Brief encounters: re-visiting acquaintances from a year gone by – 15/01/17

I finished my journal a couple of weeks ago in a weird coincidence that obeyed the rules of the Gregorian calendar. Completing a notebook is a similar feeling to finishing a book, except with extra hand cramp. Before the final pages had been filled, I re-read it, and was reminded of some characters I briefly met that had a weirdly profound and lasting effect on me. Here are words summing them up. 

Festival goers inhale laughing gas at sunrise at the stone circle on the second day of Glastonbury music festival at Worthy Farm in Somerset

To the boy with a shaved head trying to flog two bags of coke and ket at Glastonbury this year – congrats! You’ve made my top three brief encounters of 2016. How are you? I’ve been reminded of you more than once since June, and each time I am, it makes me smile a bit. This might sound a bit VICE, but I’ve never met someone so into drugs in such an excessive way, and the way you went about it was admirable and a bit brilliant.
I went all heart eyes for your infectious joie de vivre, which – in a field of festival-goers – wasn’t sparse, but yours seemed totally authentic: committed to the (chemical) cause. We were all sat at the Stone Circle during the Sunday night/Monday morning merge, and I let you kiss me a tiny bit while I was holding the hand of a newly-instated friend I’d first met earlier that day, who lay passed out on the grass among all the popping canisters. You were giggling with your best mate the whole time I was there: a right pair, out of your heads, hopelessly devoted to each other.

You were supposed to be working the get-out for Coldplay’s closing set in a few hours’ time, but decided to (rather sensibly) sack it off and continue to cane it instead. Hope the two of you had a mad sesh planned for New Year’s Eve. And, separately, to the group of sixth form boys we met in the whiskey tent at 6am, drowsy on Valium, I hope you passed your A-levels. You will all be fine.


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To the man I met outside Liverpool St. station in September holding a bag full of meat, I hope you got on with your brother all right. We met when I was waiting to meet a friend for lunch, and you were sat there looking noticeably nervous, with a plastic bag filled to the brim with pork.

You told me you were waiting to meet your brother who you hadn’t seen for nine years – and you’d just come from a charcuterie class. Whatever it takes to calm your nerves, I suppose. I’m glad I was there to witness the physical reunion of you both, experiencing a truly dramatic Slice of (Someone Else’s) Life.

I hope the rest of your date went as swimmingly as the reception did, and I wonder if you spent Christmas together. If so, I really hope you supplied the Christmas ham.



Alejandro*, my first crush on a Catalan boy that took place in Berlin during August, thanks for stepping in to my summer trip at exactly the right time – when I desperately needed someone to make out with at all the major sightseeing spots. Sorry I got so uptight about you not paying the train fare to go to east Berlin for the day, but I’m quite into paying for public transport (and secretly riding the S-Bahn was an affordable tourist attraction I was more than willing to pay for). Not paying did make you look really cool though.

Perhaps the most romantic thing that’s ever happened to me was when I walked you to the train station in the morning so you could jump the train to Amsterdam (transport troubadour), but then you called an hour later to say you were back at the hostel – and would I like to go to the zoo? (Answer: always yes.) You were my total guy for three days, and I will never forget that time in the Photoautomat booth. Happy new year, babe.



*Names have been changed to protect only the innocent

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