2019-09-16_The_Big_Issue_UserUpload.Net

(Jacob Rumans) #1
16-22 SEPTEMBER 2019 BIGISSUE.COM | 19

thebosomofyourfamilymore.Whenyou’reyoungyoufeelbulletproof
andtheworldstretchesoutinfrontofyou.Butwhenyou’re 61 – and
especiallysinceIhadcancer[Radcliffewasdiagnosedwithheadand
neckcancerlastyear]–Ifeelthenurturingeffectofmyfamilymore.
LastyearwouldhavebeensomuchmoredifficultifI’dbeenon
myown.

I alwaysregrettedthatallmygrandparentsdiedwhenI was
relativelyyoung.Iwishthey’dstillbeenaroundwhenIcouldafford
totakethemoutandbuythema nicemeal.Repaysomeofthelove
theygaveme.TheothersenseofreallossI feelisactuallyovermyold
dog,a cockerspanielcalledToto.Hewasmyshadowfor 12 yearsand
hediedlastyear.I stillreallymisshim.Dogsarethemostbeautiful
andempatheticanimals.ThereweretimeswhenI wasill,andI kept
thinking,I wishTotowashere.HecouldjustsitwithmeandI
wouldfeelbetter.I knewI lovedhimbutitwasn’tuntilhewentthatI
realisedhowmuch.Itwasabsolutelytraumatic.I wasanincomplete
personreally,andittookmea longtime...I justwantedhimto
bethere.

IfIcouldlive one year of my life againitwouldbemy firstyear at
university,livinginstudenthalls.Thatfirsttasteoffreedom,being

awayfromhome,meetingallthesenewpeoplewhowerefree
forthefirsttimeinthesameway.Noonetotelluswhattodo,
andnorealresponsibilitiesorbillstopayyet.Itwasbliss,sheer
unbridledjoy.Noonehadanyfriends,wewerealldesperateto
forgenewbonds.Wesawlotsofbandsandwedranklotsof
beeranditfeltlikealleternitywasstretchingoutinfront
ofus.

I thinkmyfriendsandmyfamilywouldsayI’vebecomequieter.
SometimesI’lljustbesittingonthesofainsilenceandmywife
willcomeinandsay,areyoualright?AndI’llsay,yeah,I’mgreat.
I’mjustenjoyinglookingata treeoutside.I’mdoinga bitlessradio
nowandI quitelikethattoo.I bumpedintothewifeofanold
friendrecentlyandshesaid,I don’thearyousomuchthesedays.
AndI said,no,I’mdoinga bitless.Andshesaid,youofallpeople
musthavesaidenough.AndI thought,yes,actually.MaybeI have
saidenough.

1974
THE YEAR MARK
TURNS 16


  • Stephen King’s
    first novel Carrie is
    published

  • Bandleader Duke
    Ellington dies aged 75

  • Fantasy role-playing
    game Dungeons &
    Dragons is released


Crossroads: In Search of the Moments that Changed Music by
Mark Radcliffe is out now (Canongate, £16.99)
Interview: Jane Graham @Janeannie
For more interviews see bigissue.com/letter-to-my-youngerself

Photo:


BBC

Free download pdf