Wednesday, January 27, 2010

I shall wear my trousers rolled EOTWQ

Here are some end of the week questions for the middle of the week. In keeping with the history topic, these are sort of about our personal histories...

1. Do you have a proustian "madeleine"? Is there some food or song or smell that transports you back to a childhood memory?

2. We recently went ice skating. It was fun, but after a few times around, I was ready to go somewhere warm. It got me thinking about how my idea of funness has changed over the years. What did you used to find fun that you don't anymore. What do you find fun now that you never did when you were younger? Is there something childish you still find fun, even as an adult?

3. Where were you 10 years ago? 20? You can keep going back by decade if you like, but I know some of us aren't 30 yet.

4. There has been some talk on the mothership about applying lessons from history to our current actions. Have you ever done that in your own life? Is there something you keep doing despite what your experience tells you?

5. What's your earliest memory? Or, you know, an early memory, if you can't pinpoint your earliest? Is there some story people tell about you when you were little to the point that you can't tell if you actually remember it or you just know the story too well?

Did I already ask all these questions, I half feel like I did. Phew, my memory is going!


AliMunday said...

Excellent questions Steenbeck - I'll get the ball rolling?

1. My Uncle Trevor's garage, Hayling Island, circa 1966. Sort of warm, musty, faintly engine oil-y. He used to keep cannon balls in it, which he'd found on the beach. A treasure trove. Sometimes our cellar smells similar - so does Ed the Shed (my brother's shed in Suffolk). But sadly, no cannon balls.

2. I used to find getting horribly drunk fun. I don't any more. I haven't really grown up otherwise though, I still find lots of childish things fun - I'm more of a kid than Munday junior. Too much imagination.

3. 10 years ago - not long after we'd moved here. Different job, same house, no sprog. 20 years ago, Fishponds, Bristol with my ex. Just bought a house. 30 years ago - met my ex. Left home and lived in a converted garage in Bristol. 40 years ago - still at primary school, Gloucestershire. 50 years ago - still a babe, Gloucestershire as above.

4. Getting into relationships. Nuff said.

5. I cried through 'Up'. Don't have any grand schemes. Survive?

ejaydee said...

1. There's this chocolate bar called Nussini, it used to be my morning break snack. Raekwon's Only Built for Cuban Linx, Oasis' Wonderwall, James Brown's Soul Power and Soul Makossa by Manu Dibango and Blur remind me of my time in Oxford 15 years ago. If I could find that vinyl we had with DC Comics theme tunes would take me right back to early childhood, as would my vinyl book of Astroboy.

2. I used to like ice skating, I took lessons after school in a proper skating rink, then much later, I realised that actually on public rinks you have to go in circles, part of one big herd of slippery goats. So no more ice skating. Very childish, but I can still find myself laughing at a good fall, as long as the person didn't hurt themselves too badly.

3. 10 years ago, I was already in London I think, a bit depressing when I think about it, at university. 20 years ago, I was still in Paris 9 years old, excited about the birth of my little sister 6 months later.

4. That's a thinker.

5. Grand Canyon! Yesterday I was watching a programme on TV about the Lost Kingdoms Of Africa, and I saw a couple of places I didn't take the opportunity to go to while I was in Mali...
Side note, we watched Up after Christmas, and for the first time in my life, I cried while watching a film.

steenbeck said...

Thanks Ali, nice answers. I changed the last question cause... I don't know why.

steenbeck said...

Hey Ejay! You cried! Wow. I think that's why I changed the last question. Too weepy.

THat's exactly what I mean about the ice-skating - going round and round and freezing the whole time.

debbym said...

1. The smell of a speedway meeting

2. Staying up late - I've had too many sleepless nights since I 'grew up'. Does reading under the covers by torchlight count as childish?

3. 10 years ago: same as now, only still on extended maternity leave
20 years ago: living with the then boyfriend in a tiny weeny house at the edge of the woods (to the north of Hamburg), doing a job I hated just to pay the rent and making the occasional half-hearted appearance at the university, majoring in sampling cheap meals at the students' canteen
30 years ago: at school on a hill in Colchester

4. Not a very good learner. I keep not saying 'no' when I don't mean 'yes'

5. My earliest memory is sitting on a table, drinking vinegar straight out of the bottle. These days I prefer my liquid malt intake to be a little more sophisticated!

nilpferd said...

1. Smellwise I think it's freshy mown, spring grass- I grew up in a suburb. Also, cigars remind me of christmas, because my parents always shared one with a family friend then.
2. I think we used to be more tolerant of discomforts while travelling than we are now, and probably more spontaneous. I like doing stupid things with Mara and her friends now, whereas I was probably a pretty dull 30 yr old babysitter. Sandra likes riding on the miniature steam train at the christmas market, I normally do the funfair rides. But the most fun things are simple enough, like sllllooooowwww mmmmooottttiiiooonnn fights, the Standing-on-the-other-persons-foot dance game, or running as fast as you can until you fall over.
3. We've both been in Stuttgart for over 10 yrs, before that our paths diverge considerably.
4. I think I've gained considerable faith in human nature through my experiences, and have as a result begun to rely on other people more. If I keep making one mistake, it's probably to allow a pessimistic mind set to affect me more than it should on occasion.
5. I remember meeting my Grandmother for the only time when I was about 5, and have some nasty recollections of various OP's from age 4 upwards. I can probably recall christmas as a 4 yr. old.
The story told about me is that my parents visited friends when I was a baby and popped me down behind the sofa in my carry-cot.
When they got back home, the phone rang. It was the friends, asking if they hadn't perhaps left something behind.
That actually sounds like something Woody Allen would tell his analyst.

treefrogdemon said...

Ooh, lovely questions steenbeck! Just a mo while I get a glass of wine...

1 The smell of honeysuckle - there was some just down the road from our house when I was a child (aged 4-9 when we lived there) and it always takes me straight back.

2 I really don't think I've changed all that much...I still love wildlife, and reading, and acting and singing. Tried ice skating once, didn't like it. Oh, and I like Sasha dolls now but I never used to care about dolls of any kind as a child - never even had one.

3 10 years ago: in my own house in Stony Stratford, Milton Keynes, trying frantically to find a new job and hoping that my father would be able to manage on his own without my mother.
20 years ago: in a council house in Great Linford, Milton Keynes, having just started a new job and realised that I was finally earning enough to buy a house.
30 years ago: in a privately-rented house in Wormingford, Essex, doing a masters at the UofE and wondering how the hell I was going to support myself and three children.
40 years ago: in our own house (joint mortgage) in Lyth Bank, near Shrewsbury, married to a teacher with our first baby on my knee.
50 years ago: in my parents' house in Potters Bar, Herts, still mourning the countryside I'd left behind and wondering what on earth I'd find to do now.
60 years ago: in an old woman's house (my mother looked after her and the house and we didn't pay any rent) in Radlett, Herts aged 11 months and queen of the household.

4 Looking for Mr Right when I ken fine there's no such animal.

5 I can remember the doctor wrapping a crepe bandage round my head after I'd fallen downstairs. Can't remember the fall itself though, luckily. I must have been two or three. There's a photo of me aged about 18 months sitting on my great-grandmother's bed, and I think I remember this, but I'm pretty sure it's just the photo I'm remembering.

sourpus said...

1) The smell that jumps to mind is tarpaulin. Actually a green canvass tarp which my dad always had in the back of his Cortina Estate in the late 60's and early 70's. He used it for so many things, but for me it was unmistakable and not unpleasant odour most of all, which spelled comfort as I lay in the back of the car, watching the street lights pass by one by one and I looked out.

2. I used to play tennis all through the summer - I was pretty good as well. Totally self-taught, but full of energy and enthusiasm. Went to Wimbledon three times in the 70's. Tried it again recently. I was pants. Most of my other childhood loves, im still doing all of them!

3. Ten years ago, I was living in Finland. Driving for great distances across snow and ice and trees and more trees and more snow. And watching an absurd amount of boring TV.

4. Spotting all the potential pitfalls. Im still unlearning it. But its working. Im in a 12 step program.

5. Coming down the stairs on my third birthday, to pick up the cards dropped on the mat by the postman. I can still see our hall way below and the envelopes on the mat.

barbryn said...

1. I get these all the time. Just sudden, unexpected flashes or feelings that take you back to a particular time and place. There's not necessarily any obvious trigger though. It's something that fascinates me.

On a similar theme, when we visit my mum, she's been getting out various old books and toys from my childhood that are now suitable for grandchildren. Amazing how well I remember them, despite not having thought of many of them for 20 years or more. It makes you realise how much is still there in your head, somewhere, if there's something to jog your memory.

2. I'm very happy doing childish things, and am looking forward to playing with Lego when the girls are just a little older. I find cyptic crosswords fun now - wasn't really into them as a child. I haven't got wasted on class A drugs for a long time, so don't know if I'd still find that fun.

3. 10 years ago - I was living in Thessaloniki, studying at the university as the third year of my drama course. The work was very easy andthe student grant went a long way in drachmas, so I got to do a lot of travelling. I met some lovely people, grew up a lot and generally had a great time. A definite contender for the best year of my life.

20 years ago - first year of secondary school in Salisbury, Wiltshire. Certainly not the best year of my life.

30 years ago - I was younger than my daughter. That's a weird thought.

4. Can't think of anything, but if certain situations arose... for example, if I was offered the opportunity to move to Peterborough, I'd know to refuse.

5. At some point in my childhood, I arbitrarily decided that my earliest memory was falling off a red deckchair. I don't know if this really is my earliest memory, and the reason it's so vivid is that I've remembered remembering it so often... so am I actually remembering the incident, or the memory? And is there a difference anyway?

I do have clear memories of being three-and-a-half, and remembering "the olden days, when I was three-and-a-bit".

barbryn said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Chris said...

Brilliant questions, steen! Just reading others' comments is having an effect on my answers.

1. As barbryn says, there's not necessarily any obvious trigger to a flashback. tfd's music post made me remember lying in bed on a Saturday morning as a child listening to Uncle Mac (didn't remember the name, though) on the radio. Billy Goat Gruff is firmly embedded in that one.
And then debbym said 'The smell of a speedway meeting.' Oh, the terrifically exciting sights, sounds and smells of Stock Car Racing at Belle Vue! We'd stand on the corner to get a good slew of dirt when the cars roared and crackled round.

2. I proved to myself a couple of years ago that I still like rollercoasters. I did The Big One at Blackpool. Twice!
And I did find the recent snow exciting (although in a non-participatory way), but that may be more connected with question 1.
I used to find dancing fun up until my thirties, then I kinda lost my mojo and strenuously resist having to do it now.

3. I haven't actually moved location very much but my decade time-slices are:
2000: Living with son. House full of photos from the past 7 years' travels.
1990: Living with son, wife, step-daughter's friend. House full of noise of step-daughter's friend's large oral aperture and piano practise.
1980: Living with son, wife, step-daughter. House full of babble, shouting, laughing, something looming.
1970: Living with parents. Preparing for A-levels. House full of my space and parent-space, only merging for Monty Python.
1960: Living with parents. Dinosaurs at Primary school. House full of cigarette smoke (it must have been but I can't honestly remember).

4. I suspect, like most of us, the only thing that will make me understand what's going on is a hindsight machine.

5. Like barbryn's red deckchair, I have a memory that I'm not sure is true. I have a vivid picture of being in the back of a car leaving a hospital, in which we'd just left my grandpa. I knew I wouldn't see him again.
I also have a memory from when I was very small of a nightmare involving giant bees.

Jeez, steen, see what doors you've opened!

saneshane said...

1- hardware stores
my nan and aunt worked in one together.. love the smell still and the weird THINGS that can be so handy.

2 I used to climb anything.. but now heights terrify me.
school looks like fun now.. but hated every moment when I was a child.
childish me, never (do you want to see my impression of NO Idea?)

3- 10 years ago.. I was about to get married.. luckily we messed up big time before it happened and as said before.. I got the record collection and love is a dog from hell tattoo!
20 years ago - actually in Jan 1990 around this time I was at a Ride gig (along with 57 other people).. being brought beers by their girlfriends and the singer tried to beat me up at the end of their set. 9 stone weakling indie misunderstanding! Hilarious...

30 years ago - playing football constantly for three different teams, between matches skateboarding.

40 years ago - nice comfy belly to slosh around in for another four months!

4 - I keep pressing OK on the computer without really reading what the box says: I should learn- but haven't yet.

5 my nan had lots of photos that I looked at so much I thought I remembered the time... but Easter morning finding chocolate rabbits on the window sill- eating mine before breakfast and my big brother keeping his - and never eating it - weirdo!

Abahachi said...

Brilliant questions. Have to go to bed now, after lengthy council meeting followed by the important business down the pub, but will be in work early tomorrow due to lift arrangements, with a chance to think about this and get some answers together before I need to do anything official.

Steen, if you're interested, I'd really like to send you the text of my recent inaugural lecture; send your email address to abahachi at and I can send you a pdf. Same goes for anyone else interested in yet more pretentious ramblings from me on the subject of history, of course, but Steenbeck has a genetic predisposition to put up with that sort of thing...

steenbeck said...

I'd love to read it, Abahachi - e-mail on the way.

I'm in love with all of these answers. I'm so fascinated by memory and time passing, and just hearing about somebody else's memory-inducing smell makes it so real. Better responses later when the boys aren't trampling on Malcolm's homework.

steenbeck said...

Chris the deadhead - I also feel compelled to say...We don't have a lot in common musically, maybe. (I have tried and tried to like the Dead, and I was actually surprised to see so much deadhead culture in England, but that's a discussion for another time). BUT...I really enjoy discussing films with you, and I find myself looking forward to your warm, intelligent posts, on any blog. So thanks for that.

Shoegazer said...

Oi, there are at least 12 questions here!

& one of them may be musical

**consults 'Spill rules book**

May have a bash later, after a few more beers.

Shoegazer said...

It is now later:

1. Not hearing, smelling or tasteing anything right now that will do it for me.

2. Recreational drugs.

3. 10: Moved to Orlando from NJ with Mrs. SG & the girlies (2). 20: Moved to NJ from UK, had to marry Mrs. SG so that she could come with. 30: Met the future Mrs. SG.

4. Used to do a pretty good Napoleonic scorched earth. Now more of a Detante guy. Usually.

5. Can't remember

Chris said...

Why, thank you, steen. When I'm in the right mood (which is a little unpredictable still), I enjoy trying make my deadhead's thoughts come alive. Yeah, I wish we could connect a little more on the music front: we have some aesthetic taste in common, I know.

(Fintan's 'the deadhead' tag took me a little by surprise, to be honest. Made me feel a bit like a pigeon. Maybe it's an American thing - I've never found a huge amount of deadhead culture over here. I doubt more than 5% of the population have ever heard of them.)

Shoegazer said...

Pavement should connect the musical dots between you two. Anyone else need a hook-up?

TonNL said...

1. The smell of the pure, fresh, cold air with lots less oxygen than used to, every time I arrive at Saas-Fee in Switzerland, always reminds me of that first time I came there, now about 40 years ago...

2. Used to enjoy really long walks (30-40 kms per day), nowadays I prefer to do those things by bike, I can do 40 kms in much less than two hours, and it is much less tiring....
ps. I still love walking all day up in the Swiss mountains, but that is done on a quite different pace....

3. 10 years ago: Amsterdam, 3rd year of what became a 9 year IT contracting job at a big bank
20 years ago: Venlo (NL), starting at a small IT company after leaving my very secure IT job at the Maastricht hospital
30 years ago: Living in Nieuwegein (NL), near Utrecht, my first job: COBOL programmer for a company in Utrecht
40 years ago: Echt (NL), must have been 4th or 5th class of primary school, in a small town in the south of the Netherlands, the place where I am living again, right now in 2010.....
50 years ago: Tegelen (NL), about 4 months old, can't tell any exciting stories about that time...

4. Answer to those two questions:
No, Yes!

5. ...a vague recollection of a dream I had when I was about 5 years oldwon't get into details, but it was scary.....

Shoegazer said...

You still post like a 30 year old, TonNL- must be the mountain air.

steenbeck said...

I didn't mean to tease you or FIntan, Chris, it just seemed sort of sweet and funny. The deadhead culture is so huge here, and so oddly defining of a person.

Pavement, eh? I've heard that quite a few times. I'm on it.

Shoegazer said...

erm, think what I meant to day was...

Happy Birthday from last Sept TonNL

Japanther said...

Brilliant questions Steenbeck. I have a terrible long-term memory but i'll try...

1. Instant Custard - smell and taste instantly transports me back and I still love it!

2. Like most of the male species I suppose i'm still pretty childish and take perverse delight in the most pathetic of actions and jokes. I'll second recreational drugs though, it's not that they wouldn't be fun anymore, i'd just be too scared to try...ah...I miss the invincibility of youth! I'm not sure if it's fun or not, but i've definitely developed an appreciation for food that i didn't have even 5 years ago. I never get hungry really and I just used to eat because it was about lunchtime or whatever with no thought about taste or anything.....Mrs J being such a good cook who bans me from the kitchen helps of course!

3. 10 years ago: Living in Brighton, just about to move out of my sisters spare room and in with the drug dealing flatmates.
20 years ago: just discovering music and saving up my paper round money to buy my first cassette/radio.

4. hmm....i'll have to come back to this one...i'm sure there are many things.

5. I'm on the child seat on the back of my Mum's bicycle, the seat itself is rudimentary wood panels and very uncomfortable, it's bitterly cold and grey and we are cycling in a near gale close to the seafront on the way to play least that's how I remember it anyway.

Not sure what your original Q5 was but I think I can join the "cried at "Up"" club. I had never cried at anything (films or real-life tragedy) until I hit 30 and since then the most pathetic of corny dramas is enough to elicit at least a quiet we (yes, even us men!) get more sensitive as we get older??

Abahachi said...

1.Food would be cheese on toast, a staple of teatimes that I actually liked (unlike sardines on toast). Smell would be boiling elderflowers as my mother made cordial - can't stand it, but very evocative.

2.I was a very sober, if not downright dull, child, so my idea of fun then tended to involve reading for hours. I still read a lot, but have expanded my range of activities considerably: gardening, cooking, ballroom dancing, taking genuine pleasure in sports like cycling and Langlauf rather than simply enduring sport as I used to. The one thing I used to do a lot but haven't done for years was making models and painting model figure - and I rather miss that, but would be thrown out the house the instant that I showed any sign of taking it up again. Besides, no time.

3.10 years ago, living in a damp basement flat in Kingsdown in Bristol, commuting alternate weekends to West Wales where Mrs Abahachi was living with the children (and every other weekend she'd come to Bristol, with the cats), working at the university but in a much more junior position (dear God, I've been here fifteen years...). 20 years ago, final year in Cambridge, somehow managing to write satirical newsletters, compose and record music, play badminton and hockey, sit up until 3 am arguing about Life, drink far too much and still write the occasional essay. 30 years ago, stuck in ghastly dump in SE Surrey reading a lot, knowing that I really should have been born a century or two earlier and/or in France. 40 years ago, regulation ugly baby, who perhaps hasn;t yet realised that he's stuck in SE Surrey for the next 17 years.

4.Well, you already know what I think about this... I do try to learn from the examples of past scholars whom I admire, but that's not quite the same thing.

5.Earliest definite memory is of being left outside the Post Office by my mother while she queued, and then being dragged inside by well-meaning lady who thought I was upset because I'd been abandoned - no, I always look like that. I have a possible memory of being in my mother's arms when she answered the door to some firemen who were taking precautions with sandbags and things because of likely flooding - but my parents don't remember anything about that, and the dates of any actual flooding seem to be too early for me to have an actual memory of it. Still real and powerful, though.

barbryn said...

" we (yes, even us men!) get more sensitive as we get older??"

Same thing's happened with me, Japanther, though for me this definitely coincided with having children. Practically anything that involves children in some sort of peril has me on the verge of tears. Happy news stories too. And a load of other stuff. Not sure I dare watch "Up", and I hate to think what "The Story of the Weeping Camel" would do to me these days, since that made me cry pre-kids, and it's got a baby camel in it.

DarceysDad said...

1. Ha! sonofwebcore will understand my answer to this one:
My home town's then-all-conquering rugby team weren't known as "The Chemics" for nothing, you know ...
Unfortunately, most of the factory causes of the smell (that still instantly makes me think 'Home'), particularly Fisons, have long since gone.

2. Fun then; not now?
Donds for going out and getting out-of-control drunk; wtf was that about?! I also lost any enjoyment and enthusiasm for driving (anywhere for the sheer pleasure of it) after our accident in Dec 2003.

Dull then; fun now?
Hmmm. Sadly, I think I'm struggling on that one. I'm just not a "fun" kinda guy any more.

Constant across the decades?
Gigs, though I didn't start until I was 13/14, so maybe that's too late to qualify for the first condition of 'childish'.

3. 10yrs ago: Same house, recently married, working life in turmoil, deciding we would try for kids and having a lot of fun putting the effort in.

20yrs ago: Settled in girlfriend's house (yes, DsMam), settled job, ordered social life, happy being relatively affluent 20-something DINKies.

30yrs ago: Still at school & home in Chester, coming under serious parental pressure ahead of O-levels, enjoying spending my new Saturday job earnings doing the aforementioned weekend teenage binge-drinking.

40yrs ago: At primary school in Widnes, spending every spare waking hour playing the appropriate season's ballgames, apart from when we were in our "den" - a hut right next to the railway line where we played games that now chill my blood!!!

4. Lesson learnt:
One-night stands when you have a steady girlfriend are the actions of a selfish scumbag.

Lesson not learnt:
Do the paperwork as soon as you finish the job! Guess what I should be doing this morning ...

5. I once asked my mam (during a discussion about societal changes) about some gollywog wallpaper I remember having in a bedroom. She went very pale, and asked me to describe it. When I did, accurately enough, she informed me we moved out of that house when I was eighteen months old!

The story that is blurring the edges between fact, dodgy memory, and legend, is of me blinding a little kid who ran straight in front of my swing as I was powering through a 120° arc with my legs/toes pointing straight out front. The accident DID happen; if my mam hadn't been there, the other kid's mum would have killed me, possibly literally; there was a lot of blood and a far-too-open eye socket; but logic tells me I have no way of knowing the result of his emergency rush to hospital, as we didn't know him.

Sorry, everyone. Bit of a downer, there. I'll get me coat . . .

Chris said...

Cheers, Shoey. I mentioned Pavement to steen a few weeks ago, as I had the same thought. And we do both like Blob and PJ Harvey. I suspect we generally start from different places, though: me from the playing, steen from the lyrics.

steen: I can't help thinking that the existence of a 'deadhead culture' in the USA does not actually entice folk to listen objectively to the band. Certainly in the latter, very popular years, deadheads were not often viewed as role models (understandably). In the UK, of course, we're all model citizens.... we even have one in charge of our National Security Committee (as I may have mentioned before!).

ejay said...

Hey there's a new question!
5': For a long time I thought my earliest memory was my mother teaching me how to read, on some kind of brick terrace, but that memory was "3rd person", I could see myself and my mother in the same shot. About 5 years ago, I realised that it was actually my brother I was looking at.

For 1, there's another one I was reminded of earlier this month, the whiff of warm, humid, slightly heavy air you get when you step off thew plane in Cameroon. I got it in a few other places, but when the air hits like that it reminds me of being there as a child.

Oh and if you haveb't fetched your coat yet Dsd, you might know already about this:

Chris said...

Just harking back to the mothership discussion of truth/lies/history/narrative for a depressing second: there's an article in today's Graun entitled 'Fox most trusted news channel in US, poll shows'. As if that wasn't bad enough, the article ends 'Glenn Beck, the network's most strident and emotive of rightwing hosts, was this week voted second favourite TV personality in the annual Harris Poll, behind only Oprah Winfrey.'

Abahachi said...

We're all doomed...

nilpferd said...

Donds for humid air... mixed with a slight whiff of kerosene, that's always the first perceivable sign of having landed at Auckland airport and never fails to give me a kick. Actually the stopover airports I've visited en-route to NZ - KL, Bangkok, Singapore, Hong Kong, LA, Seoul- all have a similar whiff of air conditioned humidity and industrial cleaner which also wakes feelings of nostalgia within me.

Abahachi said...

Totally off topic, but since I don't have an email for sourpus I'll just have to do this in public... I need to try to extract some information from some Hungarian university websites, and since I don't speak or read a word of Hungarian and don't know anyone else who does, I was wondering whether I could trespass on your good nature for this purposes. No problem at all if it's awkward, but let me know at if you might be able to help. Cheers.

gordonimmel said...

Late to this one (only just recovering from last night's massive and yet totally predictable disappointment)

1. I can get flashbacks to earlier parts of my life all the time but nothing specific to take me back to childhood.

2. Most of the fun things I did when younger, which I would like to be able to do now are restricted by lack of facilities or time.i.e playing the drums, which I did as a teenager and which I always say is the best thing I've ever done with my clothes on but we lived in a detached house half surrounded by fields at the time. Since then I've always lived in terraced houses so if I want to get on with the neighbours......

3. 10 years ago:- I had just moved out of my own flat into frauimmel's house in Skipton waiting for the deal to go through on the house we still live in today. We finally moved in on 24th February 2000.
20 years ago:- just moved into 'my own place' in north Leeds for the first time - even tho' it was rented but I wasn't sharing with any one else atlast.
30 years ago:- Fifth year of secondary school in Bolton, getting ready for O-Levels, mooching about sulking over some unrequited love (probably - I mean I usually was at that time). Oh, and just discovering some band called 'Deep Purple'. Don't know if I ever mentioned that I quite like them.......Oh, I did....right....
40 years ago: Second year of primary school in south-east Manchester. Fishing in local streams, chasing cows across fields, playing on building sites.....all the things I would scream at tessimmel for if she were doing them now.

4. Using history and applying it to my own life? I always think of the lessons to be learnt from the 'Maginot Defence'. In the 30's the French built an impenetrable defense line along the German border and said 'there you go, they'll never get through that', which was quite true - the Germans went around it instead. The lesson for everyday life is not to try to cover all your bases at once but be flexible, quick on your feet and hold something back in reserve in case of suprises. Like Napoleon did in 1796/7 and 1814.

5. My earliest memory is sitting in the back of the family car complaining about the space that my newly born little brother was taking up in his carry cot. This dates it to around about my second birthday. The strange thing is that I always remember that my parents just looked back at me and turned forward again without acknowledging what I had said. This disturbed me for years until my Mum told me that I didn't talk until I was 3 years old, so obviously, whilst I thought I was talking, my parents couldn't understand what I was saying at that time.

DarceysDad said...

Ed - Huge thanks for that, because no I hadn't seen/heard.

DarceysDad said...

Erm, Gordon?

20 years ago:- just moved into 'my own place' in north Leeds for the first time - even tho' it was rented but I wasn't sharing with any one else at last.

Is there something you've never told me ?!?!?!?

steenbeck said...

Wonderful answers, everyone. A lot of the scent-related answers are instantly evocative for me, as well--garages & sheds and hardware stores, freshly-mown grass and honeysuckles. My boys like honeysuckle, so I always have the strangest feeling of reliving memories, creating memories for them, of their childhood, and creating memories for me of their childhood. Some of the taste ones make sense to me too - Ejay's chocolate bars reminded me of yorkie bars - the first thing my brother and I would buy when we got to England. And comic books - I used to read Tintin and eat French fries. I must have been a little older, but a very vivid memory.

I can relate to a lot of the no-longer-fun stuff as well...drink, travel discomforts, actually anything that denies me a good night's sleep.

DebbyM - love the phrase "I keep not saying no when I don't mean yes." Confusing, but instantly understandable and right as well.

And having children changes everything doesn't it? First of all it makes certain things fun again. I have fun just watching my boys have fun. Second of all it makes you a weepy mess over the strangest things.

And Chris - on the whole deadhead culture - I think you're right that it doesn't necessarily provoke people to listen to the music, objectively or any other way. I was talking to an ex-deadhead coworker the other day and she told the old joke about how the Dead sound when you're not on drugs. And she's a fan!

AliMunday said...

Hey Steenbeck, that’s cheating … (changing the questions) – earliest memory? Well, I’m not sure how much I remember and how much has been passed down through folklore in the family but it goes back to when I was two. My parents had recently moved from central Bristol (where their house had been compulsorily purchased to make way for a new hospital building), to a new house in Gloucestershire. They had decided to buy one of those new-fangled washing machines which had arrived, and was being inspected by the menfolk, in the garage. I presume I was in their care, and that mum was indoors somewhere. I must have got bored, because I decided to go for a walk. I seem to remember going out of the gate and looking up the road. Long story short, the landlady of the Cross Hands pub (a quarter of a mile away) found me wandering in the road and took me in – again, I’m sure I remember her picking me up and me looking down on a sea of faces – presumably all the old boys who used to go in for their pints of cider. Meanwhile a search had been instigated – no idea how long it took but legend has it that it was my brother who eventually found me in the pub – which was, apparently ‘typical’ – only he would have thought of looking in there! Now I’m older I can imagine the panic that my disappearance caused, but all turned out well.

goneforeign said...

Well Richard, I was that kid you hit on the swing, if you recall it was about 1938 in Sheffield, I was running between two swings and only looking at the one in front of me when I was suddenly hit on the 'back' of my head, knocked unconscious and taken to the Royal Infirmary. I can remember it all quite well, there was a tray that ran across my bed there on which I used to play with a Dinky toys model of Sir Malcolm Campbell's record breaker, 'Bluebird' - [300+mph at Bonneville] . There have been family jokes throughout my life that the bump on the head had permanent results. That wasn't my earliest memory, I can remember sitting on a chamber pot watching my uncle who was standing on a chair putting a lighted candle into a flimsy tissue Japanese lantern that was hanging from the light fixture, the candle fell inside the lantern and it plus all the neighboring crepe paper Christmas decorations all caught fire, it became a huge blaze! We've determined that was Christmas 1936 or 7, I was 2+.
My parents had separated before that, I was in the custody of my father but living with my grandparents in Sheffield. If I deal with the 'decades' question in reverse I can cover some of the other questions at the same time.

1940's. WW2. I can recall that my grandmother used to make Lancashire Hot-Pot, I can almost recall the wonderful smell of it, I think it was the Worcestershire sauce that gave it the unique fragrance, I've tried in later years to recreate it but without success. There's an essay titled 'Oh what a lovely war' about my boyhood experiences in WW2 at my blog if anyone's interested in that era. The postwar period was very bleak throughout England, I spent it in SE London going to school at Woolwich Polytechnic and discovering jazz. I remember the only time I met my mother, it was 1947 and she'd asked to meet with me, we met on a Saturday and spent the day together of which I have absolutely no memory, the only thing I remember is that she wore a fur coat and perfume.

1950's. First jobs, working in chem labs for no specific reason but it established my 'career' for the next 15 years, plus I left home at 16, moved back up north and ultimately joined the RAF. I was an Air Wireless Op trainee/Airframe mechanic. When I got out I went back to working in a lab, this time at ICI.

1960's. I'd moved to LA and was living in a relative 'lap of luxury' and was married. In about '62 I decided to quit everything and go to a university, an option I had never had in England, towards the end of the decade I was teaching there.

1970's. I'm offered the job of Media Director at the university which I take plus I'm enrolled in the Motion Picture school at UCLA as a grad student. I discover BMW and reggae in general and my life literally changes. I produced a TV documentary that got decent reviews and worldwide distribution. Divorced.
1980's. Reggae obsession plus much travel throughout Central America and the Caribbean, I become an obsessive photographer and have some success with it.

1990's. A decline in my reggae interest following Bob's death and I start planning for my retirement, it involves traveling throughout Europe and Africa in a travel vehicle that I built but at the point of retiring my wife gets cold feet so instead we move to northern Cal so she could take a teaching position here.
2000, We're still here!

I'll share the 'recreational' drugs thought, I used to grow sensi but of late I don't participate, not sure why not, I always enjoyed it plus the other psychedelics, this week I inherited a large quantity of mescaline, not sure what to do with it either.

Chris said...

steen: I can only say that I fell in love with the Dead's music a couple of years before I smoked my first joint. At the concert immortalised in my blogname I watched them with no artificial enhancement and it was the most enriching musical experience of my life. Elvis Costello apparently got the bug at the same gig: he loved the songs.
And I don't think anyone listening to American Beauty or Workingman's Dead would associate them with drugs if they knew nothing of the Dead.
But, y'know, what the heck? I just find some of these perspectives a little odd.

Hi, gf! Give that mescaline to someone who is sure what to do with it....

steenbeck said...

Hello, GF! Delightful to see your name!

Chris, I also have many musician friends who aren't into the drugs or the lifestyle, or sometimes, even into the music, but who nevertheless admire the Dead for the music they create and the way they play together.

Ah, Glen Beck. As much as I despise him and think that he's a dangerous man who brings out the absolute worst in his admiring fan base, I also think he is completely out of his mind, and surely it's only a matter of time until he does something so unbelievably insane and offensive that he's pulled off the air. Surely. Of course, I think he's already crossed that line and nothing's happened yet, but...

gordonimmel said...

@ Darceysdad, no nothing you don't know about. I admit that that sentence doesn't scan well but I'm talking about when I moved out of the house I'd been sharing with other boring farts since 1987 (you remember the 'use your own bog roll rule', I assume) into a rented house affixed to my landlord's much larger house on the other side of Roundhey Park. You visited me there often enough aswell. OK it was rented but it was the first time in my life that I had a whole dwelling to myself, even if it was just a one-up-one-down.

Also, BTW, I had the nasty experience of hitting a younger child with a swing when I was about 10 years old. There I was innocently swinging away (ooh missus!) when a small child ran right infront of me so that I couldn't stop. There was much blood as I recall, I was mortified but luckily the mother understood the situation and didn't have a go at me.

steenbeck said...

1. A lot of scents remind me of places we traveled to when I was younger...pine trees baked in the sun remind me of my grandparent's house in Kansas, Pipe smoke and new cars remind me of my Grandparent's in Michigan. creosote and bus exhaust remind me of London. Too many songs to relate. Tastes are a little vaguer for me. Well, the taste of Dr. Pepper reminds me of KS again.

2. I have fun playing with legos with the boys. I still like riding a bike as much as ever. Like I said, just watching my boys have fun is fun for me. I think there are quite a few things that you had to wait to do till you were older that make it worthwhile being older, know.... voting, that's it! I think it's fun trying to think up songs that might go on some list on some blog at some British Newspaper, and I don't think I would have considered that fun when I was little, because computers hadn't been invented yet.

3. 10 years ago--30 years old, living in Boston, making a film and working at a very cool restaurant.

20 years ago--at Oxford, fairly miserable, actually.Although I had some nice times

30 years ago--a 4th grader in NJ

40 years ago, a plump tow-headed 7 month old living in married student housing in Madison Wisconsin.

4. I tend to start big projects and then get very discouraged and give them up. So either I'd tell myself not to bother trying, or I'd tell myself not to give up on them. Not sure which.

5. I remember sitting in blue cotton short-sleeved button down pjs looking out the window in front of my house on a summer night.

Makinavaja said...

1. DsD, I hear you. For Widnes read Teesside. I grew up 15 miles south of Middlesbrough and when the wind was from the north the whiff was overpowering (ICI - amonia and other delightful "fishy" smells).
But the smell that really takes me back is manure. Mucking out stables as a lad.
2.Binge drinking and recreational drugs, mainly.
3. 10 years ago - here in Madrid having just bought our first place together.
20 years ago - behind the bar at the Ship Inn in Saltburn trying to work out what to do with the rest of my life (Think I made the right decision - come back to Madrid and marry Mrs Maki)
30 years ago - pretending to study for A levels.
40 years ago - primary school.
4. I will never learn from my mistakes. I have so much fun making them! But I really should learn to say no to certain people.
5.The first word I ever uttered was cuckoo. I had a cuckoo clock in my bedroom and I have a memory of lying in my cot hearing the cuckoo clock. This may be a spurious memory fueled by repeated telling of the "first word" story. My other lasting memory is the fall from the kitchen table I mentioned in my EOTWQ's a couple of months ago.

Chris said...

steen: I just found myself watching an episode of the US sitcom The Big Bang Theory (it does have some 'com' in it sometimes). A plot strand had some of the cast eating cookies that had been baked by middle-aged female teachers... wearing Grateful Dead T-shirts.
An instance of what Deadheads mythologise as 'synchronicity' demonstrating that the cultural imprint is obviously still strong over there, fifteen years on. Probably completely baffled most UK viewers.

Anonymous said...