Getting Geoff, Toby, Colin, Keith, Karen, John, Paula, Rosie, Katy, Roger, Pip, Steve, Zoe, Vince, Royce, Me and a few new faces, such as Barb, Hilda, and Brendan in the same place again for the first time in 20 years was quite remarkable. It was a shame that Claire, Jon, Big Al, Wendy, Jooles, Mitch, Josie and many others were unable to be contacted or unable to come for one reason or another. It was a real shame that Gareth couldn't make it, but as we discovered last night, he died from a massive heart attack last November. He was 44...
I'm sure that I've forgotten some people - guys and gals who were important to the entire social scene back in the 1980s and at a time when the Bold Dragoon was one of the hippest places for young people to be seen in. In fact, in those days, it was as vibrant and youthful as Northampton town's Racehorse pub is today. Now, the Bold is a wannabe gastro pub (and a pretty poor one at that) that seems to cater for people over the age of 60; so even in 2010 a lot of us still felt like we were under age! The wife used to frequent the place when she was 16 and had no idea I existed, but a lot of the names above were her friends before I became her boyfriend.
Kaz Sheridan (nee Farlow) was the main reason for this happening; a conversation between her and Claire Frost (nee Cotton) that grew into me suggesting she got off her arse and arranged it. The fact that 18 people turned up (at varying times) was a testament to the bonds that we forged back in the days when Wham, the Thompson Twins and dodgy haircuts were the Norm (and even she turned up even though it was her work's do). We all played our part; I contacted friends who weren't on Facebook and they contacted others; Keith and Colin did the same and that swelled our numbers by almost half as many again. It was, considering its December, the weather has been shit and we're all older, maybe not so wiser, but all have commitments and consequences of those commitments, a great turn out. It could have been better, but more than likely it could have been a lot worse!
Many of us looked a lot older; while some of us looked fucking fabulous. Age hasn't been kind to many, it has barely touched others. Extra pounds have been put on by some; for a few the extra pounds of 1985 have disappeared. No one was missing noses or limbs; pretty much all of the blokes had grey hair and more than half had beer bellies - which is no surprise considering we all like beer! The men, sadly, outweighed the women - which, I've been reliably informed is an unusual thing for any kind of reunion.
I have been working on a very long piece, focusing on the days between 1983 and 1989; much of it is raking over ground that is best forgotten about. Yeah, some of it I'd like to talk about publicly, as an act of catharsis, but when push comes to shove, it isn't worth it; the people involved don't read this blog and the rest of you would consider it a self-indulgent rant with no real purpose. It hinged on my relationship (platonic) with two people - the guy who was my best man and his then girlfriend. they were both there last night; one looks fabulous... Ultimately, I came out of it all considerably better than the focus of my ire; which means that all I would have been doing is justifying something that many of my other friends all eventually realised. I'm not the kind of person who likes to rub people's noses in things; so it would have been out of character for 2010 Phil (maybe not for 1988 Phil, but a lot of water has flowed under that bridge since then...).
The important thing was that for over 3 hours last night, everything was great again. The time flew past - as it always does when you're having fun - and much beer, wine and spirits (both alcoholic and good) was sampled. The feeling was that we have to do this again and sooner rather than later and I concur; there wasn't really enough time for all of us to catch up with each other. I think Thomas Wolfe was right, you can never go home again, but the occasional visit is definitely a possibility; just so long as we all realise that it has to be occasional, otherwise the novelty and all of our 'real' lives will start to impact on it.
The plan is for it to happen again in the spring; to give the people who couldn't come because of the weather or work commitments the chance to join in. You can never get a date that suits everyone, so the next one may well feature a different bunch of people and a different dynamic; but I expect it will, like this, be a reserved lovefest of nostalgia and wondering why we all drifted apart in the first place. I know why, but like I said, the past is there for a reason and to rake it over is asking for trouble. Life's too short; nights like this make it a little longer.
Gareth, I miss you. You were a great man in your own way; I just wish you were alive to realise that. Rest in peace fella x