Back in the days of Durham, nikki was one of the girls who brought on aiden and introduced the bishop fuckers. I can't remember who the other was. They even wrote a song about her. I managed to stay in very good contact with the durhamers for a long time, although the group has been whittled down somewhat in the last few years. I don't think I'm in touch with anyone from Robert house anymore, nor all those boys who used to go on the Friday night bar crawl – in fact, they were the first to go.
So I was down in the bookshop on sussex campus, one time, possibly buying a calendar, and nikki appeared out of nowhere and said hello. we went for lunch, chatted and really got on. and then we sort of lost contact again.. house parties came and went and we never got around to it. except one time, when the other durhamers were around.
so it turned out she was getting married, and i hadn't been invited, but got talked into going to the reception the night before by lovely peter, who was over from nice.
so rather than making a weekend of it, i thought i'd just go down and come back up with ed and jez. so it happened like this: i got to victoria, a little after half five, and met jez coming out of the vodaphone shop, after his mugpocketing the previous night. ed arrived joined us presently and we huffed off to the train, just making it and getting a table all to ourselves. ed had brought some vodaka/cherry coke cocktail, and i had been quietly swigging ginger beer/whisky all day, so things went quite nicely and i do love the train ride to brighton. there's that perfect little valley you go through, and all those trees... and then the south downs, looming over the landscape and you head straight into them. i went and got a grubs burger off the train - malaysian with cheese, or mexican with peanut butter, depending on how you look at it. obviously. being back in brighton was magic. maybe it's just the affinity i have for it, or maybe it is really nice (except the tawdry hen parties. whose tradition is that, anyway?). we walked down the front to hove, then walked all the way back, realising we'd missed the de vere grand by a long way, since it was somewhat overshadowed by the hilton - you're just meant to realise it's a different hotel, are you? there's actually a reference to this in my mind hacks book - the brain loses attention temporarily after a positive, making a near but subsequent positive much harder to spot. you can use that. i suppose that's a bit like the twist to minority report. spoiler warning! sorry.
so there we were, peter, ed, jez, i, and nikki, on the dancefloor, and sometimes you wonder if your entire lives have been leading up to this moment. we didn't erally talk to nikki that much, as you'd expect she was rather busy, but we did enjoy the competant motown covers band, the free food, the brighton rock with 'micael loves nikki' written through it, and guests. ed complained at the 3.60 pint, but honestly, this is the grand hotel in brighton - i thought we were getting away pretty lightly, even if it was just carlsberg.
we had some great conversations outside - most have faded with sozz and time but three stick in my mind - the solicitor who worked in family law; when asked 'what's your favourite law', could only reply 'family law' or 'well i work in family law so that's my favourite'. 'no, what's your favourite actual, single, law' didn't get any more of a response. - the woman who really liked sharks, and when asked 'what's your favourite shark?' replied 'well, i'm sorry, but the great white, but my next two are [insert two sharks i've never heard of here],' and obviously really knew her shit. she liked going down the aquarium and said sometimes they hypnotised her. - the teacher (married to the solicitor) and the charming lecturer (makes you sick dunnit) and the conversation about the devaluation of degrees under labour, which i'm not sure how i felt about.
come 10.30, we had to decide whether to get the 11 o'clock, or the 4 o'clock, train. you might notice that this is quite a drastic split. we decided to stick it out, and go for the late one. an evening was to be had. the party closed up at midnight, and ed unsuccesfully tried to get a singer from the band out with us. i'm quite glad she didn't come now, because it was pretty disasterous from this point on.
we wanted an indie club. we asked the band where we should go; they said 'audio,' on the seafront. yeah, that was the one, i said. no. we meant 'ark'. we completely missed it and ended up at the actual audio, which has nothing to do with indie whatsoever. downstairs was electro house for 8 pounds, upstairs in the bar was hip hop and salsa and shit for two pounds. we went in, then left. by the time we got to the glouster, which i was dubious about, it was one, and they had an 80s night on. it was a fiver. being easily pursuaded by this point, we went in. it was shite. complete shite. we stayed in there for as long as we could manage - ed and i left after about an hour and a half, but jez stayed in as he prefered to be indoors with beer than out. so ed and i went down to the sea, which is what we should have done in the first place. and there we sat for as long as we could, staring at the beautiful big sea. we left about quarter past three, when some guys who were throwing stones were throwing them a little too close for comfort. we headed back up to the station, via an offlicence (yay for all night drinking) and burger king for ed. which was funny, because jez got a mcdonalds before we got the train and i don't know why because neither really enjoyed it but had a 'gotta be done' mentality. the train left on time and we fell asleep as best we could. i woke up, and it wasn't moving. it was quite nice, but it wasn't going anywhere. when it did start moving, it was in the other direction thatn it had been before, and we passed through lewes. after we passed croydon the driver announced we were stopping at all stations, it was daylight, and an hour had turned into two. 6 o'clock at victoria on a fucking sunday. we got back at 7 and slept. while not deserted, it was weird to see london so quiet. oxford street was dead, like it should be.