Childhood memories with James Alderson

James Alderson
James Alderson
Dr John Steadman, archivist of Portsmouth History Centre based at Portsmouth Central Library     Picture:  Malcolm Wells

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Comedian James Alderson lives in Denmead and only started out in comedy in 2011. But he’s already made a name for himself on the national comedy circuit as well as launching a series of local comedy nights called Banter. Here he describes some of his fondest childhood memories.

· What is your earliest childhood memory?

My parents had foreign students staying and one day, probably when I was two, I was given a camera water pistol that squirted water when you pretended to take the picture. I remember running up to one student in our garden and he posed. To this day I have the image of him that I saw through the viewer as the squirt of water hit him. Brilliant.

· What do you remember about your birthdays?

A lot of birthdays had Mr Wimpy involved. At the Wimpy burger bar obviously – he didn’t just turn up at our flat.

· How was school?

Amazing. I went to Glenhurst in Havant and then passed the exam to go to Portsmouth Grammar School with an assisted place. I am so lucky with all the opportunities it gave me.

· What did you get up to with your friends?

I was in the Portsmouth Cathedral Choir for four years, so a lot of my spare time and my friends were there. Appearing on radio and TV doing solos really was character-building at such a young age.

· What toys do you remember?

I had a ZX81 and ZX Spectrum. I still vividly remember waiting for the tape to load for 30 minutes and watching the screen fuzz and squeak.

· What did you watch on TV?

Monkey Magic was an all- time favourite. I remember watching repeats of it when I was about 12 and realising it was dubbed. I felt duped!

· What music did you listen to?

I loved Motown and classic pop tracks, then Lionel Richie and Stevie Wonder, and then 2-Pac and Coolio.

· What clothes stand out in your memory?

When I was about 15, I remember going down to Charlotte Street and waiting for Mr Clive’s to open as there was a rumour they had some ‘pastie’ shoes. They did! Pasties, baggy jeans and baggy Benetton jumpers. What a classic look!

· What sweets did you eat?

Texan Bars. They were thick toffee with a hard chocolate coating.

· What was the naughtiest thing you ever did?

I once put a two penny sweet in my pocket when I was about eight and the newsagent guy caught me and pretended to phone the police. I thought I was going to get a five-year suspended sentence!

James’ next show (organising, not appearing) is Comedy All Stars at Horndean Technology college next Friday (September 14).