What were you doing in the Summer of....
In 1975 I was four. It was a hot summer; I was living in Ringwood. There were guinea-pigs in the back garden, two chickens (one called Sylvie) and a golden pheasant called Cecil, except I was too young to know about spelling then and thought he was called Sessel. I went to playgroup for the first time that year and didn't even glance back at my mum as I went to join in the fun (they were painting) something she still holds against me.
In 1986 I was fifteen. I was at Allhallows, a boarding school on top of a cliff in Dorset during the term, and working on my father's farm/in a local restaurant/doing jobs round the village during the holidays; years of Tory youth. Everybody had to be enterprising in the 80s. I hated the world, I hated myself, I hated everything. I'd got drunk for the first time the previous year, and had already decided that was the thing for me. It was also the year I tried out cigarettes and boys, and wasn't vastly impressed by either.
In 1993, the year after I graduated, I was twenty-two, living on Princes Street with Adrian, Damian and Dan, still unemployed, a point of pride at the time. I was doing the odd bit of art teaching, bringing home mad (bad-mad, not cool-mad) lesbians and having pervy parties. I was also realising that I wasn't going to make it; not as an artist, not as a permenant benefits whore, not as a lesbian. In that knowledge, I partied all the harder.
In 1998 I was living with my current and/or ex-boyfriend Colin and my friend Damian in the big house on Belvedere Road. It's all a bit blurry from this time; a mass of getting drunk, watching videos, and doing that thing that happens when two people who are furious with each other don't argue. In the autumn, I would finally get together with Matt, something I'd been meaning to do for years, but it was way too little, too late, and wouldn't make it through the following year.
In 2001 I had started the year temping, having lost my job at Oxfam the previous autumn. By the summer I was working for the council and hating every minute. It was something of a year of horror and pain, full of bad choices and confirmation of things I had felt were misanthropic prejudices. I went to
The choice of years as made by someone else, but actually worked surprisingly well for me. Ha! My life as a failed artist and successful drunk.