I decided I didn't need friends like that.
The book was one of the two last things he ever gave me the last time I saw him in the town we'd grown up in. The other was his old brown wallet, which he no longer required as his sister had given him a new one for Christmas, which was then fast approaching. I still have both items, and the notebook is filled (by me) with notes, scraps, sayings, quotations and pictures. (The wallet remains empty.) One of those pictures is a very poor quality 110mm photo of the time I appeared on TV in early 1982. To be more precise, I didn't appear in person, it was a photo of me taken in my room by a photographer (no surprise there then) for a consumer segment on a news and current affairs programme on Scottish Television.
The reason for my involvement? I'd purchased some comics (at no small cost) from a mail order dealer at the end of 1980 or the beginning of '81, and he'd failed to send one of the issues. (SMCW #1 in case you were wondering.) After many fruitless letters, one of them from a lawyer, I got in touch with the programme (Scotland Today perhaps, can't quite recall) and they contacted him. The comic was soon forthcoming, and the details were broadcast on the programme, hence a picture of my good self being required. I wasn't supplied with a copy, so had to snap a couple of photos of the TV screen from a video recording of the programme made by a woman whose flat I was decorating at the time. Both pictures had a dark bar across them, one along the top-middle of one image, one along the lower-middle of the other. I cut the two of them in half, thereby moving most of the bar, joined the good halves together (with no great finesse as you can see above) and then glued the result inside the notebook.
Anyway, I was browsing through the book in the early hours of this morning, saw the photo and was appalled by how awful it looked. I scanned it into my computer and set to work in trying to improve it by the use of digital technology (and perseverance), and though the finished result (below) is far from perfect, I'd say it's a wee bit better than the original. At least it now looks like one photo as opposed to two halves taped together (which it was).
Incidentally, I still own that TV in the pic (though it's now in the loft) and the items on top of it, and the poster you can faintly see on the right of the photo still resides on that same spot (more or less) on my bedroom wall. It's a The Wind In The Willows poster that I acquired from the Westwood Library in 1979, when I was there on a visit from Central Library, where I worked at the time. As I used to live across the street from the Westwood Library when I was a boy (though not in '79), it has a particular significance to me.
Well, that's today's nostalgic reminiscence out of the way and you're all now free to return to your normal lives. At the back of your minds though, a seed has been planted, and you'll probably find yourselves, without really meaning to, thinking back on your own youth and what you were up to in the early '80s. I trust all your memories are pleasant ones.
Posted by Kid at Wednesday, December 13, 2017