When I was a little girl, wind-up teeth gave me nightmares. I was terrified of the theme tune to Birds of a Feather. Haybales, bundled in black plastic and just waiting in the fields, made me nauseous. I was frightened of Radio Assembly as well, but that was because Gareth Minhall used to kick me in the back. I was afraid that my father would somehow get lost in space like Major Tom, or that my toy animals were sentient and sad with no way to tell me. I was scared that I would forget the words to Grace and get told off by the dinnerladies, and for some reason I was convinced that Ben O’ Brian was plotting to put me in a big jelly. I had an eye for the uncanny and an almost constant sense of unease and it was thrilling.
Now I am a big girl I’m afraid of bigger things, like money and responsibility and the cat-litter tray. I’m afraid I’ll be crushed to death on the 8.30 to Dewsbury, that I will die with my nose shoved in a fat man’s armpit. I’m scared of my potential, in both directions. I miss being frightened of monstrous trifles. Tonight my Snout and I are venturing out to the cinema, to see a scary film, and I intend to get very frightened indeed. When we come home I’m going to fuse the lights on purpose and sleep with one foot out of the duvet.