I can’t remember if it was Hannington Point or… Whatever. But I remember clearly the Vic had an all day licence and the spring weather, or was it summer or autumn or winter, was warm clear and fine. It was good to be sitting on the small grass verge outside the Vic drinking beer so early in the morning. And smoking.
And Billy, George and Sam and Helen and Payne were there, or some of them or all of them may have been there. And maybe Norma and Dave or Debbie…But there was some smoke being passed around. That I do remember.
And there was a buzz around. An atmosphere. Or maybe that was the action of the beer and smoke and the only buzz was in my head. A tangle of fantasy, reality and pure imagination.
For one minute the twenty story building stood tall, erect and proud, and remained so as a cloud of black and white smoke puffed out of the bottom of it gradually rising to the eighth or tenth floor with the building standing still fully erect. Then the top was no longer at the same height, but at a lower one, and then lower again and with the clouds of black and white steam rising and enveloping as gradually the top was now lower and in the smoke. Hidden from view and then gone as the cloud rose higher, hiding all forms of exactness and shape, leaving only curls and wisps of vaguery mingling now into grey clouds where once had stood the building in which in one small corner forever my home had been. But now eradicated and removed from everywhere except my own memory, distantly and permanently fading as time moves on. The clouds obstructing vision and sight and leaving only guesses at what remained and what was beyond them. As the boom belatedly arrived with a warm percussion and scent of something from a dirty war zone, the clarity of a minute or two ago now obliterated and replaced with a never-ending and permanent obscuring of all.
It was the last of the great summers, or was it springs, or winters or autumns that we had as a group together. Now in new homes but spread wider and with thoughts, ideas, loves and realities spread even and ever further, the end of Hannington Point or was it…being the end of countless connected threads of confusion and at the same time the start of many new but now unconnected threads that led only onwards into obscure and dark places from which the previous camaraderie, friendship and occasional lust was never to be again, as drifting apart in pre-e-mail days was a permanent affair more often than not. The time of Trowbridge was drawing to a close except for a brief exchange in a chance meeting on the street, in a pub or at a party which once would have been often but now with age became less common, except in some distant memory that fondly springs forward unexpectedly at indeterminate times.
Now however with the clouds and smoke drifting away, and it lighter, a cool chill is suddenly noticeable, it is time for another drink, another smoke, but one inside the Vic enclosed by the near foetal warmth of the pub and close good friends, and maybe then moving to someone’s flat for another smoke and drink via a swiftly grabbed bag of chips on the way through the cement forest now devoid of one of its mightiest trees. But fresh with new lower shrubbery springing up to cater for the aging population. And then on to the inevitable party or nightclub via one of the pubs we frequented and maybe followed by a one night stand or more likely by return to a flat for more smoke and drink or probably involving some drama of row, relationship fallout or publicly vomiting the day’s consumption in an inopportune place. For this was all the nature of the Trowbridge generation and for now there were at least a few more days and more importantly nights before the descent of the vast grey cloud would forever interrupt and mask those times as all were pulled apart by whatever fate had for better, worse or most often for little change decided on for them. Why this thought of inevitability driven future left me with a deep and deeply searing feeling of sadness I do not know. Why do I an easy-going, easily pleased and happy person always feel the sadness, the emptiness, the hurt and the pain?