Showing posts from July, 2021


Regular readers of Na Seascaidí will know that these posts are about my memories of life in the 1960s. I supplement my recollections of people and places with research that fills out and contextualises these snapshots of life back then. Examples are my articles on John F. Kennedy and Jimmy Savile . My personal connections to these men were tenuous to say the least. I saw both of them from a considerable distance while they were receiving great acclaim in a public space. But those memories were vivid enough to push me into a deeper exploration of the culture that spawned such influential celebrities. But what about the more intimate and personal side of my character? Is it possible to bring back into focus an accurate or authentic picture of the kind of person I was more than half-a-century ago? Is my young self retrievable at all? Maybe it’s true that, as a famous novelist once wrote, “The past is a different country: they do things differently there”.[1] Was I a different person the


My first pet was a goldfish named Jimmy. I can’t remember who christened him. It may have been me. As a boy I was a Jimmy and it was probably the first name that came to mind when I was given the fish. It must have been at the beginning of the “long 1960s” . I was very young, maybe four, so my memories of that time are few and far between. I do remember something specific about Jimmy the goldfish though. That was the day I was told my pet had died. I don’t think that Jimmy and I were particularly close. So I was not especially saddened by the news. Being a fish Jimmy lived in a glass bowl full of water. So I probably peered in at him from time to time. Maybe I sprinkled some fish food into his bowl. But I doubt if there was ever any tactile bonding between us. (For his sake, I hope not.) In fact the reason I remember Jimmy at all is because of the news of his death. Perhaps in an attempt to soften the blow, my father told me that the goldfish had died as a patient in the nearby general