When I was a teenager, I went through a stage of being quite obsessed with Woody Guthrie and Jack Kerouac. If I could have found a way out of south Manchester and onto a boxcar bound for mid-west America I would have probably taken it. It must have been something about journeying, being free and lost on a road somewhere, that appealed. But downing a bottle of Lambrusco and writing crap poetry in a suburban bungalow wasn’t quite the life of hard knocks and hard drugs of my heroes.
I was also a little obsessed with Annie Hall and luckily a wardrobe full of men’s clothes and a pair of oversized specs was a bit more accessible in the late 80s! In fact, specs that spanned from your hairline to the bottom of your cheekbones were rather de rigeur I think.
I’ve changed a bit since those those days. I wear contact lenses for a start.
(But I still quite like waistcoasts)
One of my oldest and dearest friends sent me a photobook today of our friendship over the years. It was really interesting to see chapters in your life from the perspective of someone else’s photos. Your memories are so shaped by the photos you have of places and things that when you see them afresh (largely with you as subject) it makes you see them anew, events that you’ve forgotten, moments that you saw from a slightly different angle.
I have to say, though, and I did tell her this today, that the book is a fantastic testimony to 25 years of regressively awful hairstyles and appalling dress sense. We both agreed that around the age of 18 you could probably conclude that neither of us had any fashion sense whatsoever. Me in oversized Christopher Biggins bright blue specs and waistcoast. Her with half a bottle of hairspray on a bleached blonde cardboard flick (she was by far the more glamorous of the two of us).
So yesterday was the day I had been dreading for about 5 years. Now it’s passed I’m hoping that I will be more serene about it all. Today I’m very serene about it but that’s largely due to Tom Kitchen’s tasting menu we had at lunchtime today and the magnificent wines that accompanied it.
Maybe I had in my head that this was the day when the sum total of my life’s achievements so far would be fed into some Charlie and the Chocolate Factory type contraption, my now four decades on this earth applied by some complex algorithm and out would spit the summary that, like at school, would say ‘Lots of potential but fails to apply herself properly’.
I guess I can’t really do anything about the past now, so I’m just going to embrace the future. I might be a slightly neurotic fuck up but I can make a mean mojito. So here’s to life, love, friendship and the pursuit of knowledge.
(I think I’m still a little drunk)