Friday, January 13, 2012

1991: Hanging around

I never bought into the whole acid house movement. In fact, I remember feeling very downcast when it started infecting the charts properly in about 1988. I knew a seachange was coming in music and we were about to enter a terrible period. All those house parties and raves were not my scene at all.

So I greeted with dismay my flatmate getting a job at HMV and immediately changing into a roaring drugs monster DJ obsessed with all this dreadful music and even worse, making his own. Friends from school who went through uni together and now on our second flatshare after a gap of three years, we were very quickly drifting apart.

I had my new girlfriend and lots of different friends. He had his HMV chums and was a mainstay of the party scene, coming in e'd off his tits most weekends with an entourage in tow whom I'd find sitting in the living room on bright summer days in a fug of smoke with the curtains drawn all 'chilling out' and coming down. That, coupled with my other flatmate - my younger brother - and his dreadful band cluttering up the place day and night, the once so promising flat we'd bought was an ash-strewn post-student drugs den buried under piles of washing-up. It was not uncommon to come home and discover someone in my bed, or to find everything that could be used as an ashtry used an ashtray, if they managed to actually get the ash in it in the first place. And my prized singles collection was being used and abused. I was at my wits' end.

Towards the end of the year my brother suddenly decided he didn't want the responsibility of a mortgage anymore and promptly moved to Maida Vale to be a booker for bands at a venue. I was relieved. It meant that when I put that key in the door it would be locked - no one was in. I had one night a week, a Tuesday, when I could guarantee time to myself and I'd come home after the publishing course I was doing at night school, order my pizza and have a bit of quiet time to myself, rather than sit tensely wondering when the door would bang open and the music would go on. I don't think I slept a wink for about two years. Hopefully there would be no more of that now.

So it was time to find another flatmate. We found a jolly New Zealander called Sue who fitted the bill. I assumed being an Antipodean in London she's always be out. Sadly, work aside, she barely left the flat and had her boyfriend round all the time. Sweet as she was it was intolerable, even more so when her boyfriend and my druggy flatmate hit it off and he went down that road too. Now it was doubled.

But it wasn't long before we went our separate ways. Realising we had little in common and as fed up with complaints from the neighbours about his decks as I was, flatmate moved out. We're still in touch, though I've seen him once in 18 years. He's an estate agent now. So that just left me and Sue who had now split up with the newly Madchester Mike.

One day, however, unnanounced, my brother arrived and told me he was moving back in, and this time he had his bad news girlfriend in tow. I might add that I grew to like her a lot eventually, and one day she would be his wife. Only for a year or so though. She ran off to be a lesbian with a female camerawoman in 2000 and is now an accountant in Epsom. I've not seen her since.

Sue decided she couldn't handle this and moved out, leading to a succession of utter nightmare flatmates, including God squad theives, drug-addled junior doctors and a drummer who wore nothing but a grubby vest at all times. In October 1992, I was leaving them too it and moving in with the future Mrs P.

So of that time, whenever I hear this genre of music, I'm chilled to the bone. It reminds me of a time of frustration, anger, being skint and utterly pissed off living in a complete dump that had once been a fresh and lovely living space.

However, I quite like this song. It reminds of one of old flatmate's parties, and I demanded we play it again and again. Though doesn't it sound tinny now?

I tried, I really did.

1 comment:

  1. My god, what hellishness. How did you stay sane? Or not give in and go down the pills route, just for an 'easy life'? It sounds like a truly terrible period. Hope you and your brother worked it all out in the end.

    I gave the whole thing a wide berth myself, having just moved in with my squeeze, mortgage and all, and feeling I was grown-up now and all that grinning and gurning was rather beneath me. Brighton was awash with it though, and hearing people talk absolute balls while off their faces was enough to put me off, the few times I ventured out to club nights. Plus I hated the music. Still do. But then I never made the right chemical connections.

    It was an arid time for musical development, and I mainly went to Northern Soul nights where at least you could identify a tune and people danced properly. I didn't go to a live gig for a whole year as the scene was so dismal. It took the advent of Pixies to restore my faith in music.