Saturday, November 04, 2006

That annoying piece I have to write about my bedroom when I was eight years old

Yep, I'm going to whinge about that again. Not just for the sake of it, though. Part of the point of the piece is that I do some research. And keep some kind of record of what that research consisted of. Which, apparently, should be put on my blog. Just in case it's not dull enough already.

Anyway, it would have been between 20/9/86 and 19/9/87 that I was eight years old. So, what was going on in the world? In 1986, lots of interesting things, according to wikipedia. I even remember some of them. Such as the Chernobyl Disaster and the Challenger Shuttle Disaster. Both of which happened before my birthday, though. So not in the least bit helpful to the piece. Ditto virtually all of the other interesting stuff that I would have had any consciousness of. Still, fortunately for me, there were also memorable disasters in 1987: the Zeebrugge Disaster, the Hungerford Massacre, and the re-election of Maggie Thatcher. Great. I might have something to write about after all. One problem, though; just a small one; hardly worth mentioning, really, but... They didn't happen in my bedroom! (Thankfully. It would have been a bugger to tidy up after).

Nor did anything else remotely worth writing about. In fact, I don't think I even spent much time in there, as a rule. If I was in there I was either ill, or sleeping, or fetching some toy or other to take downstairs, i.e. away from my bedroom. And I can't honestly say that I went to bed and lay there contemplating the fate of Terry Waite or wondering about the environmental and political implications of nuclear testing in the Nevada Desert, either. So God knows why I've just spent ages researching memorable world and national events. Oh yes, it was because that was what they suggested I do. Maybe if I'd had a telly in my room, like richer kids did, or a developed social consciousness, it might have been relevant. But I didn't. On both counts. I was eight. So, how am I supposed to shoehorn any of that into a NON-FICTION piece about my bedroom when I was eight years old?!

So, onto researching what my room might have looked like. Well, I'm not in touch with any of my friends from back then, so that's a non-starter. My parents were only able to tell me slightly more than I mentioned in that other blogpost. I have no siblings. My parents even have a different cat now; not that he's talking. And even if Stafford wasn't too far away for a quick look around, I moved bedrooms when I was in my teens, at which point the old one was redecorated and turned into a guest room. And no, I can't afford hypnosis.

OK, then - what would I have been able to see and hear from my room? Well, not much. It was a very quiet street. My bedroom was at the front of the house, so it was always possible to see the house opposite. A bungalow. With a big front garden. Some old bloke who never did anything more interesting than mowing his front lawn lived there. Of course, I could see other houses too, if I got really close to the glass. But it wouldn't have been worth the effort. Like I said, it was a quiet street; apart from the lawnmowers. So what about noises from inside the house? Well, my bedroom did share a wall with my parents'. But they almost never argued. And the walls were thick enough that I wouldn't have heard them if they had been arguing; or if they'd been doing anything else, for that matter. There weren't even any strange vaguely spooky (to a child) knockings or rattlings from the central heating to scare me at night. In fact, the only sounds at night would have been someone going downstairs, or flushing the toilet. Or the radio in the belly of the stuffed toy cat I persuaded my parents to get me from Tandy and listened to quietly under the covers when I was supposed to be asleep; if I wasn't reading instead. It would take me a couple of hours to get to sleep even then.

Perhaps, then, I should do some research on insomnia. Well, no - because it wasn't insomnia; it was just that I liked listening to the radio, and reading books [tries to remember what books; fails]. Well, maybe I could write something evocative about the magic and mystery of being huddled under the covers listening to a football commentary for the first time, my ear glued to the belly of a toy cat, hoping the radio was low enough that I wouldn't be discovered before the end, trying to imagine what was going on, what the teams' kits looked like, what astroturf was, why that made the ball bounce higher, why only Luton Town seemed to have it, what a winger was and why John Barnes was apparently such a good one. But I struggle to remember, at least in enough detail to drag it out to the 500-1000 words requested. And I'm not sure research would get me much closer to even the 500 words.

Actually, having read this back, I think I might just cannibalise this blogpost for the piece. Seems feasible. Stick in some mention of toys (Transformers, Star Wars, He-Man, Matchbox cars, Lego; I seem to remember), my former appendix, a touch more footie research, anything else my parents might have since remembered, and I should have at least 600 words.

Hmm. That wasn't so difficult after all (he says before the inevitable long night of actually trying to do the blasted thing).

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