Rolling with the punches

Today’s Much Love Monday is sponsored by Van Halen with ‘Jump’. To be accurate, it’s sponsored by David Lee Roth who is my ultimate Much Love Monday ‘feel good’ singer. You couldn’t feel depressed listening to DLR.

He always reminds me of my friend Danny who died in 1992. It’s 20 years ago now, but I can still see his smile if I think of him. Danny was one of the best people I ever knew and he reminded me a lot of Alastair, my brother. They’re both tall and skinny and sharp and funny. For the summer I was 17, it was me, Alison, Nick Gee and Danny – Nick had a little Fiat Panda and we spent a lot of time going places that year, I think.

grainy pic from 1989

I still remember getting the phone call from Andy Mundy to say that Danny was dead. I remember answering it in my mum’s bedroom, and I remember calling Alison. She came up to my house, and I went down to hers, and we kind of met half way on the street and cried and cried. I’d had a huge crush on Danny when I was about 15 – he was snake-hipped and funny, and those were about the two things I liked most in a boy. We’d meet up in Bury Interchange after I finished school and he finished college and then hang out outside Vibes.

Vibes was this record shop which dealt primarily in rock and metal. I bought all my great LPs there and I seriously think it was responsible for the majority of Bury being rockers – or at least it felt like it. In 1988, it was all just beginning for me. Groups of wayward teenagers would gather outside and frighten the grannies. Tattoos, long hair and skinny jeans were the order of the day.

scaring the grannies

I’ve yoinked this pic off facebook because I don’t have one quite so cool. My friend Mark is in the middle along with Gaz, Justin and Martin. You can see Vibes behind it. I worked Saturdays, so I didn’t get to hang out there with everybody else. When I see little emo kids or little goth kids congregating round town centres, it reminds me of us. We all had such good times.

Funnily, Mark – in the middle – not having such a good time of things at the moment. He was the one who gave me the Purple Haze nickname because I picked up this purple coat thing. I say ‘coat’ when I mean part of a stage costume I got in a second-hand store on Oxford Road. I remember that night we met as if it were yesterday. He was saying it was the first night he met me, but the first night he met Henny as well – Henny is right up there with Danny in that group of great people I knew. Those years between 1988-1991 were the best and I had such great, great friends, even if I had terrible (let’s say… unique) fashion sense.

Yes… I really wore this

And the fact that this purple ‘coat’ was a) from a production of Kismet, b) from a second hand shop c) purple d) with kimono sleeves e) with gold embroidery didn’t stop me wearing it at all. Any one of those reasons is a good reason, I’d say.

Anyway… those were the best of times with the best of friends. Here’s a very bad shot of me with all my favourite guys – Carl, Andy, Stu and Henny.

Good friends

So here’s to those formative years, here’s to bad fashion, here’s to skinny jeans and big trainers, here’s to ink and long hair, here’s to friendship, here’s to Danny, here’s to purple coats and here’s Much Love for DLR who reminds me of all of these times.

Today, in Pam’s Poetry Corner, I have a haiku for you. It’s one of my favourite. I love haiku. They are so very simple, but so evocative.

How wild the sea is,
and over Sado Island,
the River of Heaven

Matsuo Basho

So, Happy Monday to you. I’m off to the Plan d’eau at St Yrieix for some sunshine and fun. It’s Pentecost and the final bank holiday in the season of bank holidays. Tomorrow, it’s the GCSE exam paper I mark, so the marking season begins. I could do with a bit of zeal and holy spirit. Not so keen on the speaking in tongues though…

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4 thoughts on “Rolling with the punches

  1. I love this post. So well written. Sounds and looks like you had a lot of fun with your pals. Sorry that you lost a friend though. I too lost a close friend from those years in my life and I think of him all the time, surely more than I would had we simply each gone our own ways and slowly lost touch. I’m pretty certain I wouldn’t have lost touch with him but you never know, as life takes you where it will.

    Ok, does the fact that you have that picture of your fabulous purple coat indicate that you still have it?! Or did you love it so much back then you thought it deserved it’s very own photograph?

    1. You’re right about the slowly losing touch thing… although I’ve hated that too. I think I feel less possessive of my friends’ lives now, if that makes sense. I don’t feel like I need to be in it to enjoy it!
      And yes… I still have the purple coat. It’s a national treasure!

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