Sunday, November 19, 2006

A Party for Two

I mentioned my one-time housemate, Mad Irish Dave, a little while ago over on my Froogville blog. Indeed, it was he who was largely responsible for turning me on to the poetry of Charles Bukowski - two or three volumes of which were our staple bathroom reading that year.

It was a crazy, crazy year - not least because I was studying for the Bar (which is a huge amount of stress, even for someone as determinedly unstressy as me). Dave had been on the same course the previous year, and had achieved the rare distinction of failing it - so he should, in theory, have been cramming for re-sits... but he rather seemed to have given up on the idea. Instead, I slowly realised, he had hatched a perverse secret agenda to try to ensure that I replicated his unenviable feat. He was unsuccessful in this aim, I'm glad to say.

[However, my rollercoaster, heart-shredding affair that same year with the feisty Australian (the one whom I subsequently dubbed The Evil One; although at the time I ascribed her the slightly less sinister nickname of The Borg Queen - yes, yes, "Resistance is futile!") did take me to the very brink of that particular abyss. But, as so often, I digress.]

We had many great times together that year, Dave and I... as well as many, many flaming rows (he was mentally unstable and utterly feckless, and left me carrying most of the utilities bills for the house for the entire year).

Strangely, my absolute favourite recollection of those days is one of the weirdest parties, one of the most unashamedly excessive and gratuitous drinking sessions I have ever participated in.

In the small, semi-detached house we were renting, out near London's docklands, there was a little utility room at the rear, leading to the garden - well, not so much a room as a broad corridor. It was chock-full of gardening equipment and other junk of the landlord's. However, the walls were painted a particularly striking shade of blue - 'cornflower', I suppose; not really the colour of either the sky or the sea, yet oddly suggestive of both.... and uncannily soothing. The uselessness of this room - and its strangely appealing colour scheme - somehow became the inspiration for our wildest bender....

It was a Sunday. We were both bored out of our minds. Around lunchtime, we hit on the idea of having a 'Jamaican Beach Party'. Just the two of us!! I think the initial impetus must have come from Mad Irish Dave, but I certainly embraced it enthusiastically - and must have contributed some of the details.

We threw all the clutter from the 'blue room' out into the garden. We painstakingly manouevred the sofa out of the sitting room and into the 'blue room' (the space was so narrow that we had little choice, as we reclined deeper and deeper into the sofa's comforting folds, but to rest our feet on the wall opposite). And we sellotaped a double-page picture of Negril Beach (a Jamaican Tourist Board ad, I think, from one of the Sunday newspaper magazine supplements) to the middle of the otherwise bare expanse of the mood-mellowingly blue wall in front of us. Then, we laid in a generous supply of rum & coke (from one of those wonderfully dodgy East End off-licences where all the stock is smuggled in from day-trips to France, and thus beguilingly cheap), ransacked our two music collections to produce the grand total of 3 or 4 reggae CDs..... and shared a big fat spliff made from the rather excellent grass Dave had somehow managed to procure a week or so earlier.

I don't remember too much of the detail of what followed, except that we spent a good 7 or 8 hours in that tiny room, drinking a bottle of rum each and smoking a ridiculous amount of weed, and were both giggling uncontrollably most of that time, crying with laughter in a way we hadn't done since we were small children. We were, needless to say, pretty much incapable of speech or movement by the end of it.

And I think we both had to pull a sickie the next day....

Ah, great times, great times....

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