I think it’s probably true that most novelists include a degree of autobiography, personal observation or their own feelings and beliefs in their stories. It’s inevitable really…isn’t it? My own writing certainly does. Usually, it’s a snippet of a story, a small scene within a chapter or an exchange of dialogue. Nothing to embarrass or hurt anyone I know – except myself perhaps!
This week, two small scenes gleaned from my own personal archive have taken on a new resonance with the passing of the people involved. Both characters were a big part of my formative years in different ways. This is not a gushing obituary, merely a few remarks made in the passing.
Gerry Anderson created a host of TV shows in the 60’s and 70’s. The two that most enamoured me were Thunderbirds and Space 1999. They were not just at the cutting edge of TV for their time; they were at the vanguard of merchandising. My abiding memories of both series, other than the title sequences, were the die-cast models of the spaceships I received as a child. Space 1999 stays with me in particular as, due to fiscal restrictions, I was required to create a moonscape and landing stage for my Eagle Transporter from paper-mache and old shoe boxes. I spent many happy hours re-enacting episodes and creating my own. I noticed that these models (the one pictured above is identical to the one I had) are now selling on eBay and the like for up to £60 a time – wish I’d taken more care of mine now!
As far as Thunderbirds go, one of my characters in my first novel is described as having a ‘head bobbing like a Gerry Anderson puppet’, thanks to his copious intake of alcohol. A small homage to the characters I so adored.
In the late 70’s and early 80’s Jack Klugman played a character called Quincy ME: a pathologist who fancied himself as a detective, helping to solve mysteries surrounding the cadavers he dissected. In my very early teens, I was inspired to become a pathologist by this curmudgeonly, clever, interesting character. I never did become one – for various reasons – and my latest novel features a character upon whom I have projected this little bit of my history. Of course, whether I became a curmudgeon, clever or interesting can be decided upon by others!
Both men led long and fruitful lives, doing things most people only dream of. They will be remembered by way of a body of work to be immensely proud of. Good on them and RIP both.
Thing is, I’m a bit worried now about who else I might have jinxed through my random reminiscences!