Thursday, 13 February 2020

Old Friends

Diana Collier

On Tuesday evening I met up with W & P, a couple of friends who I first met in 1980, when we became part of a very tight little bunch centred around the Ipswich record shop where I worked. We all hung out, drank and went to gigs together for a few years, before inevitably, one by one, drifting off to follow our individual paths through life in various separate locations around the country.

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.


John Medd said...

Soaking rolled oats overnight is a euphemism, right?

The Swede said...

It probably would've been in 1980.

Alyson said...

How lovely to have managed a get-together after all these years. I've met up with a fair few old friends of late and as you say, we are all essentially the same people, it's just that we now soak our oats as opposed to.... well you know.

Going forward (I'm not that far behind you on the big birthday front), there should be more time to arrange such things, and I remember my in-laws saying they really enjoyed their s****s (can bear to type it out) for that very reason - Then again they did get pretty good pensions at a much younger age!

Walter said...

It is the same to me Swede. In the very early 80's me and a couple of mates started to play football for our favorite pub. We knew each others since a long time when we played in our club when we were kids but lost each one when we grew up. We had a reunion and played together for almost one decade and then went for our own roads. Almost a year ago we met by chance and had a wonderful evening drinking and talking about old times. I surely can imagine what happened to you. Since our last gathering we meet every second Friday in month to sit together having lots of fun.

The Swede said...

Thanks Alyson. I foolishly decided to let tomorrow take care of itself, financially speaking and never got a pension sorted out for myself when I was young. Now tomorrow is here and I can see myself having to work well into my s*******s, let alone my s****s!

That sounds great Walter. I hope me and my pals make it a regular thing too.

Alyson said...

Ah TS - After leaving my last comment I realised I'd perhaps been a bit insensitive so sorry about that. As for the pensions, we're kind of in the same boat as I've mainly worked part-time for the last 25 years and Mr WIAA is a sculptor, so pensions were never really on his mind. We do have a massive "pension pot" of old (and new) friends however - Once all the kids grow up, and the mortgage is paid off, there should be more time for these kind of catch-ups. Let's hope so anyway.

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