---A hormonal, Hallmark Channel wobble about friends. Sorry.---
I had some folks over for dinner on Sunday. I really love that, because if you have a house party then you never end up talking to everyone because you’re the host and either a) get incredibly drunk and fall over b) are hungover, stay sober and fuck everything up or c) everyone stands around looking a bit nervous going “Ooh, this is a nice flat, I’d better try not to break anything.”
My problem is that I go, “Wow! I know some really brilliant people and wouldn’t it be nice to put them all in a room and let them meet each other,” and then get a bit disappointed when it doesn’t work like that. There were six of us this time, which was an eminently sensible number. Last time there were 11 which was a bit hectic and people inevitably ganged up into One End and Other End for conversation.
I looked around at one point and got hopelessly happy. “You’re all amazing!” I cried, like I’d only just noticed. “Look at you! You’re all doing amazing things and are just amazing people!” I wasn’t that drunk. I made a point of not drinking at my usual “Wow, this is exciting and isn’t this delicious?” rate because that ends badly. So I got to fully take in this wonderful bunch of people that I’d brought together and go all misty-eyed.
See, I went to a milk-round university where Things are Expected of you, if only for the exit stats to go in the prospectus. When I went to the careers fair in my final year, there was one journalism table for a local paper, no BBC or anything exciting unless you consider investment banking and the armed forces to be the pinnacle of creative expression. I vaguely thought about going into the Navy when I was 15, mostly because CCF was mandatory at school and I didn’t mind sailing. Their stall basically taught me that I was extremely foolish when I was 15 and you don’t get to do any sailing at all when you’re stuck on a battleship.
The point is that anyone who wanted to do something out of the “ordinary” didn’t really get any advice, so you had to make it up as you went along. Looking round at my friends who’ve carved out their own paths and built on their talents and done exactly what they want is really quite wonderful, especially when careers tutors now seem to go into meltdown when you say you don’t want to work in the Civil Service
I feel incredibly lucky that I've ended up doing what I am now - I am incredibly lucky. There was a great website I wrote for at university which let me make lots of mistakes, write vast amounts of self-indulgent tripe, and got it into my head that I should really nix the whole idea of acting and see if I could focus my mind for long enough to properly pursue writing. I'm horrible at interviews. I vaguely remember ranting about Kerrang! to my future journalism tutor, and went and got depressed-drunk with my brother afterwards. They let me in, eventually, and I fell in love with Wales.
I'm babbling. This is because I am so proud of what us, of what people are doing contrary to the roads laid out for us as children/teenagers/students, the ones that said you shouldn't take a risk because you might end up without a pension, and that's leaking into everything else. Not one of them is letting life pass them by, whether it's what they do outside of 9-5, or what they do 9-5, or instead of it altogether, and that makes me quite giddy.
Myrtle Smoak, doing exactly what she wants and getting involved with crazy political antics in Berlin. OIR, for constantly challenging herself and everyone around her. Opera Cat, for being so patient and reaping the rewards as a result. RBT and the Journalist for constantly making me kow-tow to their writing skills. Brian for the art, the music, everything. Orchestral Blonde, for kicking the arse out of Customs, violins and humour. BDQ for networking her way into wealthy schoolboys. Michael and Corinne for writing about pop stars and morris dancing, and Canadian bears. My housemates, for pissing off to NYC, or doing stand up comedy, while they're grappling with carving out careers in law. Fucking hell.
You don’t know these people, but you know people like them. Aren’t they ace?
All my friends are incredible, silly, ridiculous, lovely people. I imagine, and hope, that all yours are as well. Let’s write them a letter shall we? Or have them round for dinner. Then you get to look at them, and hug them, and if you’re a bit hormonal you can write silly, flowery blogs about them later.