Stories from 1996 Chapter 30 A Britpop Journal

Suede

September 5th 1996

I am now the proud new tenant of the Coburn Street Residence.  Right round the corner from The New Ely, 5 minutes from The Taf and approximately 1 minute from the counter in the corner shop which is handy for those Coronation Street advert chocolate runs. My fellow housemates are Ruth, downstairs front room; Alan and Kim, upstairs front room and Harry middle upstairs room. I have the tiny back room but all outside walls so, even though I will be slowly freezing to death come January, I will be able to play my music as loudly as I want. Who needs heat when you have beat?

I knew Alan through Harry and Ruth’s maths course and he has been like an older, slightly more sensible brother to us all the final term of Uni. At the last minute he decided to take on a teacher training course so has ended up rooming with us. His girlfriend Kim works at The Harvester and has promised us loads of freebie left overs. This almost makes up for her insistence to rota everything. My jobs are washing up Tuesdays and Thursdays and bins out every Monday. (the rebel in me is already digging my heels in but, I will try my best).  I’m not sure if we can be classed as Young Professionals but I have my call centre job, Harry works for a clothing depot in town and Ruth has yet to move in with us properly as she has met a man over the summer whom she is reluctant to leave. Fair play to her.

I love my new home and am stupidly excited by another year in Cardiff, still in the thick of the fun, but actually earning money. This has been week one of my answering the phone training and I am basically being paid to sit in a chair and daydream. There are twenty of us in a classroom, with a flipchart and Sally The Trainer (who went to school with Cerys Matthews don’t you know?). Having been in that environment for 4 days I have come to the conclusion that no one else in that room is taking this job seriously either. We are a motley crew that include a cute but cocky bloke from The Valleys, a handful of other lost soul graduates, a girl who looks like Boy George, a middle-aged man who used to work for ‘The Beeb’ and a lady with a five o’clock shadow. A bizarre cross section of society united by daily timesheets and coffee machines that offer a soup option. Our days involve drinking Lucozade to eliminate our hangovers, giggling while Sally The Trainer tries to balance her rather large behind on the corner of a poor young man’s desk and, basically, trying to get away with as many fag breaks as we can throughout the day. The smoking room is a lift ride away and gives ample opportunity for time wasting. Entering the frosted glass door is like setting foot into a 70’s sitcom set. Everything is brown and nicotine stained, the stench of cancer grabs you by throat. Two minutes in that room of death is 20 years off our lives. But, we still do it as it is the perfect skive and it really pisses off all the non-smokers.

Day four into the grown up world and I am surviving.

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Stories from 1996 Chapter 29 A Britpop Journal

Popscene flyer

August 31st 1996

The last day of my Summer of ’96. So many laughs, so much drinking and a couple of hugely regrettable dalliances with substandard guys. I am still wading through the sludge of shame on that last one. My mates just will not let it go. Is a girl not allowed one reckless mistake? Or am I forever nudge nudge wink wink fodder for others? I am desperately trying to gain back any tiny scraps or self-respect which is near impossible when so-called friends keep referring to ‘The Woody’ incident. A major faux pas – time to move on.

A few weeks ago I had a shopping list of 3 items

  1. A house
  2. A job
  3. A man.

I have failed miserably on number 3 but the excellent news of the day is that, in the space of one particularly proactive week, I have managed to acquire both paid work and a place to live. I can’t quite believe that this has happened but what a result. Next weekend myself, Harry and Ruth will be moving into an unspectacular but functional student house in Cathays. Yes, I did say student house and yes, I am aware that we all have graduated – we know we should be aiming for a flat down The Bay but, we are not ready to leave the mothership just yet. The familiarity and refuge of Studentville is too much of a draw at present. Grown up life is temporarily put on hold, again.

On Monday I start my new, unglamorous, temporary job at a generic call centre in town. Better than nothing and money in the bank. My debts are bulging and this is one aspect of reality that I can no longer put off.

So, with a heavy heart, I wave goodbye to the inflatable bed and my amazing companions over the summer. Time to move on and give Maisie and Rhys the privacy they deserve. Onwards and upwards. Well at least I will have a proper bed.

I am feeling suitably smug and Saturday excited. We are gearing up for an end of era night out at Clwb Ifor Bach tonight,  myself and Maisie, a dance floor full of lush dudes (hopefully) and some cool tunes. I will not be drinking Stella after last weekends’ performance and I have warned Maisie not to let me near anyone who isn’t in the same league as Mark Morriss.

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Unfortunately, number 3 did not happen for me last night but there were a few close calls. Some nights it is all about your mates. We barely left the dancefloor, my feet are still throbbing the morning after but, thankfully, my head is pain free. There were lots of familiar faces, we ignored them all, we just danced, laughed and were the best of friends all night. Even though I am only moving across town, I will miss my summer roomies.

Today, seeing as we are miraculously hangover free (must be the dancing) we are heading out for a day trip to Barry Island. A day of fairground frolics.  I have a purse full of 2ps for the arcades, Rhys has promised me he will join me on the rides as Maisie is too scared and I will not return until I have had fish and chips and a stick of rock.

My final day of frivolity before entering the adult world of paid work (that makes it sound like I am a porn star).

From one chapter to another. Next on the agenda is a beautiful man. Maybe I’ll find him in Barry Island.

Barry Island

Welcome to 1996

Welcome to 1996

A time when you can guarantee you will love the next song on the radio, a pint of lager costs £1.52 at the student union and the men all sport a shaggy haircut a la Liam.

This is the story of my adventures during Britpop times in Cardiff city.  Currently stuck in a miserable relationship, that causes nothing but confusion, I long for a happier existence. My search for nirvana seems futile until new introductions and circumstances rebuild a confidence that has been shattered almost beyond repair. Please join me on my retrospective journey of false hopes, foolish behaviour and, yet, fun times.

Let’s party like it’s not even 1999 yet……