Thursday, November 17, 2011

1986: Healthy, you know

Around this time, perhaps a little earlier, we had our one and only student house party.

There were five of us sharing what was actually a really nice house. It was a terrace in back street (weren't they all), but it had recently been redecorated and we moved into lime green walls, salmon carpets and cheap second hand furniture, though it did have central heating, which after two years living in places that didn't have any sort of heating whatsoever and nearly dying from hypothermia on numerous occasions, was a total godsend.

But now our nice new house was going to be ravaged by a party. My room, downstairs, at the front, fawn shagpile, non-working but rather nice fireplace was to be the dancefloor. I didn't mind a bit. I was in charge of the music after all. This pleased me, as whenever we went to any parties I'd take my own music and insist it was played. I cringe when I think of this now as it's incredibly rude and controlling. If anyone tried this at my house today they'd be shown the door. But I was a different person back then. For me, the louder and more crowded the bar, the pub or the part, the better.

How times change. I can barely hear a thing if there are no soft furnishings, and if the music is above level two I'm reduced to lip-reading and picking up keywords only. And as for crowds - if i don't get a seat you'll see me leaving by the nearest exit if I actually enter the building at all. So usually, once it gets too loud, I make my excuses.

But student parties were another matter. Who didn't go to one where someone - maybe even yourself - took a dump in the fruit cup, or got arrested for dancing on the roofs of parked cars or threw up from a tower block window or woke up in someone's front garden covered in dew with a chronic red wine hangover? That's what it was all about. We'd trek miles to a party, and the feelers would be out in the pub as to where there was one we could crash, if that is we weren't invited.

The thought of a houseparty now is like a nightmare to me. In fact, I can't even remember the last time I went to one. When I moved to London we would go to the ends of the earth - well, Plaistow or Mill Hill or Streatham or Crouch End - to attend parties thrown by old college mates or new work colleagues. And then, suddenly, all that peters out, and if someone does have a do it's in a bar or a pub as they turn 40, or more often these days, 50. I don't mind those.

I can report that the party was a success. Well attended, with even the neighbours popping in. I think I might have gone over the road for more wine with two lesbians whose house reeked of cat pee. It's all a fug.

The music was a hit, and I remember poking my head round the door to see two girls getting the dancing started to this song. My bedroom had become Studio 54 for one night only. I had to almost wring the carpet out the next day and never really did get rid of the smell of beer. The thought of it makes me want to vomit. Never again.

Who's for another Kestrel?

1 comment:

  1. That still sounds great. It reminds me of house parties too, but ones flung across London the year after I graduated. Everyone was trying to pretend they were still students, and it all felt a bit desperate.

    At my final 'proper' student house party, though, my boyfriend of the time got off with another girl ON MY BED. I filled a saucepan with water and was creeping towards them to throw it over them, when my friends wrested it from my hands and convinced me he 'wasn't worth getting a soggy mattress for'.

    I still wish I'd done it.