I was born in 1973. Which in itself is perhaps the least interesting fact I could tell you. I mean, even with the power of Google I struggle to come up with a list of fascinating facts about the year. But what it does mean, and the observant amongst you will already have worked this out, is that my formative years were mainly spent in the 70s and 80s. Not a time of high fashion.
We were all victims of over large collars, tank tops, basin hair cuts and bell bottoms. That was our cross to bear and as kids I think we knew that we were destined to look back at photo albums in our 30s not with a sense of fondness, but instead dread and loathing for the generation that made us look like total social rejects. But more than that, I….I was special.
When I was very little the Doctor’s noticed that I had a lazy eye. In fact once they had diagnosed it, they then berated my mother for not having noticed it – which is the sort of pathetic self-important idiocy that the medical profession can so often indulge in. And because it hadn’t been picked up “soon enough” they set about corrective treatment. Not only was I the proud owner of a pair of prescription specs, but I also got to wear an eye patch on a regular basis…..a look that I totally rocked.
The whole optician thing was to a child a complete tortuous and frustrating experience. I would sit on a big machine with my eyes pressed to a viewing hole and each hand holding a lever (I always imagined this was a little like a submarine periscope, but given that I have never been in submarine it will have to remain an imagination). When the adult person was ready to humiliate me, they would display two images…a lion and a cage, a parrot and a bird-cage etc. and ask me to move the two levers until the lion was back in the cage or the parrot was back…..well you get the idea. Then when I replied that it was, they would do something to undo my hard work and ask sweetly, “is it still in the cage?”
Of course the adult voice inside me shouts, “No it isn’t fuckhead because you’ve just pressed a button or something to make it all go wrong” but the child at the time would just repeat the exercise seemingly ad infinitum.
And kids being kids, anything that was slightly out of the ordinary was fair game for name calling. And nothing much better than the boy just arrived from Wales….with big thick glasses…..and an eye patch! One ingenious child came up with the name SpeccyWoo and for a while it stuck. If you went back and asked the kids at school with me, what nickname I had they probably couldn’t remember….but if you ask me, then of course I can. As you know……because I’m talking about it. 30 years later. So anyway, I decided to take the name and make it my own so if you’re on Twitter and you come across @SpeccyWoo you’ll find me, still wearing glasses, still with god awful dress sense….only this time, without the patch.