Sunday, May 14, 2006

Waterloo Terrace, N1, circa 1989

Talk about a busy few weeks - barely had time for the proverbial scratch, let alone cobbling together a post... but as the unseasonably humid night outside unleashes the first rain for weeks, I thought I should hunker down here in the wee hours and pen a few words.

My old mate Harf sent me the attached photo last week, harking back to my days living in London at the pictured address in Waterloo Terrace. I remember the day the photo was taken quite clearly - a few pints and a packet of Silk Cuts down at The Post Office pub on Upper Street, Islington. Ever the wacky trickster, old Harf showed the snaps around when he got home and told everyone they were taken on his wedding day.

We moved into the Waterloo Tce house after doing a runner from a house in Hackney that accommodated about 12 people and had only three bathrooms and one kitchen. If the landlord could have rented the broom cupboard, he would have, so we had had no qualms about skipping that fortnight's rent - besides, he got to keep the Yukka plant.

The move was prompted by an invitation from a friend I'd made while performing temporary clerical duties very badly at Eagle Star Insurance. Jon and I both enjoyed a drink, shared the same taste in music and were both taking something of a sabatical from what we really wanted to do in life - it was a good fit, so the top room was invaded by Aussies.

Jon and his partner Louise - who I've mentioned before on this blog - went on to form Britpop band Sleeper not long after my visa finally gave a last cough, closed its eyes and expired.

Indeed, the band was born from the womb of this very house.

But back then, circa 1989, thoughts of stardom and cocaine fuelled pop star excess hadn't even hit the radar - we were probably pooling cash to buy a couple of litre bottles of Bulgarian Bull's Blood, an eighth of Leb and sitting around the shabby Georgian-inspired front lounge being swept up by the swirling guitar voodoo of Black Francis and our beloved Pixies.

Some nights in bed I can still feel myself floating in the bath in the Waterloo Tce basement, listening to the roar of the trains snaking their way through to Angel Station, the imagined muted voices of commuters rising through the earth, the soft whooosh and hum and the blessed vacuum of expectant silence that remains.

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