Sunday, 15 April 2012
Blind Man's Buff
A hang over is a funny thing. I am in the dining room having eeked the last part of the maths homework out of my son and the world seems fuzzy. Not fuzzy as it did yesterday when I realised my left eye was struggling to focus (age and stress) but fuzzy in a way more suited to Sundays spent in an undergraduate bedroom. I never really let go at art college. By which I mean I was always aware that I might have to function the next day. Life was not an Alex Garlanded beach for me. There is probably a certain amount of obsessive compulsive control freakerery to blame for me never really disengaging from an approach of nervous trepidation. The old spectacles testicles wallet and watch is a joke that chimes with me on a number of levels - not least the repeated rituals that Catholicism seemed to instigate. Set off. I never forget the time my parents found me, aged 10, kissing the feet of the deconstructed crucifix that hung over our staircase. You don't need to do that they said gently. Oh but I do I remember thinking as any obsessive believer would. What I'm trying to do in this game of blind man's buff, is find a route back to my childhood. I've just read how Alain-Fournier remembers having a longing for the past even before his adolescence had finished. He became fearfully aware of the impending loss of youth. In writing when this approach doesn't work its called sentimental. So I risk being awarded the mawkish medal when I suggest that mornings on the carpet with the sun streaming in through the crack in the curtains watching the opening titles of Robinson Crusoe somehow capture the dull ache of this particular longing. Earlier I remember feeling an increduluity that my childhood had ended so abruptly. I remember asking my father if it was normal to long for your childhood. I was probably only six and in my mind childhood was the time I spent up until the age of 4 playing in the back garden of a bungalow in Bexhill by the sea. There always seemed to be a stream of people through our front door and the large garden complete with apple trees was often host to children inventing games. I myself was reknowned for being able to fearlessly pick up any living creature found withing its folds. when we left Bexhill life became perimetered. we never actually painted half a gate post but this is the way we seemed to define our world. My father often quoted Rousseau's words about the phrase "this is mine" being the sowing of the seeds of (the downfall) of civilised society. Me thinks the lady doth protest too much? Another odd fact that strikes me now is that I have no recollection of going to church prior to leaving Bexhill. Bexhill is my lost paradise. A state of mind not the subject of jokes about wheeling the dead along the front. It is a pre-intellectual place. Where a snake could be picked up without fear because I couldn't name it. Bless.