Great Days


Danny and I spent a lot of time chatting and watching videos at our house. The all-time favourite was Rik Mayall and Adrian Edmondson in Bottom. One morning, we were in our dressing gowns watching THE best episode where a gas man called at their flat, was offered a cup of tea and they beat him up, and tried to throw him out of a window.Ding, dong. Danny answered the door. His head peered back around the living room door. He smiled, jerking his thumb animatedly.

“The gas man wants to read the meter!”

The gas board employee went through to the kitchen and we kept on watching the TV, only talking to him using lines from the video.

“Hello Mr Gas Man,” I said.

“Is there some sort of a problem officer?” Danny asked.

I burst out laughing. Silence from the gas man.

“Do you want a cup of tea?” I asked. Danny was in tears laughing.

“Look lads, are you watching the Gas Man episode of Bottom there?” he asked.

“Yep, we are.”

“In that case, I will have that cup of tea. Do you mind if I watch as well?”

He sat down and watched the video. We laughed and chatted all the way through. The gas man thanked us and shook hands before he left. That beat working for a living any day of the week in our musty little house.

Danny, Michelle, myself and some other friends went to a few balls in our time at college. The dress was formal: Ball gowns for the girls; and black tuxedo suits and bow ties for the boys. Those were great nights out that lasted to the early hours. Bad Manners played at one ball and the trombone player got so pissed he fell off the stage. Then the DJ played Rio by Duran Duran and Danny did a sort-of aeroplane dance where he weaved in-between people with his arms outstretched. We laughed so much.

The summer balls petered out by about 4 a.m., but the May Day balls carried on as the pubs opened early for breakfast and beer. Some students jumped from Magdalen Bridge into the Isis. I have a photo of me in the pub with a lot of friends at about 6 a.m. My head was bleeding, but I can’t remember why. The only blight on the May Day revelries were the Morris dancers, who skipped about the streets in their ridiculous uniforms, waving handkerchiefs about and clacking sticks together. With the ringing of their bells, I could feel a rage rising from within. At first, I just glared at them, but this soon gave way to heckling until I had to get away. I still have an intense dislike of Morris dancers.

During the summer term, our next door neighbours lounged around their back garden with friends, twanging away at their guitars. They were a bit scruffy, very ordinary and always polite. Friendly nods always greeted us when we met, but they never talked much. In the last few weeks of term, a big tour bus turned up outside their house and some of our neighbours jumped aboard, carrying bags and instruments. The word painted on the rear of the coach was ‘Radiohead.’ I made a mental note of the name, just in case they became famous.

As the academic year drew to a close, I had worked hard but averaged only a high B+ in pure law so the First Class Honours was still well out of reach. As far as I was concerned, this wasn’t good enough. It would take an unbelievable effort during my last year to make up the lost marks. But I was up to this. All spare time activities would stop to leave even more time for study.

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