Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Pants

In the midst of a stack of papers, including a 60-page radio script that has my name on the cover, but I’m damned if I remember writing it, I find the filleted remains of a 15-year-old cheque book. The first thing that strikes me as I flip through the stubs is how scrupulously I noted the payee, the amount, and often the product that was being paid for. I even carried over the resulting balance in my account. Apparently I was in the black as well, which is odd.

But some of these messages from the last century now conspire to baffle me. Who or what was JM Cave, and why did I pay him/her/it £1.50 for underwear? Even in 1996, that would only have bought a single pair of pants, surely? Did some unspecified mishap leave me in desperate need of boxers, but bereft of cash? Perhaps I’ve erased the memory of such a predicament from my mind.

And then I turn to the next stub: one of your English pounds to A. Mannion, for something identified as deliceuse. And then £1.20 to L. Hoggett for suicidal lemons and it suddenly all falls into place. These – Underwear, Deliceuse, Suicidal Lemons, R*E*P*E*A*T, All About D, Michael Bolton Looks Like A Potato and so on – were all fanzines. I sent cheques to people, perhaps with stamped addressed envelopes, and they sent fanzines back to me, fanzines full of earnest, whimsical, cute, bitchy, profound, tortured, confused prose about Pulp and Bis and the Manic Street Preachers and how John Peel was going to live forever. Some even had glitter on the covers. I even thought of starting one, went as far as putting a small ad in Select magazine, asking for demos, and some arrived, and most were rubbish, but the mag never quite happened. Bikini Machine, it would have been called. In many ways, Cultural Snow is the fanzine I never wrote. All that’s missing is the glitter.

10 comments:

Dave said...

Do I need to send you a cheque now? And an SAE?

Rog said...

Keith Waterhouse once said that his old Bank Statements were the most evocative stimulus to memories.

Rol said...

They were simpler times, but great. The internet has taken all that away from us now.

expat@large said...

@Rol, but the 'Net has brought us so much as well! There's no way I'd be reading anything Tim wrote, for example, if it wasn't for the internet! Hang on, why am I...

Billy said...

One day, we should print off our blogs, cover them in glitter, and send them to each other.

Dave said...

Rog has printed his old blog, I believe.

Tim Footman said...

Yes, Dave. But the stamps must be those vast triangular ones from newly created African dictatorships.

Was he pissed at the time, Rog?

I know, Rol. Back to Analaogue! (And monaural, and monochrome.)

You'd find a way, e@l.

Or dip them in chocolate, Billy.

Rog is always forward in coming backwards, Dave.

M.A.Peel said...

I love your use of "filleted remains" for the check book.

blackwatertown said...

No glitter.
No bikinis.
Sigh.

I used to write for one. Youth Anthem. Sounds a bit Billy Braggish. We used to meet Attila the Stockbroker when he came to Belfast. Joolz - remember her? - popped up a bit too.
As correspondent covering "the rest of Ireland" - i.e. not Belfast & Bangor - I got to profile fresh young things The Men They Couldn't Hang before a gig in the Baggot Inn. Aah, such heady heights. Disturbingly they're still going. I like them more now.

Tim Footman said...

Thank you, Mrs Peel. Always been fond of fish-related metaphors.

BWT: Don't think glitter would have suited Youth Anthem. Sounds as if an army surplus jacket might have been more appropriate.