When I moved from London to Paris I left behind a lot of stuff in storage. I also had some stuff back at my parents house. When I relocated to the US in spring 2006 I took the opportunity to get the stuff from my parents and put it with my storage stuff in London. Then, when the relo people picked up my London stuff, it all came to the US with me. Buried, deep, deep down in the London shipment was a box and in that box was hundreds and hundreds of 'snappy snaps snapshots'. Essentially the story of my life.
I haven't seen a lot of these pictures for 10 or so years. It's really quite a trip to go back in time and see the things you did and the person you were. The changes are invisible day to day but breathtaking when viewed at a distance of twenty years. So, over the course of the coming months I'm going to be trawling through my box of memories.
Back in the late 1980's I was a skater. In fact I raced. Something called Short Track. That's the kind of speed skating you see Apolo Anton Ohno doing, indoors, tight track all elbows and frantic speed. I became a speed skater because I'd been a skater since I was about 10 years old. I loved it. I skated, at one time, almost every night of the week. My parents were happy that I was getting exercise in a safe environment and I loved skating like a beast. Me and my mates used to scoot around the ice, weaving in and out, jumping through gaps, going backwards, you name it. And, of course, there were girls. To me, at 15 or 16, they were utterly unattainable. And then, finally, it clicked and I met a girl. At the Nottingham Ice Stadium. She was a skater too. She was cute as a button and I was smitten. It wasn't to last, I caught her, making out with a mate of mine. At the Nottingham Ice Stadium.
Around that time I wasn't racing but I did take part in the 'sports' section of a Friday night down at the Stadium. The sports section allowed those beyond beginner to go nuts for a few minutes - skating fast as you wanted - sometimes in a circle, occasionally in a dazzlingly dangerous figure-eight (wonder if that is even legal now). During the sports we used to barrel jumping too. We'd get some gallon cans out on the ice, skate like lunatics and try to jump over them. It was insane. Then we found out that there was an official Barrel Jumping sport in Canada. It even had a world championships! We formed a team and became the Great Britain Barrel Jumping team. We arranged to go compete in Canada and France. For some reason (I think I'd broken something) I couldn't jump... so I became a referee. Before I knew it I'd refereed several world championships indoors and out, mens and womens.
This picture is me as Chief Official at the Outdoor World Barrel Jumping Championships in Ottawa, Canada around 1989.
We had a blast on these trips, especially the trips to Canada which were my first trips to North America. The picture below is me as a young 20-something riding a Skidoo for the first time. Shortly after this picture was taken my buddy took a turn to drive and drove us through a barbed wire fence. He needed stitches. I needed a new ski jacket and gloves.
I had hair. I was a lot thinner. I was pretty fit. I was traveling the world and becoming addicted to it.