A song cropped up on the radio recently that sent me whizzing back to a specific moment of a relationship I shared in the mid-1990s. J & I had been mates for some time before it became more and we ended up spending over two years together. We laughed, we went to a ridiculous amount of gigs, we went on holiday to America, we got silly drunk, we had a lot of fun. Everything in the garden was rosy. Then J introduced a notion. Perhaps saying that she wanted to settle down there and then would be to put too formal a stamp on it, but she was certainly looking for some form of....commitment. I wobbled, clearly thrown by the thought, even though at this point I was already in my mid-thirties. In reality I was an immature, overgrown teenager and selfishly I didn't want our innocent, unencumbered fun to end.
Inevitably and quite rightly, J eventually kicked me into touch. I was pretty upset, but somewhere deep inside I knew it was the right move for her and for where she wanted to go in life. She eventually married and had four fantastic kids. J & I have remained friends and I even went to her wedding, ultimately becoming pretty good mates with her husband. I've been to a number of gigs with him over the years, including one in 2019 with their oldest son who's now in his twenties.
So the song and the memory that sent me spiralling back? Late one evening in the Summer of 1996 (from this remote distance it feels like it might well have been the most carefree evening of my entire life) J & I fell laughing out of a bar, drunkenly stumbling and weaving our way through the completely deserted town centre. A favourite song of the day came to us and together, staggering along arm in arm, we sang it loudly into the night air, joined only by the echo reverberating from the dark shuttered shopfronts. When it came to the chorus, our impromptu, but appropriate amendment of the lyric saw us collapse to the ground in fits of giggles.
'...we're trashed, you and me...'