A Saucepan In The Sky
Brian Nicholls - Guest Speaker on 12 January 2002
Brian grew up in Petersham, left school at 15. Later, for 22 years, he worked for the ABC, producing such extraordinary and memorable shows as Quantum and In The Wild. And then he decided to 'remember' growing up with "a group of very naughty uncles".
His book, A Saucepan In The Sky, published by Hale & Iremonger, is the wonderful result. Now Brian's out on the speakers circuit making people laugh (except when their eyes are a bit misty with nostalgia.)
"Remembering is a bit like jogging," he said. "The more you do the more comes back." As he read chapter 12 we understood. Brian's time on stage, including the reading, was well inside the MAG time limit of 20 minutes, so you'd understand it's a brisk writing style he's got, the one that makes you want to re-live the details.
In chapter 12 Brian's about nine or ten years old. His mother - and her boyfriend - want him out of the house. It's Saturday afternoon and the walls are paper-thin! It's an unusual household, Gran seems to have a boyfriend too. They send him to 'buy a loaf of bread and some lollies'. Suck them slowly, they say, and don't come back till they're gone. And then the problems start (a dog pisses on the loaf of bread) and then uncle Stan rescues him. Brian wrote this, he said, "because this was the first time I felt abandoned, alone in the world. Although it's chapter 12, "it's probably the first chapter I wrote."