THE UK TOP 40. Why were the charts always of 40? Anyway. This is our 40th post. Hooray and all that. We’ve made our own top 40 of the things that make us who we are. The sum of the parts etc… we are a product of our experiences. And what not.
1- When I was three before some major spinal surgery to remove a large lump from my back. I was convinced coffee beans would tumble out of it like the Nescafe add going round in 1983. (I’m not sure if they did or not)
2- In 1985 at age 5 every single afternoon when my sister got in from school we would watch the making of thriller followed by the young ones. (Every morning I would watch Mary Poppins)
3- When I was 6 years old we went on a family holiday to Spain. My Dad cocked his leg up in his tiny 1980’s shorts and little Dave popped out. Very disturbing.
4- We moved into a new house in 1986, the old man who had lived there previous had raised a Black Bird and trained it to knock on the window for bread every morning. It continued to do so after we had moved in for one whole year.
5- In this same house I awoke in the middle of the night thinking I had seen the ghost of a cat. Only to realise it was my *actual* cat.
6- My big brother, the man who once threatened to punch me through a wall and kick me down the stairs if I showed off in front of his mates. Went into a coma when I was seven. I was the first person he asked for when he woke up.
7- I was once a very chubby majorette and made everyone coo in the Dagenham carnival when I dropped my baton.
8- When I was 6 years old on holiday In Austria, my Mum and Dad made me do my Margaret Thatcher impression to a pub full of people.
9- When I was 12 a trod on a stone down the beach, it didn’t heal. Eventually when a Dr made me close my eyes whilst he stuck a pin in my foot we realised I couldn’t feel either of my feet.
10- Because of the cut that wouldn’t heal I had to wear a hideous foam boot. My brother drew a Nike air symbol on the side to make me look cooler.
11- First day of senior school I emerged from the toilets walked through the busy food hall with a long bit of loo roll hanging out my skirt.
12- One week into senior school, my form tutor finished assembly, paused then collapsed and died on the kids in the front row. Throughout school we were convinced if you said her name three times into the mirror in the music room she would appear candy man style and butcher us all.
13- My Dad once told me to try anything once except morris dancing and incest……….Wisest words I’ve ever heard.
14- When I was 18 I got stoned for the first time. Whited out, came home and yacked my guts up. Mum came to investigate mid dry heaving and I managed to groan out “Baaaaaaad Burrgggerrrrrrrrrr”
15- When I was twenty I needed another toe amputated. Due to the lack of sensation in it I was allowed to remain awake and watch the entire operation. They did not however let me keep the toe.
16- When I was 22 I broke my foot. I wanted to go out dancing a few weeks later so me and my friend Sarah spent three hours cutting the plaster cast off so I could. My Mum refused to come in to see the Dr with me on my following out patients appointment……”YOU can explain why you’ve magically not got a cast on a broken foot now”.
17- When I was 24 I birthed my first son. They threw this slimy alien type creature onto my stomach and he looked up at me with massive blue eyes. I’d never felt love like it and I also had a new found respect and understanding for my own Mum.
18- When I was 26 I birthed my second son at home. Didn’t realise I was capable of loving two small humans so intensely and equally. Also they had to call an ambulance to take us both to hospital. This arrived at the same time as the Tesco delivery man. He did not give me free nappies for life.
19- When I was 29 I split up with my husband. Tough, hard, brave decision. What followed was a year of realising how full my life is. How amazing my friends and family are and what a life line Twitter could be.
20- When I was 30 I went on a date with a man I met on Twitter. He took me out for dinner and made me eat weird Asian rubber clouds. He gabbered on endlessly and didn’t let me get a word in edge ways. But then he kissed me by the fountain in Trafalgar Square and steadied me when I was gonna fall. I knew then that he was the sort of man that I would share my last trifle with and I do all the time (Only slightly resentfully)
20 things of varying significance which may or may not have in some major or minor way directly or indirectly contributed to me becoming the person I almost or mostly am today, in no particular order.
1- My first word was “stuck”.
2- In year 2 at primary school, Mrs Hopkins stood under the clock by the door waving her fat little arms up making us all repeat LEFT, RIGHT, LEFT, RIGHT.
3 – Age 9, on holiday in France, my mum told me “JUST LOOK FORWARD DONT LOOK UP LETS GET INSIDE”. I looked up. There were two moths on the wall with a wingspan of about a foot each.
4 – When I was about 13, a girl at school told me my mum’s friend (and my friend’s mum) had a brain tumour and was going to die. I didn’t tell my mum. My mum found out a week later and a few days after that her friend died. I woke up in the night and was sure I saw the lady in my room, smiling but shaking her head at me.
5 – The first time I was ever brave enough to properly tell a boy how much I liked him (I was 11. He was 13…), he gave a mutual friend a card he’d made for me with a big heart on the front painted in orangey red gouache. He was so artistic. It was a full A4 page about how much he didn’t like me back.
6 – The best job I ever had was the result of a clumsy accident. After moving to Melbourne, I decided to enrol in a silversmithing class. I got lost on the way though, and happened upon a millinery shop with a sign in the window advertising classes. I signed up, and became the first apprentice to the longest-established milliner in Australia, where I ended up working for a year.
7 – When my grandma died and we were sorting through her wonderful things, I asked my mum “why would one lady need SO MANY umbrellas?” – my mum said “one day you’ll know”. I currently have about 6. One of them is my grandma’s.
8 – A wonderful, handsome, funny and clever boy I went to both primary and secondary school with died in a terrible car accident a few years ago. He wore crazy brightly coloured trainers his entire life and now that everybody else does too, I catch little glimpses of him all over the place.
9 – Once, I visited a creepy old lady who’s living room was a sort of haberdashery shop. I bought an envelope full of buttons from her, but noticed some odd white stringy things in the way which I handed back to her. “No no. You keep them. One day you’ll know what to do with them”. They were antique millinery stamen to use for making silk flowers.
10 – The night my brother was brought home from hospital after being born, I had a terrifying dream in which pirates were trying to steal him. I ran in with a sword and shouted “LEAVE HIM ALONE. THAT’S MY BROTHER.” This is my earliest memory.
11 – I saw a man try to throw himself down the middle of a stairwell. I caught him by the wrists. People helped. He was OK. He tried again. He was OK. He went to hospital and then was a little bit more OK. He asked somebody to pass thanks and an apology.
12 – My mum once told me to never iron a shirt for a man, because “once you do, that’s it.”
13 – On a particularly bad day, I found myself welded to the sofa, staring at endless repeats of the show Scrubs. My brother said it was a lovely day and I should sit in the garden. I said “Can’t. Watching Scrubs.” He opened the patio door, lifted the couch (+ me) in to the garden, span the TV around, and sat down next to me.
14 – The moment somebody suggested to me that you can tell a lot about a person by looking at the people they choose to spend their time with, I instantly understood people, and my self, a little better.
15 – When I was 10 my dad thought a fun evening’s entertainment would be for us to watch the film ‘IT’ together as a family.
16 – I found a Jacques Brel record with a gorgeous cover at a flea market but was advised to not get it because it only contained disc 2 and disc 1 was missing. 2 years later, on the other side of the world, I found another copy, containing disc 1 and not disc 2. I bought it.
17 – I can’t drive.
18 – 11 years ago at a party at art college I met a girl who didn’t like me very much. My best friend, who now lives on the other side of the world, knows me better than anyone, despite being so different to me. She knows when to magically appear, or when I’m thinking of her, and nothing compares to the idiosyncrasies I am honoured to share with her.
19 – I had surgery on my right eyeball when I was 18 months old. When I was 7 and was told that my right eye would most likely never ‘switch on’ more than the tiny amount it was working, my mum said “you’ll just see the world differently to other people”.
20 – During my first week of primary school there was a fire drill. A bird did a massive shit on the back of my uniform.