Review 2008: The ten year old version of me

Suggested by Kat.

Dear Stuart,

I’ve been trying to remember what you’re like. I don’t mean what you look like – there are an amazing number of photographs – but what it was like to be you. I’ve been asked to write to you, but I don’t really know what to say.

Shall we talk about what life’s like for you now?

It’s 1984, so the Olympics have happened or are happening in Los Angeles, Peter Davison is Doctor Who, the International Garden Festival is in Liverpool and you’re thinking about the secondary school you want to go to. About now Band Aid is at number one, though other than that you’re not paying much attention to the pop charts because you have The Spinners on permanent loop. You’re generally unaware of major news events and mostly spending your time in front of a computer. That’s not going to change so get used to it. You’ll be pleased to know, though, that you’ll still be able to play Chuckie Egg in twenty-four years. And there's a new Star Trek film coming out. I know how much you enjoyed The Search for Spock.

What about your immediate future?

You’re being bullied, I know, and I wish I could tell you that’s going to stop, but it isn’t at least for now, it’s going to get worse right into secondary school, but it’ll ease when boys grow up or at least they move on to someone else. It’ll be horrible, but on the plus side, you’ll make some good friends as a result with the people who intervene, and you’ll cry at a station when one of them emigrates to Australia, though no one else seems to hear about it or care so get it out of your system. Though I’d make sure when your pet rabbit dies that you don’t tell anyone at least in school; it’s for the best.

Also, you know those feelings you’re having about Princess Leia, how you can’t keep your eyes off that postcard you have of her in that snow gear she wore on Hoth, and you’re not sure what they’re about? There’ll be plenty more of that. After a while you’ll start to think about girls you don’t know in the real world in the same way and then some you do and sometimes all at the same time. It’s called fancying or a crush and you’ll be having a lot of them. Pop stars will be your thing, at least at first, and though the names Kylie Minogue and Debbie Gibson mean nothing to you now, you’ll have posters of them all over your bedroom wall by the end of the decade.

How about now?

I don’t want to give too much away because even after a quarter of a century I can’t quite understand everything that is happening and besides I don’t want to spoil everything for you. Even after this time, there are still comics and books and games and school and holidays and records and you’ll be surprised by how little has altered. You’ll be told at some point that nothing really changes, the words stay the same even if it’s different faces making the speeches and wars continue even if the guns are in different hands. But things seem to have intensified lately. You’ll be pleased to know you stay healthy yourself though, even if the world around you becomes an often quite scary place.


Keep informed, keep reading, and listen, you should be ok. At some point you’ll hear the word ‘cynicism’. It sounds like a negative word and some people will say that it is. But it’s also a survival word too because it stops you blundering around and following the crowd. You’re already fairly independent and that’ll continue – you’ll never be what people expect, you’ll always try to confound expectations just as you did on the first day of school when the class were asked to name a composer and you offered Tchaikovsky. The teacher wanted John Lennon, but everyone was impressed that you knew who this Russian composer was, let alone be able to pronounce his name.

And what ever you do, enjoy being your age. Before long, things will become very, very complicated.


[Why am I doing this?]

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