I did my first skydive at the age of sixteen. My father treated me to the finest birthday present I’d ever had. I was going to do a static-line jump, which means that all you actually have to do is jump out successfully. A line attached from the parachute rig to the plane causes the parachute to open automatically.
This was back in 1979, so parachutes were a lot more basic than they are these days, and were round, similar to the sort of thing you see in WWII movies. After jumping you simply fall to earth with a minimal amount of directional control, and are supposed to land with a parachute landing roll, because you land pretty hard.
Skydiving today is much more advanced, with wing shaped canopies, which are fast, responsive, very steerable, and when done correctly, can land you on the ground very gently.
So, back in July 1979, on a sunny day in Bridlington in northern England, after a day of training I made a parachute jump from 2500 feet. However, unlike most of the other fathers that I knew would have done, my dad didn’t just come and watch, he came and did the parachute jump with me.
Because I was doing the jump on my sixteenth birthday, the youngest age anyone could jump in the UK, I was the youngest person to have done a parachute jump. And of course, the local press were interested in doing a story.
The guy came and took a couple of pictures and asked some questions, and went away to write his article, which appeared in The Northern Echo, which incidentally ran the very first newspaper article about ALife4Sale.
And the title for the article:
“The Fall Of The House Of Usher”
And for 28 years since then I have intended to read the story by Edgar Allan Poe.
Well, while browsing the internet this evening, I stumbled upon MSN Movies, and discovered that there is a movie due out tomorrow, 9th May, based on Edgar Allan Poe’s story, The Fall Of The House of Usher. The movie is called “House Of Usher”.
Synopsis: When a young man, Victor, visits his old friend Roderick Usher and Usher’s sister Madeliene at their crumbling family estate, he discovers the two decaying as quickly as their mansion. He soon discovers that the only thing keeping the Ushers alive is a terrifying secret. Inspired by the short story “The Fall of the House of Usher” by Edgar Allan Poe.
When we reach the start, or perhaps more appropriately the end, of my auction, I wonder who will be the first to use the news headline:
“The Sale Of The House Of Usher”