Sometime in late 85 or early 86 I rented out a room and got my first house mate,  it was my first experience of sharing my space* with anyone I wasn’t directly related (or married) to and I had no idea what to expect.  I had advertised in the local paper and ended up with Andy, he was a similar age to me and moving into the area to take up a job, he wanted a room while he looked at the job and at the area.  We got on really well and didn’t have to worry about whose milk was whose.  I didn’t know it at the time, but who owns the milk in shared houses can be a really big thing, as far as I can see it’s not really about who brought the milk, it is all about going to the fridge and expecting there to be milk, because you had put some in it yesterday.  If there was none because somebody had used half a pint on their cereal, then drank the other half a pint leaving the fridge bereft of milk, then there will be difficulties.  Andy and I just put it in our tea and coffee, we had no problems.


I was still on a pretty tight budget but, the house was becoming a fun place to be, there were new people about and others coming and going.  I became great mates with Richard, we ended up spending quite a bit of time together at weekends, doing what young men do, listening to music, watching sport, drinking, talking and generally having fun.

I got my second house mate on a Sunday evening when after a conversation with mum on Saturday morning my sister put some clothes in a suitcase got in her car and came to stay.  I’m sure it was a lot more complicated than that, but if I could offer a safe place to stay then simple, why not.  As she didn’t (still doesn’t) drink any tea or coffee the fridge still maintained a healthy supply of milk.  Happy housemates.

My dad died in 1986 we had been more or less estranged since he and mum split in the late 60’s and going to the funeral I remember being saddened – not about the split or anything like that, as far as I was concerned that was their business, but because my dad had died and I didn’t really know anything about him or his life.

For this year’s track I could have chosen pretty much anything from Infected – The The in the end I have gone for Heartland, mainly because I later learned to play a passable acoustic version of it.  Also considered were the Bhundu Boys, they changed my musical world when I heard the Peel sessions that year, evening radio again…

What else happened in 1986?

Space Shuttle Challenger explodes on takeoff, Hayley’s comment is in the skies.  The Soviet Union launch Mir space station and preside over the Chernobyl nuclear disaster.  Mikhail Gorbachev introduces us to the words Glasnost and Perestroika.  Hailstones weighing more than 1 kg fall in Bangladesh, killing a number of people, Desmond Tutu becomes the 1st black Anglican Church bishop in South Africa.  The United States Senate approves a treaty outlawing genocide, apparently it took 37 years of messing around to come to that decision.  I don’t really understand that, are they suggesting that genocide was legal prior to 1986 or that the situation wasn’t clear-cut?  Baby Doc Duvalier flees Haiti, ending 28 years of family rule.  The first “PC” computer virus starts to spread.

FreddiehamsterIn the UK further plans for the channel tunnel are announced, financial markets are deregulated in the “big bang”.  Conservative politicians resigned their positions; Michael Heseltine and Leon Brittan over the Westland affair and Jeffrey Archer over perhaps more unwholesome allegations.  A lot of activity continues to surround newspapers the News International Wapping dispute continues, The Independent and Today, Britain’s 1st colour newspaper, both launch and the Sun runs the headline.  Freddie Starr Ate My Hamster.  The M25 London orbital is opened and the Hampton Court fire occurs

UK gets its 1st UNESCO world Heritage sites, Calvin and Hobbes (it had debuted and 35 newspapers in the states the year before), Neighbours on the telly and Phantom of the Opera opens in London.  The 1st episode of Casualty is on the BBC.

hand-of-god-goal-maradonaFootball, Liverpool win the double, becoming the 1st non-London team to do so in the 20th century, both Scotland and England compete at the World Cup.  England being knocked out in the quarter-final by Argentina.  We were at Milton Keynes Bowl, none of us wer all that interested in Simple Minds, and rushed to my mum’s (at the time, about a mile from the bowl) as soon as Lloyd Cole and the Commotions left the stage, but we still missed Maradona’s Hand of God goal.  Alex Ferguson becomes manager of Manchester United.

* Apart from my “living away in digs” experience whilst at training school where it wasn’t really much to do with sharing my space.

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