Me as a clown, in the rainI went back to Southport a couple of weeks ago and hauled a crapload of my old papers and photos back to Leeds. It’s been fun, if a little strange, going through everything.

If I ever needed proof that I’ve always been a hoarder, this is certainly it. I have every letter sent to me by friends over the years (and there is a LOT of them – from friends I saw every day as well as those living further away), photos, newspaper clippings – whole newspapers sometimes – diaries, notes, drawings and many, many half written stories, screenplays and poems. One night I read through all the letters from one particular friend, sent over the summer after our GCSEs before we started college (to be writer-ish about it, the summer where everything changed but not much happened), and it put me in a really weird mindset – particularly as I knew within three months, she would no longer be talking to me. Other letters and accounts were similar: I probably only read them when I first received or wrote them and didn’t look at them again until now – hindsight is throwing a helluva spin on things.

I might scan in a heap of photos at some point but for now, I’ve just scanned in one. I picked this one because I have a tendency to mention it to people in passing which always results in them saying “…what?”. It’s from when I was a clown in the International Clown Parade (which was held in Southport in 1997). About ten minutes after this photo was taken, Norman Wisdom looked at me with such pity and like I was some sort of half-wit that I’ve never been able to forgive him.

(Apologies that the picture is slightly out of focus. Not my fault. Mother was the photographer at the time.)