Was It Yesterday?
The Graeme Blake Story
So here it is. My life. All 17 years of it summed up on a minor website down a bad alley in the slums of cyberspace. Here is where you can find out about me;
Graeme Harry William Ward Blake. Over the next few weeks/months/years
'http://dr.ivan.tripod.com/' will be the
home of my premature autobiography. This will be a brief introduction,and if i don't recieve too much abuse, I'll update it every now and again with a history of myself and the people who have had the misfortune to encounter me. Eventually of course I'll catch
up with myself, at which point this will turn into a diary. Then an obituary perhaps.
The main characters in the epic adventure story that is my life are as follows:
Keith 'KC' Atkins- Childhood friend and all around nice-guy.Currently
working as a cordon
bleu chef at a nearby restaurant
Wes 'Captain Valentine' Hope- Friend and accomplice. Excellent host and
provider of pizza.
Makes the best Mexican beans this side of Tijuana.
Jon 'Dr.Ivan' Hope- Brother of Wes and friend to all. Purveyor of ultimate weirdness, as you probably gathered from the homepage!
Next time: The saga begins...
Some time has passed since I scribbled the first chapter of this odd collection of thoughts and long repressed memories. Now I’m a little older; I’m a little wiser. The players have changed somewhat, but the show has gone on. Part tragedy, part farce. I’ll attempt to carry on from where I left off when I was a fresh [pizza] faced seventeen year old.
* * * * *
I suppose it’s customary, and generally regarded as polite, to begin at the beginning. In my case, this was Salisbury general hospital, where I emerged into the world to the sight and sound of fireworks. November the fifth 1987, the day that cosmic chaos bore me into a bleak world of shellsuits and bad hair.
According to reliable sources, I was an unremarkable baby, indistinguishable from a homemade blancmange, save for a small brown birthmark on my chest. Apparently some cultures believe that birthmarks are the result of an unfulfilled wish of the mother. I can understand this, as I can’t imagine my birth fulfilled anyone’s wishes. I have been told very little about these formative years, so I can only assume I went about my postnatal business as any other darling bambino does, inputting and outputting. I imagine often at the same time, and from multiple orifices. My parents aren’t ones for nostalgia, so I really do know very little about my early self. It wouldn’t surprise me if they have as little idea as me. My Mother was a bit of a hippie in her day, and I think the lifestyle took its toll on her cognitive functions. And my Father? Well, a lifetime of hard labour and anger issues understandably leave one a little jaded and desensitised. But, you love people for their faults, not in spite of them; and I’m truly grateful for the ‘unique’ genes they built me from, and the life I’ve so far led. I had (and continue to have) a sister too, but at this stage I was far too busy gurgling from both ends to acknowledge her with more than a bewildered stare, as photographs attest.
But I’m getting way ahead of myself. Back to the past: Life as a toddler is the best phase in the grand melodrama we call existence. Everything is an adventure; even a trip to the local Co-op was something to get excited about, as a ride in the ‘Pink Panther’ cartoon car was all but guaranteed. Naiveties are still intact at this stage, so the world is constantly rose-tinted. It’s why we have to tell children that the nice man who offers you sweets and a ride in his car may not actually be a nice man. Life was good, and I was blissfully happy toddling about my infant agenda. And then they went and ruined it all.
I’m not sure why I hated playgroup as much as I did. After all, who doesn’t enjoy making pictures of chickens out of macaroni and painting one’s toes every colour of the spectrum? But hate it I did, and eventually my constant bawling became enough of a worry for my poor, exasperated Mother to pull me out of there. Yes, the victory was as sweet as the watermelon Jolly Rancher I was given to shut up, but it was short lived, as I was soon institutionalised in a different playgroup. I only have one vivid memory of my sentence there. It is of sliding down a four-foot wooden slide holding a large plastic jumbo jet. Apparently my brain decided this was a keeper, which gives an educational insight into my thought process. Learning to walk? No. Big plastic plane? Yes! And it was in this poster-paint gulag that I learned I would forever be a bit of an outcast. Not enough to garner attention or sympathy, but just enough to be regarded with a slightly skewed eye. I had an allergy to dairy products you see, and while all the other kids supped at their uniform bottles of pure, creamy, sterilised milk, guess who was handed the only carton of Ribena on the whole trolley. Correct. It wasn’t even an exciting allergy. No choking, no uncontrollable bleeding, no death. Just a bit of blotchy redness and itchiness. Entirely unworthy of the fuss. Worse still would be the Soya milk, which would cause many a chuckle among my diminutive peers due to its slightly brown colour. I don’t think I have to elaborate on what exactly they likened it to. Kids can be so cruel.
And I should know, I was probably the worst of them. That’s another reason I was regarded oddly: I was an arse. A truly horrible child, exactly like the ones I sneer at with contempt now. I seemed to have some sort of power trip that led to selfishness, jealousy and a lot of crying when things went badly. I’d like to think I’ve changed, but that’s up to those that see me, still with that same skewed eye. For one thing, I don’t cry half as much when things go badly.
And thus I developed, learning a thousand new things every day: The cat is not a chew-toy, the slime that collects in the birdbath does not taste good, women have large amounts of fluff between their legs and nothing else. This last one I learned when I wandered into the female changing rooms at the local swimming pool, and instantly it became a source of great consternation. I was assured it was quite normal, and accepted this until the day I discovered the Internet, when my ideas of genital normalcy were turned rather upside-down, but that’s another story for another chapter…
I assume I followed a pretty ‘normal’ pattern of growth, picking up the odd penchants of conspicuously peeking up women’s skirts and chewing inflatable rubber bears along the way. I’m happy to say I’ve conquered one of these vices… Of course memories of these early years are like badly creased, over-exposed snapshots at best. For instance, I only very vaguely recall falling from my Father’s knee and varnishing the coffee table with my head-blood. But perhaps that’s not so surprising. The scar is still there, in the form of a thankfully inconspicuous bald-spot. But I fear the mental damage was more serious, and it may indeed be the cause of my mild premature dementia. And this condition will be manifested amply in the chapters to come.
*Next time on Was It Yesterday?: Our mild-mannered protagonist starts Infant School, with hilarious consequences!
*Credit to the elusive Dr. Ivan for the concept and title. Find the introductory first chapter, and much, MUCH else at: http://dr.ivan.tripod.com/index.html
*Comments, queries and verbal abuse are actively encouraged. I hope to do this sort of thing for a living one day, and I need to know where I’m going right/wrong.