We were all young once. For me, it was a long time ago.

Old photos are truly emotive. They fire off memories of times, friends and places long forgotten. Cruelly exposing what the intervening years have done to body shapes, hairlines and innocent smiles.

Between about 1988 and 1995, I amassed fifteen bumper albums chronicalling my life through a haphazard sequence of holidays. Winter skiing holidays sprang up like hardy perennials interspersed with a monster month’s road trip across the US, almost as long in Australia, six weeks bumming around Europe on an Inter-Rail card, and old girlfriends smiling guilelessly at the lens.

They’ve travelled with me through five jobs, three house moves, one marriage and two kids. I was determined to pick out a few for the kids to laugh at and dump the rest. The few turned to a few hundred although I’m kidding myself that at least half that number are held back specifically to embarrass old friends.

God I look young. Well I was young, but serious life stuff has tamped down those happy memories until tonight. Whoever said ˜Youth is wasted on the young’ clearly knew his onions, but while bittersweet emotions characterise the shock of a time lapsed you, at least my twenties were spent doing interesting things with funny people and (amazingly considering my attempts at a moustache) pretty girls. Maybe I was paying them, I don’t remember.

Selection criteria were based on what made me laugh, smile, remember or “ as happened more often that I liked “ wistfully nod. My unlined fizog is permanently hamming it up and grinning at the camera. Nowadays the lens is lucky to get a cynical grimace and only then if I don’t see it coming.

The prints are to be posted off and converted into computer food while the originals will be kept in case the vast importance of regular backup passes me by one day. As for the albums I’ve raped and pillaged which contain about two thousand unwanted images, they’re going in the bin. No point in keeping them, they remained undisturbed for over ten years and storing the albums will resign them to the same fate.

So, like I say, they’re going to the skip. Only not today. Maybe tomorrow. Or next week at the latest. Maybe I’ll just have one more look through. But I’m not keeping them, because that’d just be clinging onto fractured memories glued together by narcissm and a the rather unmanly notion of pointless romanticism.

I’ll post a few up when I get them back from the man with the scan. If only because it’s cheaper than therapy and everyone deserves a laugh. My wife is strangely unmoved by a life which she never saw although the themes of drinking, gurning and messing about with dangerous powertools appear to have passed seamlessly into this phase of my life as well.

One thought on “We were all young once. For me, it was a long time ago.

  1. nickc

    You had a moustache!! And there is photographic evidence of this? This I have to see, and I really think as you’re clearly baring your soul, you should publish them.

    Actually, on second thoughts..

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