A few years ago, my dear departed friend, Pete Medway, sent me a CD copy of some grainy cine camera footage. It was taken in 1967, in the garden of my parents’ home in Bexley Village, a suburb of London. It lasted only a minute or so, and took me back to that time, when I was fifteen years old, and all my adult life stretched out ahead of me. It included a still photo, snapped as I sat in the conservatory. I can recognise myself of course. The wavy hair, bags under the eyes, a ready smile, and youthful enthusiasm. All evident from that grainy dark photo.
More recently, my old friend Roland sent me an email, and attached a photograph that he had found somewhere. I am with my good friend Brian, and it is more than ten years later than the first picture. As I am wearing a wedding ring, that dates it as after 1977. My shawl-collar jumper, a favourite back then, places it firmly in the late 1970s too. So I am guessing it is 1978 at the earliest, and no later than 1980. My face is leaner, my hair already receding, in my late twenties. (It stayed much like that for another twenty years.) The eye bags are more prominent, and the smile less youthful.
I have many photos of myself over different decades of course. Hidden away in the loft, or stored in boxes in the garage; rarely rediscovered, almost never viewed. But these two photos in particular, showing the differences in one decade, make me return to them frequently. In the age where countless images are taken on mobile phones and digital devices, many deleted immediately, or later discarded, it is of great interest to me, to view these old film snaps. Moments in my personal history.