Tag Archives: friendship

Things I Like #5: Team Putney

Technically, I left the house in Putney two weeks ago. But it isn’t about the place, it’s the people I’ve only just left behind; Tavs, Vaughan, and Nikki.

victorian-putney

Living with friends can be a risky business – unlike living with a significant other or family member, the ties that bind you are less strong, and it can be more difficult to form a cohesive household. You never know what people will be like to live with until you try – the most amicable people can turn into filthy, passive aggressive psychotics in a domestic situation.

But for the last year and a half, I’ve been blessed with three wonderful housemates…

Vaughan “VJ” Jacob

vaughan-steel

Greatest Domestic Attribute: Probably the best drunk in the world (sponsored by Carlsberg).

Crime Against Domesticity: Those teabags in the sink…simply unforgivable.

Paul “Chance” Tavner

the-t

Greatest Domestic Attribute: In a house (and a friendship group) filled with hopelessly impractical arty types who wouldn’t be able to change a fuse if their life depended on it, he is the light, bestriding practical, manly household tasks like a colossus. A colossus with a full toolkit and massive flinty balls that strike sparks when he walks.

Crime Against Domesticity: Slams doors when angry. Has been known to murder prostitutes after drinking absinthe.

Nikki “Nikabell” Blemings

nikki-and-beastie

Greatest Domestic Attribute: The cakes. The cuddles. More cakes. More cuddles. Outstanding for late night, tea fuelled chats, and often wanders around in a towel/underwear. What more can you ask for?

Crime Against Domesticity: Sister, those dishes don’t wash themselves. Visitors have been known to become lost and starve to death in the jungle of clothes on her floor.

Against the odds, this random group of people, thrown together by chance and convenience as much as planning, has worked as a domestic unit. I’m sorry to leave them behind for a time, but who knows? Perhaps we shall cook/clean/drink absinthe together again some time soon…

gay-putney

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Poem of the Week #5: Catullus 13

Sometimes, I’m just in the mood for Catullus, especially after the effusive lyricism of Neruda. Acid tongued, obscene, pithy and brilliantly witty, his poetry is over two thousand years old but is still startlingly fresh. Beneath the crudity there is a hearty love of simple pleasures; women, wine, poetry, love, and friendship. They happen to be pleasures that coincide with my own at this point in time. Here is one of his best…

13

I shall expect
you in to dine
a few days hence
Fabullus mine,
and we’ll eat well
enough, my friend,
if you provide
the food and wine
and the girl, too,
pretty and willing.
I, Catullus,
promise you
wine and wit and
all the laughter
of the table
should you provide
whatever food
or wine you’re able.
For, charmed Fabullus,
your old friend’s purse
is empty now
of all but cobwebs!

In return, the
distillation
of Love’s essence
take from me, or
whatever’s more
attractive or
seductive than
Love’s essence. For
Venus and her
Cupids gave my
girl an unguent,
this I’ll give to
you, Fabullus, and
when you’ve smelt it
all you want the
gods to do is
make you one
gigantic nose
to smell it, always, with.

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Things I Like # 1: Post House Party Fry Ups

Brief Preamble: Just a list of things I like, to be added to over the days/weeks/months/etc to come…

britishfryup-1

The morning after the night before. As people crawl from sleeping bags, beds or from their bivouacs of cushions, chairs and piles of clothes, they have one focus above all others –  food. Fried food, greasy food, the only thing that can take the pain away.

Food is a problem because the kitchen is a disaster zone, a Ground Zero of filthy plates and glasses, crushed cans and empty bottles. There is no food in the kitchen, there is nothing to eat it off, and besides, the kitchen is now a depressing place. Every possible container has become a receptacle for a foul combination of stale beer, cigarette ash and half chewed food. Someone has probably urinated in the bin. No one can be expected to go near such a place in a fragile state, and washing up is simply out of the question. Food must be found outside of the house, and so everyone who can still walk pulls on the clothes from the previous night and stumbles out into the cold, slouching towards the Bethlehem offered by a greasy spoon or greasy Weatherspoon.

Sometimes I think I go to parties just to go for the fry ups the next day and enjoy the sense of kinship that exists between the Hungover. Suffering brings people together and allows them to share a rare connection, even if said suffering has been caused by half a bottle of Glenmorangie and three glasses of Sainsburys Basics red wine. Booze brings people together as well, of course, but at a party people tend to have different objectives. Flirting, fighting, fucking, whatever takes your fancy. Everyone is there for their own reasons and wants to see different people – there is a shared agenda, but not much of one.

Not so the next day. Just as people are united by their drunkenness, the morning after they are united in suffering, but this suffering (and the cure for the suffering) provides a much more unified purpose than the vague injunction to Have Fun. Aching guts, china plate heads and a mouth that tastes like a bag full of mouldy socks have a strange capacity to bring people together. No one has the time or energy to think about how they look or what they are saying. Everyone is too busy taking comfort in two of life’s great pleasures; good food and good company.

Whenever I find myself at one of those tables, surrounded by friends as we sit reverentially before our plates of fried filth, I find myself grateful for these things – hearty food and people who inspire and bring comfort to me. It shouldn’t require me to soak myself in whisky and then sleep on a hard floor to really appreciate these things, but it helps.

A hangover, fried food, and some good friends to enjoy it with. As a combination, that’s one of the things that I like.

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