In a quest to find some of my old tapes, I spent yesterday evening looking through a box from the attic. I think it had been in the attic since we moved into the house six years ago, it was a bit dusty. I found the tapes. There were more of them then I remembered, and some that I’d completely forgotten about. Looking at the tapes was a trip down memory lane in itself. I collected a lot of songs over the years, in the days where I didn’t care about copyright. Looking at the tapes now, I don’t know why I collected some of the songs; they’re really not the things I remember listening to, but memories can be deceptive. I found some tapes people had made for me, which I’d forgotten about too, and when I found them I remembered sitting on the floor of the Sixth Form centre, by the side of the drinks machine, sharing a pair of earphones with a science wiz. His chemistry project was a work of art. Sadly he was quite arrogant and annoying.
But beneath the tapes was a stash of notebooks in various sizes. Notebooks have been a part of my life for a long time. I think it started at university – I inherited my brother’s black parka-type jacket, which had massive pockets, deep and wide enough to hold an A6 notebook. Because the jacket allowed, I carried an A6 notebook around with me in its pocket and used it for everything from lecture notes, to shopping lists to writing people notes and putting them through their doors. Most of the notebooks have about half their pages missing due to this last fact. I still carry and A6 notebook with me, but I no longer have the jacket (it lasted until 2003, I think) so now the notebooks get carried in my bag. There were also some larger notebooks in the box, and these served as my diaries for about 5 years, from just before I went to university until a year or so after. I wrote a lot of silly things (plus ça change), but I also wrote a few things that made me howl with laughter in a good way, as well as a couple of things that made me cry at their memory. I wrote a lot about my friends – people I’m barely in contact with nowadays, and filled pages with amusing things they said and did that are still funny but probably only to me.
I also, it turns out, wrote quite a few poems – more than I remember writing. I’m not good at writing poems, never have been, but that didn’t seem to stop me when I was younger (it does now). The poems I wrote were about a variety of random things, such as a trip to Safeway to buy Hovis biscuits. I won’t inflict that one on you. However, I will share this short offering about sweet and sour chicken:
Love is the sweetest thing, or so they say, but when
Poets write about it it seems more sour than sweet.
Like my sweet and sour chicken.
I keep forgetting the pineapple.
This may be the worst poem ever written. However, it makes me smile, and it reminds me of the person I was when I wrote it. In term time, I was, for the most part, happy. I loved being a student. I loved studying, I loved my subject and I loved my friends. I was less afraid of things and I can’t remember worrying very much about what people thought of me. Sometimes I’d like that person back.