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Autobiographies

June 6th, 2021 · Posted by Skuds in Life · No Comments · Life

Back when I was younger, say 18 or before then, I really didn’t read autobiographies, or even biographies come to that. Mind you it does depend on how you define ‘autobiography’. I did enjoy the Gerald Durrell books and the James Herriot books when I was at school and they are certainly autobiographical. But times change and we change with them, unless we are Nigel Farage and we try to get the times to change back again, and over the years I have got to appreciate autobiographies and memoirs more, along with some other categories of book that didn’t appeal to the teenage me, like travel books.

Just this year I have read and enjoyed autobiographies by John Lydon, John Cooper Clarke, Pete Paphides and Lee Mack. Thinking about it, most of the memoirs or autobiographies I read tend to be by musicians or comedians or at least people associated with music or comedy. Not for the me the worthy reminiscences of important politicians and statesmen; I will be more likely to be reading about the schooldays of Andrew Collins than the early career of Obama.

Anyway, this is all in my mind right now because I was reflecting on how insanely detailed some of these books are when it comes to the early years. The thing is that I now do not remember much about my time at primary school. I reckon I can only remember the names of about five fellow pupils at primary school, and two of them were my sisters! I can only remember the name of one teacher, and have some flash memories of a few specific incidents. Some books will manage to fill up entire chapters with these early years and I was wondering if those people just have exceptional memories or if I am just very forgetful. Or did they just have more memorable childhoods than me?

Or do other people just care more? I have preferred to look forwards rather than backwards and do not have huge stacks of old scrapbooks, and every now and then I have had purges of such things. I do not have a box full of ticket stubs for every concert I have been to, for example. I have never been at all interested in tracing family trees. Now I am reaching an age when I do look back a bit more because I have a lot more past than future and regret not paying more attention.

I am a bit better, but not massively so, when it comes to secondary school, college and so on, but could never fill up a memoir with the sort of detail that others do. It does not help that I have never kept a diary, and I know some people do record all their various doings obsessively, especially in the political world, but surely hardly anybody keeps such records of their primary school years? When I read ridiculously detailed accounts of some celeb’s activities aged five I alternate between being impressed and suspicious.

It probably doesn’t matter too much. If I can’t remember much about my childhood I can at least read about everybody else’s.

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