Tuesday, September 03, 2002


Let’s be honest here. I’ll be the first to admit to the fact that I was a right lazy bastard in my late teens. So lazy, in fact, that I managed to duck out of college altogether and ended up sitting with my feet up in a backwater civil service office. For three glorious years I shuffled invoices into different folders without anyone even noticing I existed. My brother, on the other hand, evolved from classic third-child underachiever to thrusting college student within a matter of months. The smarmy bastard.

This arrangement, however, did have its advantages. I had a regular income and a car. He had access to the best parties Kingston Polytechnic had to offer and relatively good quality student digs to crash out in afterwards.

I’d drive down to Kingy, pick up Nige and all his mates and head for the Student Union. I’d blagged myself in as a member at the beginning of term by claiming I was a physics student, along with Paul, Mark and James who all managed to flunk off their courses within weeks, but we still claimed membership a good six years later.

Often, we’d sit there and get drunk, dance badly to the student disco and talk a load of bull about football to each other and any other person pretending they were students who happened to be drinking there at the time. Great if you liked The Smiths and didn’t mind other loons who danced like, and I quote, “a spastic passing a magnet factory”, but otherwise the only real attraction was the bar prices, about half that of the local pubs. Which was why we were there.

The first Saturday evening of any new term was a highlight. That was when the Rugby team had their ban lifted and were allowed back into the bar. Within hours, they’d have drunk the place drier than a Frenchman’s bathmat, started singing songs such as “I’m a stupid dicky-di-dildo” and get themselves banned for another term with the initiation ceremony on their new players.

It was called “The Dance of the Flaming Arseholes”. They’d roll up a piece of newspaper, stick it up the intitate’s arse-crack and set fire to it. He would then have to run a circuit of the bar (no mean feat on a crowded night) and down a pint with chasers before being allowed to douse the flames. We’d watch through tears of laughter as yet another initiate was carted off for first aid to his scorched ring, while the rest of the squad was defiantly marched out by the bar manager for another three months of getting banned from all the pubs in Kingston, Richmond or any other town that would have them.

Huey! Rolf!
The Big White Telephone

But it was the parties we lived for. Kingy Poly had its own halls of residence which were in their own compound a mile or so off-campus, and hence, a mile or so away from adult supervision. Every month or so, each hall would hold a party, and with Animal House still a barely fading memory, drink, motorbikes and nudity were compulsory. Togas were frequently involved, and with the Rugby squad on double secret probation, a wild time was expected. Always.

It seemed half of Kingston had descended on my brother’s block that fateful night of early summer. Most were students, but there were plenty of hangers-on too. Mr Thresher had had the good sense to open an off-licence right next door to the student flats, and we’d managed to clear the shelves of everything except the Babychams and that green stuff that looks and tastes like washing up liquid.

Oh yes. Drink flowed that night. Bodies littered the common room and most of the dorms, and the toilets were rich with the sound of students calling out for their friends Huey and Rolf down the big white telephone. I had fallen in with a crowd of serious drinkers in my sixth-form days and could take my ale, but there were plenty who couldn’t. And as usual, dear reader, I was cursed with the ability to remember every sordid detail despite being three sheets to the wind. Happy now?

And when you’re drunk, you do stupid things. Stupid, illogical things that seemed a good idea at the time, but you just can’t explain to the judge afterwards. That is why, I suppose, Nige and I led a raid on the communal kitchens to see what we could snaffle. And being students, the cupboards were completely bare, all except for Samantha’s.

Samantha: bringer of nutritious foodstuffs. Samantha, the nice innocent girl. A commited student, a hard worker, and let’s face it, the only decent cook in the entire block. She was also face down in the common room, drunk off her head, with pervy James trying to look up her skirt. So we raided the kitchen cupboard marked “SAMANTHA’S FOOD - KEEP OUT!!!” in big red letters. She had eggs. Eggs were good. Eggs would be fun. We stole eggs.

Clicky for part II of this epic tale of mirth and woe.

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