We went to see The World’s End a couple of days ago, the final part of Edgar Wright’s amazing ‘Blood & Icecream’ / ‘Cornetto’ trilogy that includes Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz. They are two of my favourite films of recent years, and so it had a lot to live up to. It didn’t disappoint, but more of that another day.
The story revolves around a group of school-friends who revisit their home town to attempt a marathon pub crawl, that they last tackled 16 years ago, on the day they left school. It’s clear that night, Friday 22nd June, 1990, was the end of something; but perhaps not for all the characters. Back then I was in my 2nd year at university, which was itself the end of something for me. Coming out of the film, I was instantly reliving Great Pub Crawls or Nights Out I Can (vaguely) Remember.
I’ve written before about unearthing my old diaries, and I was compelled to seek them out from the loft. June 1990 was the end of my 2nd year, a time filled with parties and drinking and the like. I was 21 years old. It was amazing. Wasn’t it?
Remember when you were young, you shone like the sun…
Don’t get me wrong, we had a terrific time. We went out a lot. During the first weeks of June exams finished, so there were countless opportunities to celebrate the final papers with someone, anyone, everyone. During the last two weeks of June 1990 – as far as my diaries are reliable – I played three orchestral concerts, 3 gigs with SwingBand, went to two all-night Balls, and was probably very drunk at least 8 times. We had a huge extended circle of friends that stemmed from our 1st Year in Halls of Residence; now we were scattered in smaller houses around Exeter. There was always someone to go and see, someone to have a drink and a good time with. We had been close for two years. It was as good as it gets.
Don’t dream it’s over…
I hope you find your good fortune, I hope you find peace in everything you do. I hope that the colours of the rainbow they colour your clothing. And I hope you find love.
But it was coming to an end. After the summer I was going to study in France for a year. By the time I returned many of my friends would have finished their degrees and left Exeter. It wouldn’t be the same. In that last week of June, people started packing up and going home for the summer in dribs and drabs. What with all the boozing and playing and exam revision it’s clear I was exhausted most of the time. I get the impression I may well have been somewhat manic, and occasionally more than a bit Moody. Sorry everyone.
He suddenly recalled the famous myth from Plato’s Symposium. People were hermaphrodites until God split them in two, and now all the halves wander the world over seeking one another.Love is longing for the half of ourselves we have lost.
Apparently, as well as listening to World Party and REM and Hothouse Flowers, I was reading F.Scott Fitzgerald short stories and Milan Kundera’s The Unbearable Lightness of Being. I was a troubled soul, still overflowing with pools of teenage angst, not knowing who I was or what I could be. I still harboured visions of idealised romantic love, but clearly didn’t have the capacity to do anything about it.I blew my horn, playing the Dallas TV fanfare theme instead of the Sea Shanty during our Summer Prom Concert. I belted out solos and choruses with our SwingBand. I danced till we dropped to The Happy Mondays and Primal Scream and The Soup Dragons. But there’s only sketchy details of that in the diaries; there’s a lot more introspection and melancholy.
I was leaving, and starting something new had always been the making of me; going to Boarding School, going to America, going to University, and this time going to France for a year. But at the time, it was hard. Going back to Exeter earlier this year, in person, seeing the physical changes in the buildings and the feel of the campus where I once roamed with my friends, was a weird experience. But going back to the days around 22nd June 1990 in the words of my diaries was harder and more intimate. Edgar Wright & Simon Pegg’s script for The World’s End absolutely nails it.