Hits and memories: 5
Updated: May 27, 2020
The Sundays, Reading Writing and Arithmetic (1990, Rough Trade)
I cannot listen to this album – which I do regularly – without thinking of my old friend, muse, travelling companion, workmate, housemate and soulmate, Jed. He’s been long gone, but there’s rarely a day he’s not in my head in some way.
We met working as make-up artists at the legendary Adel Rootstein’s mannequin company in Chelsea. We struck up a conversation in the bathroom, side by side in front of the long mirror in our oil-paint-encrusted calico smocks, cleaning our brushes. He was very thin and very pale, with thick, black Hugh Grant hair. I was fat, with acres of hair, recently free (and only slightly damaged) from an abusive three-year relationship.
Guarded and charismatic; maddeningly contrary, opinionated and curious, brimming with ideas, Jed was the first friend who really challenged me.
He certainly saved me from my 1970s suburban, alt-Jewish life. (Alt-Jewish – my term: jeans, wellington boots, horse riding, country walks with dogs, playing backgammon, listening to Yes and smoking Marlboros and hash; the antithesis of who we termed as ‘becks’ – who, I realise now, were having a lot more fun than me.)
Jed dressed me up (he was responsible for my one and only leopard-skin print dress) and dragged me to Heaven nightclub in Charing Cross on Tuesday nights (when straight people were permitted).
He was always pushing me to drink as much as he did: “You just need to practise!” he'd say, long fingers trembling slightly, a cigarette always in their grasp. He never succeeded, much to his regret.
Whenever I hear the track ‘Street Life’ it takes me back to Heaven, and Jed and I both transfixed by a very tall, intensely stoned guy grooving to it in the middle of an empty dance floor. So, I’m throwing in a bonus Crusaders and Randy Crawford with this post, too. Oh yeah, and ‘West End Girls’ by the Pet Shop Boys, and Grace Jones’s album,Nightclubbing, and, and, and…