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.

Sport
football This was Kane’s night, even if he played just a small part of it
Travel
travel Dreamland Margate, Britain’s oldest amusement park, is set to reopen
News
news
News
Founders James Brown and Tim Southwell with a mock-up of the first ever ‘Loaded’ magazine in 1994
media
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
News
Threlfall says: 'I am a guardian of the reality keys. I think I drive directors nuts'
people
Voices
voices The group has just unveiled a billion dollar plan to help nurse the British countryside back to health
News
The Westgate, a gay pub in the centre of Gloucester which played host to drag queens, has closed
news
  • Get to the point
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

    Ashdown Group: Practice Accountant - Bournemouth - £38,000

    £32000 - £38000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A successful accountancy practice in...

    SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

    £18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped commission: SThree: Does earning a 6 figu...

    Recruitment Genius: SEO Executive

    £18000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

    Recruitment Genius: New Lift Sales Executive - Lift and Elevators

    £35000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A challenging opportunity for a...

    Day In a Page

    The saffron censorship that governs India: Why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression

    The saffron censorship that governs India

    Zareer Masani reveals why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression
    Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

    Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

    Supreme Court rules Dominic Grieve's ministerial veto was invalid
    Distressed Zayn Malik fans are cutting themselves - how did fandom get so dark?

    How did fandom get so dark?

    Grief over Zayn Malik's exit from One Direction seemed amusing until stories of mass 'cutting' emerged. Experts tell Gillian Orr the distress is real, and the girls need support
    The galaxy collisions that shed light on unseen parallel Universe

    The cosmic collisions that have shed light on unseen parallel Universe

    Dark matter study gives scientists insight into mystery of space
    The Swedes are adding a gender-neutral pronoun to their dictionary

    Swedes introduce gender-neutral pronoun

    Why, asks Simon Usborne, must English still struggle awkwardly with the likes of 's/he' and 'they'?
    Disney's mega money-making formula: 'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan

    Disney's mega money-making formula

    'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan
    Lobster has gone mainstream with supermarket bargains for £10 or less - but is it any good?

    Lobster has gone mainstream

    Anthea Gerrie, raised on meaty specimens from the waters around Maine, reveals how to cook up an affordable feast
    Easter 2015: 14 best decorations

    14 best Easter decorations

    Get into the Easter spirit with our pick of accessories, ornaments and tableware
    Paul Scholes column: Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season

    Paul Scholes column

    Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season
    Inside the Kansas greenhouses where Monsanto is 'playing God' with the future of the planet

    The future of GM

    The greenhouses where Monsanto 'plays God' with the future of the planet
    Britain's mild winters could be numbered: why global warming is leaving UK chillier

    Britain's mild winters could be numbered

    Gulf Stream is slowing down faster than ever, scientists say
    Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

    Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

    Donation brings total raised by Homeless Veterans campaign to at least £1.25m
    Oh dear, the most borrowed book at Bank of England library doesn't inspire confidence

    The most borrowed book at Bank of England library? Oh dear

    The book's fifth edition is used for Edexcel exams
    Cowslips vs honeysuckle: The hunt for the UK’s favourite wildflower

    Cowslips vs honeysuckle

    It's the hunt for UK’s favourite wildflower
    Child abuse scandal: Did a botched blackmail attempt by South African intelligence help Cyril Smith escape justice?

    Did a botched blackmail attempt help Cyril Smith escape justice?

    A fresh twist reveals the Liberal MP was targeted by the notorious South African intelligence agency Boss