Saturday, February 28, 2015

I remember discussing the song Mairsie doats and dosie doats and little lambsie divey (though obviously not the spelling) but I can’t remember the name of the woman I was discussing it with. Except she had a slightly high (croaky) voice. I presume it was an old music hall song, rendering in gibberish the words ‘mares eat oats and does eat oats and little lambs eat ivy’.

I remember being taken to see the film The Abominable Snowman, and being very scared by it – to the extent of hiding behind the seat in front. Whether this is a true or false memory I do not know, because I managed to watch it the other day, the first time since I started looking for it, which was when video tapes were introduced. To my knowledge it hasn’t been on TV since then. It’s a Hammer film, starring Peter Cushing and Forrest Tucker, and isn’t that scary although it would be to a five year old, which is how old I would have been when it was released. My mum can’t remember taking me and I wouldn’t have thought it was a U certificate, but my dad thinks he might have taken me to a preview.

I remember watching them film a scene from the series Harbour Lights – in fact I am sure I have some photos somewhere. Again this might be a false memory, because I might just be remembering the scene as it appears on TV – with the red-haired girl being fished out of the Brit behind the restaurant.

I remember taking some really good pictures of revellers silhouetted against the bonfire at West Bay after the torchlight procession and then finding out I didn’t have any film in the camera.

I remember bumping into Lesley at the Tiffin Fair – this was when it was held at Whitsun and I always used to go – all dressed up for a TMDS show. She introduced me to Roger Charles, who introduced me to Chris Alderton. And that’s how I rejoined the stage gang.

Saturday, January 31, 2015

I remember when I used to edit out all extraneous matter before and after my recorded radio programmes. Initially on tape, and then digitally. Now I tend not to bother. Reel to reels were straightforward, cassettes I’d have to do in real time, but digital is easy-peasy. I just can’t be bothered any more.

I remember Eliot picking up an application form to be an extra on Harbour Lights. We decided that it would be too complicated to get back down for filming. But he filled it in and I stuck it up on the wall of the caravan for a few years.

I remember being introduced to Nigel Molesworth on a coach trip to somewhere or other from school. I think it was Andrew Mackie who had a compendium in hardback. I thought it was so hilarious I went out and bought How To Be Topp in paperback. And in time the others. I think you had to go to a school like mine to appreciate it.

I remember George Butler’s son. I think he used to hang around with us for a while.

I remember a boy in my primary school who might have been called Howard but the reason I can remember him is that he could wink.

I remember the Edmunds twins, Susan and Jacqueline. I remember Jane Shingles, Barbara Purslove, Rosemary Mills, Lesley Hawke (or was it Hawkes?), and the face but not the surname of a girl called Catherine. These were all from my year at Green Lane. I remember Paul Inkpen, of course, and Barry Hodgkinson, Paul Hutchinson, Graham Johnston and David Jenkins. And Barry Payne, who smoked cigarettes he had soaked in orange juice.

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

I remember Larry George, our old Chemistry master. Saw him at Polesden Lacey a year or two ago. He always said hello whenever I bumped into him way back, and I wish I’d said hello then, because I’ve just found out that he died recently.

I remember Michael Bentine’s ‘flea circus’. I found it fascinating. It was only recently, thanks to a BBC Radio 4 documentary, that I discovered it was constructed by Bruce Lacey.

I remember thinking Stephen Belafonte (aka Mr Scary Spice) was the son of Harry Belafonte and also thinking when all the domestic abuse stories came out how disappointing it must have been for the Sixties peace and love icon to have created such a hell-hound. Imagine my surprise when Margaret told me it was a bit of an urban myth. He had changed his name to Belafonte (presumably to get a leg up in showbiz). Hurrah! (Must do a bit of fact-checking there, in case HB has merely disowned SB.)

I remember ladies only compartments in trains. I remember compartments in trains.

I remember a story in the papers about a vicar who had told children that Father Christmas didn't exist but then apologised when their parents complained. I also remember feeling that they had missed the point. Surely the parents - or maybe even the press - should have pointed out that God doesn’t exist, not in the way the reverend believes it. God and Santa are surely constructs that help us get through life. If we do good, then good will come to us. If we are naughty, we won't get any toys. It’s all the same thing. We get to 11 and stop believing in Father Christmas. The we get to 21 and stop believing in God. All we have left is hope, hope that Father Christmas and God exist. But being good and doing good are still the better option, even if they don’t.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

I remember luggage racks on trains being made of netting strung across steel frames.

I remember lots of things about Maggie Boyle, her voice, her flute and bodhran playing, her kindness (she introduced me to loads of people when I was starting out in journalism), but my favourite is when Eliot saw one of her publicity shots – with Maggie looking at her most stunningly gorgeous - propped up on a shelf and asked me if that was my new girlfriend. I wish!

I remember a quote from Henry James - ‘the imagination of disaster’ - that Rupert Christiansen uses in his memoire I Know You’re Going To Be Happy. He uses it to explain the way his mother had ‘an intense superstitious fear of imminent catastrophe’. Around about the same time I came across the phrase, we had to take Padstow to the vet. The vet, taking the cat’s temperature, mentioned that she didn’t like it very much. That night, Margaret said: ‘Do you think she has a tumour?’ ‘No – she just doesn’t like having a thermometer shoved up her bum!’

I remember beating my then girlfriend’s little brother at Monopoly. He screamed the house down. I think I was supposed to let him win.

I remember the bar of Turkish Delight my sister gave me for father’s day this year.

Friday, October 31, 2014

I remember singing The Lincolnshire Poacher in a choir. Cubs, maybe? That long ago, certainly, and we used to do concerts. So I think it was in Cubs.

I remember John Peel playing the whole of one side of Marvin Gaye’s album, ‘What’s going on?’. I was in the bathroom. Possibly having a bath. I don’t remember.

I remember Surbiton Lagoon. We didn’t go that often.

I remember standing in a doorway at a party and shielding Barbara from the unwanted attentions of Steve Holness. She thus became my first girlfriend. I can’t remember how she spelled her last name. But her nickname was Bra.

I remember a great line from last Saturday’s episode of Doctor Who. I will check but it went something like this: ‘Forgetting. The human superpower. If you didn’t have it there’d be no more wars. No more babies.’

I remember reading Mad magazine on the bus home from school.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

I remember Lily Rose. I’m not sure she made it on to the container.

I remember giving Leah a piggyback most of the way from Kew Gardens back to the car. She had a bad ankle that day and the walk round the gardens had been too much for her.

I remember saying goodbye to Charlie at the airport. I remember trying to tell her I hope it all goes well and that you settle down and are happy. All that would come out was a series of high pitched squeaks. I texted her later.

I remember Keira at the airport saying: 'I think Graham's going to miss his daughter.'

I remember turning the car stereo up so I wouldn't be bothered by strange noises from the engine. That was in my Hillman Imp days. The big ends went and I changed them. You remove the oil sump on an Imp and tackle the big ends from below. Easy peasy.

I remember Debbie Dyer’s monkey. Or rather the tales she would tell at work about it escaping.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

I remember my dad being the one I'd go to if I needed any technical help. Electrical and electronic obviously, but also anything to do with the car, plumbing, DIY, the list goes ever on and on…

I remember Benji's. I used the one at Victoria. I think I used to get three cheese and tomato rolls for £1!

I remember the brass plate on my harmonium, a jokey one about members of the congregation touching the organ etc etc. You know the one. They have the same one up on the wall in the Hope in Wallington. I thought it was mildly amusing at the time.

I remember the fire at Woolworths in Wimbledon.

I remember seeing the picture of James Foley lying in the desert, his head posed neatly on his stomach. It’s not something you can unsee.