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'My dad used to take me to a roller-disco. I was obsessed with fluorescent neon towelling socks'.

AERIAN ROGERS is head of development at the Baltic art gallery in Gateshead. Baltic will host the Turner Prize 2011, the first time the exhibition has been hosted by a non-Tate gallery.

Aerian will play a central role in making the Turner Prize a success.

Before joining Baltic, Aerian was development manager at the British Museum in London.

Originally from Leicester and despite having no previous connection to the North East, the challenge of working for Baltic attracted her north to Gateshead three years ago.

What's your first memory? You only get snapshots of memory when you're younger. My brother was born at home, and although I was only two I remember sitting on top of the stairs waiting to see him for the first time.

What were you like as a child? I was quiet and well-behaved. I was quite geeky, really liked school and thought everything was very interesting. We didn't have a TV when I was a kid and I remember thinking this was a horrendous injustice because I couldn't watch Top of the Pops and thinking my social life was ruined because I didn't know what was number one in the charts when I went into school the next day.

What childhood games did you play? We lived on a cul-de-sac so there was quite a collection of kids who used to play together. We used to compete to see who could ride round the block on their bike the quickest. What music did you like and what was the first record you bought? Pat Benatar, Love is a Battlefield.

She was a feisty rock chick. I remember going to WH Smiths and buying it on tape when I was 11 and being incredibly proud of myself. Did you have a family pet? We had everything, cats, guinea pigs, gerbils, snakes and rabbits. We also had stick insects that used to escape and you'd find them clinging to things all over the house. The only thing that we didn't have was a dog. What were your favourite TV programmes? Tony Hart and the Fall Guy. I used to want to be a stunt woman when I was younger, it was only much later that I started thinking about a career in the arts.

Were your schooldays the best days of your life? They were OK but your 30s are so much better. When I was 15 or 16 I always remember thinking, "I want to go off and do interesting things and have my own money and not be forced to wear a school uniform". Were you ever bullied? No one was really bullied at my school, it was more just back-biting and cattiness for five years, which was bad enough. Girls can be very competitive with each other. What did you want to do when you grew up? A stunt woman and then I realised at 17 that it wasn't going to happen. I went to Germany after university and then to London and got a job working for Time Inc. Then I decided, in that rather arrogant way that you have when you're in your 20s, that I was far too superior for advertising and I was going to change the world by raising money for good causes. How did you spend your weekends? Wandering about - it was the early 80s, all the shops shut on a Sunday anyway. I just remember lots of sitting in the park with my friends, not really doing anything at all but it all seemed very important at the time. When I got older I worked on Leicester Market selling fruit and veg on the stall next to the stall owned by Gary Lineker's dad. Vic Johnson's stall, where I worked, sold exotic fruit and veg like lychees, and did a lot of work with the catering trade, so we considered ourselves a cut above the people who just sold apples and bananas.

Do you remember your first kiss? No. Who was your first love? I remember having a very big crush on Michael J Fox for years, long before he appeared in Back to the Future.

What was the most important thing in the world to you? When I was 13, I used to go to my dad's house in Loughborough at the weekend and he used to take me and my brother to a roller-disco. It was the 80s, the whole neon era, I remember being absolutely obsessed with fluorescent neon towelling socks. You had to have two pairs and wear mis-matched socks and I remember trying to explain to my mum that it was phenomenally important that I had the right outfit for Loughborough leisure centre roller-disco. What did you wear then, that you would never wear now? It would have to be the mismatched neon fluorescent socks. I went to an 80s party recently and had to tell people this wasn't fancy dress, these are the clothes I used to wear back then.

How have you changed from your teenage self? I would hope everything, but most of all, that I spend less time sulking. Where did you go on holiday? The south coast of Wales, in a caravan, every year, which is probably why I spent so much time sulking. Nowhere with your parents in caravan is cool when you're a teenager, you could be in Malibu and it wouldn't make any difference. I hated it. I don't know where I wanted to be but it was anywhere but South Wales in a caravan in the rain.

Would the young you, be pleased with the adult you? I hope so; my brother always knew what he wanted to do, he's a doctor of genetics, but I never knew what I wanted to do so I think my younger self would say, "At least you worked out what you wanted to do with your life - well done".

If you could go back in time what would tell your 15-year-old self? Stop sulking. I was really shy and my abiding memory of being a teenager was being mortified all the time about everything, my parents were embarrassing, I was embarrassing, everything was embarrassing. I would go back and say no one cares, no one's paying half as much attention to you as you think.

Compiled by Karen Wilson

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YOUNG DREAMS Aerian Rogers, who works at Baltic, wanted to be a stunt woman and, like many girls at the time, had a crush on actor Michael J Fox
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Feb 26, 2011
Words:1084
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