Wednesday 3 September 2008

Memory almost full.

I'm known among my family and friends for two things: I'm always late and my memory is terrible. I forget names and dates (an affliction I keep on top of with a ridiculously organised diary and a propensity to write lists), important tasks, whole conversations, nights out (though I fear a lot of that is self-inflicted), childhood memories... you name it, I've forgotten it. I revealed to Tills yesterday that I can barely remember anything I learned at school, college or uni. (Except to only use a colon after a complete statement. And never begin a sentence with 'and'. Oh.) I accepted very early on that my memory was goldfish-like, and devised a way to remember the stuff I'd been taught simply for the short-term purpose of downloading it onto my essay paper. Even as soon as walking home from an exam, I'd forget what I'd written in it. (I'm not kidding – I have a C in A-level German, but all I'm able to say is 'Das Kind ist in den Flughafen'. And even that's cheating, since I learned it from Eddie Izzard.)

All that said, my music memory is second to none. I'm a demon in a pop quiz. Even after a few Tizers I can recall lyrics, years, song titles, album opening tracks, band members' favourite foods (okay, so I'm lying about that bit, but I can tell you that Mark Owen had a pet iguana called Nirvana and that Michael Stipe's actual first name is John). So it seems my music memory is stored in an altogether different part of my brain. Or maybe even elsewhere? I'm starting to wonder whether my iPod isn't just loaded with MP3s, but actually holds the key to my memory as well as its own. Seriously – name me a song, and I bet you I've got a long-since-stored-away memory attached to it.

Having chatted about this at length with my friend Lil, neither of us can get our heads around the fact that it's almost 15 years since Kurt Cobain died (incidentally, my brother tried on Wig 1 the other day and looked frighteningly Cobain-like), 13 years since Wonderwall and 10 years since one of my all-time favourite albums, Gomez's Bring It On, was released. And each of these things not only makes me feel old (I'm breaking with tradition and getting my ageing worries out of the way before My Super Sweet 30th), but prompts many previously forgotten memories. Kurt's death = my Mum's refusal to let me have Dr Marten boots, and threading red and yellow beads through the laces of the DM shoes she bought me instead. Wonderwall = my first boyfriend's bedroom, and looking up at his Oasis poster during my First Time (see also: Parklife and a dodgy Stars In Their Eyes version of A Million Love Songs). Bring It On = receiving a copy of the album from my cousin while I was living in Norway, then immediately falling in love with the lead singer – and subsequently a boy at uni who looked exactly like him (now one of my best mates – or at least he was until buying me Wig 5, the cheeky shyster). I'm willing to wager you've got a similar playlist.

All of this record recollection came about after the aforementioned conversation with Tills (hence writing this post now – by tomorrow I'll have forgotten it ever happened). I'm back in chemo on Friday, and I'm bricking it. Even more so than I was after the last time; probably because this past week has been so damn good. And I suspect I'm bricking it so much because I can't remember exactly what it felt like (the post-chemo bit, I mean – the mid-chemo needles I can handle). And actually, that's one thing I'm glad I can't remember. Trouble is, it works both ways. Because I know for a fact that come Friday night, Saturday morning, Sunday afternoon, I won't be able to get my head around recovering from The Bullshit. In the midst of chemo-hell, it's just too awful to think about anything other than how dreadful you feel. Tills was spot on when she likened it to the horrible, drowning feeling of getting your heart broken – you can't imagine a time when you'll feel any better, let alone consider falling in love again. But, of course, you do. And I will, of course, get back to my old self. I'll just need a nudge to remember it. Tills' brilliant idea is to write notes to remind myself that I'll feel better in a few days, then plaster them all over my bedroom walls so I see them every time I look up (incidentally that's the same way I memorised everything I needed for my exams). I'm thinking a Chemo Playlist could also be in order (suggestions welcome). Then P or my folks can just press play and I'll at least be able to feel like shit to a decent soundtrack that makes me think of better times. But will somebody please remind me to leave Wonderwall off it?


Anonymous said...

I thought I looked quite good in your wig! Bro.

Anonymous said...

hiya, I'm so sorry that you have got this awful thing ... but I love your strength, your humour, the way you will not let this crappy disease become what you are - 'A Person With Cancer' - like I saw in a family member. Im glad you are talking about things that people are too scared to talk about, you have more guts and spirit than anyone Ive ever read about and I wish you a full recovery. Mind is a strong thing, and no matter how much you cry - thats bloody good! let it out or it stays inside and looks for some other way of getting out!! You will beat this thing, good luck and lots of best wishes, and ps you also make me howl laughing, thats a great gift! Keep giving it hell hun! xxx

Anonymous said...

Try listening to: I Am Not My Hair feat Akon - India Arie, it would make a good addition to any Ipod.