BANG! I have arrived. The first of many fantasy stories I wrote about an imaginary future me, this is where my Fairburn self was born. A far cry from the quiet, cautious boy of the previous term, this is where I finally started to reveal my true nature and write about my innermost fantasies which, naturally for a boy whose parents gave him a name which meant one and only born of light,” usually involved me growing up to be the most important person in the whole of human history. In future stories, I would be an underground explorer, a winter sports star, a karate black belt and a submarine captain. I would create Shep Comics and Shep Books, becoming the hypothetical head of an imaginary multinational business empire, and save the world from multiple global cataclysms. But here I am Waen Shepherd, 36-year-old space adventurer, known universally as the Greatest Astronaut on Earth (GAE for short). My late great mate Si Spencer once pointed out to me that this was a great example of an oxymoron. But I’m more concerned that in 1980s Yorkshire, announcing I was GAE might have got me into more trouble than I’d bargained for. I don’t know if I ever wrote ‘Waen Shepherd 1’ - actually it would have been just plain ‘Waen Shepherd’ - but it’s entirely possible I did, either at home or at my previous school, and it’s now been lost. Presumably it ended with the destruction of the Earth, since this one seems to be set on its sister planet, Earth 2. No idea whether the great hero Waen Shepherd managed to save the entire population by transporting them to another habitable solar system just before their home was annihilated, or if he’s just called the Greatest Astronaut on Earth because no one else survived so there isn’t really any competition. But at least now he’s the Greatest Astronaut on Earth 2, so that’s something. I’m pretty sure Spacer McKay (pronounced muh-kay, to rhyme with the letter A, rather than muh-kye, to rhyme with the letter I) was the villain in the first story too, which is why we should be excited when he turns up here. Look closely and you’ll see he’s wearing an eyepatch, which means he was probably inspired by Blake’s arch-enemy Travis in Blake’s 7. But who he is, what he wants and why he’s the baddie are totally mysterious. He just is the baddie, and therefore must be fought. Maybe that’s significant in itself. I didn’t really have any enemies in Fairburn - another reason I look back on it so fondly, I suppose - but I’d had several at my previous school, and I’d have them again in the future. I didn’t know what motivated them either. I just knew they didn’t like me and I should do whatever I could to avoid them, in case they decided to hurt me. Maybe Spacer McKay was jealous of Waen’s favoured status? Maybe he secretly fancied Waen and just wanted to get his attention in some crude way? Maybe having black hair made him miserable, so he wanted to make Waen’s hair miserable as well? I guess we’ll never know. The only things we do know about him are that he only has one eye, he’s wearing a yellow suit and he just happens to be sitting in John Borgman’s office when some blonde bloke with a beard bursts in and starts screaming in his face. Did I really believe this was the sort of thing I’d be doing in the future? I doubt it, in the same way I didn’t really believe I would ever win a gold medal for skiing. But I suppose I believed it was possible. It was the 1980s now and technology had been advancing at a wildly accelerating rate. I totally believed that, by the end of the century, we would all be taking holidays on Mars with our personal robot buddies and, though it never crossed my mind how physically fit i’d need to be to become a real astronaut (something that, granted, is becoming less and less important now), I assumed that, in the near future, going into space would be as easy and commonplace as popping on a plane to Paris. The space shuttle program (the first launch just over the horizon) did nothing to dampen this view. If you’d strapped me down and interrogated me more thoroughly though, I probably would have admitted that I only wanted to be a space hero on television. I’d be more explicit about this in around a year or so, but I’m pretty sure I already knew I wanted to be an actor. Stories like these were inspired by the things I saw in films (Star Wars being a good example) and read in comics (the late 1970s incarnation of Dan Dare), but primarily the stuff I watched on television: Doctor Who, Blake’s 7 and, more directly in this case, the old 1930s Flash Gordon serials, one of which had recently been repeated on BBC 2. Spacer McKay was Travis, but he was also Ming the Merciless. Waen Shepherd “saved the universe” in the same way Flash Gordon “conquered the universe” in the title of one of his shows. And yes, I was highly aware they were all just actors, saying lines written down for them by other people. And that’s what I wanted to be. So weirdly enough, in the real 2007 AD - the one that actually happened - I was an actual real life actor who played a space hero on television. Only briefly, but enough to say I did it, as Captain Helix in several episodes of the BBC sitcom Hyperdrive. I won’t get into too many specifics in case you ever find yourself watching it, but basically Captain Helix is the title character in the fictional TV show Captain Helix, a show within a show which Hyperdrive’s central character, Captain Michael Henderson (played by Nick Frost), is a massive fan of. One of the writers, Andy Riley, had actually read some of my Fairburn stories and been tremendously supportive about them in the past, so maybe that’s what inspired Captain Helix? I don’t know. I should ask him. Either way, I’m sure the boy me would have been reasonably chuffed. Waen Shepherd GAE will return. Maybe sooner than you think…
Waen Shepherd 2
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
FAIRBURN The place where I wrote all this rubbish
Darth Vader An autograph from a genuine stand-in
Ward’s 7 John Ward and his band of rebels fight the evil Federation
The Fugitive A man runs - but who is he? And what is he running from?
The Flame in the Desert An evil fire threatens the safety of the world
Optical Illusion Time Amazing visual tricks that will boggle your mind!
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Happy Easter! A home made Easter card I made for my Mum and Dad
Waen Shepherd 2
The Forgotten World John and Mick fall foul of some extreme potholing
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
Great Space Battles Three mighty empires take their first steps into outer space
BANG! I have arrived. The first of many fantasy stories I wrote about an imaginary future me, this is where my Fairburn self was born. A far cry from the quiet, cautious boy of the previous term, this is where I finally started to reveal my true nature and write about my innermost fantasies which, naturally for a boy whose parents gave him a name which meant one and only born of light,” usually involved me growing up to be the most important person in the whole of human history. In future stories, I would be an underground explorer, a winter sports star, a karate black belt and a submarine captain. I would create Shep Comics and Shep Books, becoming the hypothetical head of an imaginary multinational business empire, and save the world from multiple global cataclysms. But here I am Waen Shepherd, 36-year-old space adventurer, known universally as the Greatest Astronaut on Earth (GAE for short). My late great mate Si Spencer once pointed out to me that this was a great example of an oxymoron. But I’m more concerned that in 1980s Yorkshire, announcing I was GAE might have got me into more trouble than I’d bargained for. I don’t know if I ever wrote ‘Waen Shepherd 1’ - actually it would have been just plain ‘Waen Shepherd’ - but it’s entirely possible I did, either at home or at my previous school, and it’s now been lost. Presumably it ended with the destruction of the Earth, since this one seems to be set on its sister planet, Earth 2. No idea whether the great hero Waen Shepherd managed to save the entire population by transporting them to another habitable solar system just before their home was annihilated, or if he’s just called the Greatest Astronaut on Earth because no one else survived so there isn’t really any competition. But at least now he’s the Greatest Astronaut on Earth 2, so that’s something. I’m pretty sure Spacer McKay (pronounced muh-kay, to rhyme with the letter A, rather than muh-kye, to rhyme with the letter I) was the villain in the first story too, which is why we should be excited when he turns up here. Look closely and you’ll see he’s wearing an eyepatch, which means he was probably inspired by Blake’s arch-enemy Travis in Blake’s 7. But who he is, what he wants and why he’s the baddie are totally mysterious. He just is the baddie, and therefore must be fought. Maybe that’s significant in itself. I didn’t really have any enemies in Fairburn - another reason I look back on it so fondly, I suppose - but I’d had several at my previous school, and I’d have them again in the future. I didn’t know what motivated them either. I just knew they didn’t like me and I should do whatever I could to avoid them, in case they decided to hurt me. Maybe Spacer McKay was jealous of Waen’s favoured status? Maybe he secretly fancied Waen and just wanted to get his attention in some crude way? Maybe having black hair made him miserable, so he wanted to make Waen’s hair miserable as well? I guess we’ll never know. The only things we do know about him are that he only has one eye, he’s wearing a yellow suit and he just happens to be sitting in John Borgman’s office when some blonde bloke with a beard bursts in and starts screaming in his face. Did I really believe this was the sort of thing I’d be doing in the future? I doubt it, in the same way I didn’t really believe I would ever win a gold medal for skiing. But I suppose I believed it was possible. It was the 1980s now and technology had been advancing at a wildly accelerating rate. I totally believed that, by the end of the century, we would all be taking holidays on Mars with our personal robot buddies and, though it never crossed my mind how physically fit i’d need to be to become a real astronaut (something that, granted, is becoming less and less important now), I assumed that, in the near future, going into space would be as easy and commonplace as popping on a plane to Paris. The space shuttle program (the first launch just over the horizon) did nothing to dampen this view. If you’d strapped me down and interrogated me more thoroughly though, I probably would have admitted that I only wanted to be a space hero on television. I’d be more explicit about this in around a year or so, but I’m pretty sure I already knew I wanted to be an actor. Stories like these were inspired by the things I saw in films (Star Wars being a good example) and read in comics (the late 1970s incarnation of Dan Dare), but primarily the stuff I watched on television: Doctor Who, Blake’s 7 and, more directly in this case, the old 1930s Flash Gordon serials, one of which had recently been repeated on BBC 2. Spacer McKay was Travis, but he was also Ming the Merciless. Waen Shepherd “saved the universe” in the same way Flash Gordon conquered the universe” in the title of one of his shows. And yes, I was highly aware they were all just actors, saying lines written down for them by other people. And that’s what I wanted to be. So weirdly enough, in the real 2007 AD - the one that actually happened - I was an actual real life actor who played a space hero on television. Only briefly, but enough to say I did it, as Captain Helix in several episodes of the BBC sitcom Hyperdrive. I won’t get into too many specifics in case you ever find yourself watching it, but basically Captain Helix is the title character in the fictional TV show Captain Helix, a show within a show which Hyperdrive’s central character, Captain Michael Henderson (played by Nick Frost), is a massive fan of. One of the writers, Andy Riley, had actually read some of my Fairburn stories and been tremendously supportive about them in the past, so maybe that’s what inspired Captain Helix? I don’t know. I should ask him. Either way, I’m sure the boy me would have been reasonably chuffed. Waen Shepherd GAE will return. Maybe sooner than you think…
Ward’s 7 John Ward and his band of rebels fight the evil Federation
The Flame in the Desert An evil fire threatens the safety of the world
Florence Nightingale What if Florence Nightingale had lived in the Year 2000?
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