I had a gig last week with the Tina Turner tribute band I've been playing with for about a year now. It's not the most taxing gig in the world musically but I enjoy it and figure it's a step on my musical journey into obscurity.
On the afternoon of the gig I noticed that a friend of a friend (we're talking Facebook here so they're not real friends of course) had put up a link to the event. I glanced at the friend of a friend's profile and saw something strange; we had two mutual friends, one of whom was the singer in the Tina Turner band and entirely expected under the circs. The other though was a girl I used to go to school with, going back, and I hesitate before saying this, but I'm a man renowned for my bravery so I will anyhow, about 32 years.
This old school friend, for the purposes of this post, we'll refer to as FS. But, this being Facebook and virtual life, meant that of course I wasn't really a friend of hers at school even. No, she bunged me a friend request on FB some time ago, I responded in the affirmative and we've been mutual stalkers ever since, even though I'm not sure if we ever exchanged a word at school.
You see she was one of those sorts who hit puberty about twenty years before the rest of us did, around the first year when she must have been about twelve. There were about 4 or 5 girls who suddenly got breasts, high heels and boyfriends who had failed the audition for Grease, but only just. The rest of us were content to focus on our masturbatory careers and cultivate an interest in music. Things, I'm pleased to say, that have stayed with me all my life.
But the thing is, we just looked at these 4 or 5 girls with a mixture of lust and admiration, while they just looked at us with a mixture of scorn and, well, scorn. Then we left school and went on to live lives.
Fast forward to 32 years and some hours later...
We finished the first set and I went over to chat to the landlady of the pub. She was blonde and loud, she probably still is even five days later, and I had discovered that she was the person who put up the FB post, the one who knew FS.
"So how come you know FS?" I asked, in that making conversation sort of way that chaps like me are so good at.
"FS?" she said. "Do I know FS? Blimey, she's my niece."
She pointed to a bloke a few feet away and summoned him.
"B, he knows FS" she said, pointing to me.
B then told me that FS is his niece, that she was in the pub only last week and all sorts. They were actually around the same age and good friends, because of a long complicated story that I won't tell you.
I was fascinated by this coincidence and ready to finish the conversation and go off and retune my floor tom. You know how it is when you've put new heads on your toms but you're just not quite happy with the tuning.
Then, before you could say "Odel car park" B had pulled out his mobile and was calling FS. I held on to the vague hope that it was just to tell her the story, but it was just that; a vague hope. He handed me the phone, totally oblivious to the rabbit in the headlights look from me.
Well me and FS had a chat, both of us pretending that we had been friends at school, catching up on things that:
a - neither of us were really interested in
b - we more or less knew from FB anyhow
At one stage I even apologised to her, saying that I'd told B we weren't good friends and this is a bit embarrassing. Well at least I didn't go all British on her.
Surprisingly we didn't finish the phone call promising to keep in touch or go out next Wednesday.
But I did think that I should be a bit more careful about these things in future...
Happy 10th birthday kottu.org
2 weeks ago