29 April 2009

It's all meme, meme, meme, meme, meme

In this time of contagion, I appear to have been in contact with the First Time meme, thanks to Caron. It should surprise no one that Iain Dale is Patient Zero. Nevertheless, here I go:

First Job

I was regular babysitter to two psychotic young boys, who were sons of my Dad's psychotic friend. I deployed cruel and unusual tactics, and my method of getting them to go to bed was brutal yet effective: they could go to sleep, or they could stay up with me and read the Business pages on Ceefax. They usually caved in once we got to the Forex section.

First Real Job

It was after my A-Levels: my College's Modern Languages Department needed a Web Designer. All the language teachers knew me (on account of having taken all the languages that the College offered), and they knew I was a techno-geek. Cue technician's job. This of course was manna from heaven to the girl in Lower Sixth who had a thing for my sideburns, fancied older men (I was a year older), had a thing for some of the technicians (of which I was now, in effect, one) and who ended up chasing guys who - guess what - didn't reciprocate her feelings on the grounds that she was the wrong gender. Sadly for her, I ended up on that list. Luckily for me, I got staff room privileges so spent breaks there, where I didn't have to deal with her, and ended up comparing ways of eating various chocolate bars with one of the Psychology teachers and the Head of French.

First Role in Politics

Without counting school/student politics, my first role was as an activist in my local Labour(!) Branch. Decent folks, mostly. Shame about the rest of the party...

First Car

Still in the future, if at all. I generally get by without one, but recently, a couple of days of public transport chaos between Preston and Chorley, coupled with the soul-crushing bus journey as an alternative, have made me wonder if it might be worth revising that approach.

First Record

Never really bothered with singles, but my first album was ABBA Gold. Way to live down to a stereotype!

First Football Match

October 1990. Springfield Park. Wigan Athletic v Southend. Division Three (now League One). Wigan won 4-1. You beauty!

First Concert

1997. Christian rock concert in Blackburn. Same American band, can't remember the name, but they were nice people. The music, on the other hand...

First Country Visited

Most family holidays were in either England (Northumberland once, very nice, Devon twice, OK the first time but slightly dull the second) or Scotland (Galloway, OK but ruined by external factors, Dunoon, would have been nice had visibility been greater than 10m), so it was a pleasant change to go to Brittany in 1999. We stayed in Cancale, just down the road from St Malo, and it was lovely. Apart from the heatstroke. Anyway. We stayed in this upstairs holiday flat in a converted cottage, and there were German tourists in the downstairs one: a group of students who were really nice in the first week (I liked that as I got to practice my German) and a somewhat standoffish family the second week. I recall the landlady, a woman who seemed to have slept with members of every conceivable trade from every European nation that had been on the map at any point over the previous 40 years. She fell out of the downstairs flat's kitchen window at one point, and ended up sitting in the garden with my parents, getting pissed.

First TV Appearance

In the background, I was in shot for a report from College for North West Tonight on some sort of row over A-Level Coursework. I ended up being on camera in 2003, when Margo MacDonald was out talking to voters (I was one of them) while being filmed for an STV documentary. Nothing proper though. At least, not yet.

First Political Speech

Other than student politics, and Debates Union events (though in 2005, I found myself speaking alongside Margaret Smith MSP against all-woman shortlists), I'm yet to deliver one, unless you count the time EUSA sent me to do a hatchet job on Marilyne MacLaren at an Edinburgh South hustings over her support for HMO Quotas. I have co-written one though...

First Girlfriend/Boyfriend

The actual Boyfriend thing is a little thorny as my love life has hitherto been a total and utter train wreck of the first order: either potential romances turn out to be borderline stalky (ie, the previous possibility, where we'd started chatting, I thought he seemed pleasant enough but in his mind, he was getting ready for me to move down to Eastbourne with him and leave out a life in the eternal shackles of domestic bliss) or just fizzle out when we realise that we don't seem to have all that much in common and the conversation just dies (ie, the ones before Mr. Rabbitboiler).

However, my friendships tend to be pretty intense affairs for as long as they last: "Bromance" type things with people who I do have a lot in common with, where we get on like a house on fire, becoming inseparable to the point where the only person who'd be surprised if it evolved into something more would probably be the other guy. The first one of those was, of course, at secondary school, with a fellow geek, Anthony. He liked Star Trek, I liked Star Trek, he was into computers, I was into computers. Though the fact that we went to see Shakespeare in Love at the pictures together meant that maybe this one could have been something more. It wasn't, of course, and while at Uni, we did drift apart, alas, but I do, on occasion, wonder how and what he's doing.

First Encounter with a Famous Person

If you can call Margo MacDonald famous, then her, after a public debate at Uni on the War on Terror, where I made a floor speech which she disagreed with. Afterwards I was having a drink with one of my mates and she swept towards me, shouting, and effectively pinning me towards the bar. Yeek!

If you don't count her, then I'd say Nicola Sturgeon, at a Politics Society event in 2004. She was fantastic.

First Brush With Death

Not too long after the Christian rock concert, as it happens. Needless to say, there were a number of conflicting internal factors, I soon found that I was at odds with myself, and things reached a head in the early part of 1998. I nearly did something incredibly idiotic and I don't know what it was that stopped me but it was a bloody good instinct, and a Very Good Thing. What I eventually learned from that was not to take life (or myself) too seriously.

First House/Flat Owned


First Film Seen at a Cinema

The first one I remember is a showing of The Jungle Book at the Unit Four in Pemberton.

First Time on the Radio

Being interviewed by Radio Scotland's Tim Reid back in 2006, on bloggery for a Good Morning Scotland feature over Christmas.

First Politician I Met

Lindsay Hoyle, MP for Chorley.

First Book I Remember Reading

I remember reading all the Postman Pat stories, most of the Mister Men series and a fair few Thomas the Tank Engine ones, but my first actual memory of a specific book is The Highway Code. It started as I was fascinated by the road signs, and what they meant. I was a very strange four-year-old.

First Visit to the London Palladium

Still in the future.

First Election

The first one I remember was the 1992 General Election: I was nine and carried out a poll of my classmates. If they'd reflected the general adult population, the Tories would have won by a landslide rather than the heavily-reduced majority they actually got. Needless to say, I remember how disappointed my parents were the following morning.

The first one I voted in was the 2001 General Election, having turned 18 a couple of months earlier. I was excited to actually cast my vote (not many were in that election), and did so for the aforementioned Lindsay Hoyle in the Westminster election, and for the LibDem candidate (who I have since gone off) on the County Council ballot. I'd have stayed up to watch the results but had a Spanish A-Level exam the next day and that had to come first. Incidentally, Lindsay got back in and I got an A in Spanish, so everything came up roses in the end.

The first one I did any campaigning in was the 2004 European Elections, having only just switched allegiances (top-up fees being the final straw) and basically acting as a cheerleader for Alyn Smith. It was a nice welcome to the party.

I am, as always, going to adopt my alter ego, Zoltan, Swallower of Memes. If you fancy doing it, do it. If not, meh.


subrosa said...

When I read this I realise I should gently refuse the invitation to take part. I'm of the generation which went to the cinema and partly paid in jam jars so I don't think my answers would be of any interest to you young folks!

Will said...

Oh, go on. If I can admit to reading The Highway Code at age 4, I'm sure you can lay your cards on the table for your first movie! :)

Holyrood Patter said...

very insightful Will.
Cracking read

Ted Harvedy said...

I'm not speaking to you for at least a day Will... your 'firsts' have reminded me of how old, apparently, I am, according to the conventional world.

But I bet you don't have a "first time detained by armed border guards in GDR's East Berlin" :-)

Will said...

Ted, when you start talking to me again, I'm expecting you to tell that tale!