Wiffle Lever To Full!

Daleks, Death Stars and Dreamy Sci-Fi Nostalgia…

Sunday Bonus Number 2….

I was over at my parents’ place last week, and started rummaging around in a battered old leather suitcase full of old pictures. And, to my utter delight, uncovered some long-lost shots from 1984!

Regular readers will be aware that, on Friday 30th March 1984, Mr Hirst and Mrs Keasey took forty intrepid 11-year-old nutcases (including me and most of my mates) to Carlton Outdoor Education Centre, an outward bound camp at the foot of the North Yorkshire Moors. It was an amazing week – the first time many of us had stayed away from our parents for more than a night or two – and I had great fun writing it all up for the 1984 Blog back in March and April. If you go back to Friday 30th March 1984 and read on for a week or so, it’s riddled with memories, multiple diary entires, pictures and films made by me and my friend (then and now) Gareth ‘Gazzie’ Jones. 

Brilliantly, the pictures I found at my parents’ house all date from that week. In a nutshell, one of the films in my Gran’s camera wasn’t loaded correctly, and – when the pictures were developed – they all appeared as a strange mish-mash of images and portraits. Back in 1984, of course, we thought ‘Bah… they didn’t come out properly’ and stashed them away. And I don’t think I’ve really seen them since.

Rediscovering these shots a few days ago made my head go all swimmy. What looked like a terrible mistake in 1984 now looks… well, great I think. The strange mish-mash of images and portraits is, oddly enough, exactly how my memories of Carlton Camp actually feel, and I find these a slightly moving window into a very distinct but long-forgotten week of my childhood.

Anyway, enough blether, here we go…

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I can’t believe I actually took a picture of (yikes) GIRLS! The blonde girl on the right is Kerry Lewis, and the dark-haired girl on the left is Emma Pick. And I think that’s Samantha Wright sticking her head into shot on the left-hand side, but I could be wrong…!  

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This, bless him, is my mate Doug, attempting to proudly preserve for posterity the sketch he’d just drawn, and instead having my clumsy bloody sleeve get in the way of the camera. Both of these pictures were taken on Tuesday 3rd April 1984, on our way to the legendary Whorlton Castle…

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Stephen Mason captured for posterity, no doubt in mid-grumble about the length of the afternoon’s walk! A true eccentric, a fabulous young artist, and someone I’ve not seen since his family moved to the Shetland Islands in the summer of 1985. Wherever he is now, I hope he’s happy.

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I can’t name the day or the place, but what a lovely little snapshot of a strange, fleeting moment. I think the lad standing up is Richard Horseman… the clumsy nerk on his knees and elbows could be anyone. (And where was I when I took this picture? In a helicopter?)

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Paul ‘Huggy’ Huggins preparing to fend off the ghost of the Grey Lady with EXTREME PREJUDICE…

s_carltonextra6That’s Doug (on the left) and ace guitarist and chess-master Jo Spayne, sharing a bit of idle banter outside the camp’s main dining hall. Beneath a distinctly grumbly-looking sky, I’d have to say…

s_carltonextra7Andrew ‘Stan’ Henry giving it a bit of Stir Crazy-style rodeo fun on the seesaw, just along from where the previous picture was taken. Notice a fine 1980s disregard for childrens’ safety, coating our ‘soft play area’ with a fine layer of granite-hard concrete and gravel. Creeping in from a different picture in the bottom right-hand corner is Ian ‘Pond’s Eye’ Macdonald.

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My bunk-bed mate Gareth ‘Gazzie’ Jones, ready for cricketing action outside the same building. At the bottom of the picture is the darkened silhouette of another lad holding a cricket bat, and I gazed at this for a second trying to work out his indentity before realising with a start… that it’s me! A truly strange feeling, as I’ve no recollection of posing for this picture, I haven’t looked at it for years, and it clearly made no impression on me whatsoever at the time.

I’ve just blown it up and brightened it a bit with Photoshop, and the result actually gave me a bit of a start. It’s like looking at the ghost of my 11-year-old self…

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I can’t describe how it feels to see this picture for the first time… slightly creepy, and a bit touching, and a bit sad. I love it, though. And that’s undoubtedly the legendary Mr Hirst sitting on the wall behind me, with ‘Let’s Dance’-era Bowie quiff resolutely in place.

Thanks for indulging me! 🙂 Normal service resumed tomorrow.

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2 Comments»

  Mark Hirst wrote @

Hell, it all comes flooding back with alarming clarity, unlike the photos!

Final picture of Bob suggests we gave all of the boys regulation gas masks, to be worn around the neck at all times of the day. Especially at night in the fart riddled boys dorms, where you needed a scimitar to cut through the acrid fumes.

I think the clumsy nerk on his knees is probably Slackie, rehearsing his forthcoming party piece on Carlton Bank.

  bobfischer wrote @

What I’m wearing around my neck is protective clothing in anticipation of the visit of the GHOST OF THE GREY LADY.

(Alternatively, it might be my Gran’s camera case)


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