Well so long 2015… I can’t say you’ll be remembered with any fondness. You haven’t been bad but you’ve still been a mediocrity. There’s still one last thing to do before we wave it goodbye once and for all though- My now traditional rundown of the songs I have been listening to over the last year. I would advise preparing yourselves for the usual surprises, obscurities, odd choices and down right inexplicable melodies because if previous years are anything to go by there could be absolutely anything on this list. So here we go…
This week I’ve been having a clear out. I’ve been going through all my cupboards and drawers and tossing stuff away; sorting it all into different bags- the electrics in one, clothes in another. general rubbish in a third. The electronics will go to electronics recycling, the clothes and stuff like that to a charity shop. And I find it astonishing how much space I’ve garnered just by chucking a few things into a bag. One cupboard is now half empty (or it will be when the tossed books and DVD’s I’ve temporarily stashed in there are dispatched) and so is the other cupboard… Which technically makes for one empty cupboard. There is now also an empty drawer and a fair amount of space on my bookshelf.
When it came to dispatching stuff to the possessions afterlife (wherever that may be) I have been quite indiscriminate. Almost anything has been fair game- Books, DVDs. Clothes, electronics, CDs… Well alright one CD, one which it isn’t acceptable to possess any more- namely ‘The Best of Rolf Harris.’ Rather than throw it away I put it in a drawer when he got sent down and I’ve only now got around to tossing it. I decided that unlike the books or the clothes or the other stuff it wasn’t appropriate to take it to a charity shop so it went right in the bin bag alongside the stuff that physically couldn’t go to a charity shop; you know the stuff like old bits of paper, general garbage and posters that haven’t been on the wall for years.
I found some interesting stuff in the process. In the back of one of the drawers I came across an ancient and near empty tub of hair gel. I bought it somewhere towards the end of my final year of university. When back here I decided to avoid causing any arguments (hair gel and its equivalents, in these parts, is quite pathetically considered to be a substance on par with asbestos) and put it in the drawer. The last time I used it, properly, was in Bristol. Then I got so used to not using it that the tub just got left there and forgotten. I’m now reaching an age where it looks better for me not to use it, more professional to go flat, so it isn’t worth keeping for that alone. Plus I have my hair a bit thicker and longer now and although I never have it too long hair gel doesn’t work well with the length I have it. There is also the age of the stuff to consider. It is so old that it probably has become as toxic as asbestos. Thing is overall, If I ever decide that I want to use the stuff again I can always just buy some more- It isn’t like the stuff is going to stop being made. So it went.
In the same drawer was… errr… This is going to sound a bit disgusting but it was the wrapper of the first condom I ever used. As to what deluded reasoning made me keep it in the first place I couldn’t possibly comment. The mind of youth is an inexplicable thing. I am ashamed of myself for still having it after all these years and so It went in the bin, naturally. Imagine if I had a woman over and she started rooting through my drawers, being nosy, and came across this almost decade old condom wrapper! She would run a mile. It was something that never had a value, a bit of rubbish that should have been discarded a long time ago, something that should never have been kept in the first place. At least it wasn’t the actual condom though. That would have been more disgusting and far more disturbing.
I found some good stuff as well. It wasn’t all ancient tubs of hair gel and undiscarded condom wrappers. There was the compass I stole from maths class in year eleven. Without even realizing I shoved it in my pencil case and took it home. When I noticed I didn’t take it back and say sorry. I just shrugged and kept it. There were a set of manky vampire teeth, a skull mask- remnants of Halloweens gone by. There were old spectacles which don’t even fit me anymore, four pairs of them. And there were old phones, one of them a Nokia. Who even has a nokia these days? Nobody.
The best surprise by far was the one I came across at bottom of the cupboard. It was a pile of papers from my first year of university; amongst them was the student handbook for the year before I arrived (I got that on an open day I think,) a welcome week diary, a list of fire safety talk times, computer induction session times, a props list for a stage production I was involved with, and some stuff from my days on student radio- A couple of posters, presenter training notes and a draft show proposal for Past Force. The latter came as a big surprise because I couldn’t even remember writing that out. I knew I spent ages trying to get the thing right but I didn’t recall doing a draft proposal. Some of it, for example the fire safety talk times, wasn’t worth keeping but the rest I have squirrelled away into my files for safe keeping.
So why am I doing all of this? Two reasons. That first is that at some stage in the next year it was going to need to be done anyway. When I get out of here there’s no point taking old mobile phones or DVDs I don’t watch anymore. Less to pack away also means a speedier exit; it will be a quick pile of all the boxes and furniture (specifically the bookcases) into the removal van and it’s bat out of hell time. There is also the fact that come January this hole of mine is being redecorated and redecoration in this room means having to get everything out for a few days before putting it all back again. There is no point getting the crud out and then putting it back again so it might as well just go. I was kind of hoping to get away with not redecorating before I went but it does need doing and has done for a while. I’ve been holding off, hoping I can be gone before it really needs it. But it has now reached the point where it can’t wait any longer. The walls are looking grubby and dusty and they really do need a bit of paint on them. I really could put up with things the way they are for a few months but considering that I have to sleep and work in here as well a redecoration would probably do me some good, even if it is only for the short term.
For the last seventeen years I have loved history- Ever since my eighth Christmas when I asked for nothing but books and got exactly what I asked for and ended up really disappointed because I got non fiction instead of fiction. One of the books was KINGS & QUEENS: A royal history of England and Scotland by Plantagenet Somerset Fry and once I’d got over the tears of what was up until then the shittiest Christmas ever (I got no sympathy because I did actually get what I asked for) I started reading this book and I was plunged into this strange, exotic foreign country we call the past, a country which I have never left.
It’s been a hard, busy week for me- Not only have I been trying to curb my chocolate biscuit addiction, as well as dramatically reducing my sugar intake (which led to a mid-week sugar crash) on Monday I dropped my whole weeks schedule in order to focus on writing something that has left me drained, mentally speaking. So instead of an article I thought I would put up a short story instead… It’s one of the Bangor stories, partially inspired by Hans Christian Andersen’s Little Match Girl.
Since it’s been a good few months since I released the last one of these, and for those who don’t know, I’ll just give a quick refresher about what these are- The Bangor Stories are my attempt to emulate James Joyce’s Dubliners- They will eventually be twenty six stories about Bangor, with each one focusing on a different person (one for each letter of the alphabet.) They are generally a way of challenging myself, to improve my own writing and making it more realistic… If finding a dead dragon on a beach can be considered realistic.
Anyway, I hope you enjoy this: The story of Leticia…