You don’t see this kind of thing very often. A blog post that links Teddy Boys, British Skiffle (is there any other kind?) and fishing. If only my Dad knew. We have writer Simon Parsons to thank.
What object are you writing about and what were your first thoughts when we told you?
When I got the made-to-measure Teddy Boy jacket I thought – “Childhood? Really?” Of course it’s about that awkward transition, where you realise you want to wear clothes your mother would never pay for. It’s about stretching your wings and flying, about seizing an identity and about being a rebel with or without a cause.
What lost object from your own childhood would you like to own again, and why?
The battery-powered record player my Gran bought us – followed by all the Beatles singles from ‘Love Me Do’ to ‘Eleanor Rigby’ (b-side ‘Yellow Submarine’). The battery would die, but with a new single came a new battery and the relationship between my parents and my gran would temporarily tighten. I accidentally learned to read by deciphering those record labels.
Hop into my time machine and it will take you back to one specific hour of your childhood – where and when do you want to go, and why?
We always had holidays in North Wales at its most westerly, wind-worn point. One day each year we’d get dressed before dawn on an ebb tide and follow the sea out to the cliffs. The August sun broke over a rocky headland where crystal clear technicolor pink and purple pools lay bejewelled with sea anemones, careful fish and nail-sized crabs. [Our editor adds: I like that sentence. A lot.]
Can you surprise me with one unusual fact about your childhood?
My brother and I went fishing. For years, we used old rods our granddad gave us. We read all the books, followed all the rules and never caught a thing. Not once. Never. Our fatal mistake: to believe our Dad. “Stay away from the other fishermen lads. The fish get wise to them.” We did as we were asked. Wise fish…?
What’s the earliest thing you can remember writing?
I didn’t write at home except to write tags on Christmas presents. ‘Merry Christmas Mum. Lots of love Simon’. I didn’t write at school after we were warned: “Only proper writers may begin a sentence with and or because.”
“Because I like cycling, I asked for a bike for Christmas.” So began my next composition. So ended my primary school writing career.