The other night I had the grown – up version of having a friend over to play. This is very much like the junior play dates you may be familiar with if you have small children. Substitute the orange squash and biscuits for beer and crisps, instead of toys and videos have a box full of dusty seven inch singles from the loft and finally shut us in a room undisturbed as we probably won’t be charging around running up and down the stairs shouting as loudly as we can or watching SpongeBob Squarepants – at least not until later.
In preparation I had crawled into the loft space and retrieved a record player and some speakers, these have been living in the loft for some time, as record players and young children don’t mix that well and young children have been a defining feature of our house for many years now. The same loft space was also accessed to collect the aforementioned box of records, at great personal risk to my middle aged back that doesn’t really enjoy crawling around or carrying things up and down ladders that much.
The record player was set up, the amp was cranked all the way to 4 and I was set up. I have to admit that the last few years, raising small children and caring for a disabled child have been quite heavy on my social life; so I was a little excited that I was going to spend some adult time with someone who isn’t a family member or colleague.
My friend (actually, I may refer to him as my ‘mate’ from now on, it sounds a bit more blokeish) is the same age as me, he grew up listening to a lot of the same music and going to see a lot of the same bands. Whenever we have met up before, we have ended up talking music in the way that only middle aged men can. Rummaging through boxes of singles seemed like a logical thing to do, so we did.
Stiff Little Fingers, Carter USM, Hole, Siouxsie and the Banshees, they all got played at some point. More eclectic bands; Superchunk and The Jesus Lizard, Silverfish and even Whitney Houston (?!) got played. At some point, after the first couple of beers, the amp may have even been turned up to an outrageous 6. It was all good fun and over too quickly. There is only so much beer you can consume on a week night and still be able to function at work the next day.
It was all over too early really. On a more positive note, I still have several boxes of 12 inch vinyl to get down from the loft, and I haven’t seen my mate’s record collection yet. I sense some more play dates coming up.