Thursday, 9 August 2012

The way we were

Among the very few (only 50 or so) photos of myself I have kept is the one on the left.

I was the magnificent old age of 20 at the time, had been in the WRAC for 6 months and was helping to set up a halloween party at Shrivenham where I was based.

I'm the one in the floaty flirty dress.

Never keen to be photographed (a hangover from my bespectacled with black patch youth)I nevertheless always loved 'pretty' dresses and this was my very first, bought with my own money and without supervision.

I will attempt to download and put in the right place a few more, kept as a pictorial record of my earlier years.

This is one taken by a colleague one lunchtime in 1958.  I had left the WRAC and returned to live at home with my parents in West Wickham in Kent.

The building was the head office of The Electrical Trades Union where I worked for eight years.

In case you didn't recognise me I am sitting on the lawn front left of the picture.

That dress I remember well, it came from M & S and was made up of emboidered panels red yellow and white.!

This is the best picture of me ever taken.  My youngest brother Roger is the one with the guitar, and I am directly in front of him with a CND banner completely hiding my face.

We did a few Aldermaston marches in those years, 1958 - 1964 ish and this was on the way to Trafalgar Square.

My brothers and I belonged to a sort of folk group with a socialist  message and used to sing as we marched.   Such energy!

This was taken in the orchestra pit at Sadlers Wells we (The New Opera chorus) were rehearsing for a performance of Carmina Burana with the Nederlands Dance Co. performing the ballet on the stage over our heads,  Somewhat cramped but great fun, and we sang well enough for the ballet co to ask us to make a recording which they would use on their world tour.

In this picure I am the one on the right of the central pair, behind the violinist.

This is me on honeymoon in Oxford, John insisted I pose for it, hence the somewhat resigned expression.

That was in February/March 1971 and it was freezing.

After that, it was downhill all the way, with increasing age and weight until I would actually hide rather than be photographed.

Now that I can look back without the angst which accompanied so much of those times, I can see that I really wasn't all that bad, but the self-image thing is powerful and the results can be very long-lived.

These days while I still avoid photographers whenever possible I know that it doesn't really matter.

When the age old question was asked, "would you rather be beautiful or rich" I would unhesitatingly answer "beautiful".  These days asked the same question the answer would be "either would be nice, but it doesn't  matter.


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  2. They are all lovely Ray and a small snap shot of your life. It's strange how many things we have in common...CND and young socialists as well as Carnina Burana...

  3. Perhaps to do with being of similar age and choosing from the rather limited paths open to those not born with the proverbial silver spoon in the mouth, do you think Jean?
    I like to think that despite my lack of education, I did manage to follow my conscience. (Well, some of the time anyway).

  4. What fun to see this side of you, Ray!

  5. Thanks Penny, glad you enjoyed it.
    Though there was only a space of 15 years between the first and last of those pictures, a lot of life was lived.

  6. I look back on photos from the past and marvel at how young I look! So I try to remember that the pictures taken now, the ones I condemn as full or wrinkles or a double chin, may be my "that was a nice photo" in years to bome!

  7. Hmmm. Not sure that works for me Sue. I guess it depends on how many more decades I can do.

  8. How good to see pictures of the younger you, Ray. :-) I too sang Carmina Burana while at college (first soprano and some parts are very high!) and went on a CND march in London in the early 80s at the height of the Greenham Common protests. Thos were the days.....

  9. Yes they were very high. I was a first soprano in those days (how things have changed) and singing in an orchestra pit is not conducive to quality performance, but the critics were full of praise - for once.
    My demonstration days were two decades before yours, but the cause was the same, and the battle is not won even now.
    I still have the zeal, but alas, not the energy.