TEN OF THE BEST…. AND THE OTHER BEST

There’s a meme doing the rounds of Facebook that requires the recipient to name 10 books that have had an impact upon them, then pass the disease on to ten innocent schmucks. Rather than waste all that typing on just one form of social media, I thought I’d list them here, too.

1. The Lord of the Rings by JRR Tolkein. Read it for the first time when I was ten and it blew the breath out of my mind. I’d never experienced such scope, depth and majesty in a story before, and have pretty much never experienced it since. Read it every year until my mid-twenties, and a few times again since then.

2. The Cats by Joan Phipson. The first book I ever bought with my own money. A kids book about psychic cats who kidnap a kid in the Australian bush.

3. Stand on Zanzibar by John Brunner. An amazing dystopian near-future SF work that feels as relevant and likely now as it did when I first read it in my early 20s. Brunner is the author David Brin wishes he could be when he grows up.

4. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams. Everything I wanted to write when I grew up, in a single trilogy. It hasn’t aged well, but its impact on the 16 year old me cannot be overstated.

5. Brighton Rock by Graham Greene. Sparse, brutal and unforgiving. The perfect crime novel.

6. The Scar by China Meiville. My first Mieville novel, it kicked off an ongoing love affair that has never abated. Beautifully lyrical, ugly, despairing, and epic and everything in the weird that I want to achieve.

7. Science Fiction Stories for Boys, editor unknown. A cheap ‘Octopus Books’ collection of the type that used to proliferate in the wild 70s before copyright law reached Australia. My first real SF book, it contained the story that set me on the path to an SF future. My first taste of Asimov, Heinlein, Leiber and Harrison. I still have it, and it’s still brilliant.

8. Lord Foul’s Bane by Stephen Donaldson. The first modern fantasy book I read that dared to break the Tolkein template. A deeply unlikeable protagonist, acres of grit and despair, a true sense of dirt under the fingernails of a real second world. The clear forerunner to the current ‘Grimdark’ generation of Joe Abercrombie and peers.

9. Booklife by Jeff VanderMeer. The book that helped me sit down and define my career goals at a time when I was floundering. More than one recent success is down to its lessons.

10. The Spy Who Came in From the Cold by John Le Carre. Sparse, brutal and unforgiving. A perfect ‘cold equations’ novel, and still just about the best thriller ever written.

And because I’m me:

11. Red Country by Joe Abercrombie. The best novel of the last 5 years, bar none. Brilliantly grim, realistic fantasy, filled with consequences and the kind of bleak beauty rarely seen outside of a John Huston film. A stunning novel

And just for yucks, my friend Stephen Dedman decided I should list 10 films in the same way. So I did:

1. Doctor Strangelove, or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb. Brilliant satirical dark comedy centred around stunning multiple performances from Peter Sellers, who is never better than here. Kubrick’s best film by a country mile.

2. The Crow. Dark, dystopian revenge fantasy that distills everything that a 19 year old in the late 80s found too cool for words, backed by the single best soundtrack in movie history. Nominally a superhero film and on that basis still one of the best 3 or 4 superhero films ever made.

3. ET. First saw it on an excursion with my under 13 soccer team. We’ll all deny it to our dying breaths, because we were Rockingham bogans trying to be tough, but we all bawled like we were sponsored by Kleenex. The special effects have dimmed over time, but the emotional impact never has.


4. The Italian Job. The film that inspired a life long love of heist movies. Good, clean, criminal fun from beginning to end.


5. Fight Club. Nihilistic, counter-culture view of a personal apocalypse. Brilliantly out of kilter, with a career-defining performance from Brad Pitt.


6. 12 Monkeys. The perfect combination of Terry Gilliam’s visual and narrative brilliance, Brad Pitt’s superb ability to create a beautiful freak, and a thoughtful and finely tuned SF plot. An utter classic.


7. Iron Man. I’m making no excuses here: this is the movie the 8 year old me waited 30 years to see, and it was everything I expected it to be. I loves it with loves that turns any form of criticism at all into “nahnahnahnahcan’thearyoucan’thearyounahnahnah…”


8. Blade Runner. Ridley Scott was never better. Another stunning, beautiful dystopia rendered in images so perfect they will live forever in my internal viewfinder. The flames along the edge of Sean Young’s iris may be the most perfect filmic image ever committed.


9. The General. Film’s greatest magician at his highest peak. Brilliant comedy, special effects, stunts and storytelling, still genuinely gripping after 90 years.


10. A Night at the Opera. My first Marx Brothers movie, it still has the power to crease me over with helpless laughter and yet, as I grow older, it’s the quiet moment of Harpo and Chico playing together on the ship that fill me with wonder. The archetypal something-for-everyone comedy, it should make talentless hacks like Adam Sandler hang his soulless head in shame. A wonder.


So there we go. Now tell me, what’s your list? What books and films have had a lasting impact upon your poor, tortured psyche?

15 in 15

There’s a meme that whizzed around Facebook last week, in which you listed 15 authors (“poets included”, said the meme in parenthesis, as if “Hey! Poets have feelings too!”) who have influenced you and that will always stick with you. List the first 15 you can recall, the meme commanded, and take no more than 15 minutes.

So, for the sake of posterity, here is my list. Recommendations on what to do with the remaining 13.5 minutes of my allotted time can be sent via email.

Adrian Henri, Brian Patten, Roger McGough: Let’s start with some poets because Hey! Poets have feelings too! Their collected volume The Mersey Sound is one of my most treasured books, well-thumbed and falling apart, held together by sticky-tape and willpower. Their style and approach have informed my own efforts at poetry, and Patten’s poem Little Johnny’s Confession is my favourite poem of all time. You may not guess it from the procession of gross-out moments and nob gags that have comprised my novelistic career so far, but these guys are right at the top of the list as far as influences go.

CS Forester: One word: Hornblower. Immensely readable combination of swashbuckling adventure and character development; a flawed hero who continues to rise above his limitations and occasionally prospers because of those limitations; flowing language, salty humour…. if you wanted the stock ingredients for the Marius dos Hellespont books, you can see it in these volumes. Like The Mersey Sound above, my collection of Hornblower books are falling apart at the seams from over-reading, and it’s well past time I got me a bound box set.

George MacDonald Fraser: And here’s where the rest of Marius comes from. If you’ve not read MacDonald Fraser’s Flashman books, you’ve missed out on some of the funniest, cleverest, sharpest writing ever committed in the English word. Flashman is a knave, a coward and an amoral bounder who, despite his continued caddishness and weaselly-hearted opportunism, somehow ends up a greater and greater hero with every adventure. Sound familiar? The books are pure historical fantasy, but the history is so perfectly realised, so detailed and seemingly accurate, that you accept every word as gospel. Reading a Flashman book is a masterclass in writing fantasy, history, humour, character, dialogue and outright lies all in one. Sheer brilliance.

Spike Milligan: poet, playwright, novelist, scriptwriter, stage performer, memoirist, film actor, trumpeter, TV star, genius. The man I wanted to be when I grew up. The career I wanted to have. The first inkling I had that an author does not have to be bound by genre, or form, or expectation, but can live by the sheer virtuosity of his work alone. I’m still striving.

Bruce Dawe: The first poet I wasn’t forced to read. Came to me via a school text book, but the language was so dazzling, the rhythm and metre and in-your-faceness of works like Enter Without So Much as Knocking— a performance of which was, for years, my party piece– blew me away after years of da-da da-da da-da da-DA da-dum da-dum da-DUM… Still, for me, the best poet Australia has ever produced, a world class talent, with power, grace and laser-like accuracy in his words.


Chuck Palahniuk: At his best, there’s nobody better at balls-to-the-wall gonzo insanity than Palahniuk. There’s such a spiralling whirlwind of circumstance going on in his plots that it’s easy to overlook just how beautifully his best novels are constructed. Read his best work, Rant, backwards– I have– and you’ll discover a work so cogent and narratively solid that it works equally well in both directions and is still utterly bugfuck as all get out. The first time I read Palahniuk’s work it wasn’t just a revelation: it was permission.

Terry Pratchett: If you think Pratchett is a fantasy writer, you’ve not been paying attention. He is, simply, the best social satirist of the 20th Century: Tom Sharpe with attitude, and the keenest eye and turn of phrase in literature. He’s not just funny, he’s accurate. I couldn’t believe, when I first read him, that he was getting away with so much, so blatantly, and being so awarded by the very people he was skewering so unmercifully in every book. There is no better writer, and arguably never has been a better writer, at creating an unbelievable world so utterly, painfully believable. He is the Masterclass.

Harlan Ellison: At his best, in that period between the late 60s and 1980, Ellison was a whirlwind of narrative rage, a maelstrom of language, emotion and pyrotechnic literary tricks who created stories that nobody in their wildest dreams could match. Ellison danced across ice too thin to hold anyone else, fenced with demons, used words and concepts as weapons that slipped past every plate of working class armour I wore and pierced my preconceptions about society, storytelling and just what was supposed to be right, damn you! in a way I’ve never truly forgiven him for or been able to thank him enough for. He taught me that attitude is the byword of our trade, that words are created to be accurate, that the right words in the right order was not just hyperbole but was, in fact, the secret of our power. For all his faults and subsequent fall into mere humanity, he will always be the first, most important, and greatest of my literary teachers.

Ray Bradbury: If Ellison taught me chaos, Bradbury taught me peace. There is a stillness to Bradbury’s writing, a simple and nostalgic beauty, that is all too often dismissed as mere simplicity. Bradbury was the first author I set out to collect, because every merely simple tale like The Veldt or Golden Apples of the Sun or The Anthem Sprinters was so fucking simple I knew I’d be trying to unravel his tricks and powers for the rest of my life. He makes it all look so easy, so fucking easy, that at times I could weep for one ounce of his simplicity. Of all the authors who have influenced me over the years, and there are far more than just these 15, it is Bradbury who lingers, whose plots and moments I remember best. He reminds me that the fantastical can be joyful, and that happy endings can contain much more then just happiness.

Roger Zelazny: has there ever been an SF writer who so easily and delightfully brought so much outright weird to the table? Read Eye of Cat. Read Isle of the Dead— my personal favourite. Read that glorious failed collaboration with Phillip Dick, Deus Irae. Nobody pinned such narrative solidity to such straight-out oddballery as Zelazny, and I love him for it. The guy saw everything through his third eye.

Howard Waldrop: Yeah, we’re really out in the crazy lands now. If you don’t get Waldrop then you just don’t get him. If you do, then you know the joy of picking apart thirty separate influences and allusions every damn time you sit down to read a story. Waldrop showed me how to over-stuff a story, how to fill it to the rafters with bits of business and sotto voce asides and in-jokes and momentary lapses of reason and still, still, create a story of such narrative strength that the actions of the characters will have you crying out in delight, frustration, and glee. Often simultaneously. Every Waldrop story is like a waltz through someone’s memory cathedral with a blindfold on. Just trust that there’s an exit somewhere.

Jack Womack: They don’t build futures like Womack’s anymore. At a time when William Gibson was the Official New Best Fashion among my fellow University students, I was slumped in the corner with my copy of Ambient wondering what all the mainstreamers were fussing over. Womack spits and scratches and bites where everyone else’s futures, no matter how punky and cybery they try to be, are still glossy video game analogs. His novels don’t just have dirt under their nails, there’s powdered glass and dried blood and flakes of skin from the last person they attacked. If my works have grit and grime beneath their fantasy lingerie, it’s in large part because I read Womack.

Kurt Vonnegut: The absurdist’s absurdist. The optimist’s realist and the pessimist’s realist. The man who loved and pitied the world simultaneously, who despaired and despised and believed in and doubted and gave up on and passionately, oh so passionately, hoped for the world to just catch up and understand what it was doing to itself, and to us, and to him. The most beautifully humanist, wonderfully funny, darkly cynical, frighteningly prophetic, damaged writer I have ever read. Of all the writers I have listed here, Vonnegut is the one from whom I have lifted not only literary lessons but attitudes towards my own life. Of all of them he is, to borrow a concept I have lifted from his works and applied to my own life most assiduously, a key member of my karass.

So. 15. I could give you another 15, and another. But these were the first that came to mind, and them’s were the rules. Who influenced you? Who stuck their needles into your cerebellum and refused to withdraw? Whose shoulders do you stand on?

TEN BATTFACTS FOR NAUGHTY CHILDREN

There’s a meme going round Facebook at the moment– I write a bunch of things about myself, you comment, I give you a number, you right that many facts about yourself, people comment you give them a number. In the interest of flooding the available worldly attention span with uninteresting snippets of forgotten whatevers about myself like everybody else, I hereby present 10 things you might not know about me that you’ve been able to live happily without knowing up until now but that will change the way you view the world and contribute to world peace and feeding the starving to the poor…..

1. I was the Dux of my Primary School.

Unlike normal schools, who wait until all the marks are in and then just give the gong to the kid who topped the lists, Coolongup Primary school decided they wanted to up the ante way back in 1982 and do things differently. They corralled the top ten students and forced us to perform for their entertainment, sitting tests, interacting with the teachers at a morning tea, and most importantly, writing and delivering a spoken presentation on a subject of our choice with the use of palm cards. Thanks to previously undiscovered talents for speaking off the top of my head and remembering notes without needing to refer to my painstakingly prepared bits o’ card in my sweaty palm, I came out on top. Which must have pissed off the 9 kids who had better marks than me, but there it is. Who’s laughing now, I say!

2. If my parents were greedy, I’d sound much more exotic.

According to my late mother, when she was pregnant an acquaintance of the family offered her and my father a fairly stonking sum of money (memory says 1000 pounds, in 1970 working class Midlands money) to name me Carlos.

She’s dead now, so I can’t confirm the finer details, but for the sake of a grand, I could have work silk shirts and seduced women by crooning in a warbly Julio Iglesias kind of way.

3. I’m a genetic freak with the extremities of a swamp monster.

Both my feet have webbed toes, and I’m the only person I’ve ever met with a webbed earlobe.

One of ussss… one of usss… one of usss…..

4. I see your jump, and triple it.

When I was a much smaller person than I am now, I represented the town of Narrogin at the state Little Athletics championships of 1979, finishing 6th in both the 200 metres and triple jump. I received two certificates and a shiny vinyl competitors patch for my efforts. Not to mention a trip to Perth to compete at the Perry Lakes stadium, and a brand new tracksuit. Now I don’t even get out of bed for less than $10 000…..

5. Instead of being fat, middle aged, and hating an administrative job, I could be fat, middle aged, and hating a job where I kill little foreign people.

When I was 17 I applied for, and was accepted into, the Australian Defence Force Academy. two days from stepping on to the plane to fly to Canberra I had a major crisis of confidence and scrapped the whole thing, choosing instead to go to Curtin University and study creative writing. I still have a letter my mother wrote me from her death bed, wherein she lies through her teeth and tells em I was never a disappointment to her. Waaaaaaaaaaay not what she said at the time. So when I make that joke about running away from my highly-paid job to become a poet, I speak from experience.

6. I once persuaded WWE wrestlers to prank-call my brother at 4am.

In 2002 I flew to LA to attend the Writers of the Future workshops, with a brief early morning stop at Melbourne airport. By coincidence, I was flying out on the same plane as a troupe of WWE wrestlers who had put on a show the night before. Apart from the rather hilarious experience of being pulled over for a hand-luggage check next to Kurt Angle, I found myself walking through the departure lounge amidst these walking mountains, at which point I was overcome with a giggling fit. the two nearest guys– Rakichi and Ken Shamrock– heard me: they looked tired, and grumpy, and must have thought I was laughing at them because they turned around and growled “What’s your problem?” at me. I pointed at a bunch of nearby fans: “Do you reckon they’re going ‘There’s Rakichi! And Shamrock!…. Who’s the fat guy?'”

At which point they glanced over, broke up laughing, and we were temporary besties for the rest of the walk to the plane.

I’m no wrestling fan, but my brother, who was tucked up in bed back in Perth, was. Huge-time. I’m hanging with two guys he would give his left nut to hang with. There’s a pay phone coming up. What else was I going to do?

Turns out, he didn’t react well to two loud American voices shouting at him to wake the fuck up at 4 in the morning. I did explain who they were. Eventually. When I got back from the States. Don’t know why he wasn’t happy then, either…. 🙂

7. I collect comedy LPs in the original vinyl.

Some things just sound better with that surface hiss: blues, rockabilly, and radio comedy, for example. I haven’t had an LP player in years– Lyn bought me one that was supposed to connect to your computer but we could never get it to work and in the end, I gave it to my bonus son Blake who has a similar passion for vinyl records. But I still have a pretty extensive collection of Goon Shows, Frost Report, Lenny Bruce, Round the Horne, Beachcomber, George Carlin and the like.

8. I’m Lance Private Eccles, but most people call me by my nickname….

Some years back, I co-wrote a Goon Show fan production with the brilliantly funny author and fellow Goon fan Dave Luckett, which we performed with fellow fans at the Swancon SF convention. Called The Goon, Goon Hills of Earth, it was recorded, and contains a brilliant Luckett performance as Ned Seagoon. If I work out how to upload sound-only files onto Blogger, I’ll share it.

PS: 
Your nickname? What is it?
Nick!
(The Dreaded Batter Pudding Hurler of Bexhill-on Sea)

9. I’ve seen Curly Sue 42 times and still don’t want to kill myself.

It’s true. Curly Sue is a Jim Belushi movie. That’s all you need to know about its general level of quality. I spent a year working as an usher at the first cinema to open in Rockingham, the town where I grew up, and part of my job was to stand at the back of each session to make sure the attendees weren’t slashing the seats, setting fire to each other, or shagging the armrests. I saw Point Break before it was released, but I also saw Star Trek V nineteen times. And Curly Sue 42 times. That’s not even 42 separate Jim Belushi movies, which is the fifth sign of the apocalypse. That’s the same unfunny, cringingly awful, painful Jim Belushi experience, again and again and again. And people wonder why I hate humanity and all you stand for.

10. I can’t stomach the taste of jelly beans.

And it’s a self-inflicted injury: I ate a kilogram of jelly beans in one sitting while watching a late night Creature Feature, back when i was a teenager, and it made me so sick I couldn’t even smell a jelly bean for the next 25 years without it making me ill. I’m happy for others to eat them, now, but still can’t bring myself to actually place one in my mouth. Even the thought of feeling that slithery sugar crunch between my teeth brings me out in shivers.

COZ I HAVEN’T MEMED SINCE PUSSY WAS A CAT

A silly little meme currently rolling around Facebook. Thanks to Kat Campbell for putting it in front of my bored eyes:

‎1 – Go to wikipedia and hit random. The first random wikipedia article you get is the name of your band.
2 – Go to quotationspage.com and hit random. The last four or five words of the very last quote of the page is the title of your first album.
3 – Go to flickr and click on “explore the last seven days” first picture, no matter what it is, will be your album cover.
4 – Use photoshop or similar (picnik.com is a free online photo editor) to put it all together.
5 – Post it with this text in the “caption”.

My effort– “What You Get If You Don’t” by Ma-Ubin. (Photo: MG9912 by Suki)
 
 
 

AND WHILE I’M MEMEING COZ IT’S TOO DAMN HOT TO DO ANY REAL WORK….

There’s a meme wandering around Facebook, and seeing I did it there, I may as well do it here too coz, frankly, I really never get tired of revealing stuff about myself. So:

Rules: Once you’ve been tagged, you are supposed to write a note with 25 random things, facts, habits, or goals about you. At the end, choose 25 people to be tagged. You have to tag the person who tagged you. If I tagged you, it’s because I want to know more about you. (Of course, I’m not going to tag anybody, but you should. You definitely should)

1. I can raise both eyebrows independently

2. I can form my bottom lip into the shape of two upward-pointing tusks, Gamorrhean Guard style, by biting down on the middle portion and pushing the rest up.

3. I spent three years in the early 90s working as a stand-up comedian. Badly.

4. I once smacked Billy Bob Thornton in the face with a cafe door.

5. I was once taken into police custody whilst wearing an eight-foot high pink rabbit suit and carrying a three foot long double-ended dildo along a public thoroughfare.

6. The second and third toes on both my feet are webbed.

7. I have an extra earlobe.

8. I once at 2 kilograms of jelly beans in one sitting. Since that day, I can’t bear the smell or taste of them.

9. I really only became serious about writing after deciding I would never be good enough to make a living as a cartoonist. I still wish I was better.

10. I completed one semester of a graphic design diploma, during which time I met my first wife, and decided I’d rather spend the time with her.

11. I love fish but hate seafood.

12. I am estranged from my only sibling because of the way he treats his children and ex-wife.

13. I have climbed the Sydney Harbour Bridge.

14. I met my beautiful wife Lyn at a science fiction convention. I married her at one, too.

15. I am, and have been since I was a child, a full-blooded atheist. I genuinely cannot understand how anyone can believe in something as silly and superstitious as a giant, remote deity that brings everything into existence and then sets down rules by which any individual has to run their lives. I am also married to one of Jehovah’s Witnesses. So there’s *one* interesting conversation we can have 🙂

16. I receive regular chiropractic adjustment to treat a 17 degree kink in my spine between my shoulder blades, which I suffered in a car crash in 2001. After my first adjustment I regained 1 1/2 centimetres in height.

17. I have arm-wrestled Sean Astin, and lost 3-0.

18. I am a keen follower of Nottingham Forest football club and am listed as a ‘notable supporter’: http://www.nationmaster.com/encyclopedia/Nottingham-Forest-FC#Notable_supporters

19. My ambition is to make a living from my writing, in order that I can spend more time with my wife and kids, and work on developing myself as a visual artist– I want to achieve success in multiple artistic disciplines, a la David Bowie or Spike Milligan. I’m desperate to do this before I turn 45. That gives me seven years.

20. I have visited 5 of Australia’s states (including the one in which I live), and have driven other people’s cars in 4 of them.

21. I am a big fan of Boris Karloff, and have passed this down to my oldest son. I even made him a Karloff tee-shirt to wear to a con once. What’s more, he wore it! I have also managed to inflict both my teenage boys with my deep love of pre-WWII horror movies.

22. As a child, I had several teeth removed because my mouth was too small. That is the only time I have had that accusation levelled at me.

23. I have shot one kangaroo; caught two fish; hugged one tiger; kissed one boa constrictor; eaten two grasshoppers; and ridden three elephants, four camels, two horses, and a donkey. Which was pregnant.

24. My favourite flavoured milk is Brownes Egg Nog Chill. My favourite ice cream is Memphis Meltdown Gooey Raspberry. I am having one of each this afternoon in an attempt to flavour my way through the ridiculous heat of the day.

25. I can confidently lay claim to being the 2nd most northerly-living speculative fiction writer in the Perth metropolitan area, and I’m only 2nd because my beautiful wife writes speculative fiction and sleeps on the north side of the bed.

CALLISTRA’S QUESTIONS

1. How do you get past the annoying Issues when writing?
My only annoying Issue is my own dedication, or lack of it. I still have massive lapses, so I’d say that’s one that’s not yet dealt with at all 🙂

2.Would you have liked to attend Clarion as a student?
Not Clarion South- most of the tutors who have taught there I consider peers, rather than mentors. One of the US Clarions, or Odyssey, maybe, but I’m never going to have the money so it’s all a bit moot.

3.What is your superpower?
The power of failure.

4.What is your biggest issue with your own writing?
How long is a piece of string? I hate every single aspect of my writing. I’m not good enough, successful enough, famous enough, talented enough, skilled enough, whatever enough. I keep plugging away in the hope that one day, maybe, I’ll craft something worthy of being remembered. But frankly, most days I think I’m slipping farther from that goal the harder I try.

5. Who’s writing *always* provides you with pleasure, and you’d be happy to read their shopping list?
Nobody. Even writers I’m big fans off, like Jonathon Lethem and Chuck Palahniuk, have had at least one stinker, which means I approach each book with a slight veing of caution. Of course, I’m still approaching their books, so perhaps that’s a sign that I retain faith in their ability to satisfy me.

GRANT’S INTERVIEW

1. What is, ultimately, your dream writing gig?
Full time, on my own cognizance, choosing whichever project interests me as I go. My writing fantasies revolve not so much around any particular ‘dream project’, although there are certain media tie-ins that would be fun, but around the fantasy of independence, answering to nobody but myself. Yup, I’m destined to die disappointed 🙂

2. Why did you choose to get married at a Swancon?
All but a few people we would have invited were going to be there anyway, we’d already paid for the venue by booking a membership and room, and the idea of combining something traditional and non-traditional suited our attitudes at the time.

3. Zombies have been big lately, but I personally think they’ve peaked again and the impetus has died off. What’s the next big trend in horror?
Penguins. You heard it here first.

4. Who plays you in the film of your life?
Hmm. I’d like some great heroic actor of the age– a Burt Lancaster or Laurence Olivier. I’d be more likely to get Dom Deluise or Cheetah.

5. Tell me – as briefly as you like – a treasured childhood memory.
I don’t really have any treasured childhood memories: mostly, even the good times were tempered by bullying, or isolation, or upheaval. Perhaps– evenings during school holidays in my late teens, wandering along the seafront by my home, alone or with one or two friends, eating a hotdog, standing outside both the darkness of the beach and the lighted strip of shops, feeling like the world existed without me and all I had to do was observe as I wished. How’s that?