Out of Touch


When I started this little adjunct to the Internet of Words journey, I’d not expected the reaction it garnered. People being genuinely interested in my backstory, is, I’ll grant you, something of a surprise. Having grasped the level of interest, I’ve gone back into my history to start putting together an actual chronology of what I’ve written, and when. That means, this week, I’ll ask you cast your mind back to October of 1985…


I’ve picked a US cassette sleeve for the sole reason that Ghostbusters is track one, and I’d spent quite a bit of time post ‘A’ Level exams obsessing about this film. I ended up at my first choice destination for college, and that meant three years of Media studies and English. I was told by my tutor it would be a good idea to practice learning how to write poetry, as it would grant a greater understanding of what I was going to learn going forward. Thus, the Big Book of Poetry was created:


Okay, it’s not that big (A5 size) but there are enclosed in these pages a respectable 32 poems. I say respectable advisedly: I was 18, and a lot of this is dire. However, my issues with depression are already apparent back then, and maybe if I’d paid more attention to myself in those early days my life might have run a different course. However, it is what it is now, and that’s just one of those intractable truths that you accept and move on from. However, I have picked one poem to share: it’s all hand written, in pencil, and hopefully this is readable enough.


I know when this was written: a trip up to London (I think to see something course related) which prompted my first attempts to capture a world that was still amazing and brilliant on my own terms. Even though a lot of that year is lost completely to the vagaries of alcohol, late nights and bad memory, these poems remain. Some are named for people I remember, others I don’t recall at all. There are also hints of what else influenced my life, most especially the book of poetry studied in my first year, forming the basis of an end year dissertation.


These poems are still an important part of what I am, and to understand me is to know that many of these works run through me as letters through a piece of seaside rock. Without Brian Patten, in particular, I would not be the person I now am. There’s a lot to look back on at this part in my life, and to be honest not all of it was stuff I am proud of (as seems to be a theme that runs through large swathes of my existence.) However, if you are to truly understand where my love of writing began, it was here. There’s also a story, already told from this period of my life, that’s featured previously on the Blog. If you’re interested about that time someone tried to convert me to Christianity, you could do a lot worse than go read this.

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