A shitty Monday and hard to choose a song that makes me smile. When someone had kind of similar musical tastes to the teenage you, and even signed off letters as “Billy Duffy”, I hadn’t really realised how much some music reminded me of one of those teenage friends. Even Michael Jackson’s ‘Bad’ reminds me of one friend… though INXS, Terence Trent d’Arby, Simple Minds, The Cult and Aerosmith remind me more of them. Music, like scent, is one of those things that transports me right back to the moments that I treasure the most.
A song that I hope would make my friend smile as much as it does for me.
I know I spend a lot of time reminiscing about the past. I loved it back there (and I love it here now) but school was good to me. I met a lot of women who inspired me greatly (Miss Dawson and Miss Mullineaux, that’d be two!) with many teachers who genuinely cared about their students – hand-copied poems from my English teacher and an RE teacher who soaked up the sadness on more times than I could count – and teachers who, if not causing you to write missives to the headteacher about how very terrible they were, were casually allowing you to squander your time by doing dictations so very slowly that you could quite easily converse with your friends in copious note-passing sessions. We had crappy teachers and mean teachers, teachers who didn’t understand teenagers and teachers who were so very geeky that it hurt, teachers who treasured us and teachers who inspired us.
But what really made school were the friends that I made there – so many of them have gone on to do such amazing things. Lots of us live in far-flung places, from Canada to the US, to Dubai, to Australia, to New Zealand. There’s a bit of the Class of 89 in many corners of the globe, and every single time I see a photo of a friend’s family, a holiday snap, a wedding, a birth, an achievement, it gives me such a burst of joy. In many ways, these are the people who knew me the best, who knew me when I was becoming who I am, who made me what I am. They’re people who shared my teenage passions for A-ha and Wham, who remember Live Aid and field trips, the bridge and the Interchange, and who can still make you laugh when they remind you of gym lessons or swimming lessons, or sneaking off for a fag on the bridge.
Facebook is a marvellous thing in many ways for me. I get to share a bit of the happy ending for many of the people who meant so much to me when I was young. But there are many people who I lost touch with too – and who seem lost forever. Some of those friends are very much missing in my life and I wish I saw their faces in my daily Facebook feed. I can’t tell you how much I miss Laura and Anna who are very much missing pieces in my friends-of-the-past jigsaw.
I suspect the coming weeks will be full of school memories and remembered joys of teenage life… sometimes those memories are the only way to offset the shittiness of the universe that means some of those endings are not so happy at all. Big, most massive love to all my friends in the UK.