My memory's definitely getting worse. Not only do I regularly forget where I've put my keys, by the time I find them, I've forgotten why I wanted them in the first place. Well, to open something, sure: but to open what?
One interesting side-effect of this encroaching senility is that it's left room for bizarre recollections from decades back to reassert themselves in my befuddled mind. This morning, for example, I remembered a very peculiar conversation I had when I was about 11 years old.
Slightly perturbed at the borderline sociopath they'd bred, my parents went through a phase of sending me on "adventure" holidays, in which I would be forced to engage in healthy outdoor pursuits such as rock climbing and horse riding and other things that didn't involve reading Dr Who books in semi-darkness. The holidays were usually based in boarding schools (which would otherwise lie empty during the summer) and I'd be thrown into a dorm with about a dozen other kids, many of them as socially dysfunctional as myself, which probably defeated the object.
Anyway, here's the memory. As we tottered back to the dorm after the nightly disco, conversation turned to the single 'Jilted John', which had got us all pogoing in our Clark's Commandos. One boy announced that it was "the best punk rock song ever". I demurred, suggesting that the Sex Pistols might have a stronger claim to the title.
But one kid, whose name I really can't dredge up, try as I might, announced confidently that we were both wrong. The best, nastiest, most evil punk song ever was the work of one Johnny Apple, who had been thrown out of the Sex Pistols because he was such an utter delinquent. The song was called 'The Queen is a Niker'. We went a bit quiet.
"Do you know what a niker is?" he asked, with a faint hint of menace. We shrugged. "It's the worst swear word ever," he continued. "It's like calling someone a fucking bloody fucking shitty wanker. But worse."
It was several weeks, by which time I'd returned to the bosom of my family, before I realised he was making the whole thing up. But I like to think that one day someone from the Oxford English Dictionary will drop me a line, asking if I have any documentary evidence of the provenance of this peculiar word, (late 1970's), (vulg.).
I've tried to find footage of the legendary Johnny Apple, but not surprisingly the well is dry: no sign even of the clean version. You'll have to make do with this: