Saturday, July 31, 2004

Renewed acquaintances

After doing a few more hours of Greenbelt stuff, an hour of gardening and getting three loads of washing on, I manage to grab half an hour in the sun with a drink before dashing out to meet Stewart at the Cornerhouse.

After sharing a Spanish Mezze and a couple of drinks (NB lesson learned from last week – no cocktails!) in the Cornerhouse bar we head to Screen 1 to see Before Sunset.

Well it has to be one of the best films I’ve seen for a while. Absolutely captivating, which is all the more extraordinary given that 99% of the film is made up of conversation between two characters as they walk around Paris, following them in real-time for just 90 minutes as they meet again, 9 years after the single night they spent together in Vienna (the story of which is told in the original Before Sunrise).

The dialogue and acting is superb and I love the ambiguity of the ending, it’s just perfect.

We head on for drinks and on this balmy night decide to head to the roof garden at Space. This venue was formally Generation X, part of the Manto group and back in the mid-90s, for several years, it formed the home from home for me and a close group of friends every Sunday afternoon.

Each week, without prior arrangement, about 8 of us would gather on the sofas in the dark space on the first floor from around noon to communally recover from the hangovers earned the night-before. Papers were read and energy drinks supped, until the worst of the previous nights effects subsided.

At that point the menu of comfort food, would provide a late lunch of stuffed ciabatta and curly fries or for the brave the wonderful all-day breakfast. Woe betide anyone who broke the no speaking until the food comes rule.

On summer days, and once our energy levels had been restored and our eyes could bear the light, we'd eventually venture up onto the roof terrace to continue drinking and smoking whilst catching some rays.

The group, like the venue has moved on, but a sentimental part of me yearns for those days, when we all lived in each others pockets and the lifestyles and relationships were as comfortable as the sofas we lounged about on.

Or as Gen X’s slogan used to describe its manifesto: Eat, Drink, Slack, Loaf.

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