Old fashioned dating customs

The last Christmas we had spent in my natal home, two years before, had been distinguished by my brother and I having a stand-up fist fight in the street, smiting one another until we fell into the privet – a small suburban nightmare.No, I would spend Christmas, and the nights that book-ended it, alone, in bed.My parents' marriage, which for many years had resembled a gnawed upon string of gristle, had finally and greasily disintegrated.My mother was spending the winter on the Costa Blanca, in a whitewashed house full of mice that animated her own scuttling phobias.But then, horror of horrors, at about four in the afternoon there came a loud and insistent knocking.I considered not answering it and stayed doggo, but then jolly voices were raised – calling out my name, and residual manners forced me upright.

They didn't stop for long – I stuck to my guns and refused to go with them.When I wasn't haranguing anyone who'd listen on the subjects of nihilism and my own rampant anomie, I'd listen to Joy Division on my tape recorder (remember those!), or watch films on my four-inch black-and-white television – epics for preference.There was something immensely satisfying about the juxtaposition between Land of the Pharaohs, and that upended shoebox of a room in Jericho.You get the picture: I was a regulation scrofulous and disaffected student, in those happily miserable times before higher education became fixated by the ridiculous – and mercenary – idea that it was part of a career path, and that pliant youths should be forcibly moulded into productive units for use in the burgeoning economy.

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