In fact it amazes me that it even still exists. Now it was a great idea when it started, about 15 years ago, but has been massively blown away by all the social networking sites that have come since. Asking me to go and try and talk to anyone on their site is about the equivalent of trying to sell me music on wax cylinders. Seriously, why bother? If there is anyone in the world who still uses Friends Reunited I'd be amazed to hear from you.
Now why am I talking about Friends Reunited? Well last night was retro in every sense of the word. Allow me to elaborate. Now on bank holiday weekends, I no longer run my karaoke night at the White Hart, instead I put on a retro disco. This weekend it was a pure 80s night, which went down an absolute storm. The pub was packed to the rafters. However, when it came to my regular Sunday night karaoke people - well none of them were there. That's perfectly understandable. They love their karaoke and come and support me thick and thin around 48 weeks of the year, so I don't think they mind having a few weeks off when there is no karaoke.
|Last night's apparel|
So quite literally, there were none of my friends in the pub at all other than the bar staff and some bloke I used to play Aunt Sally with who took it upon himself to try the old "Apple conversion speech" on me - you know the one, "blah blah, windows is crap..., you've got to get a Mac, iPad etc etc everything else is rubbish". Had to endure that for a good 20 minutes or more. So imagine my delight when into the pub walked nine or ten core people who were my closest circle of friends back in the 90s.
I have been friends with these people well over twenty years, been on holiday with them, you name it we've done it. Most of them have moved away to different parts of the country now so I rarely see them, but they were all up in Bicester for the weekend for a Christening. This was a real Friends Reunited moment. Hugs, anecdotes, reminiscing, and all to the backdrop of 80s tunes we grew up with - it really was like going back in time.
I haven't seen some of these people for a couple of years, but really people don't change. Last night could just as easily have been 1993 back in the White Horse. The odd statistical quirk that meant none of my 21st century friends were in attendance completed this "Tardis" moment.
So the evening went well until right at the end. Unfortunately I then suffered some misfortune in the trouser department. In order to unplug my equipment (fnarr fnarr) I tend to climb up on to the windowsill and switch off from a high powerpoint. On this occasion I overreached myself and tore a gaping hole right from my nuts down to my knee on one side of my jeans. Maybe this is my come-uppance for going on the cheap and buying for £6 from Primark. Fortunately I still had the DJ stand up at the time so hid behind there whilst I was tidying up my bits, and by the time I had to emerge only old Bob - "I'm the last man in the pub and proud of it" was left. When Daryl saw it he asked how it happened. I tried to make up some story about having my trousers torn off by ecstatic sex crazed groupies overcome by my DJ'ing prowess, but he was having none of it.
So, all of the bar staff (and Bob) now know that I wear Animal boxer shorts. I managed to struggle home with a fresh breeze giving my parts an airing (thank goodness it's not winter), and get to bed. However this morning this has left me somewhat lacking in the trouser department. Up to last week I had 3 pairs, but the button popped off one while I was trying to do it up, and the other is in the wash, so that leaves me with only shorts to wear today.
No matter, I decided, I shall go and buy some more. I've earned plenty of money this month, so perhaps I can push the boat out a little and spend more than £6 on the next pair. And at this point I made the foolish and regretful decision to go round to the the dreaded "Bicester Village" to see if I could get some. Now I've previously well documented my displeasure with this place so I need not go into that again, but one of the few remaining shops I would give the time of day to is the Levis shop.
Until today that is. My heart sank on opening to see that the place has been completely re-designed, and has clearly gone along the upmarket route to fit in with the rest of the village. No more 2 for £50 promotions here, the cheapest pair I could find on display was £60. £60! And this is meant to be a "discount" outlet. It was all academic anyway, because even if there had been any bargains, I could not find any waist sizes above 38 and I am a 40. Presumably this is to discourage fat people like myself coming into the shop and spoiling the view for the "beautiful people".
It wouldn't be the first time I have suffered such discrimination. I recall an earlier occasion some years ago when I went into a shop in Bicester Village and found a T-shirt I really liked, but I could not find it in my size. I was informed that they did not sell said garments in any size above Large, and even their large didn't look very big. When I enquired as to why, the gist of the answer was they they didn't want fat people walking around wearing their cool designer gear as it was bad for the image.
I think my mere presence being in Bicester Village was enough to annoy the powers that be. There they were this morning, all the beautiful people wandering around in several hundred quids worth of gear, whereas I went in the cheapest roughest gear possible, including the T-shirt I was wearing last night. I must have stuck out like a sore thumb. I can almost imagine the managers watching on CCTV, "Who's he, we don't want people of that ilk wandering around here, go and get security to throw him off the premises immediately!"
Well, sod 'em, I'm home now, so I'll just have to bum around in my shorts all day until my other trousers are dry. I don't think anyone round here will mind. Since it's a major achievement for several of the residents in the flats behind me to even get out of their pyjamas most days, I don't think I'm going to offend anyone. And on Wednesday we are off to Oxford so I can get some more then, and if everywhere else is peddling rip-offs then a £6 pair it shall be, at least I won't be upset when the next trouser misfortune befalls me.
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