As far as sixteenth birthday parties go, it was wasn't exactly standard. I mean, yes, there were your basics - snogging, spewing, crying. But in terms of classroom talkability, it won hands down in 1988. As such, the following names have been misspelled to protect the innocent...
Mum inadvertently set the scene by demanding it be held at my big brother and sister's digs – rather than her Lladro-laden detached. It wasn't dissimilar to a student house - freezing bathroom, shit carpet and ashtrays everywhere, with a handful of interchangeable housemates to cover costs. Think The Young Ones but more minging.
Dad, bless him, wanted to ensure it went with a swing, so got some crates of Merrydown in from Makro. It came in 1 litre bottles with an ABV of 8.2%. The phrase kicking around Bingley Grammar at the time was 'One minute your merry, next your down'. Or was it 'Get merry before going down?' Or 'Go down merry?' Anyway, we downed it, merrily – and brought a lot of it back up later – but that's a whole other story involving the Hoover.
Annette snogged eight boys. EIGHT. And when I say snogged, I mean no further than a nipple tweak under her Manorgrove crop-top. Or at the very most, a lingering digit. Which is more than can be said for the girl (who shall remain nameless) who was found fully embracing my big sister's Joy of Sex book in the attic, with a boy who was so excited even his acne was throbbing.
I texted a few friends to ask what they remembered from the function: Smashed toilet door. Helen holding the mantelpiece after it was ripped off the wall by the school dickhead. Stereo hurled out of the window (at least it wasn't playing my fave single – Erasure's 'Chains of Love'). Leanne losing her knickers in the adjacent cemetery – twice. Me asking the police if they'd "brought a bottle?". A mysterious object blocking the bog. A black eye and a major grounding for the twins.
Oh the innocent days of hangovers and herpes. Thank God social media wasn't a thing. It was bad enough when someone brought a camera, got the photos developed at Supasnaps, then pinned the evidence on the class notice board. And if you wanted a copy, you had to ask for the negatives (I wonder what did
happen to that one with said girl and the raw bacon...).
There's a certain politician (who appeared on Question Time recently), who was in my form. He was so unbelievably square and passionate about issues
that he was never going to be picked for this party. Looked like a Young Conservative but was actually in the Kinnock camp. Think Will from The Inbetweeners.
If you're reading this now, Kris
, I only hope your pain of not
being selected for the soirée has been outweighed by relief that you
can't be traced to any relations with such lowbrow riff-raff. In hindsight, I wished you had
rocked up – I could've stashed the negs for a red top on a rainy day...
Would you believe that a long-lasting marriage was actually spawned from this jamboree? My big sister's boyfriend was so appalled with the aftermath that he simply sighed and said "You'd better move in with me." He's still undecided on the very
final straw. It's a toss up between walking past the multi-splattered car bonnet at 9am and seeing brother Simon vac up the vom.
When you're sixteen though, there's kudos attached to hosting such a hooley. My amour propre was tip-top in maths that week. I may not have known what sine or cosine were, but I got full marks for taking the class off on a tangent.
And I nearly
snogged as many boys as Annette.