I met #145 at a New Year party, shortly after my seventeenth birthday. He bought a copy of my zine, and followed it up by sending me a mix tape through the post. #7 had provided my initial introduction to punk – Dead Kennedys and Nomeansno and Alice Donut and such – but #145 took this and updated it. Through him I discovered, most notably, J Church and Jawbreaker, but many more besides, which opened up my world somewhat, especially when he started lending me punk zines as well. We used to drive around dark country roads in his car as he played tapes by obscure bands I’d never heard of. He played drums and took pictures. We watched Woody Allen films together, and Educating Rita and Taxi Driver. I used to crash at his place in Bangor every weekend.
I was going out with #18 at the time and our relationship had started to get routine and domesticated. I panicked for a while: I was hanging out with #145 all the time, it seemed like I’d started to enjoy his company more than #18’s, what if I had a crush on him? Luckily, I gradually figured out that I didn’t, so the crisis was averted. Instead, I eventually embarked on an affair with #20, thus breaking #18’s heart anyway.
The last party I ever held in my flat was my twenty-seventh birthday party, after which I accepted that my flat is just too small to fit lots of drunk people into. #145 travelled across from Glasgow for the party, and promptly crashed out in my bed while festivities were still underway. #81 was still staying in my living-room at the time (and, as it turned out, she had the pleasure of #138‘s company that night), so once the party was over I joined him. We lay there side by side and marvelled at the fact we’d known each other ten years.
“Nine,” he said, “what would happen if I was to kiss you right now?”
“That would probably be a bad idea,” I explained, “although notice I’m not actually saying no.”
And it was a bad idea. Not a disastrous, friendship-killing sort of bad idea, but just sort of dumb; it didn’t feel right at all. It is still on my to-do list to stop being stupidly opportunistic. Anyway, no harm done.