I was having a conversation with my wife and mum the other day about folk singer Vashti Bunyan. As I was talking about the one and only time I had seen Vashti play live in Brighton, my mum pointed out that we had in fact both seen her live together, on a bill with a few other folk and folkish singers almost a decade earlier.
Embarrassingly, this is not the first time I have completely forgotten about a gig I’ve been to. I remember having a conversation with friends shortly before attending All Tomorrow’s Parties curated by The Breeders (where I met my wife for the first time). I said The Breeders were one of the few bands I loved who I had never seen live. Then one of the friends pointed out we’d been to see them together in Manchester a couple of years earlier.
This is not the only area in which my memory is faulty. I have a great memory for facts and figures. If you asked me to, for example, name the goalscorers in the 1994 Champions League final I could do so instantly, no problem. It’s my actual life that I seem to have problems remembering. If I have a conversation with my sister about my schooldays it tends to go a bit like this:
Sister : You remember teacher X
Me: (blank expression)
Sister : He was your form tutor for three years
Me: (still nothing)
Sister : He left after burning down all the chemistry labs and running naked across the track during sports day
Me : Rings a vague bell, but no
(This is not a real example I hasten to add)
Whereas my sister remembers it all in great detail. Likewise large chunks of my earlier childhood are a complete mystery to me, until someone happens to mention a particular incident or event (I can perhaps be forgiven not remembering the picture below)
Which brings me to a question I often ask myself. Why do I actually blog? I enjoy the writing for one, and there is definitely some ego involved (I like very much being told when someone has enjoyed one of my pieces; hint, hint). However, one of the biggest reasons is to help me remember. A friend referred to this post from earlier this year as a piece of ‘writing and remembering’ which has stuck with me. The lyric ‘I write to remember (from At The Drive-In’s ‘One Armed Scissor’) also loomed large in the memorial for a close friend I wrote back in March.
Most of all though, I am terrified of forgetting my daughter’s childhood. There have been so many wonderful moments (and the odd not so wonderful one), and I don’t want them to slip from my mind the same way that many of my childhood memories have. So I write these posts, in part at least, so i can read them back in future years when my daughter is all grown up, and remind myself of these times. But I should also be wary. This blog is honest, but necessarily selective. It presents those aspects of my life that I think will interest and amuse others., but it is not the whole story.
To photograph is not to remember, Henri Bergson said, and to blog is not to remember either. But I hope it helps.