I vaguely remember the years from one to twelve years of age and the community of people I spent time with. I was a bit of a ratbag kid back then. Something I do remember though was feeling frustrated. I always felt that something wasn’t quite right. My Mum had a few friends who were big drinkers and they were jolly enough but I never felt quite at home. Whether that was just my general temperament I couldn’t say. I remember the parents in the pub having a few drinks and me and my friends in the car park making games and playing. It wasn’t that any of this was bad, it just seemed strange at the time. Nothing is perfect of course and I tried to make the most of the time I had with my friends. When I was around twelve I tried to make a new set of friends and in a way that was worse. Within a few years those new friends were doing crime and getting slowly hooked on hard drugs. I always expected more in life and more from myself. Art for me was the way out of the main mess though art doesn’t improve your social standing unless you get popular or collected etcetera.
When my daughter was quite little, me and my partner at the time went to a birthday party with that old set of original friends and it was good. They hadn’t really changed though everyone was older. My partner of the time enjoyed the company and it was like a little window into those formative years. Sadly a few of the older people from that era passed away not long after and I think the old friends of my age had become quite well balanced in their own lifestyle choices. My friends after that period are still depressed or on different hard drugs. There was a lovely part of that formative period captured in my book ‘Ran Wicked’ with a chapter called ‘Nature’ that told of my discovery of the beauty of the natural environment. I was with that group during that period. I didn’t really talk about that period because it wouldn’t really fit and I couldn’t remember much of it. I wanted to capture my most important personal discovery from that stage of my life which was the natural world as I went snorkelling around rocks and finding shells. A lot of what happens in your formative years shapes your life.