A picture of me as a teenager was tagged in a Facebook gallery the other day by someone I haven’t seen in many years. It’s nice to be back in touch with old friends and those times were good times, I think, or at least I remember good bits. That said, my first reaction to seeing myself identified on a photo from 1985 is “oh dear, this could get messy”. Personally I’m thankful that the photos we took, the letters we sent and the mix-tapes we made when we were teenagers didn’t all go straight into the public domain, as they seem to do these days. I thought we’d got away with it.
Somewhat hypocritically, and just to show I’m not immune to the lure of retro-fitting online publishing tools to nostalgic ends, I decided to spend a few hours scanning in some of the photos from a trip I made in 1993, uploading them to flickr and sticking them on a Googlemap.
I suppose deep down I don’t believe there’s anything wrong with dragging up the past and sharing it with your social network as long as it’s not malicious. My self-importance doesn’t stretch quite as far as assuming it would really matter even if some of the more embarrassing snaps of teenage folly or 80s hair (worse still 90s hair in my case) made it into the public domain.
That’s not a challenge, by the way. To anyone who thinks it might be a good idea, you should know that nobody took photos or hoarded letters and tapes like I did. I’ve never quite known why. I don’t spend hours pouring over them wishing it was the eighties or harbor any notion that a beautiful literary memoir could be reconstructed from their content. It’s just a box filled with pointless old crap… or so I thought. Actually it turns out to be ammo. Tag me at your peril.