At the age of 42 I am going through some sort of mid-life crisis. I spend a lot of time thinking about things I would have done differently and opportunities I have not taken. This sometimes makes me a bit miserable but I usually snap out of it quite quickly. This crisis has manifested itself in many ways: I have decided that I want to be a photographer (even though I don’t really know how to use the camera). I am listening to a lot of music that in my youth I would have hated. I find that my love of horror films is waning in that I find they generally now make me uncomfortable and often provoke thoughts about my own mortality.
I don’t really believe in God and am very much on the atheist bus. However, on deeper reflection my non-belief is more focused on the harm that organized religion seems to cause. To my mind if Scientology can achieve what it has in 50 odd years imagine what you can achieve in a couple of thousand? Also, I have known a few people so crippled with Catholic guilt that it has blighted their life. Our time here is too short for that sort of shit.
I was once flying to San Francisco when a fire broke out in the cockpit half way across the Atlantic. The pilot announced it was less distance to go back than go forward and turned the plane around. Oxygen masks were deployed. It is the most scared I have ever been in my life and there was a spontaneous cheer when we landed back at Heathrow. On leaving the plane there was billowing smoke coming out of the front… Despite this I got back on another plane in later that day and resumed my flight. It always makes me laugh that the thought of being in trouble at work for not getting to San Francisco was far more dominant than any thoughts about dying.
I think about Liverpool FC more than I should do. If they lose it can affect my whole weekend. Yes my wife is a saint.
I have always had a lot of friends who were (and presumably still are) girls. I don’t really know why. I think it’s because I was never very good at asking girls out. I used to become friends with them until it got to the point that if I ever made a move they would be horrified. I have sort of fallen into every relationship I have ever had and must hold the world record for the amount of times a single person can be finished with for being ‘too nice’. That said the few male friends I have are my closest.
I once had a girlfriend who finished with me because she thought I was going to kill myself if we became too close (her previous boyfriend had done this after she ended their relationship). Despite my reassurances to the contrary she held on to this view. I am still here.
There are three perfect pop songs. They are ‘Once in a Lifetime’ by Talking Heads, ‘Heart of Glass by Blondie’ and ‘There She Goes’ by The La’s. All the others are near perfect. I have to exclude Motown records from this in-depth analysis as they seemingly produced only perfect pop songs.
I have met Sean Connery
When I was little I thought that girls didn’t go to the toilet. I don’t know why but I do remember being surprised when I found that they did.
My earliest memory is falling out of my pram into a rose bush. I think pain impacts on memory more than anything else. I was not very old but remember it clearly.
I love British horror films of the 50s, 60s and 70s. Anything with Peter Cushing or Christopher Lee in really. They are so tame now that they rarely get above a 12 certificate on DVD but at the time they were shocking. Blood in colour! I have a signed photograph of Peter Cushing on the wall of the study at home.
I don’t eat green vegetables. People are often surprised that I am still alive. However, by marrying a vegetarian I have cunningly added non-green healthy foodstuffs to my diet that I will eat. I have not deep fried a sausage for 20 years.
My five favourite films in no particular order are The Wicker Man, The Godfather (I &II), The Innocents, Don’t Look Now and Withnail and I. I know that’s technically six but it’s my list.
I cry quite a lot during films. This has always been the case but I find that since I have had children it has got even worse. I don’t know why – I think it’s because kid’s films are always mawkish and it’s more that I am there in the dark with my children and watching their faces brings a lump to my throat. The most I have ever cried was during Lars Von Trier’s ‘Breaking the Waves’. I had earlier asked my wife to marry me. Read into that what you will. The last time I cried was during The Diving Bell and the Butterfly two days ago.
When I was young my brother and I used to watch the wrestling on World of Sport on a Saturday afternoon. After it had finished we would fight for the rest of the afternoon until it all ended in tears. I was Big Daddy he was Giant Haystacks or Kendo Nagasaki. We did not really get on until I left home to go to university. We are now best friends (even though he supports Everton).
I don’t know how I ended up doing the job I am doing. A series of accidents led me here and I am still not sure how. I never really had a career plan and the careers advice I had at school told me that I would make a good protestant minister. See item 3 for why that would be a bad idea.
I am not a very good driver. I did not take my test until I was 29. I put this down to all the bad experiences I had at 17 when my dad tried to teach me. That said, when I did take my test I passed first time. My wife always insists on driving when we go on holiday (she says I drive too fast) but I think that although I am bad driver she is a worse passenger. I have not had an accident now for 2 years.
Until I was 15 my hair was so blonde it was almost white.
On three separate occasions I have been mistaken for Vic Reeves.
I have so many T-shirts that I am going to have to build some extra storage. I can’t bring myself to throw them away. I have a Smiths T-shirt on which the material is so thing it is virtually see-thru. I need to cull them but many have memories attached and I can’t bring myself to do it.
Having kids is the scariest thing in the world. From conception onwards. Before our first child was born my wife had a miscarriage. It’s only when it happens to you that you realize how common it is. When you have safely negotiated 9 months and they finally put in an appearance you worry about them all the time. You worry about the fact that in today’s climate they can’t just go out and play and we used to. Their messiness infuriates me but shouting at them makes you feel like the biggest arsehole in the world. I want to give them the happiest childhood they can have until the shit kicks in.
Last year when I went to see Elbow and I am Kloot in Delamere Forest I drank a wine box and fell in a ditch on the way home. I got in so much trouble (guess who was driving) that it took a week to get back in the good books. That said it was one of the best concerts I have ever seen (although that could be because of the wine).
I have lost all faith in politics and politicians. I used to be very left wing (even attended a couple of socialist worker meetings in my teens – soon stopped when I realized they were not averse to a bit of ‘direct action’ and worried about what my mum and dad would think). I have never voted Conservative (my hatred of Margaret Thatcher runs deep) but can no longer bring myself to vote Labour (The Iraq war was and is a crime). I voted for the Liberal Democrats when Charles Kennedy was leader – if only because he seems a fallible human being like the rest of us. Lord knows who I am going to vote for next time, maybe not at all (which I know is not a good thing). I could never vote for a man (David Cameron) who says that ‘The Queen is Dead’ by The Smiths is his favourite album yet who went to Eton and was a fervent supporter of Margaret Thatcher.
Glastonbury 2007 was going to be my last. Don’t listen to anyone who says it was OK. It was not. Pissing rain for 4 days, mud up to your shins, nowhere to sit down and get dry. I am going again this year.