Monster Memories


I once bought a copy of “Famous Monsters of Filmland”, somewhat hesitantly, at the sweet shop next to my old primary school, at once fascinated and repelled by the scary cover image.

I became convinced that the monsters inside were real, and existed in a dungeon somewhere under Hollywood, released for the odd film like freaks in freak show. The magazine ended up on the top of the wardrobe in my bedroom, face down, and if I felt brave enough I’d venture up and look at it.

It vanished after one of my mothers frequent cleaning blitzes, but I’d still peek over the top of the wardrobe, years later, to see if it might still be there, magically rematerialised.

I must have been all of 8 years old at the time I bought it – today it would be off-limits to the average 8 year old unless they happened to be Tim Burton’s kids – I don’t think its’ effect on my imagination at that tender age has ever left me, really – so finding the cover image was really like discovering a long-lost un-loved, possibly un-lovable, friend.

Nowadays very little can be consigned to memory in this way due to the internet and ways of archiving stuff – in fact young people today may end up being incredibly lazy as far as relying on memory at all, and I think memory is vital for the development of the imagination – or maybe the past will simply have less relevance or importance than it did…

Ravi Swami 2010