Yes, the title is ironic.
At 9PM on December 28th a few years back, I got this message from Cat:
I am tired and full. Just wanted to say, if you like you can send me a nice long email story tonight. I enjoy reading them. It’s probably cheating a bit to ask for one though, especially as this is the longest thing I have managed so far. But I’m sure I can be forgiven, and creativity does come on demand right?
Now, I guess I was still wrapped up in the Christmas spirit, as I gladly obliged, spinning out a tale from my University years. I’m not quite sure why I chose to tell this tale, as there are far funnier things that happened during that strange time between adolescence and not having a job, but anyway, for whatever reason, this is the story I told.
Which you can read after the jump.
Ok. It’s October. 1999. The University of Bradford. I was nearing the end of my three-year degree course, a course dedicated to teaching its disciples how to become almost unemployable in the outside world. There were six of us living in flat above a pizza place. The owner of the pizza place was also our landlord, which was pretty useful. It meant we could phone downstairs and order food. He’d then bring it up to our rooms (as he had keys to our flat), and we could pay him for the deep pan, all without having to get out of bed. Of course, this was awesomely lazy behaviour, but being a student is all about being awesomely lazy. Of course, maybe if we hadn’t been so lazy, we’d be a bit more employable now, but I digress.
So, there were six in this flat. Colin was a nice guy. He was in his sixth year of university, and was still yet to get a degree. He wasn’t training to be a doctor or a lawyer; he just hadn’t managed to stick at anything for longer than a couple of years, swapping courses like kids swap trading cards. He’d never get up before midday, then he’d wander around in a sort of Paisley patterned cotton dressing gown, a pattern that hid a multitude of stains. His real dissertation was “PlayStation, and it’s effects on People Who Can’t Be Bothered To Go To Lectures” and as long as he had a supply of fags, he’d be pretty much stuck in front of the telly all day, scoring goals for England and ridding the world of monsters, one shotgun shell at a time.
The other lads used to have football tournaments with Colin, and if one had to leave for a lecture, the others would video the subsequent matches to be watched when the deserter returned. At no point did Colin ever do any work. He was a bit older than the rest of us (25), and although he’d been at university for SIX years, he’d never successfully managed to complete more than two years of any degree. He was on his fourth when we moved in with him. Claimed he was an anarchist. He was a fun bloke though mostly, an amazing writer too.
In the room to his right was Bob. Bob was one of the twins. Gary, the other twin, lived in the room to Colin’s left. Bob and Gary were identical twins. Six foot nine identical twins. In fact, they were officially Britain’s second tallest pair of identical twins, which was kinda cool. There was nothing quite as surreal as coming out of your room, and seeing Bob walking towards you on one side, then turning round in the corridor to see Gary advancing from the rear. I probably should have phrased that better, thinking about it.
In the room opposite Bob’s room was Mavis. She was briefly a girlfriend of mine, before she dumped me for someone with ginger hair. Which, as you can imagine, took quite some time for me to get over. Years later, she started going out with my best friend Mike, and we became friends again, to the extent that we shared a flat. Mike pretty much lived in Mavis’s room too, thanks to some mental housemates in his own place. Lastly there was myself, in the corner room opposite Gary.
Like any flat, we had our arguments, but it was a fun place to live. On this particular night, a Wednesday, we were all going to a Halloween party at the local Rock club, a place called Rio’s. It was a pretty rubbish club, the kind of place where the floor is all sticky. They played all right music (although it was pretty much the same set every week) and it was a fairly cool crowd, mainly made up of underage drinkers, vamping (fat) Goths, and weird old rockers. It was Mavis’s birthday, and being students, we were determined to have a big night, so we decided to dress up as the Seven Deadly Sins.
Making up the numbers were Si, a friend of mine almost since childhood, who had coincidently ended up at the same Uni as me, and Vicky, my girlfriend at the time. She’d decided to go as Lust, partly because she was the world’s biggest tart, and partly because she got to pick first. Si picked Gluttony because he likes food. Colin picked Wrath (although he should have been Sloth really, the lazy knacker) which for some reason, he chose to interpret by dressing up as Freddie Mercury. Bob picked Pride, Gary Picked Envy, Mavis picked Anger, Mike picked Greed, and I was left with Sloth. I couldn’t really be arsed to make a costume for Sloth, so I just threw on some pyjamas and slippers.
That night we had some drinks at the house, and then left for the club. The drink of choice was Scots Mac, that Bradford student fave (though it must have been a very localised favourite if you didn’t have it where you were. In fact thinking about it, it was probably localised purely to our house. But it was so cheap!) that combines English whiskey and English wine for a taste sensation that’s out of this world! Or at least out of your stomach roughly 30 minutes later as you sit on the kerb heaving up your guts.
Anyway, I remember it was a particularly cold evening that night, (though this may have been something to do with the PJ’s I was wearing) and I was almost half dead by the time I got to Rio’s. I got let in free (I’d been working there for a bit in the summer – mainly on Saturday nights which was ‘classic rock’ night.) and Si and I went to the bar. They had a promotion on for Snakebite and Black that night (£1.50 fer two!), so Si bought 12. I helped him ferry the drinks over to the table.
“Cheers for getting a round in Si” I said. “It’s not like you.” He blinked as the sickly liquid in the cup sloshed over the rim onto his hand.
“Eh? These are mine.” He replied, and downed his first one. Gary had been watching and came and loomed over Si.
“Come on.” He said. “Give us one.”
“They’re mine!” shouted Si. Gary went to grab one of the pints but Si was slightly quicker. They ended up tussling over the drink, resulting in blackcurrant-y alcohol splashing all over their costumes. Mavis spotted what was happening and strode over furiously.
“Oh for God’s sake you two!” she yelled. “It’s my fucking birthday, we’ve only been here ten minutes, and you’re already fighting! Pack it in!” She tried to prize them apart, with little success, until, suddenly, Gary let go of the pint pot. Si went flying into the table causing a Ribena, Lager and Cider explosion. At that precise moment Bob turned round to see what was going on, only to have the bulk of the liquid slosh up his pristine white shirt. For a moment it looked like he’d been shot. Having spent hours getting himself ready that night he was not amused, but the look on his face was priceless, and pretty soon everyone was laughing. Well, not Bob. He went home.
Later on that evening, (around 2am; by this point we were armless as well as legless) we attempted to walk home. As we were staggering back, Mike spotted a scuffed pound coin on the ground. He picked it up and challenged me to a race. Now you have to remember, the 90’s were a more innocent time. We just didn’t know about things like criminal damage, and theft in those days, and we would often get up to merry japes that would be frowned upon these days. So the race was to be over a line of cars. The rules were simple: No shoes, no socks, no shirts. Each entrant takes a side of the street. They then have to run up the boot, over the roof and down the bonnet of every car on that street. First one to the end of the road wins. Even now, I’m sort of mortified that this actually happened.
So the race begins, and we start scrambling over the cars. Mike takes the lead initially, but unbeknownst to me, on the second car he catches his foot on the bumper and cuts his foot open so he hobbles off. I carry on, and I’m just running up the roof of the third car, when suddenly there’s no roof under my foot. Time slows to a crawl, and for some reason, the last thought to pop through my mind (before my testicles get smashed into the roof of a Nissan Sunny) is “Ah. Open Sun roof”.
Howling in pain, the lights of the house flick on, and a burly bloke rushes out, pulls me out from the top of his car, puts me in a headlock and starts, quite understandably, to bellow at me. Si, God bless him, rushes over and tries to talk the guy down. Unfortunately Si is completely pissed, and progress is slow, as the guy attempts to work out what Si is saying. It becomes clear that no damage has been done to the car (though sadly the same couldn’t be said about my extremely painful testicles) and the guy lets me go. Si gives him his pager number and we slink off into the night, all our drunken fire having turned into silent contemplation.
Anyway, I guess the point of all this was… erm
Or rather, the moral of the story is…. ah…
Screw it… it was just a bunch of stuff that happened one night.
x x x