My brother is friends on Facebook with a local photographer. That's not the funny part. Turns out this guy posted a photo on Facebook last week of four kids back in the very late seventies/early eighties out on a suburban street, dressed in their horrible seventies clothes with a horrible seventies car parked on the road. The photographer asked if anyone could identify the kids as he's putting together a book of old pictures and would like to place the street if not the kids.
My brother could identify three of the kids. Himself, me and our sister. He'd be about six, our sister around ten and yours truly no older than two - which explains why I'm on a trike. The funny thing is the mix of emotions at seeing such an old photo completely out of the blue. As a writer, I'm almost constantly on the look out for inspiration whether I realise it or not (and most of of the time, it's definitely a case of not), and there's always been something I've found not totally likable about that time period but still interesting. I think it's because of all the changes Britain went through during the eighties (thanks, Thatch) and here's a photo right on the edge of those changes. Four kids, none of whom cared about anything other than eating, sleeping, playing and arguing about whether it was going to be Tiswas or Saturday Morning Swapshop, and none of whom had a clue about what was coming up in their lives between that shot being taken and best part of forty years later.
So, a mix of emotions. A little sadness for no good reason. A big laugh at the shocking clothes. A wish to somehow tell the kid on the trike to get ready for the rest of his life. And something ticking over in my head about a story I think nearly all writers want to tell at some point: their childhood. In my case, a suburban street of Victorian terraces, Top of the Pops on a Thursday night and a meadow at the end of the road where anything might lurk.