Monday, February 18, 2013

1985: In you I see all colours

It seemed like a good idea at the time: a yellow tartan bomber jacket teamed with a paisley shirt. Can't remember the trousers but those patent leather shoes were a fashion flash-in-the-pan that were never meant for me. But I wore them anyway. Who did I think I was - Kurt Hummell?

I was bit of an impulse buyer when it came to clothes, and when the band King bought spray-painted DMs and tartan suits to the fore in early '85, I fancied a piece of that. Perhaps if I'd run with an art college crowd this particular ensemble might have been fine, but I was out of step here. I've made similar faux pas since but this is one that always sticks in the mind. And when I saw my shoes featuring in a Cup-a-Soup ad it did little to curb my embarrassment. I had to steel myself as I got off the bus and headed downstairs into Goblets wine bar for my first official night out with a newly minted circle of friends, you know, the ones you make once you've got the first termers out the way.

They were all a bit Sloaney but they seemed to rule the school. Their reach was long. They were always having enormous fun. This greatly appealed to me. But Sloanes didn't do fashion and liked Chris De Burgh. I was prepared to overlook it. There was a girl I was determined to get. I was working my way into the inner circle. No one remarked on the outfit. But I didn't wear it again. Funny what's important to you at the time.

This was an awkward stage all round. Those aforementioned new friends were borne out of someone down the hall from me who I'd hit it off with a couple of months before, mainly because I found myself sitting next to him by chance on a crowded train from London. He was much more fun than my initial pal and we had loads in common, not least the same sense of humour.

The original friend was on my course, a local lad with a non-student girlfriend and as the term went on I found we had little in common apart from music. And now, post-Christmas, I found myself making excuses not to have to see him. I had found what I considered to be a far more exciting crowd that was eager to inveigle my way into who were much more me.

Sadly, he wasn't really getting the message. He kept turning up and I'd have to keep turning him away. Difficult, as we saw each other most days, but eventually he took his mullet and his 'tache and found some new people to go to horrible wine bars with and invite back to his mum's for their tea.

I shouldn't be cruel, the family had been more than welcoming. His Tracey Thorn-alike hairdresser sister even highlighted my hair for free. But it was all a provincial and I had become a frightful snob. I didn't want to go to Boogies wine bar with his frosted-haired girlfriend. I had found bigger fish to fry. Well, after the first term, didn't we all? It's one of those rites of passage, isn't it? Still, my treatment of him is kind of unforgivable.

One of our last outings was a King gig at Bournemouth Academy. I don't remember much about it except Paul King was wild-eyed and arrogant on stage, he was expecting the song to go to No. 1 (it was sitting at No.2). He thew some T-shirts into the audience, which got thrown back. And we saw two people we knew off our course. It was jolly enough.

I bumped into him now and then outside of our course and it was all pleasant enough, but we weren't friends anymore. He could see I moved on and I made that plain. When the second year came around I heard he'd left to do something more practical. Sometimes I wonder what became of him. I was kind of cruel. But I'm not beating myself up about it. That's the way it goes.

By the next autumn term things were starting to move on again. A schoolfriend of mine joined after a year out, didn't much care for my friends and so the seeds were planted for a brand new year of new faces, new places and new experiences. And that's what it's all about, isn't it?


  1. Fantastic. Nights out at Goblets and Boogies. Then a snifter at Snotz? I do miss wine bars, in a way. They were such caverns of sleazy hopefulness, quite different from a pub. I wish you'd kept that suit.

    I have a parallel 'friend dumping' experience from the same period of my own life, stored away in the memory banks. Like you I cringed about it for a while but now see it as a developmental necessity (handy phrase).

  2. Developmental necessity. I'll go with that.

  3. Goblets wine bar! You must revive it. It can be tacked on to the side of Spindles.

  4. Goblets was actually quite classy. Sort of gothy, lots of carved wood, at the posh end of town. Why students went there is anyone's guess.

    I preferred the Wild West-themed pub behind the ABC cinema that was small, but had a brilliant jukebox. Unfortunately, the name escapes me currently.

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