Ever wonder where we came from?
The picture above was taken in 1980, on my last holiday with my folks. At the age of 15 the novelty had worn off, and this was me putting on a less-than-disgusted face in a small street in St.Ives, Cornwall, just for the camera. Now, of course, I cherish this picture of me and my late father.
The photograph is remarkable for two reasons:
First, it was taken by my mum, who for the first time in living memory managed to NOT cut our heads, or any other part of our bodies, or indeed the relevant scenery, out of the picture. I can only assume that she pressed the button by accident before she was ready.
The second reason is NOT my haircut, which was at the time, modelling the final version of Wallace’s open face motorbike helmet (see “Wallace & Gromit; A close shave” for reference). Within a month or two I was sporting a far less goldfish bowl-like head, and boy, was it about time!
The second reason, dear fellow, is this: at that time of my life (and for a few years thereafter) my nickname among some of my schoolmates was ‘Buster’. As in Buster Bloodvessel, the lead singer of ‘Bad Manners’ for those of you with short memories or lifespans. As far as I recall, I was kindly given this name by A.D. ‘Toskey’ Thompson and his trusty sycophantic sidekick ‘Lol’ Pedley. Their reasoning was that I was fat. Since Buster Bloodvessel was very fat (and famously so), they felt that the name was appropriate.
Case for the defence: As the photograph clearly shows, I was not remotely overweight. As my memory (and, I’m sure any photographs of the period would confirm), Pedley was in fact rather chubby and in fact had the old pubescent boy boob thing going on. Case dismissed!!!!
What was going on? Was I merely a deflection from someone else’s insecurities? If so, why did so many people buy into the nickname – or maybe that is a distorted memory of my own? Maybe karma for something I did to someone else?
Just as interesting is that it clearly bothered me at the time, and has remained a source of some puzzlement until this day. I wonder how much personal confidence this kind of crap eroded before we reached adulthood? My guess is that many of us bear scars inflicted at such an impressionable time of our lives…