performing ferrets

You will recall how in part one of these memoirs, I pursued Amanda, a girl the Ferrets were ostensibily recruiting to be our new lead vocalist. Skillers was firmly entrenched in Nottingham at the time and his visits to Granadaland were becoming more infrequent. Besides, as I remember remarking to our bass player Cathy Brooks at the time, it would be nice to have a girl in the group to grab peoples attention. Cathy smiled sweetly back before stalking off in the direction of Coich, muttering darkly about testosterone clogging neural pathways.

I often found myself in pursuit of the unattainable and decided early on in life that it was probably easier to go for Ms. Right Now than Ms. Right. In fact, I was so wedded to this theory that when the unattainable came knocking at my door, I usually didn't notice. Katie, a friend of my Polish girlfriend (eminently attainable) visited us from London, who I decided was a particularly friendly gal. I tried not to think about her having her bras specially made in Seven Kings; the fact that she was ostensibly my girlfriend's best friend put her firmly in the unattainable category.

We went out one night (without the Pole, who was having one of her regular snits about something) to the Cock in Didsbury, which featured live all-girl jazz ensemble called Sax Appeal on Monday nights. I found nothing unusual in Katie hanging off my shoulder for the entire evening, nor anything untoward about her breathing heavily in my lughole at every possible opportunity. I was resolved that women were not attracted to me, unless they wanted to go through me to get to Coich. As a matter of fact, I would have been quite happy to be abused in such a way but usually they took the direct route. At the end of the evening, Katie invited me to visit her at her flat in London if ever I was down that way. I said that I would be happy to and that I expected that the Pole would be equally delighted at the invitation.

“No, not her” she breathed “just you”.

I was very confused and couldn't get my head around this concept at all. I think it was possibly five or maybe eight years later that the penny finally dropped, by which time of course it was far too late.

This has generally been the way I have dealt with amorous approaches from women. I have not noticed them, or at least not until the ship has sailed over the horizon and is a few miles off Tahiti.

When I was at Preston Polytechnic, there was a girl named Ruth in the halls of residence who lived in the room above mine. She was delightfully friendly although unattainable (I decided), as she had a boyfriend at Oxford University. I knew she had a boyfriend at Oxford University because on our regular trips to the Union bar together, she would spend many hours complaining about him and weeping onto my shoulder.

One night, Ruth's friends begged me to go to her room, insisting that she was very upset about something. I was happy to oblige and we spent many hours discussing the shortcomings of the Oxford undergraduate. As a glow appeared on the eastern horizon, I announced that I was going to bed as I had a lecture later that morning (even I am perplexed by my sudden interest in lectures). Ruth thanked me for my time and flung her arms around me, embracing me tightly for several minutes. When I felt a decent interval had passed, I took my leave and retreated back to my room below.

A few weeks later, I invited Ruth to a Ferrets gig in Manchester. It was a big night for us - we were playing twice that night, once in support of the Thompson Twins at Manchester Polytechnic and later at a basement in Oxford Road that dubbed itself the White Noise Club. Rather confusingly, Ruth brought a friend with her - a lanky boy from the North East of England. Being a generous soul, I offered that they should both stay at Coich's house (I've always been very generous with that which isn't mine). Even more confusingly, I was kept awake for several hours by the sound of their coupling.

I think what I should have learnt from all of this would be to keep my eyes open and let other people make their own decisions. I should really have followed my own feelings rather than try to look after what I thought might be someone elses. Thus some years later when another object of my affection invited me up for coffee, I replied that I never drank coffee on top of beer and wandered off home.