I'm on holiday and I'm supposed to be catching up on old friends. Which I've been very bad about. Still went to C & A's house the other day then phoned Bethnall Green Dave. I also remembered to e-mail Matthew.
Matthew was my closest friend when I was at University.
He wanted to be a priest. He would have been a good one too. He made me laugh and not many priests do that. Then he discovered something he wanted more than being a priest.
Now he works in a bank.
He dreams of finding a nice man and settling down. He keeps shagging screwed up lapsed catholics. It's bad for the soul. I remember sitting up in Matthew's room chatting for hours and hours about total shite till the early hours. I remember Matthew taking the piss out of every lecturer we ever had. I can't remember him ever doing any work. I can remember him getting off with two priests and a young seminarian. I remember Matthew finding this great guy. Medical student. I remember when they broke up. I took his ex-boyfriend down the pub. I remember someone saying we made a great couple. I think what he was wearing gave it away.
It has been 10 years since I was a student with Matthew. It feels like 10 years ago. I don't have that "Where did that go???" feeling. Maybe because I have packed in quite a bit into the last 10 years. I graduated in the summer of 1997. It wasn't the last time I was a student. I went back a year latter for another 3 years. This time there was no Matthew. He didn't do enough work first time round!
This time 10 years ago I was just coming back from the Easter holidays for my last term and was preparing for my finals. I was also considering cutting off all my hair because I was fed up with it being so long. 10 years ago I stopped worrying about what I was going to do with the rest of my life because I had offered myself for ordination and had just been accepted. Even at that point I had my doubts. Funnily enough the things I worried about have worked out just fine. It's other things that make me question my vocation now.
10 years ago Tony Blair was the popular leader of the opposition and John Major 'led' the country. Finally enough almost exactly 10 years ago I was stood in Downing Street when Tony Blair first arrived. That was the 2nd May. 10 years ago I spent my summer counting cars for a traffic survey firm and then moved to Paris. That was August 1997. 5 days after I arrived Princess Diana died. 10 minutes after I walked over the bridge above the underpass. Maybe it was longer. It was a while ago.
I find that history makes a person, and it is the people in that history that change who they are. So there you have a modicum of my personal history. My closest friend at uni walked away from Church because he is gay.
He's organising a re-union this year.
Could be fun. I suspect they'll be some shite spoken.
We'll think about what happened 10 years ago.
It's only scary when you realise at the time most of my students were busy falling in love with Gary Barlow and watching Saturday morning tele.
Church of England Chaplain University of Southampton Blair Tony Blair