Wednesday, 21 May 2008

'Ello! It's The Fishmongers!

When I arrived at work this morning, I noticed that the red flashing light on my PC monitor was flashing. This could mean only one thing. Yes, another of my old chums has dipped a toe into the murky waters currently known as the "blogosphere".

[Please, please, please, will someone come up with a better name for the loose community that is the world's collection of blogs?]

Welcome to Jon of Ranch Lines. Not only is he more fecund than I am, he also has a better blog title, a more crisp and cogent writing style, and his enormous Spanish-Villa-style bungalow-cum-technology-bunker also contains more hi-tech gadgetery than GCHQ.

Jon and I go waaaay back together. We met in the DramSoc of Queen Mary College, Univerity of London, in the sunny and salubrious surroundings of Mile End.

[Back in the old days, this was, when it was dark, slummy and horrible round there. Nowadays the area's been given a lick of paint and all the old, rotten houses are worth a million quid each. There is even a Starbucks on the Mile End Road now, where once there stood smack dealers. Am I wrong for feeling somehow that it's changed for the worse? Yes, probably!]

Anyway, Jon and I quickly found a shared interest in dressing up in daft costumes, drinking until we fell over and trying to form world-conquering bands. Unfortunately, the East End wasn't interested in a half-arsed Genesis covers band in 1985. Besides, Phil Collins had already cornered that market (ha, ha!).

Over the years Jon's batchelor pads were the focal point for watching lots of footy matches (back when Sky's Monday Night Football Special) was a weekly event, eating curries and McDonalds, composing fantastic rock operas (or ripping-off Alan Parsons, take your pick), writing DramSoc pantomimes and collectively commisserating over our lack of girlfriends. At one time or another, one or two of our gang could be found lodging at Jon's while the rest of us (i.e. me) dropped in on an almost daily basis.

The title of this post comes from a code phrase that we once had. A mutual friend, Woj, was living in a squat. At one point in time she became paranoid that the local council would try and evict her, so we had to shout an agreed code through the letter box before she would come to the door. That was the phrase. For some reason, after being used only once or twice for its original purpose, it became something of a totemic sentence, shouted in greeting, in a bizarre, throaty, cod-Spanish accent. Our longest-lasting "band" was known as "The Fishmongers" in tribute.

No wonder we didn't have girlfriends. Who would have put up with that?

Now, as is the way of the world, Jon is living in darkest Kent. Well, someone has to. Our gang has spread far and wide, and we don't meet up anywhere near as often as we should. But that shared bond of friendship still binds and there are a handful of people who you know you need tell first whenever important news breaks. And, you know, this new blog technology is a great tool for keeping in touch.


jomoore said...

I want one of those flashing red lights!

Jon Sandys said...

Thank you for your very kind (and clever) words, Pete. One day I'm sure we'll get back together and finish that difficult first album.

I've been working on a cover of the Kim Carnes classic "She's Got Barry Norman Eyes" that needs a guitar part.