Games People Play: Professor Anthony Clare, 55, Psychiatrist and Broadcaster

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The Independent Culture
WHEN I was a very small child, I would play quite regularly in the evening - usually Ludo, with my parents and my sister. There was no television in 1950. There was the radio, and I can remember all the things I listened to, but I mostly made up games with toys.

I had quite a number of Dinky cars, which I used to collect, and I'd often play with my friend Ross. We were neighbours, so I could just pop round to his house, where he had this great attic, and anything that was laid out on the floor could be left there, which was nice.

When we were about eight or nine, we built a fantastic city in the attic with bricks and God knows what. His mother used to fuss and say, "Go out into the garden and get some sun", which we never liked doing.

The city was a very elaborate game, and we had all sorts of things - like political parties and voting and city administration. I was like a little Ken Livingstone, and the game even led to a school newspaper, which we ran off on Ross's mother's Gestetner duplicator.

The paper began a kind of fiction. We started reporting things that happened in the imaginary city, and then we went on to cover the real things that happened at school.

I'm not sure how this led to psychiatry. Ross became a math professor - as they call it in America - in Binghamton, and I might have become a journalist. When I think back; I could have been Maxwell.

I still have some of those Dinky toys. As I say this, I'm looking at several of them in a bookcase in front of me. Just a handful, that go back all those years.

Professor Clare's magazine series `All in the Mind' will be broadcast weekly from January 1999 on Radio 4. `In The Psychiatrist's Chair' will be back in summer 1999.