Wednesday, October 31, 2007

New Year's Eve 1997

I had started going out with The Ex shortly before Christmas and didn’t want to come across like I was angling to hang out with him come New Year. I had plans of my own, thank-you-very-much.

So I’d bought tickets well in advance for my sister and I to go to the top indie-stroke-retro nightclub in town.

Sis and I went round his place and had a few civilized drinks with him and his friends early evening before saying goodbye and enjoying a vodka-fuelled pub-crawl into town.

For my sister, visiting from another city, this was the first time she’d seen the girls who frequented the clubs I went to in those days. They wore full 1960s dress and make-up at all times, and even did that odd jerky dance that you only ever see on old footage from Ready Steady Go.

This turned out to be the funniest thing my sister had ever seen. She was openly laughing and pointing at them. ‘Stop that!’ I said. ‘I see these girls out all the time. They’re scary.’

More hours passed and more alcohol was imbibed. I went to the loo and came back and my sister (who doesn’t not have the same Shyness With Boys as me) was snogging someone. (It happened again – with the same guy? I can’t remember.) But I did get increasingly pissed off and threatened to leave if she didn’t stop.

She ignored me so I walked out of the club, expecting her to follow. She didn’t. I went back in, did the whole ‘I’m leaving NOW’ thing again, and she still didn’t come with me. So I headed home.

However, head befuddled with way too much vodka, I somehow got lost. In the city I’d lived for three years, and from a club I’d been to many, many times, somehow I manage to turn the wrong way. I found myself wandering around the financial district – miles in the wrong direction, utterly lost.

I remember falling over. I was wearing a matt satin dress that barely covered my arse, those shiny skin-coloured tights that made you legs look like they’d been shrink wrapped, heeled shoes and a long cream 60s coat. (I don’t dress like this any more.) I remember thinking as I slipped over in the ice (it was below freezing and snowing lightly) that it wasn’t the cleverest outfit.

Eventually I hit a landmark I recognised and I crossed town, heading straight for the bar where my boyfriend was. I begged my way in and staggered around the two floors, stumbling up and down the stairs a couple of time just to make sure he wasn’t there, not quite appreciating how late it was.

So I went round to his. He was just saying goodbye to his friends and I had (relatively) sobered up so he wasn’t too displeased to see me. I fell asleep in record time…

…then suddenly it was eleven the next morning. I woke up thinking HOLY FUCK WHERE IS MY SISTER?

I got a cab straight home and there she was, leaning forlornly against a windowsill that she was sharing with the wrapping of the sandwich and empty Lilt can that she’d bought as soon as the Spar had opened.

She hadn’t been there all night though, and she filled me in on her New Year.

The young man she was copping off with had said she could stay with him – he was also visiting his sister who was a student in the city. But she turned out to be one of the 60s chicks that my sister had been laughing at so openly.

The invitation to stay the night was hastily rescinded and my sister was, come two am, back on her own two feet.

She had only been to visit me a couple of times, but she managed to turn the right way out of the club and walked the entire three miles back to my house without taking a wrong turn. She did stop at every phone box and call my house. There was no answer, but she assumed it was because I was still in a strop with her.

Eventually she reached my house to realise that I wasn’t there. However she is much more intelligent and resourceful than me.

On the last street before mine she had passed a house that was still showing signs of life. The Stone Roses and Ash were playing. Students, she thought. My sister walked straight back round to that house, knocked on the door and said,

“I’ m sorry, I’m locked out for the night, can I stay here?”

The door-answerer, probably none-too-sober himself, didn’t seem too shocked. My sister made her way into a typical student living room full of passed-out and nearly-asleep drunk and stoned students. She spotted a two-seater sofa, and, after picking her way across the dead bodies on the floor, made herself as comfortable as possible and fell asleep.

She awoke the following morning to hear the various voices of her living room co-sleepers talking about her.

- Who is she?
- She just arrived last night and she had nowhere to sleep. She was here for New Year.
- By herself?
- Is she local?
- No, she’s Irish.
- She’s come all the way over from Ireland by herself for New Year with nowhere to stay?

My sister sat up with as much composure as she could manage given the circumstances.

“Cheers for letting me kip here,” she said insouciantly, as if flying to a strange city by herself and gatecrashing a bed for the night was something she did every weekend, then swanned out their front door in search of a corner shop.

Later, as we ate some reheated remnants from the restaurant I worked in we watched the news. A twenty-something man had died on his way home from a night out. Drunk, he had stumbled perhaps, or fallen asleep, and had frozen to death just a mile or two from home. My sister looked at me. She didn’t need to say anything.

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  • ermm, equally had there been a news item about someone getting robbed/raped/murdered by a bunch of strangers in a strange flat, you could have looked at your sister significantly

    By Blogger GreatSheElephant, at 10:03 PM  

  • I like the sound of those crazy 60s chicks.

    By Blogger Tim Footman, at 5:58 AM  

  • "I was wearing a matt satin dress that barely covered my arse, those shiny skin-coloured tights that made you legs look like they’d been shrink wrapped, heeled shoes and a long cream 60s coat."

    Could you elaborate a little please Spinster...??

    [...aside to no one in particular: I see her angle now!: Spinster With a One Track Mind...who's a sneaky old sly boots then?? She'll make a mint!]

    By Blogger Robert Swipe, at 10:57 AM  

  • That's panache - swanning in for a kip and swanning out again. The neighbours' cats seem to use my sofa like that.

    By Blogger llewtrah, at 12:25 PM  

  • Great story - ahhh, they don't make New Years Eves like they used to.

    By Blogger Lucy Diamond, at 1:17 PM  

  • There was more adventure there than I've had in my whole life.

    How can you walk into a party uninvited without at least a couple of bottles of brown ale?

    By Blogger Geoff, at 1:30 PM  

  • Aah, that reminds me of New Year's Eve 1992, when I fell asleep in a bus shelter and woke up to find someone had peed on me. Last New Year's Eve, I watched Spiderman 2 on DVD and made pizzas. How times have changed.

    By Blogger Miss Meep, at 7:19 PM  

  • wow. i'm always equal parts confused and awestruck when i read these sorts of stories. this is a completely different world from me. I don't know anything about nightclubs, NYE parties, or anything. Different world completely.

    (To give you some idea, I spent NYE as a kid at home with the parents. Aunt Debbie and Uncle Rick would come over (they were a hoot) and the 4 adults would play cards all night. Us kids (me, bro, their 2 kids) would watch movies all night, watch the Big Apple drop on TV, and go to bed at 12:05. We thought it was a wild time, even when we were 17. I had never tasted alcohol.)

    By Blogger Chaucer's Bitch, at 8:07 PM  

  • My sister is very cool indeed.

    This story is far better when she tells it. She leaves out the copping-off bit and then it's an even more shocking tale of abandonment.

    Bob, a friend of mine has a picture of me in that very frock. If I ever get dooced I'll publish it for ya.

    By Blogger Spinsterella, at 8:33 PM  

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