I have had a moment – well, I’ve had more than one over the course of my life . But I’ve just had a new moment and as moments go, it’s a pretty fucking big one.
You may be looking at me with your head cocked to one side, very confused, like a dog watching a magic trick, but I can tell you now that you have had moments too.
A moment is a short period of time lasting minutes or just seconds, that burns itself into your memory.
Like walking into your parents bedroom in the early hours of Christmas morning to find them having sex. Your Dad in fishnets tied to the bed and your mum on top of him, shouting “I’m going ride you like gymkhana pony, bitch!”
Then once they notice you’re there (and after they’ve hastily covered the butt-plug, the vibrator and an industrial sized tub of lube) and with the vibrator still wriggling and buzzing under the covers, start explaining to you that it was just Mummy and Daddy having a special cuddle!
I’m sure they had hoped over time that you would have forgot what you saw but forgetting that would have been difficult at 5 years old but at 16 – fucking impossible.
You ran, shell shocked, to your room taking the big tin of Quality street with you (yes, they were big and they were tins, not the shitty little tubs you get today) in the hopes of inducing a diabetic coma.
Moments, as Sam Cook says “can be good and bad and happy and sad”. Take Edmund Hillary, imagine that second when he realised that he was standing on the highest place on the planet and looking down from the top of the world for the first time, like no one else before him had ever done.
The brief time between that and him thinking “I hope I didn’t leave the iron on!” was a good moment.
Neil Armstrong climbing down that ladder and placing his foot on the ground and saying “It’s one small box of Christmas decorations but can I find them in the loft? Can I fuck?!” – definitely not a happy moment.
I have had many moments, some life-changing and some breath-taking – the birth of my kids, seeing the love of my life in the flesh for the first time.
Some smaller and more insignificant – staggering home from a party late one night and coming face to face with a gorgeous looking urban fox – not to be mistaken for an urbane fox who wears a smoking jacket and sings “Only mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the midday sun” while puffing on a long cigarette holder.
We both stopped and looked at each other, just feet apart. Then he crossed the road and vanished in to the darkness. A moment.
At this time of year I start thinking not of peace on earth and good will to all men but of chocolate…boxes, tins, selection packs, fat, foil covered Santas and how it’s changed so much since I was a kid.
Sweets nowadays are not as nice or as big as they were…wagon wheels once were a viable alternative to a real wagon wheel if your wagon had a flat. I’m not saying it would be ideal, but it would get you to where you needed to go.
Time changes everything, some things get better and some things that seemed great at the time, disappear completely. Curiosity Killed the Cat, Toffoes, Haircut 100 and Spangles, Gary Glitter and my all-time favourite – cracknell!
Cracknell was by far my favourite Quality Street sweet ..no idea what was inside it or how it was made, but due to it’s name and addictive nature, I suspect cocaine. They vanished from the range about the same time as Breaking Bad’s Walter White aka Heisenberg died. Make up your own mind but I know what I think. (And if you don’t get the Breaking Bad reference then shame on you).
So here I am telling my friend how my favourite sweet vanished like that fox in the night, when they stopped me in mid flow and said just one word – “Butterfingers”.
It seemed like a strange thing to say considering I hadn’t dropped anything and I don’t have particularly fat fingers, plus my friend would be far too polite to point out my strange deformity if I did indeed have fingers made of butter.
“Butterfingers?” “Yes Butterfingers, it’s like a bar of cracknell.” My erudite and measured response was “FUCK OFF !!” But after considerable questioning and a soupçon of water-boarding, I believed them.
That evening I sat in a darkened room lit only by the dimming sun as it kissed the horizon, holding the Butterfingers bar in my hand like a long lost lover.
I peeled back the wrapper slowly as I wanted this to last . I smelt it and whispered “I need to eat you.”
I felt it melt slightly in my hand as I moved my mouth closer. I bit down . Then it happened. My moment.
The familiar taste of cracknell hit my taste-buds. A long forgotten repressed memory of my mum riding my dad, shouting “Giddy up you hairy beast!” came flooding back .
As I dropped the Butterfingers bar in to the big green recycling bin I thought to myself that some moments are best forgotten.