Joe Blake: A week in the life of a free spirit

Five, four, three, two... no, wait a minute... three, two damn... now..., yes? 1997 ended as it began, snogging an actress, looking at my watch. That's not to say that it was a year of unbridled passion, but somehow you can always count on New Year's Eve for a bit of tongue-in-cheek. It's the only time that people make lunges at total strangers out of a desire for a transient experience they can monitor by the second.

When the pagan ritual drumming grew to a sweaty climax at the Return to the Source bash, heralding the rebirth of the gaia-cycle, for a moment auld acquaintances weren't simply remembered but confused with this year's model.

"Who's Amanda?" Rachel asked, pulling away, as the beat settled into a trance-like pulse "Sorry, you just look like her under fluorescent light," I replied, escorting her to an ambient cushion. "At least now it's out in the open - eh, Joe?" Candi hissed, ever the drama queen.

I knew that going clubbing with a recent ex- on the most uninhibited night of the year was going to be problematic. But what was I to do? She phoned with offers of platonic partying near her place in Brixton and I was hacked off with my friends. The curator-and-novelist, husband-and- wife team, formerly known as Jake and Sarah, refused to commit to eating shrimps in Moro's or noodles in East One, preferring a candlelit evening in front of Chris Evans to trawling through Clerkenwell - in case they had to hug any yuppies. Mick was in bed with a camerawoman from TotTimeTelee. Tara, my journo flatmate, was out interviewing people in the back of taxis about their hopes and fears. Clav was intent on seducing young men at Popstarz; though it's a mixed club, I don't like dancing to stuff you can sing along to - you can inadvertently reveal how shite your life was during the Eighties. (For the last few weeks, John Lennon's "War is Over" has been playing in my head - "So this is Christmas and what have you done?" - but not with the gentleness you expect from John, quite barbed and accusatory.)

"Amanda's history," I insisted, twisting Rachel's hair in what I imagined to be a healing way, while Candi went on a New Year's Day bargain hunt round the stalls. "Just occasionally, it pops into my head that her stage and screen career has overtaken mine rather massively since I left her, that's all." Rachel, whom I had recognised from The Bill was highly sympathetic, like a WPC trying to coax information from a suspect she knows is lying. "You don't have to worry about baggage," she said, as though reading from an autocue. "I'm travelling light, living for the moment." She kept dropping remarks like this into the conversation as we bundled into her Mini and sped off towards Brighton, leaving Candi behind to be face-painted by a man dressed entirely in Day-Glo.

"You like the idea of a one-eve stand, then?" I asked, as we checked in to the hotel. "How old did you say you were again?" "I'm hitting 27 in three weeks." "That's not funny," she replied. It was only later in the afternoon, after we'd woken to the sound of gulls screeching, that she filled me in about the soap she is going to star in Down Under. "It's called Here and There - it's half set in London, but they can't afford to film it here, so the English actors go out there," she said. "I leave before the end of the month."

I took one of her chips and sank my teeth into it, heedless of the ketchup on my fingers.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Recruitment Genius: Digital Marketing Executive

    £25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

    Ashdown Group: HRIS Project Manager - e-Learning - Surrey - up to £450 per day

    £450 per day: Ashdown Group: HR Systems Project Manager - Surrey - up to £450 ...

    Ashdown Group: Senior Network Engineer - London - £70,000

    £60000 - £70000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: An excellent opportunity ...

    Ashdown Group: Senior Systems Administrator - London - £50,000

    £40000 - £50000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Senior Systems Administra...

    Day In a Page

    Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

    Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

    The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
    Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

    Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

    Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
    Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

    Homeless Veterans appeal

    MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
    Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

    Comedians share stories of depression

    The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
    Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

    Has The Archers lost the plot?

    A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
    English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

    14 office buildings added to protected lists

    Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
    Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

    Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

    Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee
    World War Z author Max Brooks honours WW1's Harlem Hellfighters in new graphic novel

    Max Brooks honours Harlem Hellfighters

    The author talks about race, legacy and his Will Smith film option to Tim Walker
    Why the league system no longer measures up

    League system no longer measures up

    Jon Coles, former head of standards at the Department of Education, used to be in charge of school performance rankings. He explains how he would reform the system
    Valentine's Day cards: 5 best online card shops

    Don't leave it to the petrol station: The best online card shops for Valentine's Day

    Can't find a card you like on the high street? Try one of these sites for individual, personalised options, whatever your taste
    Diego Costa: Devil in blue who upsets defences is a reminder of what Liverpool have lost

    Devil in blue Costa is a reminder of what Liverpool have lost

    The Reds are desperately missing Luis Suarez, says Ian Herbert
    Ashley Giles: 'I'll watch England – but not as a fan'

    Ashley Giles: 'I'll watch England – but not as a fan'

    Former one-day coach says he will ‘observe’ their World Cup games – but ‘won’t be jumping up and down’
    Greece elections: In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza

    Greece elections

    In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza, says Patrick Cockburn
    Holocaust Memorial Day: Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears

    Holocaust Memorial Day

    Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears over Europe
    Fortitude and the Arctic attraction: Our fascination with the last great wilderness

    Magnetic north

    The Arctic has always exerted a pull, from Greek myth to new thriller Fortitude. Gerard Gilbert considers what's behind our fascination with the last great wilderness