Friday, 18 February 2011
On the shelf
Look! Mr Ashbless has gone and put a new set of shelves up, so that I can stack all my photo albums properly. Eighty-six numbered voumes so far, plus some odds and sods. There they stand, the record of my life, all the way from when I looked like this, at age ten:
It's a weird experience, looking back. One thing I realise now is that I never was as ugly as I thought I was. I wish I'd known then. Here's me at eighteen:
Underneath that grey tanktop (a grey tanktop for pete's sake! Oh dear god...), I was seething, I tell you. A black hole of hormonal appetites that never passed the event horizon to escape.
By Album 3 (and oh boy, did it feel like longer) I got laid:
Aren't I happy? This was taken the morning after. Haircut has improved.
From then on, for thirty albums, it's mostly LARP photos and grey pictures of castles taken in the drizzle. We must have visited every castle in Britain, looking at that lot. I can be spotted in a number of LARP costumes:
There are a lot of party photos too, because this was before my friends started breeding. You can plot the receding hairlines over the years. Some people appear for volume after volume on almost every page - and then suddenly vanish from the record. Some people appear in Album 3 and are still there in Album 86. And there's so much missing from the pictorial record - the emotional stuff, much of my working life, my writing.
By Album 37 the LARPing is growing thinner and, as my earning potential dries up and Mr Ashbless' picks up, the foreign holidays start to dominate. I become meticulous in recording every activity and every place we visit. It's like I'm banking all these images for the sake of security.
There are surprisingly few pictures of me abroad, because I'm the one behind the camera.
But my writing creeps into visibility at last. I have become Janine:
And here's a photo of me taken last year at the Sonisphere festival, which I sent to Oysters and Chocolate last night for an anthology promo:
So there you go. Eighty-six albums, a life mostly full of good things: a beautiful world and wonder and friendship.
That empty shelf-and-a-half is for the rest of my life. And that really does make me feel peculiar.