Remember being a kid? Remember spending all day drawing? Sprawled on the carpet with a biro, a pad of paper and a glass of squash – and letting your imagination take you to the farthest corners of the Universe. Drawing on rainy Sundays. After school. On the 6 week holidays…
I was an indoors boy. Not for me the footballs and recreation grounds. No. Outside my front door lay only suburbia. The real adventures were to be found within the pages of my notepads.
I can remember the genuine thrill I got from buying a tub of 50 biros from Woolworth’s. That’s right. A thrill. Fifty biros – that would keep me going for ages!
It’s hard now to explain my excitement about biros. Now I’m an adult, I have tragically morphed into the kind of tedious dullard to whom biros are merely a tool for filling in forms. Biros are for addressing envelopes. They are for writing birthday cards. They languish in drawers with screws and buttons and receipts. But in those days, biros were reservoirs of stories and pictures. All I had to do was take off the lid, find some paper, and let all the stories pour out.
But nowadays most of my writing is done on a keyboard.
And my drawing..? How is most of my drawing done?
Ahem. It is not.
Sorry, 13 year old me. I don’t draw much these days.
Well, do you know what? Amongst boxes of my old stuff, I found a lot of those old stories and drawings. The output of years of productive weekends and summer holidays and teacher training days, stretching way back into the 1990s.
And one of the childhood creative projects I found, was an unfinished comic strip which I’d embarked on as a thirteen year old… and never finished.
I made it to about 56 pages and then stopped.
And I kind of thought… why not… continue it..?
Now, I haven’t drawn regularly for ten years. And those 56 odd pages of comic strip are the scribbles of a schoolboy just keeping himself amused, so don’t imagine it to be a masterpiece.
But I remember I had a character (Captain No-Name) with a quest (to retrieve a stolen gizmo which will save the solar system from imminent destruction) …oh, and the story is set in the same fictional Universe as the BBC sitcom Red Dwarf.
Because a 13 year old boy was writing it.
At the top of this page you will see a brand new page, drawn by 29 Year Old Me in 2016.
But it’s carrying on from where 13 Year Old Me left things (although I decided time has passed in the comic as well as in real life, albeit only 9 years for Captain No-Name, whereas it’s been far longer for me!)
It’s a collaboration across the timelines, authored by two versions of the same person. Which seems appropriately sci-fi. I’ve actually done 5 further pages, so the story does carry on.
When I drew this new page, I wasn’t planning to share it on The Bakery, but this week Red Dwarf itself has started a brand new TV series on Dave (and on the UKTV Play website catch-up service). And hearing that great electric guitar opening theme took me nostalgically back to those 1990s days.
So here’s a toast to those pre-internet days of biro doodles and watching VHS Red Dwarf taped off the telly. And to childhood imagination – it’s still in you if you dig deep enough.