Fast forward to 2004, when one day in the Norwich coffee shop I managed, I literally bumped into W, one of those long lost friends. We hadn't clapped eyes on each other in half a lifetime and had completely lost touch by the late 1980s. Last I heard he had been living in the East End of London, but unbeknown to me he and his partner had recently relocated to the very same Norfolk city as I myself had done couple of years earlier. Turns out the he was also still in contact with P, another of the old record shop gang and she too was moving to Norwich as soon as logistics would allow. The coincidences piled up.
In the years since that unexpected reunion, the three of us (and W's lovely partner) have been to a few gigs together and met up for the odd drink, but until Tuesday evening hadn't all sat down around a table for a meal and lengthy chinwag. It was an immense amount of fun. They are all in their mid-50s, I'm fast hurtling towards 60 and during our years of separation (and indeed in the years that we've been back in contact) we've each suffered loss, ill health and had to deal with all the other usual age-related stuff, but, miraculously, when all is said and done we appear to basically be the same people who painted the town red together 40 years ago. Subjects covered over dinner included an appreciation of hot water bottles, the joys of a seated gig and the digestive benefits of soaking rolled oats overnight. Maybe we have changed, just a little.
This is 'Friends' from 'Ode to Riddley Walker', the really lovely new LP from former Owl Service member Diana Collier. Check out the whole album here.