One of my earliest memory: I was probably about 3 or 4, I can remember living in a high-rise block of flat with my mum in a place called Penarth and on this particular day I was really hungry and my grand father had just given my mother a bunch of green bananas. I was really hungry and I just nagged at my mum for one of these bananas, and she kept saying to me there are green, they’ll taste foul, you won’t like it but I begged and pleaded and eventually she gave in and gave me one these green bananas and I remember going outside and I think we are the 5th floor up and I open this banana and it was really hard to peel the skin off this green banana, and I take one chunk and it was disgusting, I spat it out and threw the rest over the veranda and just watched it land on the grass.
I am not 100% certain whether this visual memory is me remembering a real life thing, or me remembering a dreamt thing but these 2 staggered images are the 2 things that automatically pop into my head. The first is a still image of a high rise building, the image isn’t particularly colourful, dark grey red square angular steel, cold, it is a picture at night of a building being looked at from below. This image of this tall cold building always is accompanied by what probably a real memory which is of being changed on a changing mat on the floor in an out of date wall papered building. At time lying on my back and on my front and I have a plastic toy that you give kids to distract them when you are trying to do something important to them, it has a handle and there’s lots of green plastic on this thing and it’s too big for me to handle properly, I would have had very small stubby hands. I don’t remember of being changed but I remember lying down on my back and my front, looking at the room from this perspective, from the floor and it’s sort of spinning as I am spinning.
My fist visual memory is probably not my first memory but its is the first I can remember because I have a vey poor memory of my youth; but this image has always been in my head and it can’t be from a photograph so it must be a memory. It is an image of all three of us, my twin brother, my younger sister and myself and we are sitting at the top of the stairs in our small south London council flat above a chip shop and we are sitting on top of a rather flattened stuffed elephant. It doesn’t really look much like an elephant, it just looks like a big fat sausage of a body and a big fat trunk, I suppose. And the 3 of us are sitting in the dark at the top of the stairs on the elephant and I guess we must have been playing but we‘ve stopped playing because all we can hear downstairs is my parents arguing, shouting, and Wally, who’s not my dad was drunk and he was saying: “He is not your dad, don’t believe a word of it, he is not your dad”. And the stairs were carpeted and the walls were dark and we were sat quite precariously upon that fat elephant, I think we use to slide down the stairs on it but we weren’t sliding down the stairs.
And when I was asked about the first visual memory I had, I made some protests that I never remember anything and yet this bloody image came into my head instantly… instantly. So I guess I do remember things
I was sitting at the table in my family home, I suppose I was sitting at the end of the table and my sister was in a high chair at the opposite end of the table and there was lots of other children sat around that table, my sister’s high chair was red, the was a big light hanging of the ceiling and there was a birthday cake on the table covered with little plastic animals, it seemed like a really big square birthday cake all covered with tiny plastic animals, I can’t really remember much about it except where I was sat and the lay out of the room but it was my sister’s first birthday party so I would have been 2 years old.
I was about 3 years old, which is roughly 1992, I was in my parents living room in my little quick fix boiler suit, I loved it, I wore it pretty much all the time, I never took it off and my sister used to have a little toy motorbike that I always pretended to fix and charged her sweets for it.
So I am about 3 and a half maybe, nearing 4 probably and I am in my grand Pa house and he is sitting on his rocking chair and the carpet is very blue and patterned, and he has very freckled dark skin hands, he is German and he smells of cigar and he picks me up and puts me on his laps and he sings the German song he always sang, the words of which I know some: “hopolop aleite Venice Welt sheite, Van tesi te fven, tatatatalata latututututa pampalam papa budebadibadum” that as much of the memory I have of the words. And I can remember his hands and his hands around my body and that’s probably my earliest memory.
The first memory that comes to mind is one, I think, when I was 11 years old, I’d gone to boarding school because my father was in the RAF and when I was about 11, I went on to a PGL holiday, there was a week away doing canoeing, pony-trekking and sailing. I have a strong image of the canoeing part, we had more days of that, I think 4 days of canoeing it was in Ross on Wye and I remember sailing up the river Wye and seeing the church of Ross on Wye, I remember being in a double canoe with a friend called Stuart Little. It was probably the first time away, well not the first time without the parents as I‘d just joined fucking boarding school but my first time away on anything like that.
I am about six years old, in fact I am six years old as it’s October half term 1985 and I am at home, Gorleston-on-Sea, and my mum has just left for university in a big red ford estate… I can’t remember what it is it’ll come to me… Granada, Ford Granada, maybe… Anyway this big ford estate it’ s in this red colour and the registration is PDWA33Y, and she reverses through the gates and her car is like a tank and she reverses through the gates then to the road and then I see her as she drives to the junction at the bottom of the road and then goes off to the right when the traffic is clear and she goes off to university. Now she’s got very big hair, she’s got … I think she’s got quiet a big skirt, she just wears big clothes, not like big like eighties, big like mum who is… mum who is making the whole family their own clothes. I think there is a particular period of time and I don’t know if these parents exist anymore, where they would knit their children’s jumpers and they would take their daughters’ pyjamas which were pink and dye them green and give them to the next son and then when they wore through they’d put patchers on them and give them to the next son and there was this kind of recycling of objects that it doesn’t happen anymore. Anyway, she ‘s gone off to university I go off to see if my brother Ben would play with me, he won’t he is lying in bed, arm in cast, reading a comic he’s got a grey jumper with a red triangle there so I walk away from that and I go to see my sister and she turns to me and she is wearing a big pink knitted batwings jumper and it’s one my mum knitted and she says: “sorry tom I’m busy”. Then I decide to walk downstairs and I go into the middle room, we have a front room, a middle room and a kitchen and in the middle room there’s my brother and he is playing I think it’s Fleur de Lys on the piano… tantantantantantantantantan, tatatata, tatatataaa, tantantantantantantantantan, tatatata, tatatataaa , tantantan tan tan tan tantaaantantantantantantan tantantantantantantantantan, tatatata, tatatataaa….Anyway, I decide to leave the house and take my bicycle from the plastic corrugated potting shed in the garden, it’s a black Bmx, I take it I walk across the garden, out the crossing roads at the front of the house and across the road my mum drove down earlier but I go left instead of right and I go down onto the old railways line. I ride the bike and I am wearing kind of grey chino trousers and a red check shirt, a red tank top and I’ve got a basin haircut ‘cause my mum cuts my hair and I go down to the old Bmx tracks, which is now the old Bmx track but I don’t know if it was old then but it was an old railway track and I ride around there until I get bored of riding so I leave my bike and climb to the top of the hill and I look out to sea and I can see the sea in front of me and the waves are crashing and on the sand down to my left ahead of the yacht pond there ‘s a boat and it’s just on the sand and there ‘s a big concrete thrust and it’s written danger keep off and I think that it was called danger keep off because you didn’t want to go and stand on it because you’d be swept off by the sea but the point is that it was just a sea break to stop the waves coming in and I went down onto the seafront and left towards the toilets at the end of the promenade and just after the toilets, after being in the toilets and come out, I spot a wallet on the floor, and I pick it up and open it and inside I find some money…
I believe the year to be 1989, I am 3 years old, it’s a winter evening. I am inside my house in Clonmel, county Tifferary, Ireland. It is a two storeys house, I remember it being very warm, I am wearing an all in one pink wonsie with quite padded feet, I am sitting on my brothers lap, I think he is 6 years old, in front of me there is a book, he is reading from the book, it’s a book about farming, there’s picture of tractors, cows and sheep. My mother and father are also in the room, my father is at a type writer and my mother is watching me and my brother and that’s my earliest memory.
Das wohnzimmer ist woller scherben scherben uberall, uber den ganzen boden verteiet. Es sind viele menschen in wohnzimmer, all redden aufgeregt. Aly dem sofa sitzt mein kleiner bruder er hat lange wimper. Und ancle auf den wimpern sind kleine sclerben. Das ist was icle am meis ten erinnere die laugen wimpern mit den kleinen scherben.