English 1
Clarke Hall Old Houses Fairburn v Burton Salmon The Forgotten World String Orchestra Sheet Lightning Grezelda the Witch Bonfire Night Metropolitan Police Christmas 1979 Great Space Battles Luddenden The Hat’s Adventure Sleeping Beauty What I Do On Monday Waen Shepherd 2 Waen Shepherd in: Green Squids Ward’s 7: Move of the Galaxy Ward’s 7: Alpha Centauri Ward’s 7: Escape to Mother Ship Ward’s 7: Death Planet Blake’s 7 Ward’s 7: The Hunt Ward’s 7: Rescue The Flame in the Desert The Fugitive British Skiing Events Fiends of the Eastern Front Apeth (from Outer Space!) Tedosaurus (from Prehistoric Time!) A Walk in Our Village The Mountain Called Tyrannosaurus Rex Florence Nightingale War of the Worlds The Micronauts in: Supersilver
The Cover The first thing you’ll notice is that it’s been drawn on. Though obviously pencil wasn’t a great choice for grey cardboard if I wanted my future self to be able to read it properly. My Photoshopping skills aren’t clever enough to make the pencil images clearer, but as far as I can make out: the top left features a Martian tripod firing a laser and saying something in Martian. Next to that is the “Mother Ship” from my Ward’s 7 stories (drawn in pen, which might have been a better idea from the start) and a voice saying “Good hit, Math!” (presumably to the character Matthew Bell). Underneath the ship is a picture of Sam Slade, Robo Hunter, saying “That’s S-L-A-Y-E-D to you!” Beneath the title is a future version of me, complete with beard, saying “English is the best work!” Underneath him are two baddies saying “Kill Waen!” and “Yes! Kill him!” Beneath them is a badly drawn face who thinks “Maths is awful!” To the right of him is a booted foot treading on a stick man (who appears to be saying “PUFF!”) and, finally, to the North-East of the boot, there’s a faded amorphous blob saying “Squirm!” To the right of that I can just about make out a few letters which appear to say “swot”. If that’s indeed what they say, I seriously doubt it was me who wrote them, nor does it make much sense to call me that when I’ve just defaced my exercise book so liberally. The Contents The book runs from September 21st, 1979 to March 11th, 1980, covering my first term at the school and most of my second. The early pieces are pretty safe, the normal things a 7-going- on-8-year-old would write about: school trips and events, tales of bonfire night and what I did at the weekend, with only a couple of original adventure stories to indicate where we might be heading next. If that’s all the book was, I doubt I would have kept it. But when I returned to school after Christmas in January 1980, suddenly everything took off, and the Fairburn incarnation of Waen Shepherd was truly born. Maybe it was the immense haul of inspirational Christmas presents that did it - the Terran Trade Authority books I was given directly led to one story, the Micronauts led to another. Maybe it was the sudden influx of new ideas - a new series of Blake’s Seven directly inspired yet another series of tales. Perhaps it was the idea of the “new decade” - I remember thinking the 1980s would be the dawn of a new, futuristic age, and the culture around me seemed to reinforce that notion. Most of all though, it was the teacher, Mr Geraghty, who encouraged me to write. He could see I had ideas and the ability to put them into words, so he told me that, if I found myself at a loose end, I should write a story in my English book. As my second term progressed, this became an obsession and I found myself writing virtually every day, a habit which continued throughout my time at Fairburn School and, indeed, most of my life. (Though eventually the writing turned into music, but that’s a different story.) Another turning point happened when I returned from the half-term holiday towards the end of February 1980 and wrote two strange little stories about a pair of creatures called Apeth and Tedosaurus. Not only does this mark the beginning of my obsession with (bad) comedy, it’s also the first time I wrote about characters. Prior to this, my stories had either been about myself and my friends, characters invented by other people or ciphers without any real character traits at all. Apeth and Tedosaurus are not just names - they have faces, a backstory and even a distinctive way of speaking. It’s a shame I didn’t put this much effort into my other work. All this serious talk means I’m neglecting to mention how hilariously stupid this stuff is. Actually, I’ll qualify that - it’s the serious stories that are funny. The ones that are supposed to be funny are just weird. And that’s what makes these books - and this book in particular - so interesting to me. Though I do (sort of) remember being this person, I still find it unbelievable that I could, while trying to achieve the exact opposite, write something as perfectly funny as Move of the Galaxy, or as morbidly bizarre as Apeth. A few years ago, I went through a spate of reading these books out in public and they usually went down pretty well. As Robin Ince once said of me, “He’s been trying to write great comedy all his life, only to find out he wrote his best material when he was nine.” This book, being the earliest and therefore the least self-aware, might well be the funniest of the lot. But not the weirdest. We’ve got a long way to go to reach that lofty height.
English 1, defaced in pencil
September 1979 - March 1980
TERM 1 Sept-Dec 1979
TOPIC 1 Sept-Dec 1979
FAIRBURN The place where I wrote all this rubbish
WAEN SHEPHERD Who was this strange little boy?
HISTORY 1 Sept 1979 - Oct 1981
SCIENCE 1 Sept 1979 - Mar 1980
GEOGRAPHY 1 Sept 1979 - Feb 1981
Clarke Hall The place and time where it all began… September 1679?
The Forgotten World John and Mick fall foul of some extreme potholing
Bonfire Night Waen’s first time at the annual village fireworks display
String Orchestra A visit from the North Yorkshire County Council Orchestra
English 1
The Cover The first thing you’ll notice is that it’s been drawn on. Though obviously pencil wasn’t a great choice for grey cardboard if I wanted my future self to be able to read it properly. My Photoshopping skills aren’t clever enough to make the pencil images clearer, but as far as I can make out: the top left features a Martian tripod firing a laser and saying something in Martian. Next to that is the “Mother Ship” from my Ward’s 7 stories (drawn in pen, which might have been a better idea from the start) and a voice saying “Good hit, Math!” (presumably to the character Matthew Bell). Underneath the ship is a picture of Sam Slade, Robo Hunter, saying “That’s S-L- A-Y-E-D to you!” Beneath the title is a future version of me, complete with beard, saying “English is the best work!” Underneath him are two baddies saying “Kill Waen!” and “Yes! Kill him!” Beneath them is a badly drawn face who thinks “Maths is awful!” To the right of him is a booted foot treading on a stick man (who appears to be saying “PUFF!”) and, finally, to the North-East of the boot, there’s a faded amorphous blob saying “Squirm!” To the right of that I can just about make out a few letters which appear to say “swot”. If that’s indeed what they say, I seriously doubt it was me who wrote them, nor does it make much sense to call me that when I’ve just defaced my exercise book so liberally. The Contents The book runs from September 21st, 1979 to March 11th, 1980, covering my first term at the school and most of my second. The early pieces are pretty safe, the normal things a 7-going- on-8-year-old would write about: school trips and events, tales of bonfire night and what I did at the weekend, with only a couple of original adventure stories to indicate where we might be heading next. If that’s all the book was, I doubt I would have kept it. But when I returned to school after Christmas in January 1980, suddenly everything took off, and the Fairburn incarnation of Waen Shepherd was truly born. Maybe it was the immense haul of inspirational Christmas presents that did it - the Terran Trade Authority books I was given directly led to one story, the Micronauts led to another. Maybe it was the sudden influx of new ideas - a new series of Blake’s Seven directly inspired yet another series of tales. Perhaps it was the idea of the “new decade” - I remember thinking the 1980s would be the dawn of a new, futuristic age, and the culture around me seemed to reinforce that notion. Most of all though, it was the teacher, Mr Geraghty, who encouraged me to write. He could see I had ideas and the ability to put them into words, so he told me that, if I found myself at a loose end, I should write a story in my English book. As my second term progressed, this became an obsession and I found myself writing virtually every day, a habit which continued throughout my time at Fairburn School and, indeed, most of my life. (Though eventually the writing turned into music, but that’s a different story.) Another turning point happened when I returned from the half- term holiday towards the end of February 1980 and wrote two strange little stories about a pair of creatures called Apeth and Tedosaurus. Not only does this mark the beginning of my obsession with (bad) comedy, it’s also the first time I wrote about characters. Prior to this, my stories had either been about myself and my friends, characters invented by other people or ciphers without any real character traits at all. Apeth and Tedosaurus are not just names - they have faces, a backstory and even a distinctive way of speaking. It’s a shame I didn’t put this much effort into my other work. All this serious talk means I’m neglecting to mention how hilariously stupid this stuff is. Actually, I’ll qualify that - it’s the serious stories that are funny. The ones that are supposed to be funny are just weird. And that’s what makes these books - and this book in particular - so interesting to me. Though I do (sort of) remember being this person, I still find it unbelievable that I could, while trying to achieve the exact opposite, write something as perfectly funny as Move of the Galaxy, or as morbidly bizarre as Apeth. A few years ago, I went through a spate of reading these books out in public and they usually went down pretty well. As Robin Ince once said of me, “He’s been trying to write great comedy all his life, only to find out he wrote his best material when he was nine.” This book, being the earliest and therefore the least self-aware, might well be the funniest of the lot. But not the weirdest. We’ve got a long way to go to reach that lofty height.
English 1, defaced in pencil
September 1979 - March 1980
TERM 1 Sept-Dec 1979
TOPIC 1 Sept-Dec 1979
FAIRBURN The place where I wrote all this rubbish
WAEN SHEPHERD Who was this strange little boy?
HISTORY 1 Sept 1979 - Oct 1981
SCIENCE 1 Sept 1979 - Mar 1980
GEOGRAPHY 1 Sept 1979 - Feb 1981
Clarke Hall The place and time where it all began… September 1679?
The Forgotten World John and Mick fall foul of some extreme potholing
Bonfire Night Waen’s first time at the annual village fireworks display
String Orchestra A visit from the North Yorkshire County Council Orchestra