Pictures say a thousand words from far-off days

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Most of the girls in my primary school wanted ponies. Most of the boys wanted a Chopper.

All I ever wanted was Blu Tack.

This being the 1970s, I had bare plaster lime green walls – an interior design inspired by Mr Leonard Rossiter to accentuate the rising damp.

But using drawing pins to pin posters up was a disaster.

Not only were they pretty useless, but big chunks of plaster cracked off leaving the surface like an aerial view of the Somme.

Any pictures invariably fell down after a few days leaving a minefield of upturned pins and a race against time to cover the wall again before my mum saw it and set about me with her wooden Scholls.

(It was no use running; even if you made it to the top of the drive, she was lethal from 30 yards with those things.)

So Blu Tack in our house became a currency in itself, a bit like tobacco in prison or Lambrini in Bilston.


Everyone wanted it – and there wasn't enough to go round.

My elder brother had particular need, as his walls were adorned with life-sized views of Debbie Harry, in various sex goddess poses.

While I appreciated both his musical and artistic taste, I don't think they helped him get to sleep.

He was often tired for some reason. And suffering from cramp.


Personally, my tastes were a bit more macho; there was my bubblegum/sci-fi/military phase (Bazooka Joe, Joe 90, Joe Stalin), then motorsport (Barry Sheene, Ivan Mauger, Mario Andretti), football (Keegan, Brooking, err, Mariner) and finally music (Weller, Weller, Weller).

The only constant was the obligatory red Che Guevara beret poster. I had no idea who he was, but it looked cool and one day a) I was going to get a girl in my room and b) she'd be impressed.

Neither of those things ever happened.

I was reminded of all this on a visit to see Albion the other day. There, one of the raffle prizes was a moving video poster, complete with commentary, featuring footage of their previous Great Escape from relegation in 2005. It is, quite frankly, a brilliant idea.

Albion fans currently in need of inspiration (gulp!) could drift off to match commentary and wake up with historic sporting images of redemption and celebration.

Immediately, I began to think of my own pictures; Sheene flicking the Vs, Keegan falling off his bike on Superstars and The Jam rocking Top of the Pops.

But none of them needed moving images. The tattered pictures are deeply embedded in my mind and still shine bright nearly 40 years later.

The fact that memories may have frayed along with the picture edges actually lends something to the process; we end up filling in the blanks with happy memories and embellishments that make the whole thing more fulfilling.

By contrast, impressive though the HD video in the West Brom picture frame is, it somehow loses the essence of the day and the personal experience.

Less is more and the odd blurred picture in a mind's eye never hurt anyone.

So I'll stick with the stills thanks, the yellowing snapshots that reach through the decades, saying thousands of words.

Anyway, I dread to think what moving pictures would have done for my brother's cramp.

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