“Let’s all meet up in the year 2000, won’t it be strange when we’re all fully grown?” – Jarvis Cocker, Pulp
It will be strange, you can bet your life on it. But it’s something you should try and do. Don’t forget the past, don’t let it slip to the point of extinction. I don’t want to hear any of this “that was years ago” tripe or the “I wouldn’t use Facebook to add old friends” melarkey. You only live once, you’re not James Bond. So what do I suggest?
Keeping in touch with people. Organising reunions. Remembering your childhood and the people who kick started your journeys. Nobody likes to be forgotten. The catalyst for this post has been my journey the last year or so which featured more reunions than you could count. I’ve met up with my best friends from childhood again. My teenage friends. My ex girlfriends. My school friends. My football friends. Everybody that I felt I could, especially when geographically it’s possible. I’ve met up with them years on, in person. And every moment has been pure bliss.
Just think – twenty years elasped between the days I hung out with Paddy Campbell and we instigated the Great Exam Heist, yet we met up in Newcastle in 2014 for drinks just like old times. 20 years made no difference to Paddy and I.
Time is slipping away, and the older you get you may live to regret it when you hear of a loved one or a friend of yours who has passed away. “Oops I can’t remember the last time I saw them”. But you can change it. You can meet them. If these are people you shared good quality time with, what are you waiting for? Go meet them.
In 2014 I organised a 30 year reunion for my former Primary School Class. It was a 30 year reunion. THIRTY years! Amazing eh? Yes it sounds amazing, throw in some organisation by myself and Coleen Matovu and we had a fun evening arranged – a tour of our old primary school guided by one of our teachers, then dinner together and then drinks! Amazing? Well yes for those who turned up! Out of a class of 30, only 6 turned up. The others either didn’t reply or respond, a few couldn’t be contacted, a few weren’t in the country and the others had lame excuses. Really – you don’t want to turn up for a 30 year reunion?? You shouldn’t have been there 30 years ago then.
More recently I helped organise my best mate’s 30th birthday bash, again we got some old friends and family together for it. So I said “more reunions than you can count” yet I’ll be a bit of a hypocrite here and try to count them:
1. I had a reunion in Sunderland with my university friend Clare Tweedy after about 7 years.
2. I had a reunion in Nottingham and Derby with my school mate Stuart Hutchinson after about 20 years.
3. I had a reunion in Bangor with one of my best friends from the mid-late 00s, Gemma Mornin.
4. I met up with my ex university friend Sigal Kahana in San Jose, Costa Rica.
5. I met up with my Antarctica buddy Rodrigo in Sao Paulo, Brazil.
6. I met up with my school mate Gareth Maunder in Bangkok as well as Allan Wilson (the two of them I had seen more recently though).
7. I met up with my old workmate Rafal in Tbilisi and we visited Gori together.
8. I met up with my backpacking buddy Martin in Dublin.
9. I met up with my cousin Paul in Barcelona for the first time since 1997.
10. I met up with my Antarctica buddy George in Hong Kong.
12. I met up with my Antarctica buddy Paul Gray in Windsor, England.
13. I met up with my school buddy Paddy Campbell in Newcastle, England.
14. I organised a reunion for my P1 Primary School class in Bangor, Northern Ireland – Sarah Bell, Coleen Matovu, Graham Irwin, Mark McCullough, Magoo.
15. I met up with a load of old friends in Northern Ireland, including Gavin and Michael McClelland, Chris Ragg, Scott Callen, Dougie Gordon, Ryan Smith, Peter Bell and Owen Millar.
16. I met up with my old flat mate Corinne Luescher in Bournemouth, England.
17. I met up with loads of old friends in Bournemouth, England (including Becks above, Chris, Tom and my best mates Dan, Austin, Rich, Patrick…)
18. I met up with loads of old friends in London, England including my best mates Neil , Lee, Sandra, Chris, Richard and James.
19. I met up with Richard and Amy and met their daughter Albany for the first time.
20. I met a load of old friends and GAWA headers in Bucharest, Romania.
21. I met up three times with Lock In Lee!! Yes and we did another Barmby freak!
22.I met up with sultry Polish duet Maggi Wabudka and Ola Mueller (a cruel girl) in Sofia, Bulgaria.
I’ll be honest, I can’t make the full list – there are too many – apologies to those I’ve left off the list – it was a crazy year of reunions!! So get organising some epic reunions – don’t forget the past and meet people while we are alive. Don’t leave it too late. As somebody once said “Tomorrow is too late”.
Make time for people and respond to requests. Ignoring is not bliss. It’s piss.
If you want to meet me for a reunion, here I am…
jonny (at) dontstopliving (dot) net
A final thanks to Jarvis Cocker and this post is dedicated to Deborah Bone (RIP) who sadly died recently. When I worked on radio at Nerve and on Radio Belvoir at Tech I often played Disco 2000 by Pulp and always wondered what did indeed happen on that damp and lonely Thursday years ago. I loved that song, the ultimate reunion song I reckon.
“I never knew that you’d get married, I would be living down here on my own. On that damp and lonely Thursday years ago.”