Sunday, 20 June 2021


It will doubtless come as no surprise to most of you that I like to have the familiar around me.  Whether it be pictures on the wall, ornaments, furniture, toys, etc., I derive a certain comfort from being surrounded by things I grew up with from childhood to adulthood, and although I sometimes think I'm a slave to them and should perhaps learn to let go, I know that I never could and never shall.  I realise that I'd miss them if they were gone, and then I'd probably spend a small fortune and a lot of time I don't really have in trying to reacquire or replace them with exact replicas.

Earlier this evening as I reclined on my bed with a cuppa char, my eye fell upon a picture of Fireball XL5, culled from an Annual and put up on my bedroom wall sometime around the mid-to-late '70s.  Or at least the original was, but two or three years back I made duplicates of most of the pictures, posters, pin-ups, and pages that had faded, browned, rippled, and mottled over time and replaced the originals by means of my trusty scanner and printer, along with the application of a bit of computer technology to enhance and make them look fresh and new.

The paper those pictures once adorned may be new, but the images on them are ones from of old, familiar 'friends' from my youth that I'd miss if they weren't there whenever I care to cast my gaze over them and remember earlier, better times.  It does sometimes bother me that they aren't the originals, but they were well-past their best and made my room look like a forgotten tomb on which time had taken its tiring toll.  Now that they're bright and clean and new again (and colourful), my room doesn't seem like a repository of relics, but rather a brand-new edifice at the start of its existence, not near the end of it.

It's daft I know, but sometimes I like to pretend that it's my first full day in this room back in 1972, which makes me feel like I only just flitted from my previous house the day before.  In that way, it creates the illusion (even if only for a short time) that my life up to that point is as fresh and as recent as only a day earlier, and that I'm not as old as I sometimes feel - or my mirror often testifies I am.  When I look at something from the '70s it's as if I'm back there again, and as I've said before many a time, it's the closest thing to time travel that any of us will ever experience outside of photos or home videos, or revisiting places from our youth (if they still exist).

So am I just completely bonkers, or do any of you Crivvies ever feel the same?  Do you surround yourself with the familiar, either in a physical way or just by entering the evergreen land of memory?  Do tell, if you'd be so good.   


Colin Jones said...

I have a tiny handful of things I'd never part with such as a beer mug that belonged to my sister and a half-pint measuring jug in which my mother made gravy but I wouldn't want to be surrounded by stuff cluttering up the place. In the last few years I've been de-cluttering my house so I'm left with mainly the things I actually need and use.

Kid said...

Had they been significant in some way, CJ, would you have decluttered to the extent you did, or would you have held on to more of it? I assume the stuff you got rid of stirred no particular memories? I suppose one man's clutter is another man's treasure. I think having stuff often reflects the owner's personality.

Colin Jones said...

Kid, most of the stuff I've decluttered didn't have any particular memories but I did give a plate from my grandmother's house to a charity shop. I don't actually remember the plate in her house though.

Kid said...

If you'd associated it with her in memory though, and it had reminded you of a particular time in your childhood, do you think you might have kept it?

Colin Jones said...

Yes, probably.

I agree that having stuff reflects the owner's personality and I think what I've retained does still reflect mine but I really needed to declutter and I'm glad I did so.

Kid said...

I really need to declutter too, CJ, but I know I'd regret it if I did. 40 years ago I had very little in the way of possessions, but then I realised I missed what I used to have and gradually started acquiring replacements for them. Once you start, it's hard to stop.

Terranova47 said...

Being married indulging in having nostalgia around us is limited. In a breakfront that holds items we both care about I do have a glass Coronation ashtray/candy dish given me in 1953 by my grandmother along with Coronation mugs including one given me at Primary School.

In recent years, being lucky enough to have purchased a second home at age 65, many items previously kept in storage are allowed out in the basement which in the States, where I am, is referred to as my 'Man Cave'.

On the walls are an original Frank Hampson page from Dan Dare. Metal figures of Dan Dare characters. An original piece of Ron Embleton art framed with the copy of Look and Learn it appeared in.

An original sketch by Frank Dickens of Bristow that was rejected for use on an Evening Standard ad in the London Underground.

Framed tickets from London Transport trains, buses and trams and photostat copies from annuals or comics of Jet Ace Logan and Marvelman which used to be around me when I had a working studio as a graphic designer.

Plus, shelves displaying toys either original to me or replacements including figures mounted on horses dating to a childhood fascination of how do you represent the movement of a horse? I must have watched too many TV westerns......Hi Ho Silver, Away!

Kid said...

Haven't you also got a train set based on an English railway station, T47, or am I mixing you up with someone else? I used to have an original page of Dan Dare art (picture of it on the blog somewhere), but I eventually parted with it as early '50s DD was before my time. I still have original art by Baxendale, Reid, and Bermejo, as well as Parlett and Nadal. One day I'll get all my goodies displayed properly, but I have to have some shelves built before I can do them all justice.

Anyway, nice to see that you're surrounded by nostalgic reminders of your youth - and beyond.

Terranova47 said...

My basement does indeed contain "Northern Heights" a Hornby Dublo layout set in London, mid 1950's. It's the layout I didn't have room or money to build when I was 10. I still run the trains from the 50's that my parents gave me.

Kid said...

While it's great to have things (or replacements of things) I had as a child, T47, I do sometimes worry about what will happen to them when I fall off the twig. Do you ever feel the same about your stuff?

McSCOTTY said...

I've decluttered a couple of times in the last few years and assume it will be an ongoing task. My main area that needs thinned out are my comics, most of which I plan to sell off soon. I don't have more that a half dozen "toy" related items and only have a handful of old ornaments (less than 6) from my mum, dad or grans houses. Apart from that I have pictures of my family that could fill 2 large albums. I think I've held onto just enough core items that remind me of my mum, dad etc and the comics I want to hold onto remind me enough of my childhood and family, too many items for me, tends to dilute those memories. Saying that we are down South at present on holiday and I plan to pick up a few old comics from the excellent local markets here.

Kid said...

That's the thing when you keep adding to your collection, isn't it, McS? You continually need to declutter to make room for the 'new' stuff. I'm well aware that the majority of my stuff, whether it be comics or toys, lies unlooked at for the most part in boxes or cupboards, and sometimes I think I should declutter and give or sell some stuff to those who'd display or look at it more. However, I know I'd miss it if I did, which is why I so far haven't. Talking of photos, I have boxes and suitcases of them, going back to when I first bought a decent camera. I need to declutter them as well. Can't win, eh?

McSCOTTY said...

I'm only looking to buy comics from 1967 to 1975ish which was my main comic buying time. Most of the books I want to sell off (or to go to charity) are 1980s upwards US, I only need to think my UK collection down as I've bought a few Rebellion collections that cover most of my needs . The plan being for every 10 comics I declutter I'll buy 2 "new" old ones. Lockdown has meant I haven't been in a comic shop in months and only a couple of times in 18 months and I don't miss that at all. If you enjoy buying nostalgia stuff there's no harm in that some folk probably drink the amount in booze you spend on these items. Enjoy life's short.

Kid said...

Indeed, McS, TOO short. How can I be two thirds of the way (and that's if I'm lucky) through my life so far, yet still feel like it was only yesterday I was a schoolboy? One day I'll have to sit down and choose a cut of date for my comics, and get rid of the ones after that. Trouble is, they too hold memories for me. Don't forget my postcard and stick of rock.

MK said...

I tell ya, once the wife and kids use up all available space, stuff has to go...they seem to have other ideas of what to save...

Kid said...

H'mm, I think I'd prefer to get rid of the wife and kids, MK - if I had any.

Terranova47 said...

What will happen when I depart this mortal realm? If it's up to my daughter everything will be tossed into a skip. Her son, my now three year old grandson has a small interest in the toy trains, being more obsessed with dinosaurs at this point of his life.

Soon basic comics will be introduced to the boy but that's still a few years away. I have the Carl Barks reprinted material from when my daughter was a kid which will become his. Sadly other than the Animated Batman cartoons and their offshoot comics my daughter only liked Archie Comics.

If I ever get around to an itemized list, original art will be auctioned, comics will be offered to MoCCA, the Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art here in NYC who will either keep them as reference or sell them to raise funds for the museum.

If I'm around long enough I hope my grandson will read and enjoy my Biggles books. I doubt that other books will be retained and indeed toys that he's not interested in will end up as lots at an auction house.

baggsey said...

Well, I'm actively THINKING about de-cluttering. The last thing I want to do is leave my forbearing spouse and sons 34 short-boxes of comics of which probably only one box holds items of any real nostalgic and/or monetary value. My challenge is that I seem to acquire stuff at a faster rate than I dispose of it. Too many hobbies and interests.

Kid said...

I'm thinking about seeing if I can get Lottery funding to create a museum of childhood so that all my stuff is preserved. I hate the thought of it all getting separated and going to different owners - if it isn't junked that is. When Lewis Carroll died, his friend, Frederick York Powell, wrote the following poem about Lewis's (whose real name as we all know was Charles Lutwidge Dodgson) possessions being cast to the four winds.

At a Certain Auction...

Poor playthings of the man that's gone,
Surely we would not have them thrown,
Like wreckage on a barren strand,
The prey of every greedy hand.

Fast ride the dead! Perhaps 'tis well!
He shall not know, what none would tell,
That gambling salesmen bargain'd o'er
The books he read, the clothes he wore,

The desk he stood at day by day
In patient toil or earnest play,
The pictures that he loved to see,
Faint echoes of his fantasy.

He shall not know. And yet, and yet,
One would not quite so soon forget
The dead man's whims, or let gain riot
Among the toys he loved in quiet:

Better by far the Northman's pyre,
That burnt in one sky-soaring fire
The man with all he held most dear.
'He that hath ears, now let him hear.'


Yeah, that's my problem, B. I'm forever adding, never deleting. One day.

Kid said...

Oops, that should be 'cut off' in one of my above replies, not 'cut of'. Where the f did that second f go to?

Philip Crawley said...

Every now and then I very fleetingly think about having a bit of a cull, but the thought is very soon pushed way down to the back of mind when I thnk about how it would chip away so many memories and deprive me of the enjoyment to be had in reading / viewing / listening to or looking at the many comics, books, DVDs, vinyl records and CDs, toys and models currently surrounding me. My wife goes on a periodic de-clutter in other parts of the house, but leaves my study alone (the repository for the bulk of my decades long accumulated collectables). I count myself lucky to have such an understanding partner, who doesn't quite get why I do it but also doesn't try to see it all removed from the house. Our daughter must have inherited the collecting gene as she has also acquired many tangible items that reflect her interests as well.

I suspect that this whole de-clutter fad is another media beat-up, yet another fad to help people live their lives the way that social commentators think we should, and give the presenters on daytime TV something to waffle on about. It also plays into the retail sector as no sooner have people emptied their homes and garages and they go and buy more stuff to fill the space that they've just made!

Kid said...

I think the last part of your comment is undoubtedly true in a lot of cases, PC, but I think that sometimes, with some people, there's another factor at play. In my own case, I've got nearly 40 years worth of stuff, most of which I can't display due to lack of space, and I sometimes feel guilty at it not being appreciated in the way it should be. Also, I worry about what might happen to it when I'm gone, and sometimes consider 'placing' it with suitable owners while I'm still here. And I simply have so much stuff that I occasionally feel like a slave to it all, and think my life would be simpler if I 'decluttered'. Most of the time, however, I'm glad I've got it and wouldn't want to be without it, even though I'm fast running out of space. And aren't you a lucky man having a wife like that! Has she got an unmarried sister?

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