O! HOW GLAD I AM to be getting old! So many things thankfully falling away!!
Getting to musing this afternoon, I was reminded of my university days. Mine was a campus university at the opposite end of the country to my home or any of my roots.
There I was in late September, thrown together with 500 other 18 and 19 year-olds, all away properly from home for the first time, crammed together into bombproofed 2-storey H-blocks on a disused airbase barracks across town from the university itself.
Posh rooms on the main campus went to foreign students, exchange students, mature students and the like. In other words, all the more straightlaced and "square" students were chucked in together over there, while us immature students were chucked in together over here! On this disused airbase, as I say, complete with Naffi shop. 500++ 18 and 19 year olds, finally away from home. Just imagine it...
The social whirl was legendary!
Anyway: my mind was jogged this afternoon specifically to a phenomenon I've not experienced for so very many years it had totally escaped my memory up till today: that is, the situation of being young and innocent adn truly wanting to make friends, however you come across somebody (usually of the same sex, and there's nothing sexual about this, it's no "crush" as such...) You're in such awe of this person that you might barely consider yourself worthy of their friendship. Merely engaging this person's attention is nearly as special to you as a personal blessing from the Dalai Lama or the Pope.
Does everyone remember what I'm going on about here? And just like me, had yous all forgotten..?
I also remember from my first year at uni how a certain group of second years who all lived together in a house on Fairfax Road, seemed held in awe. They were thee people to be with, to be invited to be with, to be seen with and most of all of course to be friends with.
I met them all quite inadvertently in the course of my very first and brainfryingly bad LSD trip.
Sucha traumatic drug experience rubbed my face in the fact that most of my just-aqquired friends, being "straighties" knew nothing about what had happened to me. Only the hash-smoking druggier students "understood" the horribleness I'd survived to any degree and to this day I've never met anyone able to describe a trip as horrendous as the one I had.
I plainly remember standing at a crossroads: and I took the wrong turn. I gravitated towards these people.
One of my new acquaintances was a long-haired hippie from my own year called Zebedee. he and his friends appeared to do very little else each evening except congregate in somebody's room after 8 or 9 o'clock. When the telly wasn't on, something like Reactivate 2 (tekno) or the Orb's Little Fluffy Clouds would be tinkling in the background. On and on we would smoke until the early hours.
Zebedee used to boast all the time of his friendship with these Fairfax Road people, constantly namedropping people and drugs and spinning anecdotes of waht such and such a person might have said or done on a trip of LSD or E. (We were very young back then, ecstasy was the drug of the moment and the whole experience still had a transgressive "awe" about it...)
I recall getting a little over-obsessed over a couple of people. One was the girl who introduced me to "E". On entering and leaving my own block every night I would traipse slightly out of my way to crane my head round, counting the windows along her floor to see whether she seemed to be in or not... How sad is that?!?
Then one of the all-hallowed people from Fairfax Road mentioned to me that it was her birthday next week and she was throwing a party. The Fairfax Road party was thee social event of the season. A student E-rave of some renown. A nationally known DJ span the records and people talked about the night for weeks afterwards.
So you can imagine how offended I was and how acutely my nose was shoved out of joint when I mentioned this casual invitation to E-girl's boyfriend who promptly dis-invited me, saying, "I'm on the door that night. I'm going to have to turn so many people away." And so I didn't go. I was such a delicate flower back then that a little remark like that was enough to put me off. If I felt I wasn't welcome then I couldn't cope. I spent that Saturday night down the pub with my own milder and more boring friends who were so "straight" that they weren't even aware of such a party, let alone whether or not they'd been invited. I was in such a glowery bad mood that people were constantly asking what was wrong ~ but never in 1,000,000 years was I about to confess...
Come on, personal experiences in the commentary box, please!
Little Fluffy Clouds
(gets ***** 5 stars on youtube: this is ambient classic...)
PS Radio 4's weekly Woman's Hour (though nearly 50% of their listeners are men!) Drama: Balance of Power, story of a poor relation of the Duchess of Marlborough who, in 17-something, becomes Lady of the Bedchamber to the Queen of England and gets to witness repressed lesbian lust, amongst much else! If you clickonthat you can hear it yourself...
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