Lost Property

Andrew O’Hagan

I used to lose several items a week. It was to do with being young, part of the psychopathology of everyday life, then it stopped. Maybe you stop losing small things around the time you start losing big ones – parents, countries, friends – but I haven’t lost a bank card in ten years and I used to lose ten a year. In my twenties, I was forever dropping keys and leaving coats in cloakrooms, or spectacles on bars, and I still wonder if the things I’ve lost would better describe me than the things I kept. The other day, I found a shabby old ledger at an antiques fair and the thing has been keeping me up at night. It’s the Lost Property Register 1928-91 from Glasgow Central Station. Every page is inked with life, if by life we’re talking about the things that come and go (but mainly go).

The full text of this essay is only available to subscribers of the London Review of Books.

You are not logged in