Saturday was busy, but not so more than usual. I wanted to clean the car, so it was immaculate for the evening, but I was running out of time. In the afternoon I had to head over to collect my Mum and then take her to Slough for some food shopping. On our journey home, it was getting dark, but I still needed to give the car a hoover before I went in and it went pitch black outside. I really wanted to jet wash the car, but had to go for the lazy car wash option. I went over to Sands, to the Total petrol station. As I pulled in a dark green VW van beat me to the car wash, the driver rushed out and went to get a ticket, seconds before me. Never mind, this would give me a chance to apply my Super Alloy Cleaning. After paying for my ticket, I waited for the man to wash his van. He drove into the car wash, but somehow forgot to enter his code in before hand. When he came out of his fan and came towards me to enter his code, I realised why. He was from Eastern Europe, with a poor grasp of English. As he entered the code, the shutters came down and he was locked out temporarily from his van. I offered a word of advice that the inside of the wash bay would be extremely slippery and hazardous, which I think he understand and took on board. As I continued to clean my alloys, he came over and told me to be careful with the cleaner, to make sure I did not get it in my eyes? Now please, how would I do that? Wearing glasses as well! Maybe it is a cultural thing, if you offer someone advice, instead of acknowledging the advice, you have to give advice back. I eventually got in and cleaned my car and it was ready for the night out in Reading. There was one problem, I was not. Then again, looking back I don’t think I ever would be.
While I was out getting my car cleaned, I had left my PC on, downloading a zip file direct from Sippy After a long spell away from MSN, Sippy had returned and we were catching up on things. If you read some of my comments from last month, my old Uni friend detested the Channel 4 comedy programme to begin with, but it has grown on him on recent weeks. He has been telling his wife how much Moss reminds him of me? Even though I had already told him (and clearly stated on this blog) that a few of my immediate colleagues on the helpdesk thought I resembled him the most! Taking into account that I was unable to watch the episode from 3rd March, as I was over in Swallowfield, getting my amp installed, I asked if he could send me the episode and he kindly obliged. By the time I got home it had downloaded, as scheduled within an hour. I had to get ready to go out, so could not watch the episode and saved it for later, perhaps as soon as I got back in the early hours of Sunday morning.
Now, I suppose I should state that my level of expectation was normal. I had been out in Reading, many a Saturday night and this was not a new experience, I was just meeting some new people and going somewhere different. As I pulled into Deanfield Road, my phone started vibrating. I had inadvertently left it in my trouser pocket and struggled to get to it, while one hand on the road, one eye on the road and a red traffic light up ahead. It was only Chris, it didn’t matter. I was on time, so had no idea why he was calling me. I arrived to find the first setback of the evening, I would not be meeting Chris’ other half. Although gutted, I tried best to hide my disappointment. On the plus side, it meant my original vow off silence on the topic could be broken. So we made our way into the cold night, listening to Kanye West unaware of what the night may bring.
Just outside of Caversham, Chris gave them a call. You can tell a lot about someone by their voice and all I could hear was sweetness. We were on time for a change (well for my poor time management skills on social outings) and parked up in the Oracle. My first spot next to the Ford KA was too tight (no matter what Mr. Williams tells you) so I opted to drive in the adjacent bay. We made our way over to Bar 4 from the riverside shopping area. While I did my best to look smooth, sophisticated and suave, Chris had other ideas. While walking up the escalator stairs (it was off) my friend tripped up but quickly recovered and said, “Keep walking, I don’t think anyone noticed…” Sorry I think they did, and the group of teenage girls at the top of stairs, giggled to themselves in true Vicky Pollard fashion. My next question as we headed towards the High Street was if Chris had ever been out period, let alone just Reading. Obviously not. Then I had a sudden panic attack, what was the best approach for meeting all his friends? Guys are easy, a handshake. But for the other gender it can be a awkward situation. I opted for the safe handshake, but decided against practicing with Chris, due to the homophobic connotations. I took a deep breathe, nodded at the bouncer (sorry door staff) before taking the step into the pub.
People say expect nothing on a night out. Go out with a clear head, therefore anything that does happen is a bonus. This way you feel free to enjoyself and not hoping, praying for something to happen. Tonight it was difficult to manage my own expectations for several reasons. The initial e-mail inviting me as a guest was perhaps the catalyst for everything. Yet I had learned so much more from many months previously. In particular a night in December before we broke up for the holidays. That meeting, while a bit blurry in my mind had me in awe, although if you hear Chris’ version, I would be banned from meeting any of his friends ever again and his biggest regret was shouting my name as I was heading out of the Hog’s Head. Tonight was an opportuntiy to redeem myself. We headed towards the bar, Chris looking for his friends and noticed them in the cubicle at the back, we headed over and for a while I did the whole, I don’t know anyone, hands in pockets mode. Then eventually (although it felt like a lifetime, it must have been only a few minutes) the introductions were made. I waved in a pathetic way to the girls in the far corner and then when CT appeared (with more alcohol) she gave me hug as I wished her happy birthday. The night was young and the fun was only just about to begin.
Pav arrived and I spent sometime with him, catching up from last weekend and of course looking forward to the Easter holiday weekend. Then after a quick couple of rounds we headed down the road to Bar Risa which is also the Jongleurs Comedy Club. The rest of the gang would make their way a bit later, so we headed out just after 10pm, the few blocks down the road to the club. We were on the guestlist but it still cost £5 per a person. Never mind, I was still hanging out on hope that tonight would turn itself around, although little had been a disappointment so far. Having never been here before, it was busy and looked relatively small and not worth the entrance fee. However, looking back I have paid more to go out to clubs like The Matrix in Reading before so perhaps are being to quick to judge. Pav went to the bar to get the drinks in and I considered where or not to give my coat into the cloakroom. Looking outside it was getting busy and the non-existant queue when we arrived now stretched down the road way past the red carpet. I was sure that Chris would ring me when he got in or alternatively I would spot him in the crowd. It was busy, it was Saturday night and the weekend was in full swing. While Bar Risa does have a great decor, the dancefloor to the far left, is small and clostropbic. Chris arrived and wanted to buy me yet another drink but I refused on this occassion. The rest of the gang hand made a home close to the dancefloor, but Pav and myself were on the comfy sofa. Seats he had fought hard to keep while I had drifted off to find my work colleague. The downstairs area was hitting capacity, but I did not know at the time that there was another area upstairs. Pav was about to make a break for home, I was glad he had come out, it is always great to see him. He spotted an old college friend Dave, through the crowds and we had to go and say hello. We were all on the same Business Studies A Level course at Henley. Big Dave (as we called him back then) was doing very well for himself, driving an Audi TT, bought a house last year and working as a Tennis coach. Perhaps IT is the wrong career decision?
The party was really about to come alive as our party of six or seven headed for the dancefloor. This may surprise some of you, but I really do enjoy listening to some heavy urban beats (as the DJ described them) and a selection of commericial dance, but I really needed something more to get my groove on. To their credit, they did play a very good remix of ‘Be Without You’ by Mary J. Blige. It was difficult to find the space to move, let alone anything else. I tried to keep my distance but it was difficult. Trying to make sure a drunken member of the group stayed on his feet was a job in itself. The decision was made to go upstairs and before I knew what was happening LB grabbed my hand and we headed to the queue, which had a fifteen minute wait. Chris came to the rescue of what appeared to a slight ultercation with some boys in the queue ahead of us, who accused us of pushing in. After a few heated words, Mr. W stepped in to be peacemaker. For someone that looks so innocent, it is clear to me that there is a fiery character the lives underneath that smooth silky skin. In anycase, we were in the queue and on our way. The queue, takes you back through the main entrance, then around up the stairs to the upstairs. However on the way, we lost a few members of our party and were ushered to wait upstairs by the doorstaff. On the walls is the rogue gallery of all the comedians that have played at this club. The only person whom I recognised instantly was Ross Noble. Waiting at the top of queue, CT phoned down to get LB to come up whenever they were ready and we would get the first round in. I had noticed the aged over everyone else upstairs jump by at least ten years, but did not make a comment. Chris did. All I see is old people, were his exact words. We walked in to the sounds of McFly and of course Chris had to join in. S thought they were great, but I just don’t really like them, the odd song such as It’s All About You is fine but their rather small back cataloge does little to make my ground move. This was followed by a quick chorus of ‘You Said No’ by Busted. Was it just me or was it getting worse? LB appeared, on queue, as if I was watching some Hollywood movie. The DJ choice this moment to play the Artic Monkeys. I could not resit, I had to make a comment, particularly as she was concerned that not everyone was having a good night. Eventually I got a chance to get a word in edgeways, “It doesn’t matter, because you…” We had gathered by the cigerette machine (of all places) by the toliets, when it happened. I had a laspe in character and took over the evening (after playing quite a passive role to date) “I want to dance!” which came out rather forceful, when I had intended to be more of a suggestion. As if on my instruction, everyone followed me to the dancefloor. The DJ had spun a guaranteed dancefloor filer, the MJ Megamix and this was the whole reason I had bought my dancing shoes this evening. The music of Michael Jackson is just so infectious there is nothing else you can do but dance. The party and truly begun, although, I did save my party pieces of the robot and feeble moonwalk for another time. For a few hours, I escaped. I forgot about work, my real life in the real world. The realities and pressures of living in 2006. I would not return until I steped outside, into the cool night air and by my reckoning there were a least a good few hours left on the clock. If I had a choice between downstairs and upstairs I would choice the later, due to the music policy. Cheesy Pop will always get me moving on the dancefloor. And with some of these views, there was no where else I would rather be. After a few moment songs and remix, the DJ hit the old nostaga bell (for most of the girls really) and played songs from the Dirty Dancing soundtrack, beginning with the awful (when sober) ‘The Time Of My Life’ by Bill Medley & Jennifer Warnes. Closely followed by some of the other memorable tracks such as Stay, Big Girls Don’t Cry and Be My Baby. Not the type of songs that you can easily dance to, but by this time in the evening, I mean morning you are just jumping up and down, singing along and of course making ‘T’ signs with your hands (and or arms) at every available opportunity to signal your appreciate of yet another fantastic tune. The next song that played was Sweet Child Of Mine by Guns & Roses, but I was not in the frame of mind for air guitar so headed off the dancefloor. I returned, waved on by Chris & LB, to bop along to Rock DJ, closely followed by I’ll Be There by Jim Jamison (little did I know that when I last mentioned the song in May 2004, I would be dancing and singing along in a Reading night club, almost exactly twenty-two months later.) Then one of the final songs we listed to before we left was ‘Maybe Tomorrow’ the theme tune to the 1980s classic, The Littlest Hobo. It was getting late, and I thought it best we make a move but didn’t want to be the party pooper, although the frown on the face of LB, spoke volumes. We said goodbye in anycase and walked downstairs. I still had my head in the clouds.
While in the queue to collect my coat, I had a strange sense of deja vu. Had this all been a dream? I pinched myself. No, I was sound awake and live. I knew I would find it difficult to put to words the experience of the evening, even now it is strange to think I lived through it. Am I over exaggerating? Perhaps. Just another human being, at the end of the day. No one more special than you and I, I hear you cry! Well actually I think from time to time, you meet amazing people that quite literally blow you away. What they say, what they do, even what they wear makes you stay in awe. Are they for real? Yes they are. I have long been a believe that nobody is perfect. We all have our faults, some of them more obvious than others. Yet, I will go as far as to say that this person, has no flaws, no blemishes, no skeletons in the cupboard. If you are going to be picky, then there is one major flaw (although the label of flaw is debatable) they are unavailable. Perhaps that is a good thing. It does give me some hope though, if all the good’uns are taken, please make mine just 5% as good as LB last night.