Our continued the serialisation of novella What’s The Deal With Europe? by Spencer Vale & Andrew Melladay.
Chapter 3 – PARTY PEOPLE
Once they could actually claim to be a boyband of sorts, the collective members of Taurus started getting invited to a lot more parties. So many parties – one big blur. There are only the odd events that can actually be narrowed down to specific nights. For example, there can’t be that many nights where Ashley turned up to a party wearing just a towel. Then again, this is Ashley we’re talking about. But there is one night that specifically needs mentioning, where they went to a party that Ashley believed that a beach towel and nothing else would be suitable attire.
This same winter’s night, as they walked through the doors to face the hosts of a Hawaiian themed party they’d been invited to on a whim, they were greeted with an “oh my god it’s them!” It would be nice to think of this as a regular occurrence at such events, (not that they went to many Hawaiian themed parties) and was due to Taurus’ huge reputation as A-list celebrities. However, the fact that it was a little bit early to start thinking they deserved such attention, crikey they’d only just written their first song, means that by now you’ve also probably figured out that the “oh my god it’s them!” was for an entirely different reason.
They’d come to be known as something of party wildcards around the City of York. Abhorred and revered in equal measures, the lads were known for their antics and although they had yet to gain a reputation as a credible band, (it would be nice to think that by now, you’re beginning to see that there can be such a thing), the word was spreading that Patrick Terry, Ashley Richardson and Robert Cole had actually formed a band in an attempt to win Eurovision 2004. This was probably due to the fact that they had all been using the “we’re in band” line at parties for some time. But nevertheless, the word was spreading, and it had begun to work in their favour. On this occasion, the “oh my god it’s them!” had been in the tone of voice they were looking for, despite Ashley’s attire.
It was later on when Patrick was greeted with an “oh my god it’s him!” that he had more to worry about. At a different party, in a different part of town, several weeks previous, he’d successfully used the “I’m in a boyband” line on a rather playful young lady and she’d rather playfully used the “Oh look, I seem to have spilled Champagne down my cleavage, why don’t you lick it off?” line back on him.
He was only happy to oblige, ignoring the fact that it wasn’t champagne and it was in fact Lambrini. It seems though, that her boyfriend didn’t care whether it was Champagne, Lambrini or if indeed Marmite. He wasn’t too happy.
So now, at the shittest Hawaiian themed party he’d ever been to, in fact the only Hawaiian themed party he’d ever been to, this Mr Oooh I’m jealous and I wish I was good-looking and charismatic and talented enough to be in a band wasn’t really happy to see Patrick again so soon.
Robert couldn’t help it if this bloke’s girlfriend had never asked him to lick Champagne or Carlsberg Special Brew or even Castrol GTX off her chest before. Surely Patrick wasn’t the immoral party here (for once), and he’d noticed that Mr I’m trying to stare you out (nobody found out what this guy’s name really was) was trying to stare Patrick out. Patrick also noticed that the girl wasn’t with him. Was Mr You ruined my relationship (still none the wiser on the name front) looking at Patrick and thinking “I’m gonna get that Mr I like to separate girls from their boyfriends cos I’m in a fucking good band” (I doubt he knew Patrick’s name either.)
Patrick found it easier to imagine that this bloke’s ex (because that’s what she was in Patrick’s optimistic head) was lying on her bed somewhere, pouring Babycham down her chest and thinking of him.
He took it as his cue to leave. He couldn’t be arsed with the party anymore anyway and he was still reeling from the fact that he’d just found out that the girl he’d been trying to play footsie with for the last half hour was a lesbian.
The next morning, Patrick awoke on the couch of friends of his who lived near to the Hawaiian party’s venue, where he and Ashley had chosen to crash for the night. Robert had left the Hawaiian party early that night, knackered from all the late night song-writing he’d been doing of late. As Patrick awoke, dazed, confused and hungover, slowly assimilating why he was sleeping on a seemingly unfamiliar sofa, he noticed that Ashley, who’d fallen asleep in the armchair of the same living room, was no longer there.
The previous night, they’d only found out from their friends that the party they were to attend in ten minutes time was indeed Hawaiian themed and that they weren’t suitably dressed. Luckily, Patrick had a rucksack with him that contained a pair of shorts (earlier that day, an attempted trip to the gym had failed) and he was also wearing a short-sleeved shirt that he’d borrowed from me. It wasn’t just my music collection that Patrick regularly dipped into. As far as he was concerned, my shirt, being bought in Norway, was foreign and therefore the closest thing he was going to get to a Hawaiian shirt on short notice. The logic of that guy still baffles me.
Not only had Patrick struck lucky in the clothes department, (not the clothes department of a department store. He’d struck lucky with what clothes he had been wearing or had on him, although he did get lucky in the clothes department of a department store once. Not only did he find 12p, he also got off with the changing room attendant. Fancy that for a stroke of luck. It’s not everyday you find 12p.) Robert had also struck lucky. Every second Friday of the month, he wore a Hawaiian shirt and grass skirt for a laugh. And it just so happened that this was the second Friday of that month. It was only Ashley who had been unlucky. Hence, the reason that he ended up going to this party, on an uncharacteristically cold day in June, wearing nothing but a beach towel.
Once Patrick had woken up properly, taken a leak, watched a bit of TV, gone back to sleep for a bit, woken up again, taken another leak, had some breakfast and watched some more Saturday morning kids TV, he decided he’d probably better work out where Ashley was. Ashley hadn’t been in the chair he’d fallen asleep the night before in for at least three hours now.
He wasn’t in the toilet, or at least Patrick didn’t recall seeing him there when he went for his first two trips of the day. He wasn’t in the kitchen and he was unlikely to be in any of the bedrooms in the house.
Although the owners of the house were female, they were never going to let Ashley and Patrick sleep in their rooms. They had hit the Friendzone with these women a long time ago and every heterosexual man on this planet who has had a close group of female friends knows that there can never be a way back from the Friendzone.
This could only mean one thing: Ashley must have left the house. (Eat that Dr Watson!) Patrick looked for the key he’d been given. It was still on the floor next to Ashley’s shoes. Wait a minute. If Ashley had left the building, why hadn’t he taken his shoes with him? And anyway, he’d checked the doors. The doors were locked. Ashley wouldn’t be able to get out, lock the door and then put the key back next to his shoes.
This house didn’t have Yale locks; hence the reason why Patrick and Ashley had been given a key in case they wanted to let themselves out. Patrick was deep in thought when the door to the kitchen creaked. What had caused that? A draft?
The kitchen window, directly above the sink was open, but only slightly. The full window itself was quite large, but the bit that anyone would have to climb through was approximately six feet off the ground and very narrow. You’d have to be a lunatic to try and exit the house that way. Especially if you had an arse the size of Ashley’s. And Ashley being Ashley had an arse the size of Ashley’s. You may find this unnecessarily nasty, but there’s a rule of thumb that states that anyone who has an arse big enough to give it its own name must have a big arse. Ashley called his Bella.
With Ashley fully refreshed from his proper sleep, he considered how best to make use of what was left of the day. On the opposite side of the house to our neighbour from hell lived a group of students, three girls and a guy, which despite living next door to them for four months, hadn’t even exchanged pleasantries with me or the Taurus boys yet. Ashley decided it was time to build some bridges and therefore went to B & Q and bought as much timber and nails as he could carry. Later on, he decided to forge some inter-house relations.
Ashley went next door and invited the four students on a night into town. However, Patrick had already gone out girl hunting, I’d got other plans, and Robert was just too tired, what with the previous night’s shenanigans and an excessive amount of song-writing. The result of this meant that Ashley was left with the sole responsibility of getting to know the neighbours and headed into town, leaving Ashley asleep on the sofa in front of Big Brother.
Ashley did a great job. He pulled one of the girls from next door and succeeded in misinforming the bloke of his name. Ashley’s name, as you’ve probably already gathered, is Ashley. Jimmy Makin, soon to be the butt of many a neighbourly prank, for some reason thought it was Chris.
Chris. Why Chris? It’s not even as though the names Ashley and Chris share many common letters. Why on earth would Jimmy think that Ashley’s name was Chris?
Jimmy started introducing Ashley to people in the nightclub as Chris, so he went along with it. He didn’t want to hurt the poor guy’s feelings by telling him that he’d got it wrong. He didn’t want to hurt the poor guy’s feelings by calling him a twat. He called him one anyway but luckily enough, Jimmy didn’t hear that right either.
The thing is, when you’re in a nightclub, and the music’s pounding away, and you can’t hear what the guy next to you is saying very well, and you lean in close to hear him, and he says his name is Chris, he generally spits all over your face. It’s not that he doesn’t like you. It’s just that he’s slightly inebriated and slurring his words, and the sibilant nature of the name Chris causes a fine spray of spittle to coat your face. This must have happened when Ashley said his name and Jimmy leapt to the conclusion that his name was Chris. Or maybe I’m clutching at straws.
Whatever the reason was for Jimmy to think that Ashley’s name was Chris, he didn’t mind. Actually, the Taurus boys were never convinced that Jimmy’s name was Jimmy.
Based on his success rate with Ashley’s name, it seemed equally likely that he could have got his own name wrong. He could have been called Eric for all they knew. In fact, he looked more like an Eric. But still, they called him Jimmy. Or more precisely they called him Hey-Jimmy.
For some reason, the greeting they always gave him quickly developed into his nickname, until they were actually greeting him with a “Hey Hey-Jimmy!” He didn’t seem to mind, or maybe he never noticed. He never was good with names. Hey-Jimmy claimed to be a huge fan of West End musicals; however Robert claimed to hear him once referring to the Christopher Lloyd Webber musical Dogs.