Wednesday, April 11, 2007
I've been taking photographs of old photographs, dear reader. It's not only the end product that's blurred. My memory's gone the same way. Old age is taking its toll on wee Minge.
I'm not really sure when the above picture was taken. We went on so many trips to France with the school. It could be any year from 1983 to 1988. However, the actual photograph is one of those wee square things, so it must have been taken with a 126 camera. I was given a 35mm camera for my fifteenth birthday, so this image must have been taken before June 1987.
I also have no idea where it is other than the fact that it's somewhere in either Normandy or Brittany. I also have no idea who the lady on the right is. I think she was an English teacher and a friend of the other woman, Miss O'Hare, one of the best teachers I ever had - and most certainly the best French and Spanish teacher Oakmead had to offer.
I have some very fabulous memories of her. She was always firm but fair and never patronising. A very intelligent woman. I actually adored her. One memory, from my hooligan period:
A note was being passed around the class. I knew it was intended for me as every time any of my fellow pupils took a look at it, they follwed with a look at me. It eventually ended up in my hands and was either from Billie-Jean Skilling or Justine Strand-Moody. I couldn't tell. I replied and sent it back. We had quite a system, back then. How many notes were passed under the desks during the span of a single lesson, I wouldn't like to guess.
Someone, I can't remember who, took a look at the note, including my response. And laughed out loud. A definite mistake! Miss O'Hare grabbed the note, saying, "Let's all share the joke."
At this point, Miss O'Hare made a mistake herself. Instead of reading the note to herself first, she simply read aloud as she went:
Roy - will you go out with Sarah Edmunds?
Only if she's got a cock. x
The whole class errupted in laughter. Miss O'Hare screwed the note up, threw it in the bin, bellowing, "Silence! Or the whole class gets detention!"
Silence immediately followed.
This photograph was taken in 1989. I'd have been at college. I'm wearing a chav coat. Well, it wouldn't have been a chav coat at the time. Chavs didn't exist, but if they did, they might have been tempted to wear that coat. Sports wear worn as leisure wear is always a mistake and this is the only time I made it. Honest.
I was in my sister Lorraine's back garden. Well, a shared garden. She lived in a flat. You can see part of some outbuildings, dear reader, behind me. Lorraine's wheelie bin lived behind one of those blue doors.
It was Guy Fawkes Night. Families tend not to have firework parties anymore. They're seen as a modern-day social faux pas associated with irresponsible behaviour, danger and chavishness. A bit like driving while over the alcohol limit. I'd made a guy to burn on the fire. He was fabulous, in a black plastic jacket. His head was made out of an old purple pillow case. I say he. I think he was male. If he was, he was a drag queen. Huge red lips and blue eye shadow. Eyelashes to die for.
I'm wearing that coat again. This time, I'm pictured with Michael Mullings. I'd have been seventeen or eighteen years old. We've since lost touch. However, he did introduce me to Robin, who, now, is my oldest friend. I've known him since he put me up for a night (sort of) in 1990. Michael was going to give me a bed to sleep on during a visit to London, primarily to see Pet Shop Boys in concert. Sadly, mid-way through my stay, he had to go away. "I'll ask Rob," he said.
Robin was kind and beautifully hospitable. Sadly, I wasn't a very good guest. After the concert, I waited for autographs from my idols and missed the last tube to Robin's part of London. So I had to walk. How I managed it, I don't know, but followed road signs as best I could. By the time I'd arrived in Robin's road, it was gone 01:00. I couldn't knock the door at that time... So I slept in a shop door-way. I woke at six to find a fifty pence coin and some coppers next to me. A passer-by must have thought I was homeless!
I walked, then, from the high street to Robin's place. I apologised. He made me a cup of tea and said I was silly for not knocking him up. What a perfect friend. I always wish I'd met him years earlier. I love him dearly.
This photograph was taken in 1989. My idols wall. That's me, in the mirror. Dig the dungarees!
Christmas 1991. I was working in Anchor Road Post Office, Bear Cross, Bournemouth. My friend and colleague, Margaret, decided we should dress up for Christmas. She was a Dutch girl, I was a clown. Neither had anything to do with Christmas, but it was fun. And fun for the customers. One of whom called the Post Office saying how fabulous their lead-up to Christmas had become all thanks to the staff at their local sub post office! A photographer was dispatched and we ended up in the staff magazine.
The red foam nose got on my nerves, getting moist with condensation.
The following Christmas, we dressed up as Father Christmas and a fairy. No, I wasn't the fairy. This was fun, but customers expected me to perform or be in character for their little children. This made me uncomfortable and feel ridiculous. I put on my normal clothes after lunch.
I asked a little girl what she wanted for Christmas.
"Get rid of my Dad," she said.
Minge clowning about.
Another photograph from 1991, taken in Nottingham. I was visiting my boyfriend, Jon Martyn Walker.
He ended up in porn films and on the covers of various one-hander novels.
Another one from 1991. I'm on a ferry going to the Isle of Wight. Jon took the picture. This was the last trip he ever took to Bournemouth. I never saw him again.