Tuesday, 1 October 2013



Picture the scene:  The livingroom is lit by a standard lamp in the far corner, which casts its soft, warm glow over the fixtures, fittings and furniture - as well as the inhabitants, of which I am one.  Adding to the gentle light are the diffused rays from the coal-effect fire and the flickering images from the TV screen.  Father sits reading his paper, whilst mother stands behind him, ironing, and glancing occasionally at whatever's on 'the box'.  Sibling is out somewhere, either visiting friends or perhaps even working on his car in his lockup across the road.

As for myself, I'm sat beside a large brass 'log-box' in which was once stored coal for a 'real' fire, both in our present house and in the previous one.  On the floor, at my feet, sits a collection of comics, some of which were purchased, mail-order, from DAVE HERN of Bournemouth's WONDERWORLD COMICS, which, as far as I know, is still going strong (hopefully).

It's around 7 or 8 o'clock on a dusky Autumn evening and, outside, the 'tang' of the season permeates the air with its distinctive aroma peculiar to the time of year. Inside, peace and tranquility reign supreme, and all seems right with the world.  It's the year 1981 - or perhaps even '82 - and in my blissful state of ignorance, I'm unaware that, in a year and a half or so, my family will once again be moving to yet another house in another neighbourhood, with all the inconvenience, turmoil and trauma that such events always bring.  (Regular readers will know that we returned to our previous abode four years later.)

But for the moment, all is as it should be.  Contentment and harmony are the order of the day as I leisurely peruse some of my recent four-colour acquisitions.  It's entirely possible that I may be compressing separate but-similar evenings into one, but it seems to me, looking back from this distance in time, that amongst my comics stash that night were the very ones whose images adorn this hopefully poignant post.

Sometimes, nowadays, I'll try and re-create and recapture a hint of that narcotic night so many years ago - and, occasionally, I even succeed.  However, it's only ever a brief taste, self-consciously indulged in (like a guilty pleasure) before the moment fades like a phantom's fleeting passing in the mist.  I still have the comics, but not all of the other participants of that long-ago picturesque presentation have survived to reprise their previous roles in the play.  One by one they fell by the wayside, victims of Time.  (As we all must do one day, difficult as the idea is to accept.)

And so I take my leave of you for now, in the hope that my reminiscence, accompanied by such valiant visual images, has helped to summon some memorable memories from your own dim and distant days of yesteryear.  The ghosts of the past are always present - but sometimes we must strain to see them, or  hear their siren call.

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