I was living in a bad part of Plymouth. It rained incessantly and the damp seeped into very fabric of the houses. Every day I drove to the newspaper past the council houses listening to Suede in the car's cassette player and the words of Animal Nitrate.
In your council home he broke all your bones
Now you're taking it time after time
Suede were certainly not happy bunnies. Anyhow the past is compressed and whenever I think of the angst-ridden parties I think of Suede, I think of cigarette ends in beer and dubious antics in the garden. The curious nihilistic excitement of parties where anything could happen - but normally not to me. God knows why. I'd even invite around the worst punks in the neighborhood only to see them sip G&Ts politely on the patio as if they were at the Queen's garden party.
Why wasn't I an essential 24 hour dark party person? Because you'd always find me in the kitchen at parties? Yes and no. Or perhaps I was just a dork but still I feel I was cooler than now, for although we didn't talk about Rousseau nor did we come out with classics like: "Go potty and you get chockie."
It doesn't work anymore. Perhaps it never did. But at least I can guzzle chocolates at midnight while the memory of the last party I went to hurtles down a dark tunnel of memory and disappears out of the other side.
The thing about Suede was I never really understood what their lyrics were about, least of all my favorite song Metal Mickey.
And I really thought Heroine was really about heroin, given Brett Anderson's spectral appearance.
The strange snapshots of parties come back to me. Dominick's crestfallen face when the gatecrashers stole his Spandau Ballet collection and scratched his parents' coffee table just hours before they got back to town, Lardy Mark trying to be in the in-crowd with his "Friends" T-shirt, but his party was pathetic and his fish tank stank; the odd and sinister night when a work colleague ended up with another work colleague in the back garden and she left with bruises on her face.
These parties always teetered on the edge of madness like the madness of OCD Dick when he stopped the party mid party after finding his bathroom mirror was broken. One by one Dick interrogated us, the light of a lava lamp glinting off his glasses which made him look obliquely Gestapo-esque us but nobody owned up. The next morning a photographer who had smoked too much weed woke up with glass in his hair.
Then there was the end of term party where four guys identified four girls and held a challenge as to who could score. I felt uneasy. Charlotte was on the list. Or jealous. Or confused. Peter had some modicum of charm; he wooed with his book collection. Something went on in his room. I'm not sure what. I was distracted by the Victoria stuff. Nick feigned an interest in me for the first and last time, although he looked through me to my girlfriend. In Victoria's prissy manner he felt a meeting of souls. Cold beauty is worse than cold ugliness because it masks and warps our perceptions.
and he said "she's not dead, she's gone away gone away."
And Charlotte too the next day when she broke down and her humorless boyfriend took her away in his Austin Maestro. Then I missed our long talks on the sofa in the empty room between classes and wondered, not for the first time, if I had missed the big picture.
There was one letter and nothing more. Just the sodden streets of Plymouth and the women with bad dye jobs pushing babies.
But we're trash, you and me
We're the litter on the breeze
We're the lovers on the streets
Saskia ripped out the cheap carpets of the rental home because wood was more ecologically sound. I'd walk downstairs to find her friends heating up spoons in the kitchen; so Suede drug chic. Already I felt too old for parties. I felt old for parties when I was young.
But in so many ways the madness of house parties had only just started.