Standing on the wall at the bottom of the Liskey Hill Caravan Park in Perranporth as a child and looking out over the bay with a sense of awe. Returning to the same view some 30 years later and trying to choke back the feelings of lost innocence that time had inflicted on me since then. (When I die, by the way, I want my ashes sprinkled along that wall so I can look out across that bay for eternity).
The endless Friday nights spent in the company of my late grandfather listening to his records across his kitchen table. He with a cigarette and a glass of sherry. Of coming home one day to find my bedroom stacked with a whole pile of 78’s he’d liberated from a house that had been abandoned and bought home for me. The musty smell of going through each one.
The time at crusader camp when the boy I loved put his sleeping bag next to mine and I woke one night to find his head nestling close to mine and wanting so much to stroke his hair and kiss his forehead and undo both our sleeping bags to make us a couple. But knowing that would be impossible and wrong, as history showed when he later married.
Or later in Birmingham those months with Stephen when we were so close that we could read each others minds and thoughts until some outsider introduced the merely carnal element into our shared paradise (oh, and that journey back from London collecting a Gamelan for the Conservatoire where he let me rest my head on his shoulder the whole way back) and he started avoiding me, despite the fact that the carnal was not the defining charateristic of my feelings. Of being told that “he now had a girl” and didn’t want to see me again.
Again in Birmingham, the time I went into the canteen and found Philip, blue eyed and beautiful, sitting down for lunch and how our hands went out for a split second to instinctively reach for each others before we thought better of it. And a few days before graduation day I told him I loved him and he started avoiding me. No wonder. He too is married.
Of getting up before the rest of the Crusader camp at Gerrans(?) one year in order to sit at the bottom of the field, manuscript paper in hand, to watch the sun rise over the cliffs. And later on looking again to see pitch black clouds everywhere, except for a tiny hole in them far out to sea through which the sun shone onto the water like a golden ray.
On crying my way through “Death In Venice” as a teenager at the realisation that the feelings I was experiencing toward a boy at school were not unusual and that I was not alone in the world. Of feeling every emotion felt by Aschenbach towards Tadzio and particularly the scene where Visconti implies that Tadzio inspires in the composer Aschenbach depth of feeling in his music. Something I too had experienced with my own (now long time married) “love” and which probably means I can never write another note of music without the feeling of the utterly lacerating, desolating pain that was later inflicted on me by that person poisoning every stave. The one for whom every note was written and without whom the music would have remained purely surface and I would probably be a serialist by now.
Of being part of a crowd at some crusader day at Wonersh. Sitting on Wonersh Green yet feeling so totally alienated and alone and, yet, recognising that the (involuntary) outcast has the freedom that the peer following masses don’t have and quietly enjoying that to the full. Though, as ever, having to keep this all hidden and secret from all but a select couple of people, none of them family. As remains the case today.
And the total unmitigated joy of finally vomiting all this out into the ether instead of letting it eat at me internally like cancer.