Sunday, November 03, 2013
Earliest memories: a bath, my mother pouring bucketfuls of ice cold water on me and on herself (buckets? why?). A pretty big leaf in the garden with white or yellow veins or spots -looked pretty and tasty, I had to eat that (some post memory of being ill and severely told not to eat the leaves in the garden. However, I don’t actually remember any of the latter, just the shiny leaf. How can I call the latter part a memory? Do I remember it, in any sense? Did I make it up long afterwards, or conflate it from separate early events? The refrigerated counter at a local shop, my mum being handed some Gerber toddler food. I liked the apple ‘compota’. Still do, if I think about it -I ‘remember’ the taste so clearly. Can you remember taste? A dark room, view of the fridge in the room outside, with the big 1940’s style radio set on it. Impossibly high. There is somebody else in the room. My sisters, I reckon (but again, this may be reconstruction ‘a posteriori’). Mix this with long lost photographs, recovered many many years later, in which a toddler-size flavio is playing in a tiny cemented inner patio or back yard, while father looks sternly over the scene. Odd that my father figures so little in my early memories, which are so full of my mother. Or perhaps it is natural, he would have been out working most of the day and, if later life gives the right pattern, hitting the local bars in the evening. The moon hanging above, my dad is carrying me over the open terrace to my room, I must have been asleep and wake up as he was carrying me. For some reason this memory is entangled with the vague memory (more an idea than a memory) of a parmesan cheese, of all things. It would have been difficult to get hold of real parmesan cheese, let alone a whole one, in Venezuela in the late ‘50s or early ‘60s. No idea about the story behind it. I hated it, the smell and the taste. But I ‘know’ this, not ‘remember’ it in visual terms. What, then, is a memory?
Monday, March 18, 2013
A bright sunshine spring morning in London on a train. For some reason I get flashbacks of other spring mornings in the '80s waiting for trains in London, or the Isle of Wight, or in some suburb north of London where I used to live. Reading about the guitar world and reading about computers and how they would change our lives. And the instruction manual for Windows 2 or the 'Second Manual for the Atari ST', all those magazines and books promising to open the gates of the future in the comfort of your own home. We had moved from St James' Road, from Pete's brother's house, to that little house in Benskin Road. I had the front room, sunshine streaking down as I read about all the wonderful things you could get to do with a computer. You could even make music with it, fancy that. I could write that novel that had been buzzing around my head forever but never seemed to take shape. All the possibilities. I had more or less decided on an Atari ST rather than the other possibilities -the PCs of the time, the 'IBM compatible; PCs as they were still called, were primitive and expensive, Amigas had better graphics and lots of games but I wasn't going to play games, Ataris had MIDI ports built in so you could plug in an electronic music instrument. They also had a superb mono monitor which was 'better than the Apple Mac display'. And what I really wanted and couldn't afford was an Apple Mac, that was what my friend Oswaldo had back in Caracas and the first time I had thought that I could get to do stuff with a computer, you didn't have to type in arcane commands to get it to do things. So the Atari was second best choice. I never did write that novel, my machine music making efforts have been perhaps less than stellar, I never did learn to program properly and eventually decided also that that was not what I wanted a computer for anyway, but it was a good thing, I still think, that I learnt some basics (err....) about this and how the machine worked.