My Life Revisited — Part 2: 1978


This is me, in my back a matchbox. While I was at primary school, there used to be a summer fete held every year, and for at least some of those years they held a fancy dress competition as part of the fete. These fancy dress competitions were not so much for the kids...they were for the parents.

I have to applaud the inventiveness and technical abilities of my mum and dad as they did all the work. As I was only six at the time, I doubt that I personally suggested going as a matchbox, and I further doubt that I had much involvement in the construction process. When anyone goes to a fancy dress party today, it seems that people most likely will just hire or buy their costumes. But in 1978, costume hire was not really an option (at least not in Haverhill, Suffolk) and so there was a need for ingenuity and considerable amounts of glue and tape.

I think that the bulk of this ‘costume’ was fashioned from the cardboard packaging of some self-assemble furniture. There was a quite a bit of attention to detail in that there was - at least as I recall - an inner box that could slide within the outer container. The detail on the front of the box is a fairly good (hand painted) replica of an actual brand of matches that you could buy in 1978 (for just three pence).

My parents also gave me a red swimming cap that I was meant to put on my head so that I would physically resemble a matchstick in the matchbox, though somehow I think I opted to not wear that on the day of the competition. I don’t recall winning the contest, but I do remember there being more than one prize so I may have won something (best costume in the ‘Smoker’s accessories’ category?). As I recall, there were lots of entrants in these contests...but there was only ever one matchbox!