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What I did on my holidays (and off)

Too many people to mention been filling in “what I did n years/days ago” questionnaires (I hesitate to call it a meme, because that word is becoming so overused). And who am I not to join in?

20 years ago: Just starting second term of first year at Uni. Hadn’t been to Eastercon — hadn’t been to a con yet: RaCon was later, I think; and anyway, a good Catholic boy like me had been at home with his parents, going to midnight mass and all that.

However I had got into SF fandom, via the EU SFSoc (of which I was later President, for what it’s worth). Had started making several of my closest friends, whom I’m don’t stay in nearly close enough touch with these days. Must have seen the Architects of Fear (seminal Edinburgh punk band, without whom Burn would probably not exist) a few times by then. It was through SF Soc that I met and, indirectly, because they were a bit after my time, and Ol (my turn to say, “Get an LJ, mate”).

15 years ago: I had started work in London the previous August (and had a long-weekend trip to Brighton for reasons many of you will remember, if vaguely). Exactly fifteen years ago I had probably recently returned from Follycon. I was living in Tooting with some members of a band called The Pleasure Thieves — they had some fine songs which I remember fondly (so I was pleased to find, while researching this, that they’ve put a lot of them out via

Also in the same house was their recently-left singer. He left because the other band that he was involved with had recently got a deal. Tensions were high, but largely unspoken. The Jazz Devils put out a couple of albums on Virgin, but they had never played a gig before they got their deal so they had no following.

The Pleasure Thieves regrouped as a three-piece and gigged heavily over the next couple of years. I sometimes helped them out with a bit of roadieing.

Later that year I bought a house in Walthamstow with two friends called John (if any of these people had sites I’d link to them). Big mistake financially, given what was to follow, but we had a fun few years including putting a band together for a bit. Never got past the rehearsal-room stage, though. In fact, we never even settled on a name. We tried out many, with The Void being the last and longest-serving, but we were never very happy with it.

I wonder now whether we’d have done more if we’d had a name.

10 years ago: still in Walthamstow, but by this time the house-partnership was sundering — amicably enough: it was all to do with other relationships starting. By this time I had met and was going out with Frances, (whom I’ve been with ever since), so I was spending a lot of time in Hackney, too.

5 years ago: Daniel, our son, was 1. Living in Hackney, commuting to Wimbledon. Holidayed in Normandy, on a farm where there was a donkey which Daniel loved at first, but then got frightened of when it charged down the hill braying loudly (safely behind a fence, I should add). I had hardly touched my guitar in several years, but Burn were in the near future.

Last year: Fiona, our daughter, was 1. We were starting,very gradually, to get the house done up, a long-term project. I had been in Burn for four years, I think. Holiday in France again, camping in the Loire Valley this time. No donkeys seen.

Yesterday: At work: tail end of Meridian 4 development (soon to be shelved as we redevelop it using EJBs — though that release will probably still be numbered 4). Collected kids, Frances working late.

Today: At work again; more of the same. band rehearsal at Ol’s tonight: mmm, pizza, beer.

Tomorrow: It’s the working week, what do you. think? Don’t expect the Mayday celebraions to affect me much, though work have warned us to be careful, “to avoid accidental involvement in violence”. Yeah, but what about deliberate involvement?

Next year: should repeat this, to build up a year-by-year picture.