This is mild compared with what comes later - and definitely not actually funny in any way - but it’s the earliest example of a comical story in my English books, and the first indication that maybe I had a sense of humour after all. But it’s a weird, dark sense of humour, that pits diametrically opposed voices against each other and ends in random violence. Quite often, for English lessons, each table was given a picture and we were asked to write a story about it. On this occasion, it appears our table was given a picture called “The Georgian House” which featured 13 different hats (perhaps in some kind of display case or cabinet). Intriguingly, the story happens in non-chronological order, beginning with two hats arguing and then flashing back to their first meeting, forming a circular structure which ends where it began, almost like the two hats are stuck in an endless temporal loop of reminiscence. Either that, or it’s a ridiculous piece of rubbish written by an eight-year-old who can’t resist ending every story he writes with a rapid descent into senseless violence. Thing is, I thought I was a nice boy. I was always good, always well-behaved (except when Miss Townend called me the naughtiest boy she’d ever met, but that’s a different story) and more importantly, I was always trying to do what I thought was right. I knew violence was wrong. At the very least, I knew I didn’t like being hit, grazing my knee or falling down the stairs, and I knew that if I hurt someone else, they wouldn’t like it either. So I didn’t do it. Or at least that’s the distorted memory I have of myself as a young boy. It’s only now, looking back at this stuff, that I can see what a bloodthirsty little creature I was. Real violence may have horrified me, but from here on, it looks like the eight year old me couldn’t wait to see it happening to someone else. Barely a story goes by without a death or a car crash or someone’s head being chopped off. To be slightly kinder to my younger self, I don’t think he was a violent boy at all - at least, not yet. What I suffered from was more a sense that I wanted each story I wrote to be exciting, and the only way I knew how to do that was with the introduction of swift, apocalyptic violence and destruction at every turn. Gender watch: note it’s a “lady” who owns the hat shop. This is only the second appearance of a woman in any of my fictional stories - the previous one being a witch who turned everyone in the world to stone. The next appearance of a woman would reveal even more about my latent attitude towards them. Here at least the shopkeeper is not only a businesswoman but a propertied one at that. Special footnote for eraserheads This will be of absolutely no interest to anyone except me, but the miracle of modern technology (i.e. my new scanner) has revealed some hidden text on the page, which you might be able to see if you click to enlarge the picture. Despite my insistence that we weren’t allowed to use rubbers in our exercise books, I’ve clearly used one on this page, to erase the original first few lines of text. Just for reference, it says: (The Hats Adventure) The Georgian House Number of kinds of Hats: 13. I think the display is Good. But there are not many hats to look at. I wonder why I erased it. Did I suddenly disagree with myself? Maybe, when I thought about it a bit harder, I realised that what I’d written was pretty damn stupid. Thirteen is way too many hats to look at. Or maybe I heard the voice of my Gran in my head telling me not to be such a Moaning Minnie?
The Hat’s Adventure
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 The Flame in the Desert The Fugitive British Skiing Events Ward’s 7: Rescue Fiends of the Eastern Front Black Hawk Profile 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 Hat's Adventure The Hat's Adventure
HISTORY 1 Sept 1979 - Oct 1981
GEOGRAPHY 1 Sept 1979 - Feb 1981
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
TOPIC 2 The one where it all kicks off
TERM 1 A day-by-day account of Waen’s first term at Fairburn School
TERM 2 The birth of the 1980s - Blake’s 7, Blondie and battles in space
TOPIC 1 He knows the names of all the dinosaurs
Great Space Battles Three mighty empires take their first steps into outer space
The Hat’s Adventure
This is mild compared with what comes later - and definitely not actually funny in any way - but it’s the earliest example of a comical story in my English books, and the first indication that maybe I had a sense of humour after all. But it’s a weird, dark sense of humour, that pits diametrically opposed voices against each other and ends in random violence. Quite often, for English lessons, each table was given a picture and we were asked to write a story about it. On this occasion, it appears our table was given a picture called “The Georgian House” which featured 13 different hats (perhaps in some kind of display case or cabinet). Intriguingly, the story happens in non-chronological order, beginning with two hats arguing and then flashing back to their first meeting, forming a circular structure which ends where it began, almost like the two hats are stuck in an endless temporal loop of reminiscence. Either that, or it’s a ridiculous piece of rubbish written by an eight-year-old who can’t resist ending every story he writes with a rapid descent into senseless violence. Thing is, I thought I was a nice boy. I was always good, always well-behaved (except when Miss Townend called me the naughtiest boy she’d ever met, but that’s a different story) and more importantly, I was always trying to do what I thought was right. I knew violence was wrong. At the very least, I knew I didn’t like being hit, grazing my knee or falling down the stairs, and I knew that if I hurt someone else, they wouldn’t like it either. So I didn’t do it. Or at least that’s the distorted memory I have of myself as a young boy. It’s only now, looking back at this stuff, that I can see what a bloodthirsty little creature I was. Real violence may have horrified me, but from here on, it looks like the eight year old me couldn’t wait to see it happening to someone else. Barely a story goes by without a death or a car crash or someone’s head being chopped off. To be slightly kinder to my younger self, I don’t think he was a violent boy at all - at least, not yet. What I suffered from was more a sense that I wanted each story I wrote to be exciting, and the only way I knew how to do that was with the introduction of swift, apocalyptic violence and destruction at every turn. Gender watch: note it’s a “lady” who owns the hat shop. This is only the second appearance of a woman in any of my fictional stories - the previous one being a witch who turned everyone in the world to stone. The next appearance of a woman would reveal even more about my latent attitude towards them. Here at least the shopkeeper is not only a businesswoman but a propertied one at that. Special footnote for eraserheads This will be of absolutely no interest to anyone except me, but the miracle of modern technology (i.e. my new scanner) has revealed some hidden text on the page, which you might be able to see if you click to enlarge the picture. Despite my insistence that we weren’t allowed to use rubbers in our exercise books, I’ve clearly used one on this page, to erase the original first few lines of text. Just for reference, it says: (The Hats Adventure) The Georgian House Number of kinds of Hats: 13. I think the display is Good. But there are not many hats to look at. I wonder why I erased it. Did I suddenly disagree with myself? Maybe, when I thought about it a bit harder, I realised that what I’d written was pretty damn stupid. Thirteen is way too many hats to look at. Or maybe I heard the voice of my Gran in my head telling me not to be such a Moaning Minnie?
TOPIC 1 He knows the names of all the dinosaurs
TERM 1 A day-by-day account of Waen’s first term at Fairburn School
TERM 2 The birth of the 1980s - Blake’s 7, Blondie and battles in space
TOPIC 2 The one where it all kicks off
FAIRBURN The place where I wrote all this rubbish
GEOGRAPHY 1 Sept 1979 - Feb 1981
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
The Hat's Adventure The Hat's Adventure
To be continued…
Great Space Battles Three mighty empires take their first steps into outer space