And so we drank to absent friends.
The air was alive with endless possibilities again on Friday evening, just as it had always been for that magical period that ended so cruelly 6 years ago. It had been like the horror of being born, being wrenched away from the safety and warmth of a place that felt like it was the only place to be, cast out into the cold world and forced to take on an ever increasing degree of independence and responsibility – only this time we had been completely conscious and able to remember it forever.
But for 1 weekend only, 4 of us were reunited. Able to share tales of our newfound solo adventures and to reminisce about our collective adventures of yesteryear.
The Groover had arrived the previous day to meet up with my proxy father-in-law to discuss the doubtlessly interesting intricacies of website design. The evening that followed was an unmistakeable reflection of our ever developing maturity as we got down to some high class nosh and fine wine. And, although undeniably ratted, our behaviour was almost impeccable. I have to say ‘almost’, because as an elderly citizen passed our table she heard me remarking rather too loudly that the Groover may have left speckles of his white manseed ingrained in the vaginal wall of some young lady he once used to romp with, and that her next conquest may well have unavoidably scraped it out with his warty lovestick. Admittedly the old dear should not have been quite so keen to listen in to our conversation, but I still felt a twinge of guilt that she had looked so shocked by what she had just heard that it may well have cut her remaining lifespan in half.
The following day was largely a write-off for me as I had planned to get a substantial amount of work done at home. The slight exertions of the night before had left me unable to clamber from my pit in good time and when I did finally sit down in front of the PC the most productive thing I could manage was to sort out my fantasy league team for the weekend. I told myself I’d finish that important report on Sunday afternoon after everyone had gone home, taking good care not to listen to the voice in my head telling me I was going to regret it.
As the evening rolled around the anticipation of having 4 of us in the same room for the 1st time since before 9/11 began to grow. There were numerous progress reports by phone, especially from Ramslegs as he was coming from a fair distance away and clearly drives as though possessed by the spirit of a dead snail.
And then Mossop arrived.
He was immediately furnished with beer & pizza, before being given a substantially more polished tour of Nag Towers than the Groover had received only a year earlier.
And then Ramslegs arrived.
He was immediately furnished with beer, but had unfortunately missed the pizza through his own inability to drive like a man. C’est la vie. His tour of Rancho El Naggio was on course to be far more lively and interesting than that given to Mossop just an hour previous, but by this time the beer & the weed had taken hold, and it degenerated into a rambling monologue of why Mein Kampf should be taught in schools.
The remainder of the evening panned out well, consisting of more beer, pizza and weed punctuated by animated discussions about British politics and topped with a couple of episodes of the Boosh. For me the highpoint came when I was able to accuse Ramslegs of being the father of his sister’s unborn child – thus proving that the old ones are always the best.
The next day was spent as almost every Saturday in Lancaster had, with Ramslegs up and about at the crack of dawn and heading off into the wilderness to play with his bike. The rest of us sat around for a few hours, boxing the shit out of each other on the Wii, before finally resolving ourselves to taking the dog for his walk, which he and everyone else seemed to thoroughly enjoy. There followed a couple of hours of comfortable silence as we individually readied ourselves for the impending horror that is Swansea on a Saturday evening.
After spending an hour or so in a tasty Indonesian (and finding time to grab some food), we headed off into the night. We went straight for the belly of the beast – no point messing around I thought, we were inevitably destined for it at some point so why fuck around? We were buried in a cocophony of Welsh mating cries before ducking into ‘Revolution’, which is ironically named as that’s probably the last thing you’d find in there amongst the cliched simpleton shirt boys and on-the-verge-of-pregnancy slappers. Chilli vodkas a-go-go, but the queueing at the bar had clearly not been worth it so we headed off to another ironically named establishment, the No Sign Bar.
Our age was clearly getting the better of us, as this place had a more mature clientele and allowed us the luxury of listening to each other talk.
And so we drank to absent friends.
Back into the melee we went, probably only avoiding trouble through luck as opposed to judgement. It was a short hop to Monkey, where we would spend the remainder of our evening, a safe haven for like minded funk, hip-hop and drum & bass junkies. Or so you’d think.
First myself, and then the Groover, became entangled in a handbags situation with a bunch of muppets who clearly thought they were the bollocks. We were forced to retreat to the terrace for cigarettes, where we had to remind the Groover of his own wise words before leaving the house in order to stop him embarking on a beer bottle toting rampage across the dance floor – “Remember lads, we’re not hard and we’re not fighters. Let’s not get ourselves involved in anything.”
The time flew, and I spent most of the remainder of the evening bombarding Ramslegs with my newly formed pub psychology thesis on life and love, and how it would improve his situation if he would only listen to me.
The lads were treated to the sight of Welsh international rugby starlet James Hook standing behind us in the taxi queue, which wasn’t really such a treat given that he’s so damned ugly and none of them had even heard of him. The taxi driver we got was a kindly man who seemed sympathetic to our cause, and agreed to let us stop for a kebab on the way home. It is important to mention at this point that we were all very fucked, and I’m not really sure what happened next.
I was standing next to Mossop, keeping one eye on the greasy foreign bastard behind the counter and trying to remember how to speak, to avoid the embarrassment of having to grunt and point for a prolonged period of time. The Groover had been served before me and when handed his kebab moved to walk out, at which point the greasy bastard barked savagely at him, demanding payment. The Groover clearly believed he’d already paid and the foreigner clearly believed he hadn’t. It was a tense stand-off. Eventually, realising that possession is nine tenths and all that, the fat grease-fest behind the counter gave way. He was clearly riled but admirably more alive to the fact that a fight in his shop over 3 quid would be worse for business than letting this one go. We were understandably chastised by the Groover for not backing him immediately, but my view at the time, which I still hold, is that if the rest of us had started ranting it could all have kicked off.
We didn’t last long when we got back to the house. The next morning was spent in far less energetic pursuit of Wii glory, and the perparation of a magnificent fry up. After a poignant photoshoot at the front of the house we said our goodbyes and resolved to doing it all again in the near future.
When they were gone I was left on my own to sit down and finish the report I should have done on Friday, with an annoying voice in my head singing the ‘I told you so’ song to the beat of my brain throbbing. What a shitter.1 Comment