After completing my BTEC at Southport College with some good friends, Dave, Kirk, Emma, Abi and Andrew, I went to univeristy in Blackpool, whilst there I met some of my best friends and here are some stories about the time.
Going to to Blackpool and Fylde College in September of 1998 to do my graphic design degree was one of the best things I ever did, not because of the course but the people I met and the times we had there. Looking back puts a huge smile on my face and reminds me of the wonderful things we got upto.
We always had a good lunch and breaks in the college cafe, burgers, crisps, drinks and snacks. This was also a good time to catch up with the friends I had in the other courses, photographers most of the time, we always had a good laugh. I can remember something when we were all sat around a table eating our lunch, Graham mentioned something about his banana, I think he said I could share it or something like that, this made us all laugh and we very nearly wet ourselves.
I can also remember some days when we went to the pub, I don’t know the name of if but it was a good place to chill out and I’m sure we used to play pool. We used to walk there at lunch time or at the end of our lessons. Hopefully memories about this will come back into my brain. I don’t think I went often as I’m sure this was mostly done at the end of the day when me and Abi were travelling home.
Alot of the time I worked with James to do the best projects, looking back at that I wish we’d created a company when we finished. One of the funniest things that we did together was creating and designing some milkshake packaging. I can’t really remember the name but it was a pink bottle in the shape of a women’s breast, obviously not exactly like it but you could tell what it was supposed to be. I wish I could remember more about it especially the name but I’m afraid its gone.
We usually went out in Blackpool on a Thursday night, I still lived at home so this was the time we all went out together, apart from some special nights for birthdays. In the first year I usually stayed in a spare room in Abi’s Nan’s house and we always helped her Nan, doing her shopping before we left for Southport and helping her in any other way she needed
In the second and third year when my friends were living in different places we slept where we fell, usually we were really drunk. I can remember James and Grahams flat, we had some great times there, drinking vodka out of mugs and Stella like their was no tomorrow, Hallowen in particular was a special night. The parties we had there were great and really got us in the mood for the night out at ‘Heaven and Hell’.
Just editing this post my memory has recalled the times we spent in ‘Heaven and Hell’. Two seperate large rooms in the same club, ‘Hell’ was lit up in red and somewhat dark the music was banging with deep base and in those years probably trance. ‘Heaven’ was the opposite, lit up with blue lights and a lot brighter. The music was pop and house and that’s where we usually finished the night, our arms linked together ‘It’s up to you, New York, New York’.
One of my great memories from this club was the time I saw my friends dancing on a small box in ‘Heaven’ I thought I’d join them. Off I ran across the dance floor and forgetting they were on a box I ran straight into it and slammed my shin across it, luckily being drunk I didn’t feel the pain but I’m sure the next morning my shin was on fire.
In the third year James was living in an old care home which had been converted into student accommodation. The bedrooms and bathrooms were massive and we had great parties there. Who tidied up in the morning I just don’t know but it must have been a mess. I can also remember talking to lots of people in their rooms, they usually weren’t part of the party so what they must have thought when I wondered in drunk, I’ve no idea. This must have been a great place to live as a student.
One of the more grim memories I have about our nights out was when we walked into a new nightclub on the Blackpool sea front. I can remember paying to get in with Abi, there was sweat dripping from the ceiling and the smell was horrendous, we turned around and walked straight out.
Usually on Friday mornings we were all sat in a room with our tutors talking about the weeks work. We were usually still a bit drunk and if not suffering from from some evil hangovers. It was always funny looking around the room at my mates in various states of distress. I usually felt absolutely rubbish aswell, we usually either had chips or went for the full english at the local Morrisons to soak it up.
We had some great trips on our course and here are some memories from them, as with most they may be a bit sketchy but I’ve tried to remember as much as I could and I’ve been specific where I can.
In our second year we went to Barcelona as part of our studies, well it was supposed to be, looking back I don’t rembember much work or study being done. I don’t recall much from our trip, we spent most of it drunk. We walked around the touristy parts of the city, the Olympics Park, sat outside the Camp Nou and walked for miles up and down Las Ramblas (our hotel was just off it)
In the early evenings we had tea and then went back to the hotel, we drank and had fun in the rooms and then later on when out to the clubs. We mostly drunk vodka and in the nightclubs the more you smiled at the bar maids the more they filled the glass with vodka adding just a little bit of orange juice. These were great nights and I don’t remember much, possibly due to being really drunk and then passing out when we got back. I do remember walking back to the hotel with our arms around each other, holding hands, singing and having a great time. We were loud but never got into trouble with the Spanish police. This was always the way we finished the night, walking together, looking after each other and making sure we were safe, as I’ve said before amazing friends.
My memories of the day we went to the Gaudi Cathedral ‘La Sagrada Familia’ are a bit hazy. I know we went inside but don’t remember atall. I do remember that myself James and Tom had to go to McDonald’s first, we were still drunk and a bit shaky.
One day we visited the Olympic Park, it was vast. I spotted a toy shop with two doors, one normal and one very small for children. I just had to take a picture, this led the staff inside to notice me, they raised their fists so we quickly moved along.
We promised ourselves we wouldn’t go out on the last night, we had a three hour flight and then a coach journey from London to Blackpool. Anyway we got smashed, were still drunk in the airport and had our hangovers on the plane. The coach journey actually turned out to not be that bad.
In our third year it was New York, we went to network with design companies over there and see how they worked. We stayed in a YMCA hostel and had a great time. I wish I was into photography then as much as I am now though as I have so few pictures. We spent around five days in New York, looking back at this reminds me of many things. Looking around the city, walking around with my friends, getting yellow cabs. These were happy times.
We went to a diner around the corner from our hostel for breakfast. I remember Dean and James covering their pancakes with syrup. I can’t recall what I had, probably eggs and toast in some way. I also remember shopping in a massive Nike store, the very nice cashier asking if I was English.
One night we had a two hour free bar on top of an Irish bar, the room upstairs was all ours and it was great. I always get a bit emotional when I’m very drunk, so I did the usual of sobbing, hugging and telling my friends that I loved them. They were so important in my life then and writing this I get a lot more happy memories coming back to me.
Finally in our third year we had a show in London in some tunnels under a bridge. It was dark and moody and we each had our own portfolios on display. Even though we were there quite early the free beer had gone so we spent the night drinking full glasses of the quite new at the time ‘Bombay Sapphire’. We stayed in a hotel in Notting Hill and I bunked with Tom. It was so hot that when you got out of the shower and dried yourself you needed another one straight away.
Looking back into the past puts a smile on my face. It’s funny how so many things that only happened for a few days remain in your mind, this shows how important these memories are and this is why I’m writing them down, some of my family won’t know about these and that’s why I want to leave them behind.
Great friends, great times. James, Graham, Kerry, Abi, Dean, Tom, Ryan, you were and still are stars in my life, memories will always remain and can never be taken away.
Take care friends, I hope you all have a good life with your family and friends, I know some of you have had tough times but we get through them don’t we.