For one who has turned self-effacement into an art form, ‘doing’ this blog doesn’t come naturally, especially when – inevitably – little autobiographical details emerge from time to time.
Nonetheless, today I’m going to lift the veil just a little bit more. Rest assured that absolutely no self-aggrandisement is intended. I’d frankly rather pull out my own teeth than start vanity publishing.
Or destroy all this carefully cultivated mystique.
Rather, my motivation for producing this shock exposé is a recent Daily Prompt from WordPress entitled ‘Snapshot Stories’. This called for opening the first photograph album I could find, stopping at the first picture of myself and telling the story behind it.
Initially, I thought I’d just have a look out of idle curiosity to see what turned up. Which is what I did, and what this image is.
And then I thought well, why not? Decent prompts – or at least ones I can work with – are rather thin on the ground and my public is undoubtedly clamouring for a new post. So, although this isn’t something I intend to make a habit of, here’s a little bit of the back story of he who wishes to be known simply as the only deadhead in the hameau.
Firstly, this is a picture of me with my lovely – then and now – daughter. To be clear, I’m the one on the left.
It was taken in 1977 and I’m fairly sure we were just on our way round the corner to the Queen’s Silver Jubilee street party in June. Little Miss would therefore have been about four months old and I would have celebrated my own Silver Jubilee about a month earlier. The dark circles under my eyes should be seen in the context of the teething ring that Little Miss is clutching. Not that she ever needed much of an excuse to keep us awake for half the night, bless her.
We’re pictured at the front door of the house we’d lived in since Madame made me the happiest of men in 1974. It was a new semi-detached with three good sized bedrooms and an integral garage, in a small town just outside Manchester. It cost – and if you have tears to shed, prepare to shed them now – the princely sum of £8,500.
If you have any more tears to shed, my monthly mortgage payment was all of £9.41, thanks to me benefiting from an interest-only housing loan at a fixed rate of 2½%, provided by my employers, the then illustrious, now sadly disgraced, Co-operative Bank.
Where I really need your sympathy though is when I tell you my annual salary at this time was probably about £3,000. At least we had a nice house to be hard up in.
Now, let’s turn to the fashion aspect. Here I’m modelling the baggy jeans and t-shirt look that any self-respecting mid-seventies ex-student layabout would wear on his days off: to whit, pretty much what he’d worn when he was at University. Come to think of it, substituting black for blue, it’s not dissimilar to my typical current turnout. However, I think I’ve come to my senses regarding that collar and those platform shoes. Regrettably, I’d also be needing a rather larger size these days.
Nice lunchbox though, even if I say so myself. Although I can only apologise for the hair.
That wristwatch is worth a brief mention. For some inexplicable reason, about forty years ago many people, myself included, thought that it was a really terrific idea to have a watch that would only tell you the time if you pressed a button. In retrospect it’s not too surprising that the LCD timepiece never really caught on, and was soon superseded by the infinitely more practical LED. Nowadays, I’ve gone back to a conventional watch – one that was presented to my grandfather as a retirement gift in 1961, when he was 74.
They don’t make them like that any more – and I don’t mean the watches.
So there you are. far more than you ever wanted or needed to know. Exciting wasn’t it?
Just don’t tell everyone.