Monday, May 1

I Dreamt About 1987 Last Night

I dreamt about 1987 last night. What a year that was. Mum and dad had the second of their ‘trial marriages in February – March of that year. It works like a trial separation, only it involved them acting like a married couple rather than rowing all the time. It was painful to watch and like their previous effort of August to September 1981, it ended quickly and predictably. My sister and I were relieved once they started arguing again.

I bought two Five Star albums that year, the first on the day I began my seminal Saturday job at Woolworths in Clapham Junction [25th April 1987], a place I still have fond memories of. Mind you, getting stuck in a lift full of bedding plants for four hours on your first Saturday wasn’t the best way to start a job.

1987 also saw me suspended from school a couple of times and I was threatened with expulsion from the Spanish Consulate classes I attended three evenings a week after ‘normal’ school. In the event, my mum cut a deal with the Consulate that saw them merely hold me back a year. It was rather embarrassing to have to join up with my younger sister’s class, and I don’t think the guys there took to my pink coloured Avanti cardigan from C & A.

I also went to Spain in the summer for almost two months, winning my only fight in seventeen attempts against my older cousin [I think I head butted him]. That holiday was special. Not for the fight. It was to be the last time everyone was together. I never went to Spain again with my mum and never again visited my uncle’s house. My gran also died earlier that year. She was in pretty bad shape so it came as something of a relief that we didn’t have to visit her house. I did hate going there.

I had another uncle who lived next door to my other uncle [stay with me here] and he had some terminal illness. I am ashamed to admit I was probably more concerned that my Terence Trent D’Arby tape had been chewed up on the flight over than with my uncle’s predicament, but I do remember one incident vividly; a guy kept racing through the street on his moped with his girlfriend on the back, and my uncle was furious that his sick brother was unable to sleep because of this guy’s scooter.

My uncle rose from his siesta still in his tangas, stormed outside and standing in the middle of the road with a large stick, brought the scooter rider to a halt and proceeded to give him quite a hiding.

My time at my uncle’s was largely fraught. I think he suspected, rightly, that I was sneaking a tug here and there when he was having his siesta. [Realistically, you invite someone to your place for two months, you've got to accept they're going to be knocking one out here and there.] He was determined to put a stop to all this and demanded that all bedroom doors were left open. It was a real battle of wits and one which I think ended in a draw.

He also tired of my insomnia and banned me from putting any lights on at night, including those in the bathroom. One evening, he switched off all the lights whilst everyone was still awake, to demonstrate to us that it was possible to urinate into the bowl with the lights off. [He was very grouchy and I often wondered why he had guests over] One night, unable to sleep, I got up to go to the loo. Mum had by then brought me a little torch to help me get through the house at night. I held Junior in one hand and my torch in the other, only for the biggest moth I have ever seen in my life to land on Junior, at which point I pissed everywhere apart from the bowl. I had honestly thought this thing was going to carry me off somewhere and feed me to its young. I’ll never forget my uncle’s cursing in the morning, and I think the ban on the bathroom lights at night was rescinded.

Anyway, there was an air traffic strike at the start of September in Gibraltar, and so we were unable to get back. We were offered a hundred pounds a night cash to stay at the four star Gibraltar Rock Hotel until a flight back to Gatwick became available.

My cousin and I ended up staying quite a few nights, to the point where we discussed getting a brief case to carry our cash back. We also ran through the merits of one of us being handcuffed to the case. I argued I had sensitive skin and that he, with the hairier wrists, would be better suited to such a task.

Going back to school for the fifth and final year was something of an anti climax after all that. I did buy myself a £300 stereo from Dixons for Christmas that year with all the money I’d saved from my Saturday job [Buying a video recorder, the holy grail, was still two years away]. That was good. And I enjoyed the Little and Large Christmas Special on Christmas Eve.

1988 proved largely crap. I may talk about that some day.

© Disappointed of West Egg 2006. Do not reproduce without permission.